Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts aims to reimagine the world

Numerous events to transform the campus for four days, April 25 to 28

Sidewalk Sam will again provide activities for young and old.

This year’s Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts invites attendees to imagine truth unto its innermost arts.

Now in its 61st year, the festival theme, “Imagine the impossible,” celebrates art that allows us to experience the impossible, the unlikely, and the visionary, with four days of music, dance, theater and visual arts throughout campus from April 25 to 28.

Reflecting on the work of some of the participating artists, Ingrid Schorr, associate director for the Office of the Arts and festival producer, says, “They looked at something ordinary in the real world, and then they saw it again as they wanted it to be.”

From “Late Night with Leonard Bernstein,” which allows guests to reimagine themselves at one of the composer’s famous evening soirees at the Dakota apartment building, to Structural Healing, a visual arts project that asks whether an oversized adhesive bandage can heal the landscape the way it can help heal the body, to the Tanglewood Marionettes’ “Fairy Circus” performance, the festival’s art is not confined by conventional reality.

The events begin Thursday at noon when the campus community is invited to gather in the Shapiro Campus Center to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” led by campus a cappella groups, with more than 200 written wishes suspended from the atrium.

Thursday evening's events include the A Cappella Fest, which is now in its 14th year. The performance will be held in Sherman Hall at 8 p.m., with proceeds from its $5 tickets going to charity. Ba’Note, Company B, Jewish Fella A Cappella, Manginah, Proscenium, Rather Be Giraffes, Too Cheap for Instruments, Up the Octave, VoiceMale and Voices of Soul, with special guests the Lexington High School Pitch Pipes, all will perform.

The play “Visions of an Ancient Dreamer” is the culmination of a yearlong collaboration between theater arts and classical studies. Choreographed by Aparna Sindhoor and Anil Natyaveda of the Navarasa Dance Theater and directed by Eric Hill, the Brandeis Theater Company and Leonard Muellner translate the haunting classical Greek tales of “Orestes” and “Iphigenia at Tauris.” The performance, which reimagines the tales in a dramatic journey across time and cultures, will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($15 for the campus community and $5 for students or seniors).

Friday’s offerings also include “Late Night With Leonard Bernstein” and a workshop with Big Nazo, a larger-than-life performance group of visual artists, puppet performers and masked musicians. Email Schorr to sign up for the workshop.

The Brandeis Folk Festival will be held Saturday on the Great Lawn from 1 to 5:30 p.m., featuring Patti DeRosa, Hillary Reynolds Band, Too Cheap For Instruments, Lindsay Straw and Driftwood.

Billed as a family-friendly Super Sunday, the final day will bring everything from art activities with Sidewalk Sam and the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation throughout the day, to an animation festival in the Shapiro Campus Center at 3 p.m. and a pop-rock performance by Jim’s Big Ego at 4 p.m.

The festival was founded in 1952 by the renowned composer Leonard Bernstein, who was then on the Department of Music faculty, with the idea that "the art of an era is a reflection of the society in which it is produced, and through creative endeavors the thoughts and expression which characterize each generation are revealed and transformed.”

All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.

For a detailed scheduled of events, visit the festival page.

Categories: Arts

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