Jim Olesen to receive award for contributions to the arts at Brandeis
Professor James Olesen from the Department of Music is the recipient of the 2012 Festival of the Creative Arts Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Arts at Brandeis, Office of the Arts Director Scott Edmiston announced.
The choral director at Brandeis since 1972, Olesen has performed with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Charles Munch, Gustav Meier, Leopold Stowkowski and many others; with premier musical organizations including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Robert Shaw Chorale and the American Ballet Theater at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Opera House.
He has recorded for Columbia, RCA and Decca Records. He founded and directed the Orpheus Singers, a chamber choir performing repertory from the 15th century to the present, and is a former director of the Back Bay Chorale.
Olesen has served as music department chair and on many university committees, advocating for the arts faculty and collaborating with other faculty and departments on music programs. He was instrumental in the creation of the Office of the Arts and School of Creative Arts mission. In 2008, the University Chorus, under his direction, gave the first international tour of any Brandeis student music ensemble.
In addition to the regular Brandeis concert season, Olesen directs vocal preparation for the annual "Messiah" concert and directed Copland's "The Promise of Living" for President Fred Lawrence's 2011 inauguration.
Recipients of the award are selected by the School of Creative Arts Council, the Office of the Arts and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences. Olesen will receive the award at a luncheon April 27.