Bernstein Festival of the Arts aims to activate the Brandeis campus

Annual event runs from April 26 through 29

Above, Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society and below,The What Cheer? Brigade, both of which have performed at the festival previously, will return.

Creativity and community will reign as the annual Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts takes over campus this week.

In honor of founder Leonard Bernstein’s commitment to engaging people in the arts and Brandeis’ spirit of social justice, “Activate Art” is the theme of this year’s festival, which will run from April 26 to 29.

“The arts at Brandeis activate so many of the university’s goals and values,” says Director of the Office of the Arts Scott Edmiston. “The arts activate the legacy of Bernstein. They activate ideas and the imagination. They activate our commitment to social justice. And they activate our relationship with Boston area artists and families who are part of our extended community.”

The festival will feature performances and artwork by students, faculty, alumni and professor guest artists. American composer and conductor Bernstein, then a Brandeis faculty member, founded the event 60 years ago. The tradition continues, free and open to the public, and last year attracted an estimated 6,000 visitors to campus.

“Art is more than something to passively enjoy,” says Ingrid Schorr, associate arts director, and the four-day festival will feature a number of events that encourage active participation.

Highlights of the packed schedule include:

The Rose Art Museum will host dance and music performances and offer tours of its exhibitions, "Art at the Origin: The Early Sixties," "Collecting Stories" and Bruce Conner’s "EVE-RAY-FOREVER" as it concludes its 50th anniversary celebration. Artwork created especially for the festival by students in Brandeis’s acclaimed studio arts programs will be exhibited all across the campus, and local artist Richard Bertman will show viewer-activated moving sculptures.

Performances by faculty, alumni, and students include “Beyond the Boundaries,” an original sculpture and dance collaboration; a concert by the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra featuring the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (1878); “BEAMS at 50,” experimental multi-media music; and music of Ghana, the Middle East and the Spanish Renaissance.  

Activities for families and children will be offered on Sunday, April 29. Guest artists and performers include Sidewalk Sam, Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade (New England Music Award Jazz Act of the Year) and a participatory parade led by two brass bands, the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society and the What Cheer? Brigade, veterans of the Honk! Parade in Somerville. Internationally acclaimed animated films and a Leonard Bernstein’s beloved “Young People’s Concert” program will be screened. The Lydian String Quartet will perform newly composed tributes to Brandeis President Fred Lawrence who has renewed the university’s commitment and pride in the arts.

For a complete schedule, visit the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts website.

Categories: Arts

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