'Find Your Light:' Festival of the Creative Arts to shine April 23 to 26

Music, theater, comedy, dance and art will fill the campus for the annual event established by Leonard Bernstein

Photo/Courtesy World Chess Hall of Fame

A demonstration of Glenn Kaino’s “The Burning Boards," which makes its New England debut at the Festival of the Creative Arts

The annual Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts will bring the Brandeis campus together for four days of music, theater, comedy, dance and art April 23 to 26.

This year’s theme, “Find Your Light,” is a nod to Chris Burden’s Light of Reason, which was installed in front of the Rose Art Museum last fall. One of the festival’s featured events is the New England premiere of Glenn Kaino’s “The Burning Boards,” a unique chess match for 32 players in which lit candles are used as game pieces.
“Kaino sees game play as a means to cultivate empathy,” said Ingrid Schorr, acting director of the Office of the Arts and producer of the festival. “Whether expert or novice, the Burning Boards players are sharing a situation in which their chess pieces may melt, shrink or stick to the board. Competition gives way to cooperation.”
The festival, which is marking its 63rd year, also features the student-produced Brandeis FolkFest with local musicians such as Molasses Jones and Liz Frame and the Kickers, “A Night on the Clowns” featuring Kenny Raskin ’74, and an afternoon of family events on Sunday.

Along with artists and performers from off campus, the festival draws on arts programs from departments and institutes across the university, including the departments of musictheater arts and fine arts; the Rose Art Museum, Women’s Studies Research Center and the Intercultural Center. Performance clubs such as Kaos Kids, improv comedy troupe Boris’ Kitchen, and the Brandeis Academic Debate and Speech Society will participate.

Boston saxophonist and composer Ken Field has performed in the Festival of the Creative Arts in the past, but this will be his first year in an official university capacity. Field is director of the newly established Brandeis Spirit Band, which will perform at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Field will also perform at 1 p.m. with the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society.

"[The festival of the arts] has this amazing history, starting of course with Leonard Bernstein, as one that includes all kinds of arts,” Field said. “Through the years, it's always been a great, varied festival that presents all kinds of creative arts. I'm honored to be part of it."

The festival was founded in 1952 by legendary American composer and Brandeis faculty member Leonard Bernstein. The first festival featured the premiere of the Bernstein opera “Trouble in Tahiti,” music by Miles Davis and Aaron Copland, and more. The festival has hosted many acclaimed performers and artistic minds of the years, but it has consistently reflected the Brandeis community.
“Our community has a passion for knowing about each other and about the world,” Schorr said. “The arts provide a unique way of understanding. You might find your light listening to music on the Great Lawn, or when you come across a singular public artwork created for the arts festival, or seeing your children experience dance for the first time.”  
The following are a few of the festival’s featured events. A full schedule can be found on the festival’s website:
Thursday, April 23
Fafali: Music and Dance from Ghana
7 p.m.
Slosberg Music Center
Experience the irresistible rhythms of Ghana, performed by students under the direction of Ben Paulding.

Friday, April 24
The Burning Boards
7:30 p.m.
Rose Art Museum (rain or shine)
Figures from the worlds of art and chess come together for a unique chess competition. Produced in collaboration with the Rose and the Brandeis Chess Club.

Saturday, April 25
Brandeis FolkFest
5:15 p.m.
Shapiro Campus Center Great Lawn (rain location: Shapiro Campus Center Atrium)
An afternoon of music featuring emerging folk artists Molasses Jones, Liz Frame and the Kickers, and others.

A Night on the Clowns
Spingold Theater Center
4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Spingold Theater Center
Entertainment by international variety artists Kenny Raskin, Randy Judkins, Amy Gordon, Kevin Brooking, and Waldo & Woodhead. Free tickets available in advance at Brandeis Tickets in the Shapiro Campus Center, by phone at 781-736-3400 or at the door (no online tickets for this production). Presented by Brandeis Theater Company.
Sunday, April 26
Family and Community Day
1 – 5 p.m.
An afternoon of free dance, music and theater performances, plus children’s art activities. Featured performers: Waldo & Woodhead, Bonnie Duncan, Big Nazo, Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band.

Categories: Alumni, Arts, Student Life

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