MARCH 27-29, 2015

BIF 2015

Explore the many ways that improvisation enlivens the arts and sciences; inspires individual and group creativity; and encourages cultural innovation at the first annual Brandeis Improv Festival (BIF), the weekend of March 27-29th, 2015. Under the artistic direction of Brandeis Improv Collective director Tom Hall, this three day festival, which is free and open to the public, will be filled with concerts, live performances, panel discussions, and workshops, featuring a diverse range of mediums and artistic genres, from free jazz legend Milford Graves to pioneer turntablist Mister Rourke; fine art demonstrations to new technology playshops.

For more information, visit and click here to check out the BIF 2015 poster!)


Friday March 27th

3 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Improvisation and Social Transformation
An open discussion exploring the relationship between improvisation and social transformation, with Tom Hall (author of “Free Improvisation: A Practical Guide”) who writes and teaches about improvisation, and Cindy Cohen (director of the Brandeis Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts), who writes and teaches about work at the nexus of the arts, culture, justice and peace.

5 p.m. (Shapiro Campus Center Atrium)
The Sound Line
Lines on paper and musical lines join together to create magic in this multimedia event! Artist Lennie Peterson will create one of his large scale pen and ink portraits of a famous musician, accompanied by the improvised musical lines of saxophonist Tom Hall and bassist Marty Ballou.

6:30 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Modern Improvising
A pre-concert lecture and demonstration by pianist Tim Ray.

7 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Brandeis Improv Festival Inaugural Concert
What does virtuosic jazz pianist Tim Ray; the Bob Nieske 4, who play “free music and written music freely”; April Hall's swinging interpretations of the American Songbook, and a solo performance by legendary free jazz drummer Milford Graves have in common? They may play different musical styles, but this stellar lineup of musicians are united in their passion for improvisation!

7 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Tim Ray
Solo Piano

8 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Bob Nieske 4
Phil Grenadier - Trumpet
David Tronzo - Guitar
Bob Nieske - Bass
Jon Hazilla - Drums

9 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
The April Hall Quintet
April Hall - Vocals
Tim Ray - Piano
Tom Hall - Saxophone
Marty Ballou - Bass
Les Harris, Jr. - Drums

10 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Milford Graves
Solo percussion performance

Saturday March 28th

11 a.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Keynote Speaker: Milford Graves
A talk by legendary improviser, drummer, healer and polymath Milford Graves.

1 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Action Theater with Sarah Hickler
Tune into the present moment and find artful, spontaneous expression through movement, voice and language in this Action Theater workshop with performer, director, movement specialist and theater educator Sarah Hickler.

3 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Creativity, Learning and Improvisation
What are the connections between creativity, learning and improvisation? That’s the subject of this panel discussion with Contemporary Art historian Peter Kalb, improvising musician and educator Tom Hall, movement specialist and theater educator Sarah Hickler, and neuroscientist Eric Rosenbaum from MIT MediaLab.

5 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Turntables as an Instrument
This exciting workshop with DJs Mister Rourke and Axel Foley exposes students to the art form of using the turntable as a musical instrument, offering an opportunity for music enthusiasts to learn how to DJ, from mixing and blending to scratching and beat juggling. Students will receive a DJ history lesson, equip.m.ent/cost description, review turntablist fundamentals, learn techniques and explore the latest terminology and technology. There will be a Q & A session, as well as a “hands on” opportunity for interested students to test out their own turntable skills.

6:30 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall Lobby)
MaKey MaKey Playshop
Experience new technologies at the intersection of music, improvisation, play and learning with neuroscientist, musician and educator Eric Rosenbaum. He believes that everyone is creative, inventive, and imaginative. He believes that everyone can create the future and change the world. So he's dedicated his life to making easy-to-use invention kits.

7 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Brandeis Improv Festival Dance Party
The Brandeis Improv Festival Dance Party brings you a mashup of dance music from the past, present and future. Featuring the old world grooves of Guttmann’s Klezmer All Stars, turntable innovators Mister Rourke and Axel Foley, and the Moroccan dosed dub-trance-electronica excursions of Club d’Elf; along with the live video art of Greg Kowalski, and special guest dancers.

7 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall Lobby)
Guttmann’s Klezmer All Stars
Mimi Rabson - Violin
Michael McLaughlin - Keyboards, Accordion
Jim Guttmann - Bass
Grant Smith - Drums

8 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
DJs Mister Rourke & Axel Foley
with video projection artist Greg Kowalski

10 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Club d”Elf
Mister Rourke - Turntables
Tom Hall - Saxophone
TBA - Guitar
Mike Rivard - Bass
Dean Johnston - Drums

Sunday March 29th

12 p.m. (The Rose Art Museum)
Workshop: Perception and Expression
This workshop begins with a talk by Contemporary and Modern Art historian and Brandeis Professor Peter Kalb on our perception of art and awareness of our reactions to it, followed by the direct experience of viewing art currently on display in the Rose Art Museum, and ending with the improvised expression of our reactions, facilitated by improviser and educator Tom Hall.

2 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
The Creative Process: Live
Live art demonstration with painter, printmaker and public artist Jane Goldman and improvisational action painter Chris Gill, accompanied by keyboardist Dave Bryant (of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time). Watch the artists at work and talk to them about their creative process.

5 p.m. (Slosberg Recital Hall)
Brandeis Improvisers Variety Show, with special guest Dave Bryant
The Brandeis Improv Festival closes with an extravaganza of improvisation, featuring the music of the twenty four member Brandeis Improv Collective (with special guest Dave Bryant), and a smorgasbord of on-campus improv comedy, dance and theater groups.