2021 Season :: June 26–August 29

Institution Board Approves Approach for In-person 2021 Season

Authorizes Staff to Plan for Limited Programs, Capacity Pending Government Go-ahead, Regulations

Learn More


While the days ahead are rife with uncertainty, Chautauqua will convene in 2021 to wrestle with the critical issues of our time, considering ways in which we as individuals, families and communities have been tested and have responded, and how we move forward.

Our theme weeks for the 2021 Season will evolve in response to the world around us; as our lives change, so too will we adapt our work in order to present the explorations that are most needed at whatever moment in time we find ourselves during the summer of 2021.

See 2021 events

Week One :: June 26–July 3, 2021

China and the World: Collaboration, Competition, Confrontation?

  • Under President Xi Jinping’s rule, the world’s most populous country has been working toward fulfilling the “China Dream” of global leadership, positioning itself inside a “superpower marathon” with the United States. Now, amid a trade war, the arrival of COVID-19 has been met with harsh rhetoric from both sides, further straining U.S.-China relations.
  • In this week of geopolitics, economics and cultural exploration, we consider China’s role in the world after COVID-19 and whether it emerges stronger or weaker politically and economically. How is it leveraging the pandemic in its recovery and in its efforts to overtake the U.S. as the global leader in technology, and how is the U.S. responding? Is China an unstoppable force or has it already peaked?

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: 21st Century Religion in China: Collaboration, Competition, Confrontation?

China through the ages has given birth to religious expressions uniquely its own, while also absorbing and embracing multiple religious traditions and variations that have migrated from the Asian subcontinent and the West. In this week focusing on China, we look for its contemporary expressions of the religious impulse, or the suppression thereof.

Week Two :: July 3–10, 2021

New Frontiers: Exploring Today’s Unknowns

  • There is so much left to explore and discover — and the more humans explore, the more we learn how much remains undiscovered. We consider these new frontiers in science, health, technology, the environment, and look to where new insights are being gained every day.
  • In this week, we welcome the new explorers, the next generation of innovators, to learn what work they’re doing on the cutting edge of these fields, exploring the extraordinary and making the unknown, known.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: New Frontiers: Exploring the Future of Religion in America

Long regarded as one of the most religious countries in the world, America is showing signs of losing that distinction, as successive generations begin to claim more spirituality and less religiosity, and with greater frequency self-identifying as neither, indeed as “none of the above.” In this week we look toward what a changing religious landscape in America would look and act like.

Week Three :: July 10–17, 2021

Trust, Society and Democracy

  • While recent work from the Pew Research Center had previously indicated our growing distrust in social institutions and of each other in making democratic decisions, the past year has brought this crisis of trust to a critical inflection point.
  • How can trust be restored, and how do we maintain a healthy level of skepticism that doesn’t devolve into something worse? The internet and social media have clearly accelerated and inflamed this troubling trend — what role can they play in reversing it?
  • What do we do with institutions that society has declared broken, and what must institutions do to rebuild trust with those they serve? Perhaps most importantly, how can we work to regain trust with one another?

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Ethical Foundations of a Fully Functioning Society

Socrates and his student Plato entered the discourse on ethics by way of a question that became central in Greek thought and is still relevant today: What is the relation between virtue, excellence of character, and personal and societal happiness? For the flourishing of a society, the Greek philosophers believed in reverence and justice, as well as the objectivity of goodness, as the links for knowing what is good and doing it. In this week we will discern the ethical foundations of a fully functioning society.

Week Four :: July 17–24, 2021

Many Americas: Navigating Our Divides

  • We are many Americas. We are many geographies, many economies, many cultures, many beliefs. We are a nation of differences and divides, and in a summer following a presidential election and a devastating pandemic that has thrown those divides into stark relief, we look to better understand those many Americas, the barriers—real or perceived—that keep us apart, and together consider how we navigate our differences in charting a future for our nation.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Evolving Religious Narrative of America

The national narrative that we extoll is that America was founded on ethical principles born out of religious freedom and fervor, with the moral imperative of justice for all — but how accurate is this narrative? How has this self-image been lived out historically? Does it accommodate our multifaith evolution, and the myriad expressions of world faith traditions that we now comprise? In this week we explore the evolving American religious narrative.

Week Five :: July 24–31, 2021

The Authentic Comedic Voice: A Week in Partnership with the National Comedy Center

  • The art of comedy is deeply personal, requiring artists and creators to tap into their own experience to hone a unique, resonant and authentic voice.
  • In this week, we examine how comedians working in an array of genres, media and styles have found their voices, developed their voices and mobilized their voices to communicate with audiences in impactful — and entertaining — ways.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Authentic Comedic Voice: Truth Born of Struggle

What we expect from the Art of Comedy is something silly, foolish, witty, or an unexpected twist or deviation from expected reality. It has been posited, however, that authentic comedic articulation, while producing laughter and hilarity, frequently arises out of struggle, out of pathos and the need to speak truth. “We laugh because it’s funny; we laugh – or cry – because it’s true.” In this week we invite the voices of the healers who make us laugh.

Week Six :: July 31–August 7, 2021

Building a Culture of Empathy

  • Creating understanding and compassion, empathy is critical in navigating our world and building community. Empathy might have a reputation associated with emotionality or sentimentality, but what does it look like in action, from improving health care via the doctor-patient relationship and fostering strong childhood development to implementing effective public policy and leading through times of crisis?
  • Instilling and normalizing empathy has the potential to help us connect across our most polarizing differences and survive our most tragic times, so how can we work together to build a lasting culture of empathy?

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Building a Culture of Empathy

In recent years, a trait frequently cited as essential to the flourishing of humankind is empathy, an impulse manifested in all the world’s religions. Connected with compassion and altruism, it arises out of a willingness to care, to endeavor to understand, and to place oneself within the human experiences of others. In this week we seek voices who are inspiring and motivating this capacity in others.

Week Seven ::August 7–14, 2021

The State of the Economy: Where Do We Go From Here?

  • What drives the rebuilding of the economy in the wake of COVID-19? In the summer of 2021 — a year and a half after the pandemic plunged the U.S. into recession — we examine the state of “recovery” from Main Street to Wall Street; what has been lost and what has thrived; and what the crisis has laid bare in terms of necessary investments and structural reforms. How do we make our economy more resilient?
  • During this week we consider what building a new economy can and should look like, beyond high employment and growing businesses. Do we want an economy that looks like the one we had on January 1, 2020, or one that is more just in the distribution of wealth? What will we have learned during the months following the re-opening of the economy, and what are we learning from the approaches of other nations? What — and who — have we deemed essential in this new and evolving economy?

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Creating an Economy that Works for All

A society failing to uphold justice for all is not a just society. A just society supports health care, work opportunity and wage justice, and bridges the divides that create life-diminishing inequalities in education and access to essential services. It bridges wealth gaps and promotes the opportunity to thrive for all. How do religion and ethical humanism make demands upon economic policy, and what difference does this make?

Week Eight :: August 14–21, 2021

The Human Brain: Our Greatest Mystery

  • Neurophysiologist and Nobel Laureate David Hubel once asked, “Can the brain understand the brain? Can it understand the mind? Is it a giant computer … or something more?”
  • In this week, we explore the folds and recesses of this distinctly human mystery, bringing together neuroscientists and psychologists to chart a path through the enigma of our consciousness, through the impacts of trauma and stress on our health, through the gray matter and the white matter, neurons and synapses, the wiring that embodies our cognition, that sparks our selves.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Human Soul: Our Ineffable Mystery

Most people sense and recognize another dimension beyond the physical plane of our existence and call the personal inner reality that this dimension connotes the human “soul,” known also as the “Spirit” or “Life Force.” Recognition of this inner reality is the basis of most religions but remains difficult to define or explain. In this week we will hear various interpretations of this ineffable human experience.

Week Nine :: August 21–29, 2021

Resilience

  • What drives people to keep going when forces outside their control work against them? And what does that tell us about our humanity and hope for the future? We close our 2021 season looking at the resilience that emerged during a tumultuous 2020. From a global pandemic to the quest for racial equality, we reflect on a revealing, historic period by lifting up the stories and the lessons of those who refused to give up, give in or go away.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Resilience

What drives people to keep going over time when forces outside their control work against them, and what does that tell us about our humanity and hope for the future? We close our 2021 season looking at the resilience that emerged during a tumultuous 2020. From a global pandemic to the quest for racial equality, we reflect on a revealing, historic period by lifting up the religious people and stories who refused to give up, give in, or go away.

Confirmed 2021 Programs

Click here for more information about 2021 rates and fees.

  • Thursday, April 22, 2021 | 07:00pm EDT

    Eliese Colette Goldbach, CLSC Author, Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit

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    Eliese remembered driving with her father past the rust-covered buildings in the Cleveland’s industrial valley. Growing up, she was told that the world was your oyster, that the possibilities are endless, and you can do whatever you want in this world.



    Location: CHQ Assembly Video Platform

     

  • Sunday, June 27, 2021 | 01:00pm EDT

    Co-Existence: Works by Cecile Chong, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, QiuChen Fan, and Cathy Lu

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    June 27–July 21 | This exhibition examines cultural signifiers and the notion of hybridity in works by four contemporary artists of Chinese descent who live and work in the U.S. Their varied practices interrogate the histories and metaphors of everyday objects like dishware, vases, plants, and ping pong paddles...



    Location: Strohl Art Center/Bellowe Family Gallery

     

  • Sunday, June 27, 2021 | 01:00pm EDT

    Counterbalance

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    June 27–July 25  | Counterbalance features women working primarily in the media of Wood and Textiles, using a hybridized language of adornment and structure. Wood objects drape over corners and conform to the body, while textiles muscle in with bold color and rigid form.



    Location: Strohl Art Center/Main Gallery

     

  • Sunday, June 27, 2021 | 01:00pm EDT

    Materials Redefined

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    June 27–August 25 | This exhibition focuses on seven contemporary artists who work with their selected materials in non-traditional ways. The result will be a thought provoking, inspiring show of pieces that have not been seen before in Chautauqua. 



    Location: Fowler-Kellogg Art Center/First Floor Galleries and the Angela Fowler Memorial Gallery

     

  • Monday, June 28, 2021 | 08:15pm EDT

    Music School Festival Orchestra: Opening Night

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    Comprised of top-tier students from conservatories and universities in the U.S. and abroad, Music School Festival Orchestra members participate in a variety of musical activities during their summers at CHQ including chamber music and private lessons along with their meticulous orchestral training. 



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Wednesday, June 30, 2021 | 10:30am EDT

    Michael Pillsbury

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    Having served as a key adviser to President Trump on U.S. strategy toward China, Michael Pillsbury is senior fellow and director for Chinese strategy at Hudson Institute. A distinguished defense policy adviser and former high-ranking government official...



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Thursday, July 01, 2021 | 10:30am EDT

    Dexter Roberts

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    Dexter Tiff Roberts is an award-winning writer and speaker on China now serving as a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Asia Security Initiative, a fellow at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, and an adjunct instructor in political science at the University of Montana.



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Friday, July 02, 2021 | 08:15pm EDT

    Michael W. Smith

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    Come give thanks through music with Michael W. Smith, one of the best-selling and most influential artists in Contemporary Christian music. 



    Location: Amphitheater -->

     

  • Sunday, July 04, 2021 | 10:45am EDT

    The Rev. Zina Jacque

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    Zina Jacque is the Lead Pastor at the Community Church of Barrington in Illinois. She has served on the staffs of multicultural, urban, and suburban churches, and has done extensive work in the areas of education, counseling, and support programs.



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Sunday, July 04, 2021 | 01:00pm EDT

    T E N A C I T Y

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    July 4–August 24TENACITY was curated in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment in 2020, guaranteeing and protecting women's constitutional right to vote. Being tenacious is a common link the Suffragette women have in common with these seven artists.



    Location: Strohl Art Center/Gallo Family Gallery

     

  • Monday, July 05, 2021 | 09:00am EDT

    The Rev. Zina Jacque

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    Zina Jacque is the Lead Pastor at the Community Church of Barrington in Illinois. She has served on the staffs of multicultural, urban, and suburban churches, and has done extensive work in the areas of education, counseling, and support programs.



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Monday, July 05, 2021 | 08:15pm EDT

    Music School Festival Orchestra

    View Details     

    Comprised of top-tier students from conservatories and universities in the U.S. and abroad, Music School Festival Orchestra members participate in a variety of musical activities during their summers at CHQ including chamber music and private lessons along with their meticulous orchestral training. 



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Tuesday, July 06, 2021 | 09:00am EDT

    The Rev. Zina Jacque

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    Zina Jacque is the Lead Pastor at the Community Church of Barrington in Illinois. She has served on the staffs of multicultural, urban, and suburban churches, and has done extensive work in the areas of education, counseling, and support programs.



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Tuesday, July 06, 2021 | 08:15pm EDT

    An Evening Piano Recital with Alexander Kobrin

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    Internationally acclaimed Russian pianist Alexander Kobrin, winner of the 2005 Van Cliburn competition, presents an evening recital of works by Schubert, Chopin, and Brahms. Called the “Van Cliburn of today” by the BBC, Alexander Kobrin is at the forefront of today’s performing musicians...



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Wednesday, July 07, 2021 | 09:00am EDT

    The Rev. Zina Jacque

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    Zina Jacque is the Lead Pastor at the Community Church of Barrington in Illinois. She has served on the staffs of multicultural, urban, and suburban churches, and has done extensive work in the areas of education, counseling, and support programs.



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Wednesday, July 07, 2021 | 08:15pm EDT

    The Raleigh Ringers

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    This internationally acclaimed concert handbell choir dazzles audiences with unique interpretations of sacred, secular and popular music.



    Location: Amphitheater -->

     

  • Thursday, July 08, 2021 | 09:00am EDT

    The Rev. Zina Jacque

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    Zina Jacque is the Lead Pastor at the Community Church of Barrington in Illinois. She has served on the staffs of multicultural, urban, and suburban churches, and has done extensive work in the areas of education, counseling, and support programs.



    Location: Amphitheater

     

  • Thursday, July 08, 2021 | 10:30am EDT

    Ariel Ekblaw

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    Ariel Ekblaw is the founder and director of the MIT Space Exploration Initiative, a team of over 50 graduate students, staff and faculty actively prototyping the artifacts of our sci-fi space future.



    Location: Amphitheater