1874–1903

1874–1903

While Chautauqua Institution began in 1874 as a summer educational assembly for Sunday School teachers, it was intended from the start to include in due time scientific and broadly cultural subjects. But the rate of expansion surprised everyone. A home-reading program, the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC), launched in 1878, enrolled readers throughout the country. Schools of Languages and Music were set up in 1879 along with courses for public school teachers.

A School of Theology, almost totally a correspondence school, was chartered in 1881 to be followed by Chautauqua University in 1883, and a School of Liberal Arts in 1885. These were just some of the 19th century accomplishments of this popular mass educational movement, called The Chautauqua Movement.

Since the basic emphasis at Chautauqua was and is educational, the arts, including music, have been pursued in the context of education. Professional performances are presented by resident and guest artists, some of whom are also involved with teaching or master classes. Performances by younger professionals and by even younger talented students in the various schools (Dance, Music, Theater) give another expression of the educational work, while the overall music programming for Amphitheater concerts is designed not only to be balanced for the sake of the resident audience, but sufficiently expanded to offer new listening experiences. Thus, there develops naturally at Chautauqua a creative arts climate in which students find enhanced study conditions and the audiences find added selective enjoyment of the arts.