The discussion explored the life and music of the composer Gustav Mahler and his wife, Alma, and the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was the time of Einstein and Freud, Gustav Klimt, and Austrian School Economics; a moment of promise, and impending doom. What allows civilisations to prosper? How do they adapt to master transition and change? What makes civilisations flourish—and fail?

Seventy-five guests from politics, business, media, and culture attended the event, which was co-hosted by Legatum Institute President and CEO Jeffrey Gedmin and Steve Clemons of the Atlantic Monthly magazine

“At a time of fundamental change and challenges, it’s refreshing and exciting to step away from the usual think tank format for reflection and discussion,” said Clemons.

In its Salon Series the Legatum Institute hosts scholars, writers, artists and public figures to discuss issues that are fundamental to the success of free, prosperous, and enterprising societies. Ranging widely across the arts, sciences and humanities, the conversations promote a discourse between cultural, philosophical, economic and political modes of enquiry.