Chautauqua Institution 2024 Season: June 22–August 25

Below are the weekly themes for the 2023 Season at the Chautauqua Institution. To facilitate a truly immersive experience, we highly suggest you book from Saturday to Saturday during the Chautauqua Summer Season programming.

Week One: June 22–29

The Evolution of the Modern Presidency
Like the world around it, the United States has undergone a profound transformation since its founding. Has the office of the American presidency been similarly transformed since its conception in 1789? Shifting and increasing partisanship, coupled with growing responsibilities and consolidated power of the Executive Branch, prompt us this week to situate ourselves in the texts defining the creation of the American presidency. We will trace our history to learn what and whom have complicated those original concepts, how they evolved, and whether a new way of thinking about the presidency should be considered.

Check Availability

Week Two: June 29–July 6

The AI Revolution
Artificial intelligence has loomed large in cultural consciousness for more than a century, primarily relegated to speculative works of fiction. The technology is now seeing exponential growth and adoption, accelerating the need for answers to questions posed by novelists and scientists — questions of ethics, of law, of nature. With AI no longer niche and imagined but mainstream and real, what will we do with the tools it offers us for efficiency and creation? How do we balance risk with opportunity? Can artificial intelligence evolve into artificial humanity, or can it allow for humans to be more human?

Check Availability

Week Three: July 6–13

What We Got Wrong: Learning from Our Mistakes
The earth isn’t flat, nor is it the center of the universe. Diseases aren’t caused by an imbalance of humors. Asbestos, as it turns out, isn’t the best building material. And maybe, just maybe, there’s a whole lot more we’ve gotten wrong throughout our history. In this week, we turn with both candor and curiosity to our past, pinpointing the moments and ideas we can now say emphatically and categorically were misguided, incorrect, or flawed. We look at the psychology of personal decision-making, and the reflective introspection and humility that happens when we change our minds. Finally, we take the same lens of hindsight and apply it to our present, considering the thought experiment: What will future generations say we’re getting wrong now?

Check Availability

Week Four: July 13–20

Eight Billion and Counting: The Future of Humankind in a Crowded World
In November 2022, the world’s population reached 8 billion people — the most of us ever alive at the same moment in our world. That milestone of human development and growth came just 11 years after the previous billion mark, which itself came 12 years after the one prior. While the trend of accelerating growth is projected to plateau, even taper, with a slowing growth rate of humankind, we are still faced with unprecedented strain on our shared resources, both natural and created. What does this mean for our planet and our people? We look for ways to not just survive together, but thrive together — beyond borders and geopolitical constructs, to ensure that every child of the human family can flourish.

Check Availability

Week Five: July 20–27

Our Greatest Challenges (That We Can Actually Do Something About)
The challenges facing our world and our country are many in number and significant in degree, but we are not powerless. Just as there are countless concerns before us, so too are there countless ways to address them. From the top-down policies of elected leaders to grassroots community measures, some of America’s greatest problems require a “yes/and” approach of big and small actions. In this week, we will be guided by experts and nonpartisan polling to determine what our greatest challenges are, what we can agree upon, and what we can do about it.

Check Availability

Week Six: July 27–Aug. 3

Exploring the Transformative Power of Music with Renée Fleming
Celebrated and beloved the world over, soprano Renée Fleming will join us for part of a special week of lectures and performances dedicated to the force music has in our lives. Research has shown that music and the arts can have significant impacts not just on our happiness, but on our health. Long an advocate of this work, Fleming helps launch an interdisciplinary week of music and science, of art and well-being. And acknowledging there is more than one kind of well-being, we look beyond classical music, to the genres of gospel, folk, hip-hop and pop, to examine the power of music to motivate and carry social movements, and enrich our lives in ways innumerate. Music can do more than inspire, soothe and heal — it can transform.

Check Availability

Week Seven: Aug. 3–10

Wonder and Awe : A Week Celebrating Chautauqua’s Sesquicentennial

We’ve all experienced that which has taken our breath away, to use an expression. Whether some kind of premonition, a spiritual or religious experience, a feat of seeming magic, or something else beyond words, there are moments that leave us dumbfounded and seeking answers where there are no convincing ones. What are wonder and awe, what creates or instills them, and does it matter how we experience them — alone, with others, in reality or in some kind of liminal space? From the infinite to the infinitesimal, we peer at all that situates us on a scale of grandeur.

Check Availability

Week Eight: Aug. 10–17

Water: Crisis, Beauty and Necessity. A Week in Partnership with National Geographic

As an elemental force, water’s reach touches everything. We are mostly water — even down to our bones — and the planet we call home is mostly covered by water. It is vital to life, and to our way of life. And yet, water across the globe is increasingly polluted, increasingly scarce and, in a twist of irony, increasingly abundant, with extreme flooding as the most immediately destructive effect of climate change. While water covers two-thirds of Earth’s surface, by 2025 two-thirds of Earth’s population will live in water-scarce areas. As the world seeks out ever-more creative — and desperate — solutions for access to clean water, what global approaches and agreements can be enacted for equitable access to our most precious natural resource? How can we turn the tide before chances of addressing the global water crisis evaporate?

Check Availablity.

Week Nine: Aug. 17–25

Rising Together: Our Century of Creativity and Collaboration with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
“The 20th was the century of communication. The 21st will be the century of integration. Our rapidly developing global community is the most exciting modern reality.” So opens Wynton Marsalis’ notes to “All Rise,” considered the composer’s Symphony No. 1 — a work not just of music, but of life, history, and the joyous power people hold to create art and progress when they work collectively and collaboratively. Where do these moments of translating and transcending difference exist in our society, and what can we learn from them? Where can our journeys, both individual and communal, take us? Backdropped by the annual Chautauqua Food Festival, this week features a keynote address by Wynton Marsalis for the Chautauqua Lecture Series, classes and recitals from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and an extraordinary performance on a massive scale of “All Rise” that will see Chautauqua’s very own Music School Festival Orchestra join forces with a full chorus and the legendary JLCO on the Amphitheater stage.

Check Availability