Art is happening: 2009 Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts

Free performances and exhibitions celebrate creativity and innovation

  • At Brandeis University April 22-26, 2009
  • Open to the public
  • Highlights include student performances and visual art, a performance of “Carmina Burana,” ARTiculation, Big Nazo, and World Music

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Running April 22-26, the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts at Brandeis celebrates creativity and community engagement through performances and artwork by students and faculty, as well as international, national and regional artists.


Brandeis invites all of Greater Boston to attend the festival’s public arts events, which include a world music concert by the acclaimed Guy Mendilow Band, interactive performances by the international group Big Nazo, the recent Boston hit ARTiculation: Theatre for Our Generation, and a large-scale performance of “Carmina Burana,” the iconic 1937 work by Carl Orff.

This year’s theme is “art is happening.” Throughout the five day event, students will stage “happenings,” spontaneous, multi-disciplinary art occurrences. Happenings were pioneered in the 1950s by such notable artists as John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and Merce Cunningham, who participated in the first Brandeis Festival of the Creative Arts in 1952.
“We are updating the concept of a ‘happening’ through the creative ideas and values of a new generation,” said Scott Edmiston, director of the Office of the Arts, which sponsors the annual festival. “This year we are looking to explore new forms of artistic expression that reflect the 21st century.”
For a complete schedule, visit the Festival of the Creative Arts Web site. Most events are handicapped accessible and all are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
Legendary American composer and Brandeis faculty member Leonard Bernstein founded the creative arts festival at Brandeis in 1952 for the university’s first commencement. In reflection of Bernstein’s commitment to engaging young people in the arts, the festival includes an afternoon of free performances for families and children on Sunday, April 26. The Tanglewood Marionettes will give a free performance and backstage demonstration of “An Arabian Adventure,” and beloved Boston artist Sidewalk Sam will host chalk-drawing.
Among the many student performances, the blockbuster event will be a concert performance of “Carmina Burana.” Nearly 200 students from Brandeis and Wellesley College, together with professional guest soloists, will perform it under the direction of Neal Hampton.
The Rose Art Museum will offer tours of its current exhibitions, and the Kniznick Gallery of the Women’s Studies Research Center will exhibit work by its artist-scholars. Brandeis faculty will exhibit work off campus on Waltham’s Moody Street, in the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, in partnership with the Boston Cyber Arts Festival. Student artwork, created especially for the festival, will be exhibited all across the campus.
Highlights of the festival include:
Family Day is an afternoon of free dance, music and theater performances, including children’s art activities. Sunday, April 26, 12 to 5 p.m., campus wide.
Big Nazo, the international group of visual artists and puppet performers, invades the campus. Watch out for renegade circus contortionists, a three-eyed robot percussionist, and a man-eating Chia Pet. Sunday, April 26, 1 to 4 p.m., Lower Campus.

The Guy Mendilow Band breaks down musical boundaries with an inventive blend of Israeli, Middle-Eastern, Sephardi, and blues. Voted “Boston’s Best World Music Act” by the Boston Phoenix. Sunday, April 26, 3 p.m. Shapiro Campus Center.
Tanglewood Marionettes’ master puppeteers perform “An Arabian Adventure.” Sunday, April 26, 1 p.m., Shapiro Campus Center.
Hans Hofmann Circa 1950, Saints and Sinners, Master of Reality. Three exhibitions of significant artworks by Hoffmann, Picasso, and emerging artists from New York, Rose Art Museum.
"Carmina Burana." Carl Orff’s iconic cantata performed by the Brandeis Wellesley Orchestra, Brandeis University Chorus, Wellesley College chorus, and a children’s chorus. With soloists Andrea Matthews, David Ripley, and Mark Kagan. Saturday, April 25, 8:30 p.m., Levin Ballroom, Usdan Campus Center.
A Cappella Fest. Nine of Brandeis’ best loved a cappella groups, including VoiceMale (Best of College A Cappella 2009), line up for one vocal feast. Suggested donation: $5, with proceeds going to the Shana Foundation, an advocacy group for public health awareness and education. Wednesday, April 22, 8 p.m., Slosberg Music Center.
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