Festival of the Creative Arts puts focus on Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein at a rehearsal in Ullman Amphitheater for the first Festival of the Arts, in 1952.

The Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts will take a special focus on its namesake this year.

Around the world, celebrations are underway to recognize the 100th anniversary of the birth of the legendary composer, who was a Brandeis faculty member and a supporter of the university from its earliest days. Bernstein put Brandeis on the map when he founded its Festival of the Creative Arts in 1952. Today, the festival is named in his honor and celebrates his legacy as an artist, an educator, an activist and a humanitarian.

“Leonard Bernstein created some of the greatest musical moments of the 20th century, from ‘West Side Story’ to his famous concert at the fall of the Berlin Wall,” says Ingrid Schorr, director of the Brandeis Office of the Arts. “He used his celebrity to support the U.S. civil rights movement, human rights campaigns in South America, and AIDS research. And he was well known for his sense of humor. In short, a real Brandeisian. He would have loved seeing us turn the campus into a playground for the arts.”

The 2018 festival, which runs from April 15 to 22, features a performance of Bernstein classics by the Boston Lyric Opera; a showcase of his music narrated by his daughter, Nina Bernstein Simmons; and works created especially for the celebration by Brandeis faculty and students.

A full schedule of events and ticket information can be found on the festival’s website.

Featured events:

Super Sunday
April 15
12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

In celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s commitment to engaging young people in the arts, we present short, accessible music and dance performances, art activities and exhibitions. Free and open to the public.

Boston Lyric Opera Presents Bernstein
Sunday, April 15, 12 p.m.
Slosberg Music Center

Boston Lyric Opera kicks off the Festival of the Arts with a short concert of Leonard Bernstein’s music, including songs from his “Trouble in Tahiti,” which premiered at Brandeis in 1952. A panel discussion follows, with Boston Lyric Opera general and artistic director Esther Nelson; David Angus, music director and conductor of  BLO’s "Trouble in Tahiti"; Scott Edmiston, professor of the practice, Northeastern University; and musicologist Georgia Luikens MA ’10. Free and open to the public. No tickets required.

Late Night with Leonard Bernstein
Thursday, April 19, 8 p.m.
Slosberg Music Center

Nina Bernstein Simmons narrates this showcase of her father's music and music that he loved. Featuring Michael Boriskin, piano; John Musto, piano; and Amy Burton, soprano, of Music from Copland House. A reception follows the concert. This event is free but tickets are required. Tickets can be reserved by phone, 781-736-3400, or picked up at Brandeis Tickets in the Shapiro Campus Center. No online orders.

Lydian String Quartet: Songs of Love and Death, Part 2
Saturday, April 21, 8 p.m. (pre-concert talk, 7 p.m.)
Slosberg Music Center

Brandeis’ renowned string quartet performs Beethoven’s String Quartet in F major, Op. 8, No. 1 (inspired by the tomb scene from “Romeo and Juliet”); Janacek’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters” (inspired by the composer’s unrequited romance); and the world premiere commission for the quartet by Saad Haddad, whose work explores Western art music and Middle Eastern music tradition. Tickets: $20/$15/$5 at Brandeis Tickets.

From its beginning at Brandeis in 1980, the Lydian Quartet has embraced the full range of the string quartet repertory. They have championed the commissioning, performing and recording of new works by composers at Brandeis and from around the world. Composer John Harbison has said of the quartet: "Each time I encounter the Lydian Quartet my admiration for their technical, structural, and communicative power continues to grow. They are the complete package, and the wider my travels, the deeper goes my conviction."


Categories: Arts, Student Life

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