"Beacon to the World" by Joseph W Polisi

Beacon to the World A History of Lincoln Center Joseph W Polisi

Publication date:
12 Jul 2022
Yale University Press
336 pages: 235 x 156mm
27 b-w illus.
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A comprehensive history of the creation and growth of Lincoln Center, exploring the interconnections between politicians, financiers, and performing artists

In this comprehensive history of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, longtime Juilliard president Joseph Polisi guides us through the complex convergence of the worlds of politics, finance, and the performing arts throughout the years of the Center’s history, including the roles played by Robert Moses, John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Leonard Bernstein, William Schuman, Elia Kazan, Joseph Papp, Alice Tully, Beverly Sills, and many others. Polisi’s book explores the social and political environment during the Center’s history, reflecting the growth and evolution of the performing arts in America from its post–World War II roots to the present day of global interaction. The history of the birth and growth of this unique institution is a story of determination, economic acumen, political machinations, artistic innovations, and above all the strong belief that the arts are at the center of the fabric of American society and that they should be supported and embraced by all citizens.

Joseph W. Polisi is the President Emeritus (1984–2018) and Chief China Officer of The Juilliard School. He is the author of The Artist as Citizen and American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman.

“Written by a scholar, musician and arts executive, Polisi’s superb work is an authoritative yet eminently readable account of the creation and growth of the world’s most important performing arts center.”—Nathan Leventhal, President Emeritus, Lincoln Center

"Joseph Polisi has written an indispensable and detailed account of Lincoln Center’s complex history, from its iconic Cold War founding to the cultural uncertainties of classical performance in America today."—Robert Marx, President, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

"A superb history about one of the world’s most important cultural centers. The narrative is compelling and besides providing a history of the Lincoln Center, is about leaders, leadership styles, and leadership effectiveness."—Jamal J. Rossi, Eastman School of Music

"The public deserves such an eyewitness account as this. Joseph Polisi welcomes readers to a historic glimpse of a noble venture that envisioned the arts as a pillar of democracy. In it we see the courage and frailty of humanity reflected by leaders whose tenacity established Lincoln Center as a 'beacon to the world.'"—Robert Blocker, Yale University