Of Note

Inaugural winner of the Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize selectedPosted: May 27, 2020
A panel of judges has selected composer Yair Klartag from Tel Aviv as the inaugural winner of the Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize, which is hosted by Brandeis University and honors the late classical composer Henri Lazarof MFA’59.

Born in Israel in 1985 and currently living and working in Tel Aviv, Yair Klartag began studying piano at age 12 and composition at 15. He has studied composition at Tel Aviv University, Basel Musikhochschule in Switzerland and Columbia University. His music has been performed by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonietta and numerous other ensembles.

Over the next several months, Klartag will compose an original work for flute, harp and viola. The composition will be performed at a concert at Brandeis, along with a work by Henri Lazarof that features the same instrumentation. The commission prize is $15,000.

Mark Berger, chair of the Brandeis Department of Music, said the commissioned composition by Yair Klartag will be a “major new work of contemporary music.” He continued, “I want to congratulate Yair. I am thrilled that Brandeis is able to provide an opportunity to showcase his work. Brandeis has a reputation of being one of the institutions at the forefront of supporting new music and composers, and the commission prize reinforces that.”

The winner originally was to be announced at an in-person event on the Brandeis campus this spring, but the event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark Kagan, the music department’s senior academic administrator, who managed the prize, said, “The Lazarof commission prize represents a wonderful opportunity to support newer, younger composers like Yair Klartag who are coming up through their career. Henri Lazarof was not just a composer. He was also a dedicated teacher and mentor who was very interested in supporting young composers.”

The commission prize is a signature component of the Henri Lazarof Living Legacy at Brandeis, established by a gift to the university. The initiative also includes the Henri Lazarof Concert Series at Brandeis, the Henri Lazarof New Music Brandeis Annual Concert, and the Henri Lazarof Archives at Brandeis.

Kagan said the commission prize helps preserve Henri Lazarof’s legacy. “We’ll always perform a Lazarof work with the winner’s work at the same concert,” he said. “It’ll be based on the same instrumentation, which will change each year. I don’t know of any commission prize that’s set up quite this way. There will always be a very intimate link between Lazarof and the winner.”

The Lazarof commission prize was promoted worldwide. Brandeis received 322 submissions from around the world. The applicants submitted two compositions from within the last five years, including corresponding scores and recorded performances. The submissions were anonymous so each work would be reviewed on its merit alone.

“I hope that the prize is seen as a shining beacon during a dark time,” Berger says. “In times like these, opportunities for musicians are hard to come by, but the arts in general and music, in particular, play such important roles in helping people who are struggling. The fact that the Lazarof commission prize will help generate new works of art during a very difficult time is remarkable.”

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Alert your hometown media about your graduation from BrandeisPosted: May 21, 2020

Many local news outlets share graduation news about current or former residents.

If you would like to share an announcement about your (or your child's) graduation, below is a template you can follow that will work for many news organizations. Some outlets allow you to include a photo — if you do, be sure to identify the graduate and any family members who may be in the photo. 

Date: [CURRENT DATE]

Contact: [SENDER’S NAME, PHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL ADDRESS]

[TOWN/CITY] resident graduates from Brandeis University

WALTHAM, Mass.—[STUDENT FIRST NAME LAST NAME] of [TOWN/CITY] graduated from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass on Sunday, May 24.

[STUDENT LAST NAME] is a [YEAR OF STUDY, E.G., SOPHOMORE] majoring in [PROGRAM(S) OF STUDY]. [LAST NAME] is the [SON/DAUGHTER/CHILD] of [PARENT(S) NAMES] and a [YEAR OF GRADUATION] graduate of [NAME OF HIGH SCHOOL].

[ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN INCLUDE: CLUBS JOINED, ATHLETIC TEAMS, STUDY ABROAD, FUTURE PLANS]

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About Brandeis University

Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community at a time when Jews and other marginalized groups faced discrimination in higher education. Today, Brandeis is a leading research university for anyone, regardless of background, who wants to use their knowledge, skills and experience to improve the world. Nearly 6,000 Brandeis students and 550 faculty members collaborate across disciplines, interests and perspectives on scholarship that has a positive impact throughout society. Learn more at brandeis.edu.

Professor Naghmeh Sohrabi wins prestigious Berlin PrizePosted: May 15, 2020
Naghmeh Sohrabi, the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History and director of research for the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, has been named by The American Academy in Berlin as one of its Berlin Prize recipients for 2020-21.

During her semester-long fellowship at the Academy in spring 2021, Sohrabi will reconstruct the intimate lives that were folded into the vastness of the 1979 Iranian revolution. She aims to illuminate the small-scale experiences that together—and after the fact—came to define “revolutionary experience.” She asks “What does a revolution feel like to those in its midst before this term [is] used to define their experience?”

The Berlin Prize is awarded annually to scholars, writers, composers, and artists from the United States who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields. Fellows receive a monthly stipend, partial board, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin-Wannsee.

The Berlin Prize provides recipients with the time and resources to step back from their daily obligations to engage in academic and artistic projects they might otherwise not pursue. Fellows work throughout the semester with Berlin peers and institutions in the American Academy’s well-established network, forging meaningful connections that lead to lasting transatlantic relationships. During their stay, fellows engage audiences through public lectures, readings, and performances, which form the core of the American Academy in Berlin’s public program.

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BOLLI offers adults lifelong, online learning this summerPosted: May 14, 2020

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Brandeis (BOLLI) may be confined to their homes by a global pandemic; nevertheless this spring, they have been pursuing their studies online with undiminished gusto.

BOLLI was spearheaded in 2000 by Brandeis Professor Bernie Reisman and an ambitious group of retirees who saw Brandeis as the perfect home for an institute dedicated to liberal learning for older adults. BOLLI circa 2020 is exceptional among its peer institutes for “truly resembling an elite small liberal arts college for older adults. The Brandeis faculty and student body set a very high standard for us, one we are inspired by every day,” explains BOLLI Director, Avi Bernstein.

In celebration of 20 years of exceptional adult learning activities, this summer’s term will see more than double the usual programming – all online, beginning June 1. The program will include lecture courses on social protest music in rock n’ roll history, an introduction to religious existentialism, and faculty seminars on The Great Gatsby, the Baroque in classical music history, and much more.

In addition to welcoming the 600-plus members already affiliated, BOLLI is accepting new members for the summer term. A basic summer membership is $75. For more information contact Carolyn Cross at ccross@brandeis.edu.