Brandeis State of the Arts, Spring 2018

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W IN T ER / S P R IN G 2 01 8

i n t his is s u e: Brandeis Celebrates Leonard Bernstein at 100


STATE ARTS a guide to the arts at brandeis

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SAY YOU’RE 32 YEARS OLD and one of the

best-known artists in the United States. In just the past 12 months you’ve conducted the New York Philharmonic; the Boston Symphony Orchestra has performed the premiere of your symphony; and Gene Kelly has directed a hit movie featuring your music. What’s your next move? If you’re Leonard Bernstein, you pick up a parttime teaching gig at a university in Waltham, Massachusetts, that is barely three years old. In the summer of 1951, President Abram Sachar visited Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Festival, in Lenox, Massachusetts, where the maestro was leading the New York Philharmonic, and invited him to join the Brandeis music faculty.

opera and composition, even sharing his own works in progress with advanced students. Sachar also persuaded Bernstein to direct an arts festival to mark the university’s first commencement, in 1952. Lenny pulled in many favors: Marc Blitzstein offered the American premiere of his new translation of “The Threepenny Opera,” and Merce Cunningham choreographed and danced Igor Stravinsky’s choral ballet “Les Noces.” Students played roles from stage management to chorus. We tell the story of Bernstein’s Festival of the Creative Arts often. And why not? It put Brandeis on the front page of The New York Times and burnished the university’s appeal to a generation of students, faculty and supporters. America learned that this new university in Waltham valued the arts. “Anything I can do for Brandeis which is in my power to do will always give me pleasure and satisfaction. Don’t hesitate to call on me,” Bernstein wrote to Abe Sachar in 1956.


In this special issue of State of the Arts, we dig deeper into Bernstein’s affection for and loyalty to Brandeis, from his emotional connection to the music of his family’s synagogue, Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Roxbury, to his lifelong and very public practice of tikkun olam — repair of the world.

“Bernstein was never one to ponder important decisions,” Sachar wrote in his memoir. “His consent was given there at Tanglewood, only moments before he went onstage to conduct.” So beginning that fall, Bernstein flew from New York to Boston once a week, catching rides from Logan Airport to Waltham from star-struck Brandeis students. (Anyone who had a working car was likely to be tapped for chauffeur duty.) For the next five years, Bernstein taught courses on modern music,

We celebrate Bernstein at 100 with the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts, April 15-22. There will be performances of works by Bernstein and the premiere of a commissioned piece by another remarkable young American composer, Saad Haddad. Faculty, students, alumni and guest artists present new work that recalls the abundance and vitality of that first Festival of the Creative Arts. Join us! Ingrid Schorr Director, Office of the Arts

Your guide to winter/spring 2018 plays, concerts, readings and exhibitions.

A T T H E ROSE 8 New exhibitions and programs at the Rose Art Museum.

B R A N D E I S CRE AT I VE ART S AWARD 10 Playwright Michael Weller ’65 is honored by President Ron Liebowitz and the Division of Creative Arts.

I N T O T H E WOODS 11 The Department of Theater Arts finds darkness and depth in Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed musical.

B R A N D E I S CE L E B RAT E S L E ONARD B E RNST E I N 14 Reflections on the legendary composer’s groundbreaking music courses at Brandeis; lessons from his Tanglewood Conducting Seminar; the origins of his great “MASS”; and the music of Boston’s Congregation Mishkan Tefila, the Bernstein family’s Boston synagogue.

C Y C L E S W I T HI N CY CL E S 2 4 MusicUnitesUS presents a night in Indonesia with Javanese gamelan.

C A L E N D AR HI GHL I GHT S Plan your Brandeis arts moments with this pullout calendar.

state of the arts Winter/Spring 2018 Volume 14 | Number 2 State of the Arts is published twice a year by Brandeis University Office of the Arts. editor Ingrid Schorr editorial assistant Brooke Granovsky ’18 photography Mike Lovett

copy editor Susan Pasternack contributors Robert Duff Neal Hampton Hannah Kressel ’20 Georgia Luikens, MA’10 Susan Metrican Deborah Rosenstein Caitlin Julia Rubin Jonathan D. Sarna ’75, MA'75 LaShawn Simmons ’18 Robbie Steinberg ’13 Katie Sumi Sabine von Mering

correspondence Brandeis University Office of the Arts MS 092 | PO Box 549110 Waltham, MA 02453-2728 cover: Image of Leonard Bernstein courtesy of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University Office of Communications © Brandeis University 2018 J095


W I N T E R / SPRI NG 2 018 CAL E NDAR 0 2


MUSIC All concerts take place at Slosberg Music Center and are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. Tickets available at or 781-736-3400. sunday, february 11, 3 pm

aldo abreu, recorder Known as the “Jimi Hendrix of recorder players,” Aldo Abreu performs with Brandeis faculty Nancy Armstrong, Frances Fitch (emeritus), Sarah Mead and Daniel Stepner (emeritus). saturday, february 17, 7:30 pm

new music brandeis: dal niente plays george lewis

Ensemble Dal Niente, a Chicago-based contemporary music collective, performs works by American composer George Lewis, a pioneer of computer and electronic music. sunday, february 18, 1:30 pm

Many events are free and open to the public while some require tickets. Tickets are available online at Visit the box office in the Shapiro Campus Center or call 781-736-3400.

saturday, march 10, 8 pm

joshua gordon, cello, and randall hodgkinson, piano The Lydian String Quartet’s Joshua Gordon and longtime musical partner Randall Hodgkinson perform music of Farrenc, Schuller, Schwendinger and Kodály. Tickets: $20/$15/$5. sunday, march 11, 3 pm

tribute to irving fine Composer Irving Fine’s 12-year tenure on the Brandeis faculty helped establish the young university’s national reputation in the creative arts. This year’s tribute concert features the Philadelphia-based Dolce Suono Ensemble (Mimi Stillman, artistic director). thursday-saturday, march 15-17

new music brandeis: dal niente

beams marathon festival weekend

Premier performances of new works by graduate students in the composition program, performed by Ensemble Dal Niente.

Tap into the intersection of technology and art with this three-day festival of electroacoustic music and performance, including concerts, master classes, and interactive workshops led by visiting ensembles and composers. Special guest composer/performer: Pamela Z, whose solo works combine experimental extended vocal techniques, operatic bel canto, found objects, text and sampled concrète sounds. For complete schedule, visit Presented by the Brandeis Electro-Acoustic Music Studio (BEAMS). Made possible by the Brandeis Arts Council.

sunday, march 4, 3 pm

The arts are central to Brandeis’ commitment to global citizenship and social change. State of the Arts provides information about events and programs from the Division of Creative Arts and other initiatives around Brandeis.

Sponsored by the Aga Khan Music Initiative and curated and introduced by Theodore Levin (Dartmouth College).

alfredo and demitra diluzio concert A musical tribute to the late composer Ruth Lomon, a longtime Women’s Studies Research Center scholar, featuring Cappella Clausura (Amelia LeClair, director). Sponsored by the Women’s Studies Research Center. For more information, visit tuesday, march 6, 2-3:20 pm

bardic music from central asia

World Music: Performing Tradition Through Sound (MUS 3B) Accomplished musicians from Central Asia give an informal performance of “Qyrq Qyz” (“Forty Girls” or “Forty Maidens”), an oral epic poem that interweaves elements of myth, legend, history and geography.

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wednesday, march 21, noon

gamelan preview at mandel Mandel Center for the Humanities Atrium Enjoy an informal preview of the March 24 MusicUnitesUS gamelan concert, followed by a free light buffet lunch. Presented by the Department of Music and the Mandel Center for the Humanities.

thursday, march 22, 12:30 pm

why amy beach matters

Women’s Studies Research Center

april 15-22

leonard bernstein festival of the creative arts


Liane Curtis explores the rise and fall of composer Amy Beach, who was praised in her lifetime but fell into obscurity after her death in 1944.

Brandeis celebrates Bernstein at 100 in the festival he founded in 1952. A complete schedule will be online at and at campus venues in March.

saturday, march 24, 8 pm

sunday, april 15, noon

a night in indonesia: javanese gamelan (Pre-concert talk, 7 p.m.)

MusicUnitesUS presents a transfixing, ethereal, full-flavored concert experience! Enjoy traditional Javanese foods while master musicians of the ancient gong orchestras from Java give a traditional gamelan performance. Pre-concert speaker: Henry Spiller, Professor of Music, University of California, Davis. See page 10 for more details. Tickets: $20/$15/$5. sunday, march 25, 3 pm

brandeis wind ensemble The Wind Ensemble performs English classics by Holst and Vaughn Williams. Tom Souza, conductor. wednesday, april 11, 3:30 pm

close looking: early music Goldfarb Library Sarah Mead (Music) and Ramie Targoff (English) discuss objects in the Walter F. and Alice Gorham Collection of Early Music Imprints. The Close Looking series is organized by the Mandel Center for the Humanities in collaboration with the Rose Art Museum and the Robert D. Farber Archives and Special Collections at the Brandeis Library, and features engaged looking and active discussion about art and other objects housed in Brandeis collections. saturday, april 14, 8 pm

boston lyric opera: bernstein concert and "trouble in tahiti" panel Sam and Dinah are the perfect young suburban couple — and they are both desperately unhappy. Leonard Bernstein directed the world premiere of “Tahiti,” with his clever and cutting libretto and jazzinfused score, at Brandeis in 1952. Boston Lyric Opera kicks off the Festival of the Creative Arts with a short concert of Bernstein’s music and a panel discussion featuring members of the Brandeis music department and BLO leadership in advance of its full production of the opera in a double bill with “Arias & Barcarolles” in Boston (May 11-20). sunday, april 15, 3 pm

brandeis jazz ensemble

The Brandeis Jazz Ensemble performs music by Robert Nieske, Jimmy Guiffre and more. Robert Nieske, director. wednesday, april 18, noon

lydian string quartet: sneak peek at mandel

Mandel Center for the Humanities Atrium Enjoy an informal preview of the April 21 Lydians’ concert, followed by a free light buffet lunch. Presented by the Department of Music and the Mandel Center for the Humanities. wednesday, april 18, 7 pm

fafali: music and dance from ghana

Experience the irresistible rhythms of Ghana. Ben Paulding, director. thursday, april 19, 7 pm

brandeis early music ensemble: that old song and dance Berlin Chapel The Early Music Ensemble performs songs about dancing, and dances for singing, on Renaissance instruments such as viols, harps and sackbuts. Sarah Mead, director.

brandeis chamber singers: the byds and the b's

thursday, april 19, 8 pm

Brandeis’ premier choral ensemble performs music about love and spring by Brahms, Boulanger, Byrd and more. Robert Duff, conductor.

Leonard Bernstein’s daughter Jamie Bernstein hosts this cabaretstyle performance, a brilliantly fitting centerpiece to the Festival of the Creative Arts. In addition to Jamie’s personal film clips and memories, acclaimed soprano Amy Burton and pianists John Musto

late night with leonard bernstein

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and Michael Boriskin perform some of the maestro’s favorite music. Free and open to the public, but a ticket is required. Tickets will be available at Brandeis Tickets starting March 19. saturday, april 21, 8 pm

lydian string quartet: love and death, part 2

(Pre-concert talk, 7 p.m.) Brandeis’ renowned string quartet performs Beethoven’s String Quartet in F major, Op. 18, No. 1 (inspired by the tomb scene from “Romeo and Juliet”); Janácek’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 musical tradition. Tickets: $20/$15/$5. sunday, april 22, 3 pm

brandeis-wellesley orchestra and brandeis university chorus

The Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra (Neal Hampton, conductor) joins forces with the Brandeis University Chorus (Robert Duff, conductor) for a celebration of Leonard Bernstein, including a performance of concert selections from Bernstein’s “MASS,” the iconic 1971 reaffirmation of faith in the face of war. Program also includes Bernstein’s Overture to “Candide” and the “Firebird” Suite (Stravinsky). monday, april 23, 7 pm

undergraduate composers’ collective Premieres of new works by undergraduates. tuesday, april 24, 7 pm

brandeis improv collective

The Improv Collective meets weekly to explore the infinite possibilities of sound and rhythm, culminating in this freshest of concert presentations. Tom Hall, director. wednesday, april 25, 7 pm

chamber music recital End-of-the-semester recital for MUS 116, taught by professor and member of the Lydian String Quartet, Andrea Segar. thursday, april 26, 7 pm

leonard bernstein fellows recital

Recipients of the prestigious fellowship perform classical chamber music works. sunday, may 6, 7 pm

new music brandeis: season finale

The contemporary music series New Music Brandeis is programmed and managed by graduate student composers in Brandeis’ illustrious composition program and features professional concerts of student works.

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VISUAL ARTS All visual arts events and exhibitions are free and open to the public. march 2-july 8

spring exhibitions at the rose

Rose Art Museum Opening Reception: Thursday, March 1, 7-9 p.m. For exhibition descriptions, see page 8. march 5-june 22

a fringe of her own: a collection of ritual objects for women Kniznick Gallery, Epstein Building Israeli artist Tamar Paley presents her collection of handmade Jewish ritual objects that deconstruct and reinterpret the tallit, tzitzit and tefillin, typically worn by men. Sponsored by the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. wednesday, march 21, 2-5:30 pm

looted genius for sale: histories of appropriation and restitution Wasserman Cinematheque, International Business School An international perspective on the past 20 years of art recovery, with presentations on recent discoveries, reparations and histories that continue to be revealed. Sponsored by the International Business School, the Center for German and European Studies, and the Department of Fine Arts. wednesday, march 28, 3:30 pm

close looking: luis croquer Rose Art Museum Special lecture by Luis Croquer, Lois and Henry Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum. The Close Looking series is organized by the Mandel Center for the Humanities. tuesday, april 17, 5-8 pm

tamar paley artist lecture and reception Kniznick Gallery, Epstein Building Meet Israeli artist Tamar Paley, whose exhibition "A Fringe of Her Own" re-creates sacred objects to form a new female narrative of Jewish life. Sponsored by the HadassahBrandeis Institute.


ARTWORKS BY TAMAR PALEY TOP: “TALIT” (detail) German silver (alpaca), printed textile, gold foil, printed parchment BOTTOM LEFT:

“SHIN” (detail) silver 925, printed parchment, thread BOTTOM RIGHT:

“TZITZIT” brooch (detail) silver 925, thread, silk string


march 15-18

Tickets available at or 781-736-3400.

Mainstage Theater, Spingold Theater Center

march 2-4

hold thy peace

Shapiro Campus Center Theater The student-run Hold Thy Peace presents an original adaptation of a Shakespeare play (to be announced). Free to Brandeis students; $5 general admission.

into the woods

In a story about getting what you wish for, the grass is not always greener. Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 musical teeters on the edge of childhood nostalgia and cutting realism. Presented by the Department of Theater Arts and directed by Maurice Parent and Kelli Edwards. See page 13 for details on the production. Tickets: $20/$15/$5. march 22-25

beauty and the beast

march 9-11

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

This musical adaptation of a “tale as old as time” follows an unlikely romance between a cursed prince and a young woman. Presented by the student-run Undergraduate Theater Collective. Free to Brandeis students; $5 general admission.

vagina monologues Student-produced production of Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking theatrical monologues exploring body love, feminism and articulations of femininity. Free to Brandeis students; $5 general admission.

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april 12-22

the rosenbergs: north american premiere Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue Performances are free to the Brandeis and Boston University communities and $30/$25 for the general public.

april 12-15

april 20-21

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

In Agatha Christie’s adaptation of her best-selling novel, 10 people are lured to an island where they are forced to atone for their various crimes. One by one they are killed off. Can you solve the mystery before the end of the play? Presented by the student-run Undergraduate Theater Collective. Free to Brandeis students; $5 general admission.

What’s cooking? Sketch comedy by Brandeis undergraduates. Free to Brandeis students; $5 general admission.

and then there were none

april 18-22

senior festival

Laurie Theater, Spingold Theater Center Seniors in the Theater Arts Department present original works that explore gender in Shakespeare, queerness in comic books, and societies on the brink of collapse. Free and open to the public.

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boris’ kitchen

april 27-29

the rosenbergs Laurie Theater, Spingold Theater Center

Would you die for love? It’s 1953 Cold War USA, and Ethel and Julius Rosenberg have been sentenced to death for espionage. Rather than plead guilty and live, they choose to die in the electric chair. This tragic love story, a hybrid of opera and theater, is adapted from the Rosenbergs’ letters from jail by the Danish theater artists Rhea Leman (libretto) and Joachim Holbek (music). Brandeis faculty member Dmitry Troyanovsky directs this co-production with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Music direction by Cristi Catt (Berklee College of Music). Made possible by the Brandeis Arts Council. Free and open to the public.

LITERARY ARTS All readings are free and open to the public. wednesday, february 28, 5:30 pm

poetry reading: oliver de la paz

Bethlehem Chapel Oliver de la Paz is the author of four poetry collections and a founding member of Kundiman, a national organization dedicated to the creation and cultivation of AsianAmerican creative writing. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross. Martin Espada says of his work: “These poems are the stuff of life itself, ugly and beautiful, wherever or whenever we happen to live it.” Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program. tuesday, march 27, 5:30 pm

wednesday, march 28, 5:30 pm

information and inspiration: why art and science need each other Pearlman Hall Without photographs, drawings or well-written description, science can be difficult for a general audience to fully understand. Artists and writers can't explore the world's particularities without understanding them. Panelists include a whale biologist trained in scientific illustration, the editor of an anthology of eco-justice poems, a naturalist who lectures on expedition ships, and a citizen science advocate. Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Environmental Studies Program. tuesday, may 1, 12:30 pm

book launch: susan eisenberg

fiction reading: akhil sharma

Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall, Women Studies Research Center

Harlan Chapel

For the 40th anniversary of federal affirmative action, Cornell University Press has reissued Eisenberg’s “We’ll Call You If We Need You: Experiences of Women Working Construction” with a new preface. The WSRC scholar's timely poems examine how systems of domination and exclusion are maintained.

Akhil Sharma is the award-winning author of three acclaimed works of fiction, including most recently “A Life of Adventure and Delight.” A native of Delhi, his work focuses on Indian protagonists at home and abroad navigating the unpredictable workings of the heart. David Sedaris calls him “complex, funny ... but emotionally devastating. An exciting and original writer.” Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program.

thursday, may 3, 5:30 pm

senior honors thesis reading

Harlan Chapel Undergraduate creative writing majors read from their culminating works.



Gabi Nail, Hannah Uher, Keturah Walker, Tres Fimmano, Lilia Shrayfer and Sara Kenney

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SPRING EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS The Rose presents interdisciplinary programs and artist talks throughout the semester. All events are free and open to the public. For a complete listing of upcoming programs, visit or call 781-736-3434.

march 2–july 8

praying for time

thursday, march 1, 7-9 pm

Lower Rose and Foster Galleries

opening reception march 2-july 8

jennifer packer: tenderheaded Gerald S. and Sandra Fineberg Gallery

Founded in 1961, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University is among the nation’s premier university museums dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting modern and contemporary art. A center of cultural and intellectual life on campus, the museum serves as a catalyst for the exchange of ideas: a place of discovery, intersection and dialogue at the university and within the Greater Boston community. Through its collection, exhibitions and programs, the Rose works to affirm and advance the values of social justice, freedom of expression, global diversity and academic excellence that are hallmarks of Brandeis University. Postwar American and international contemporary art are particularly well represented within the Rose’s renowned permanent collection of more than 9,000 objects. 10  state of the arts | brandeis

Boston has played in the history and development of technology. "Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today" is on view at the ICA from February 7– May 20, 2018. Information on exhibitions and programs can be found at:

Based in observation, improvisation and memory, this selection of new and recent work by Jennifer Packer presents paintings of intimate portraits and funerary bouquets. Pointing to possibilities both bodily and emotional, fragile and strong, her works exhibit a rigorous engagement with art history as well as a highly personal response to how black bodies navigate within the present political landscape. This exhibition is organized by the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and curated by Solveig Øvstebø.

march 2–july 8

blueprint for counter education

Mildred S. Lee Gallery Inaugurated during the volatile and transformative late 1960s, the unconventional publication “Blueprint for Counter Education” introduced the tools for a radical pedagogical model. A project of Brandeis sociology professor Maurice Stein and his student, Larry Miller, this “classroom in a box” encouraged students to shape an educational environment from their own lived experiences. Blueprint’s open-ended charts mapped a world of ideas, from the avant-garde to the postmodern, in a form that presaged the internet, allowing readers to chart multiple courses of thinking and discovery that anticipated the prevalence of search engines, social media and the quick connection of the hyperlink. Organized by Caitlin Julia Rubin, assistant curator, this exhibition is part of a citywide partnership initiated by the Institute of Contemporary Art/ Boston to recognize the outsized role greater

“Praying for Time” draws from the Rose Art Museum’s permanent collection to reflect the diversity of voices and concerns in art produced during the pivotal period of the late ’80s through the early 2000s. Marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the September 11 attacks, and civil wars, the end of the 20th century can also be viewed as the start of an immense global, social and digital revolution that forever transformed our world. Featuring work in a variety of media by a roster of international figures, including Matthew Barney, Ellen Gallagher, Nan Goldin, Leon Golub, Mona Hatoum, Tracey Moffatt, Damián Ortega, Andrés Serrano and Zhang Huan, “Praying for Time” illuminates this critical period through a selection of highlights from the Rose’s deep holdings and recent acquisitions. “Praying for Time” is organized by Luis Croquer, Lois and Henry Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum.

october 15, 2017-july 8, 2018

tony lewis: plunder Foster Mural

In his work, Tony Lewis explores a vocabulary of abstraction — both the connections between mark and meaning, and the systems of violence and power that are equally revealed and disguised by language. Rising in loose arcs across the expanse of the Foster wall, a dense web of graphite-coated rubber bands and metallic screws forms a large line drawing in the shape of a Gregg shorthand notation, a script similar to abbreviated cursive. As the museum’s 2017 Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence, Lewis created this work in collaboration with Brandeis students; via stenographic symbol, their collective, laborious process anchors the word plunder into the very support of the museum.

Detail from “Blueprint for Counter Education” (reprint edition)


by Hannah Kressel ‘20 and LaShawn Simmons ‘18 Living on campus with ready access to the Rose Art Museum and its groundbreaking contemporary art is truly a privilege. And having the opportunity to help install a contemporary artist’s piece — with that artist — is truly special. In October 2017, we applied to work alongside Tony Lewis, the Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence, to install his site-specific piece “Plunder.” Many hands were required to create the 33-footwide sculpture: the artist, his three assistants, the museum installation crew, and 12 students selected by assistant curator Caitlin Rubin. Six days before the opening, Tony and Caitlin brought us to the museum’s Lois Foster Wing and explained what we’d be doing. Our task was to stretch thousands of graphite-covered rubber bands over hundreds of bare screws (already attached to the white wall) to form the Gregg shorthand symbol for the word “plunder.” As he demonstrated stretching a rubber band, Tony talked about the near-spiritual sort of trance that he felt as he worked. With that, our introduction was over and our work began. As Tony predicted, we found the repetitive motion meditative and an opportunity for reflection on the social climate within the United States and beyond. What’s the connection between rubber bands and social issues? The tension of the taut rubber bands perfectly aligned with the connotation of the word we were creating, a word that Tony first took note of in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” which itself unravels the depths of race in American history.

Within the parameters of Tony’s layout, we had a degree of freedom. We could experiment with the different marks our graphite-covered hands made as we slid them across the white walls. We could layer the rubber bands in any way that filled the outline. It was exciting to have permission to use the thick, clingy powdered graphite in the normally pristine museum environment, and we recalled the messiness we cherished in childhood. Nevertheless, it was work, as the overwhelming presence of graphite lingering on our fingers and clothing reminded us as the hours ticked by. Only a few days into the installation, the piece seemed to envelop us as well as the space we installed in. The acrid odor of the rubber bands and the inescapable graphite dust encompassed the space, forcing everyone involved to meditate on the piece and its meaning as we worked. The installation also welcomed community building. Having time to talk with fellow students established and tightened bonds. Conversing with the friendly professional crew, most of them artists themselves, was a great pleasure. Overall, despite the intimidating beginning, it was exciting to witness the progress of the work. We felt personally attached to the piece as well as spiritually satisfied by our contribution to a monumental and socially significant work. At bare minimum, we had an excellent icebreaker at the museum’s opening-night celebration. Hannah Kressel majors in art history, studio art and European cultural studies and is president of SCRAM (Student Committee for the Rose Art Museum). LaShawn Simmons is an African and Afro-American Studies major and a curatorial intern at the Rose.

Detail of "Plunder" during the installation process

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received the Brandeis Creative Arts Award from President Ron Liebowitz during a dinner on the Brandeis campus at which speakers celebrated his award-winning career, and acknowledged the contentious recent chapter in his relationship with his alma mater, and where Weller channeled the spirit of Lenny Bruce in his remarks. With nearly 100 faculty members, students, alumni, trustees and friends of the playwright attending, the evening opened with a tribute film highlighting Weller’s career, produced by Gannit Ankori, head of the Division of Creative Arts, and filmmaker and Brandeis lecturer Daniel Mooney, and closed with a performance by the Lydian String Quartet. Weller studied music composition at Brandeis University, then worked as a jazz pianist before earning a graduate degree in theater at the University of Manchester in England. In 1972, Weller’s first professionally produced play, “Moonchildren,” earned him a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright. Over his long career, he has been honored by the NAACP and the Kennedy Center,

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among many other organizations. His screenplays include adaptations of “Hair” and “Ragtime” (for which he received an Academy Award nomination). He is president of the Writers Guild Initiative and a lifetime council member of the Dramatists Guild of America, and teaches at the School of Drama of the New School in New York City. The Brandeis Creative Arts Award recognizes excellence in the arts and the lives and works of distinguished, active American artists. The award was established in 1956, just eight years after the university’s founding, at a time when there was no comparable award in higher education. The first recipients were Stuart Davis, for painting; Hallie Flanagan Davis, for theater; and William Carlos Williams, for poetry. Subsequent recipients have included Aaron Copland, Gunther Schuller, Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keeffe, Sam Shepard and Twyla Tharp. Soprano Tony Arnold received the award in 2015. The Creative Arts Award and residency, a program of the Brandeis Division of Creative Arts, is made possible by the Poses Fund.


‘INTO THE WOODS’ HAS IT ALL. by Brooke Granovsky ’18

“INTO THE WOODS,” inspired by the Brothers Grimm

fairy tales, is one of Stephen Sondheim’s most beloved and recognizable musicals, says Assistant Professor of Theater Arts Dmitry Troyanovsky. But don’t let the genre or the subject matter mislead you: “Into the Woods” is not a simple bedtime story. By intermission, you may have a nostalgic glimmer indulged by the familiar stories and happy endings based on “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Cinderella” and “Rapunzel.” But settle back in your seat for the second act and hold on tight, as Sondheim and collaborator James Lapine gleefully work their deconstructive magic. Plot-embedded puzzles mark the show as a Sondheim creation, as do the “meandering melodies that coalesce into revelation,” as Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times review of a 2012 production. Another tell? The musical teeters on the edge of childhood nostalgia and cutting realism. As Sondheim told the Times, “all fairy tales are parables about steps to maturity.” Sondheim and Lapine reinvent the Grimm characters as people with full and complex psychologies who exist within one fairy-tale universe. Once upon a time, Cinderella got her prince, Red made it to grandma’s, Rapunzel gained her freedom, and all the characters lived their happily ever afters. But what happened next? “Once upon a time ... a little later” is the line that opens the second act, which asks: What do you do when all your wishes come true? “Into the Woods” suggests the

answer is a mix of coping — with deep dissatisfaction, abandonment of partners and sacrificed alliances — and searching for wisdom, whether from parents or within yourself. It’s Sondheim’s genius that his lyrics can convey all these ideas. For example, when Cinderella’s prince says, “I was raised to be charming, not sincere,” he means, “I cannot change who I’ve grown to be.” And he also implies, “If I hurt others, I’m apathetic, because I am not responsible for who I have become.” More emotionally fraught than one would expect from a minor character from Cinderella? Indeed. Troyanovsky points to these difficult themes and emotional turning points as reasons to stage the play today. “Sondheim’s unique take on classic fairy tales speaks to today’s complicated world of tough choices and discomfiting realities,” he says. Maybe that’s why the musical endures, with four successful revivals in New York and London between 1999 and 2012. It’s also one of the rare contemporary musicals that has successfully been adapted to film, with Meryl Streep as the witch (earning her performance an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain), James Corden and Emily Blunt as the baker and his wife, and Anna Kendrick as Cinderella. “We wanted a musical with multifaceted roles for a big cast, a world of imagination and a generous heart,” says Troyanovsky. “‘Into the Woods’ has it all.”

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Sabine von Mering

Professor of German, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Director, Center for German and European Studies

MY FIRST INTRODUCTION to the Brothers Grimm fairy tales took place shortly before my fourth birthday, in a theater in Oldenburg, Germany. “Hänsel und Gretel” was the production. It was also my first time seeing a play. And my reaction became family lore for many years.

Even from the second balcony, I was terrified by the giant shrieking witch with a huge head and long skinny legs who flew in and out of her tiny house, which was the only illuminated part of the stage amid the dark forest. After the witch roasted Hänsel in her wood stove, what would prevent her from using her powers to leap into our seats? My mother, my cousins, everyone around me was somehow oblivious to this imminent danger. So I did what any sensible person would do: I screamed. My poor mortified mother attempted to calm me down, reassuring me that it was “just a show.” But I was not going to let her fool me—until she took me outside. Decades later, I made peace with this tale when I read Bruno Bettelheim’s psychoanalytic interpretation of “Hänsel and Gretel,” in which he identifies the witch as

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a symbolic mother substitute whose job it is to teach children independence. They are grim indeed, those Grimm fairy tales. Choppedoff heels and toes, vicious stepmothers, witches eating children. My students often ask: “What’s wrong with the Germans? They really thought this was somehow good for a child’s young psyche?” Bettelheim’s defense notwithstanding, it is of course important to note that the tales did not originate as children’s literature. Between 1806 and 1863, the Grimm brothers traveled the German lands in search of folk tales for their collections. Their sources were almost exclusively women. And the women who told them their tales had mainly told them to other women, entertaining each other around the hearth while peeling potatoes or making butter, often by candlelight. Not surprisingly, the women in these tales are quite powerful, playing the roles of both evildoers and heroines. There is also a lot of blood in these tales. Children aren’t the long-awaited pink and blue arrivals celebrated at

modern baby showers. Rather, there are always too many of them, and pregnancy posed a constant threat to a woman’s life. Although the Grimm brothers made changes to the stories for their published editions, many of the tales reflect their own experience with poverty and hunger in their youth. Much of that realism got lost in Walt Disney’s saccharine, patriarchal, pink princess films, from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) to “Cinderella” (1950) and “Sleeping Beauty” (1959), but spunky heroines and realism have been celebrating a 21st-century comeback, from “Tangled” (2010) to “Frozen” (2013). Disney’s 2014 film version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” is no exception. Sondheim and his collaborator, James Lapine, did, however, introduce an element into their 1986 stage version that had hitherto been largely absent from fairy tales: irony. Indeed, Sondheim’s musical could be called an anti-fairy tale, given that he tells the familiar stories in Act One only to systematically deconstruct them in Act Two. His Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Baker’s Wife are confronted not only with powerful magic and violent giants, but also with the bite of reality that leads them to leave behind their two-dimensional archetypes and traditional happy endings. Sondheim’s feminist reinterpretations reveal the fascinating duality that the tales have always held: While fantasy villains and happy endings may provide desired

escapism, realistic confrontations with danger and death can teach strategies for coping with real-life hardships. We may not all deal with leering wolves and giant beanstalks in our daily lives, but women have always had to be wary of sexual predators (not only since the #metoo movement), and everyone must cope with the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. Humans all over the world have used songs and tales in an attempt to make sense of experiences that seem senseless. The Grimm brothers are only the most wellknown among a long list of European fairy-tale collectors, and the stories they compiled bear striking similarity to stories collected elsewhere in the world, not only due to the universality of the human condition but also thanks to migration, travel and trade. But each tradition also contributes in unique ways to the genre, as can be seen in the wonderful new anthology “The Annotated AfricanAmerican Folktales” (2017), co-edited by Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar. German fairy tales begin with “Es war einmal…,” which is similar to “Once upon a time.” But they do not end “happily ever after.” Instead, the typical ending goes, “Und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind, dann leben sie noch heute” (“And if they haven’t died, they are still alive today”). The Department of Theater Arts including Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” in their current season clearly shows that fairy tales are alive and kicking. I can’t wait to see the show — from a safe distance in the balcony.

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CELEBRATES BERNSTEIN the centennial birthday of acclaimed American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, a Brandeis faculty member and a supporter of the university from its earliest days. THIS YEAR, BRANDEIS CELEBRATES

From 1951-56, Bernstein taught courses at Brandeis on modern music, opera and composition. He founded the university’s Festival of the Creative Arts, which today honors his legacy as an artist, an educator, an activist and a humanitarian. Centennial events will include special concerts, classes and other campuswide activities during the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts, April 15-22, 2018. Featured events include selections from Bernstein’s opera “Trouble in Tahiti” performed by the Boston Lyric Opera; “Late Night With Leonard Bernstein,” a cabaret-style concert narrated by his daughter Jamie Bernstein; and a concert version of Bernstein’s “MASS,” performed by the Brandeis University Chorus and guest artists. Visit to find more information about Bernstein’s life, events around campus, and links to centennial events around the world.


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Luikens, MA’10

what bernstein taught brandeis LEONARD BERNSTEIN had a presence in 20th-century American culture that equals the resonance of his most famous works: the driving rhythms of “West Side Story”; the bustle of Times Square that he captured in his score for “On the Town”; his exuberant Young People’s Concerts, which introduced a generation to symphonic music. A conductor, composer and educator of limitless creativity, Bernstein influenced American artistic and cultural life beyond music. His footprint touches everything from political activism to music education. For Bernstein, every performance was a lesson, and every lesson a performance, and this was certainly the case at Brandeis.

In 1951, the third year of Brandeis’ existence, President Abram Sachar and Professor of Music Irving Fine (a successful composer, much admired by Bernstein) invited Bernstein to join the Music Department. This was something of an ambitious proposal! Bernstein was already a fixture of American musical life. He had conducted the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony orchestras, composed the hit musical “On the Town,” and was gaining an international reputation, having conducted in Czechoslovakia and Israel. His inventive and iconic symphonies were lauded by critics and fellow composers. In short, the expectation that Bernstein would have the time and the inclination to join the Brandeis faculty was not a modest one. Yet he agreed, and the relationship between Brandeis and Bernstein would last many years.

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So began a groundbreaking new chapter for the university. In spring 1951, Bernstein traveled from New York City to Waltham every week to be a guest lecturer in Fine’s Modern Music course. In the following two years, he taught courses on the modern symphony and the modern opera. That students would learn about the music of the very recent past and even of their own lifetimes was revolutionary. Bernstein created syllabuses that extended students’ knowledge and exposed them to the music of “the now.” In doing so, he also broke down the barriers between the music of the concert hall and the music of the theatrical stage. Alongside (Richard) Strauss, Berg and Hindemith were musical-theater works by Kurt Weill, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Burton Lane. Bernstein even taught his own work, the opera “Trouble in Tahiti,” which would have its premiere at Brandeis on June 12, 1952, in the first Festival of the Creative Arts. Bernstein’s class on the modern symphony was equally varied. The course began with Mahler and went on to include a number of 20th-century American composers, including Roger Sessions and Bernstein’s longtime friend and colleague Aaron Copland, as well as Brandeis professor Harold Shapero. Students were also introduced to Berg’s serial music, Stravinsky’s rich neoclassicism, and Shostakovich’s desperate attempts to write music that would not anger the Stalinist apparatchiks. And Bernstein included two

of his own symphonies on the syllabuses — “Jeremiah” (1942) and “The Age of Anxiety” (1949). To study with a teacher who was not only expert in the history and theory of the works but who saw music as a living, breathing entity was a remarkable experience. And it was not only the students registered for the class who were in the room. There are stories of faculty, staff and students from all over campus (and even from other universities) crowding into the lecture hall to hear the great maestro speak and illustrate at the piano. Bernstein’s teachings took place well beyond the college classroom. His conducting classes at Tanglewood were legendary and his Young People’s Concerts (broadcast on CBS from 1958 to 1972) are celebrated and still watched today. Bernstein taught by example. Whether it was a concrete aspect of music theory, or taking a stand against social and political injustices, Bernstein educated and led those around him. Governed by an unwavering sense of social justice, Bernstein was a proponent of what he called “Artful Learning” — the idea that all learning could be infused with the arts and vice versa, and that “the best way to know a thing is in the context of another discipline.”

The first Festival of the Creative Arts at Brandeis is yet another example of Bernstein’s pedagogical gifts. He extended his “classroom” to thousands of festivalgoers, offering them ideas and repertoires well beyond that which they usually experienced at their ordinary subscription concerts. For once, there was an equality across the arts, across genres and across time periods. Indeed, Bernstein advocated for jazz and musical theater, the so-called homegrown musical forms, to be placed on the same pedestal as the work of Beethoven and Brahms. Concerts, films and forums; theater, jazz, dance; and the world premieres of Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti” and Marc Blitzstein’s adaptation of Weill’s “Threepenny Opera.” What better classroom than an interdisciplinary festival of the highest caliber? Blitzstein, Copland, Cunningham, even Lotte Lenya … and the list goes on. Bernstein gave Brandeis access to the best of America’s artistic landscape. For Bernstein, the festival was one big educational opportunity. For Brandeis, it ushered in a new era of dedication to the creative arts. Image courtesy of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

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'it goes wherever it’s going':

learning from bernstein the conductor LEONARD BERNSTEIN BECAME the most famous conductor in America at the age of 25, on five hours’ notice and even less sleep. On Nov. 13, 1943, Bernstein was celebrating the first performance of his song cycle “I Hate Music,” partying and playing piano until dawn. At 9 a.m. the next morning he received a call from the New York Philharmonic. Guest conductor Bruno Walter was ill, and Bernstein, an assistant conductor — essentially an understudy, expected to learn scores and not much more — would conduct the 3 p.m. concert.

The concert earned Bernstein a front-page review the next day in The New York Times. He had one year of graduate conducting studies under his belt at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and three summers at Tanglewood under the mentorship of Serge Koussevitzky, the Russian-born conductor of the Boston Symphony, to prepare him for his overnight success.


Neal Hampton

Associate Professor of the Practice of Music and Conductor, BrandeisWellesley Orchestra

The New York Philharmonic made him the first American-born director of a major orchestra 15 years later and he served in that capacity from 1958 to 1969. A committed educator and a great communicator, he introduced a generation to classical music with televised lectures with the NBC Symphony and 53 Young People’s Concerts broadcast on CBS. He was equally at ease in both classical and popular music, having recently composed the score to "West Side Story." In addition to his extraordinary musical gifts, his youth, good looks and charismatic personality made him a household name, virtually the face of classical music in America.

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I first met Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood Conducting Seminar in the mid-’80s. Though luminaries would visit to teach the class (Seiji Ozawa and Andre Previn and Gunther Schuller, among others), his arrival at Tanglewood, in his blue Chrysler convertible with the license plate MAESTRO-1 (the only person ever allowed to drive onto the grounds), was the most anticipated event of the summer. He did not disappoint. Tanglewood, the summer residence in Lenox, Massachusetts, of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was Bernstein’s spiritual home. On Aaron Copland’s recommendation, he was selected for its first conducting class in 1940. For the next 50 years, even as his career required him to travel almost constantly around the world, Bernstein returned to Tanglewood almost every summer. Named director of conducting studies after Koussevitzky’s death in 1951, he mentored many wellknown conductors and musicians over the decades, including Seiji Ozawa, former music director of the Boston Symphony, and Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony. Our classes were held in the great room at Seranak, Koussevitzky’s estate overlooking the Stockbridge Bowl. Two pianists served as the orchestra while Bernstein sat in a chair coaching the conductors, commenting on the musical and extra-musical. He had a flair (and love) for the dramatic: On one occasion, I remember him regaling us with a recitation of the balcony scene from “Romeo and Juliet.” On another, while he

demonstrated a conducting gesture, lightning struck close by, right on his cue, as if he had brought it intentionally, even though he had begun the gesture long before he could have anticipated it! Music for him was emotional narrative — a metaphor for living. “It’s about breathing, it’s about sex, about looking at your children or somebody you love,” he said in class about the slow movement of Brahms' Fourth Symphony. “It changes from moment to moment, it is full of ambiguities, of arrivals, of departures. Don’t strain so much to find somewhere to go. The music arrives at feeling good for a little while, then it’s disturbed, then seeks another answer. It is Hamlet-like in its indecision. It goes wherever it’s going — it keeps going.” I watched Bernstein rehearse that same Brahms symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Though he had performed and recorded it countless times, that day he experimented over and over to find what he thought would be the most effective upbeat to the first movement. He challenged himself in other ways, in his later years conducting from new, unmarked scores to approach the music from a fresh perspective. He was known (and often criticized) for his extremely personal interpretations, the tempos of which became

slower as he aged. It was as if he was trying to wring every drop of expressiveness from the music. But these interpretive choices, though some found them selfindulgent, came from a thorough knowledge of the score. He once said, “Conducting is bloody hard work. What’s easy is to be mediocre. To be good is the hardest thing in the world. Believe me, I know. I’m still working on it.” His conducting style was distinctive, to say the least: animated, passionate, and replete with gestures large and small. During climactic moments, he would occasionally jump, leaving the podium entirely. He often eschewed standard conducting beat patterns, filling the time between the main pulses with inner beats — little gestures showing secondary voices or accompaniment. Though I can’t say how many orchestra musicians found this helpful, viewing videos of his performances today, I see that his conducting shows a deep knowledge of the score. As I reflect on my own experience and continue to consider his enormous impact on the world of music, I cherish more and more the brief time I had to see this musical genius at work in person as a teacher and conductor. Image courtesy of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

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how bernstein came to 'MASS'

HOW DID LEONARD BERNSTEIN, raised in the Jewish faith, come to write a monumental work based on the Roman Catholic Tridentine Mass?

Bernstein had long contemplated composing some sort of religious service. While known primarily for his secular and symphonic work, he had published short Jewish motets during his early days in New York, and in 1965 was commissioned by the Southern Cathedrals Festival in England to write the “Chichester Psalms.”


Robert Duff

Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of Choral Programs

He composed his “MASS” at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy for the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in 1971. Bernstein loved and admired the late president, for whose inaugural gala he had composed and conducted a fanfare. He conducted the music at the president’s funeral, and in 1963 dedicated his Symphony No. 3 (“Kaddish”) to the president’s memory. Kennedy’s assassination only added to Bernstein’s profound desire to “make

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music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” He characterized “MASS” as an attempt “to communicate as directly and universally as I can a reaffirmation of faith.” The Tridentine Mass served as the core ritual for Catholics for over four centuries. These prayers are vehicles for petition, praise and affirmation. In Bernstein’s setting, he seeks to challenge and question the meaning of the original prayers by inserting tropes, or commentaries, between each movement. The tropes build dramatic tension throughout the work by questioning authority, and by commenting on contemporary issues, in particular the Vietnam War. Musically, “MASS” is one of Bernstein’s most eclectic works, utilizing various forms, timbres and compositional styles, from gospel to jazz to pop. Having only a short time to compose this work, Bernstein called upon Stephen Schwartz, the young composer and lyricist who had recently

premiered the musical “Godspell” on Broadway. Schwartz was charged with writing many of the dramatic tropes, such as “I Go On” in response to the “Our Father”: When my courage crumbles, when I feel confused and frail, When my spirit falters on decaying altars and my illusions fail, I go on. Another massively popular young songwriter, Paul Simon, provided text to challenge the core tenets of faith expressed in the “Credo”: Half the people are stoned / And the other half are waiting for the next election. / Half the people are drowned / And the other half are swimming in the wrong direction. By the time Bernstein wrote “MASS,” he had been under investigation by the U.S. government for 20 years. An 800-page FBI file documented his leftist activities and beliefs about war, inequality and racism. In the summer of 1971, the FBI informed the White House of a meeting between Bernstein and Daniel Berrigan, a left-wing Jesuit priest who had been imprisoned for destroying

draft files. While the meeting was simply part of Bernstein’s research for “MASS,” the FBI believed that he was plotting to insert subversive anti-war messages into the Latin texts, and advised President Richard Nixon to stay home from the premiere. That premiere took place on Sept. 8, 1971, conducted by Maurice Peress and choreographed by Alvin Ailey. The performance was fully staged, with over 200 participants. At the completion of the work, a three-minute silence engulfed the house, followed by a 30-minute standing ovation. Those in attendance embraced fully the last words of the libretto, as sung by the presiding priest, “The Mass is ended. Go in peace.” On April 22, the Brandeis University Chorus and Chamber Singers, with the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra and guest soloists, will perform a concert version of Bernstein’s “MASS.” Photograph of Leonard Bernstein at the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 1971. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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CELEBRATING BERNSTEIN // Jonathan D. Sarna '75, MA'75 by

University Professor and Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History

leonard bernstein and the music of boston’s congregation mishkan tefila

FROM A YOUNG AGE, Leonard Bernstein attended religious services at Congregation Mishkan Tefila, the first synagogue in Boston to align itself with Conservative Judaism. Geared to young upwardly mobile immigrants like his parents, the synagogue occupied what it described in 1921 as “the middle ground between Orthodox and Reformed Judaism.” It advocated (as Leonard Bernstein later would) “Liberalism, Zionism and Social Service.” It sought to preserve elements of tradition while adapting Judaism’s “creed and observances to the ever broadening experience and outlook of the human race.” It introduced Leonard Bernstein to the power of great music.

In 1925 Mishkan Tefila opened a palatial synagogue on the corner of Elm Hill

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Avenue and Seaver Street overlooking Franklin Park. The sumptuous building, through its monumental American Renaissance-style architecture and its conspicuous opulence, announced to Bostonians that Eastern European Jews like the Bernsteins had arrived. Rabbi Herman Rubenovitz (1883-1966), a Lithuanian immigrant and Zionist who graduated from City College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, presided over this magnificent synagogue. He looked to create in Boston an American version of the great choral synagogues of Paris, Berlin and Vienna. His goal was to see “our traditional ritual clothed in glorious musical vesture, and carried out in a setting of great dignity and decorum.”

Rubenovitz introduced organ music and a mixed choir into the Sabbath and holiday worship at Mishkan Tefila. Among Conservative congregations, and among Mishkan Tefila’s own members, such innovations generated substantial controversy because they contravened traditional Jewish law. Ultimately, the issue was decided democratically by a congregational vote. Rubenovitz’s views prevailed, and as he later reported with pride, “instead of decreasing, our membership grew rapidly.” In 1923, around the time that the Bernstein family joined Mishkan Tefila, the congregation engaged a distinguished Russian cantor named Izso G. Glickstein (1891-1947). Trained in Budapest and Vienna, Glickstein had served as chief cantor in some of Hungary’s foremost synagogues and possessed a voice noted for its “power, range and beauty.” He was also a man of striking presence. Leonard Bernstein, who always had an eye for handsome men, recalled him as a “fabulous cantor … a great musician and a beautiful man, very tall, very majestic.” Glickstein was joined in 1928 by a European music director who would profoundly influence Leonard Bernstein’s life. This was Solomon Gregory Braslavsky (1887-1975), the first composer and student of music of any kind that the young Bernstein knew, and the man he credited for the “first real music I heard.” Born in Kaligorka, Russia, the son of a cantor, Braslavsky was trained in his father’s synagogue choir. In 1908 he moved to Vienna to study at the Royal Imperial Academy of Music, where he gained a thorough grounding in European music. On graduation, he became the conductor of Vienna’s Jewish Hakoah Orchestra, organized and conducted the city’s Jewish choral society, and was appointed professor of music at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Vienna. Forever after, following European tradition of that time, he was known formally as “Professor Braslavsky.” Many prominent cantors studied under him in Vienna, and he befriended the greatest Jewish musical figures of his day. Braslavsky brought a new level of musical creativity and seriousness to Mishkan Tefila. He introduced into the worship many European Jewish pieces, along with his own compositions. He also served as organist, making full use of Mishkan Tefila’s magnificent new pipe organ — second in size, in Boston, only to the organ at Symphony Hall. The resulting religious services achieved renown throughout New England for their musical quality. Each

major service, and especially the late Friday-night service, became, in effect, a musical performance, directed and conducted by Braslavsky with Glickstein as cantor. All kinds of music, “old and new, conservative and modern,” formed part of Braslavsky’s repertory. “The main thing,” he insisted, “is that the music must be good and traditionally Jewish in character.” This was the music that Leonard Bernstein heard whenever he attended Mishkan Tefila. He began attending at the age of 8, two years before Braslavsky arrived (and also two years before his home had a piano), and was reputedly “so moved” by the organ and choir that he began to cry. Thereafter he attended frequently, usually on Friday evening, when the congregation was crowded with Jewish music lovers from all over the city. Time and again, in letters and recollections, Bernstein attributed his early musical interest to the synagogue’s music. “I have come to realize what a debt I really owe to you — personally — for the marvelous music at the Mishkan Tefila Services,” he wrote to Braslavsky in 1946. “They surpass any that I have ever heard; and the memories I have of them are so bright, strong and dear, that I shall probably never be able to estimate the real influence those sounds exerted on me.” Eighteen years later, in 1964, he paid lavish tribute to Braslavsky in an extraordinary autobiographical letter sent to the Cantors Assembly of America: "Before I ever heard a concert, recital, or opera, before I had ever touched a piano, or knew that an organized musical life existed — before all these, I heard the music that Professor Braslavsky caused to be made at Temple Mishkan Tefila. I shall never forget that music, nor cease to be grateful for the power, conviction and atmosphere with which it was conveyed." Alone among America’s great composers, Leonard Bernstein began his musical life in a synagogue. A longer, annotated version of this article, titled “Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Jewish Community of His Youth: The Influence of Solomon Braslavsky, Herman Rubenovitz, and Congregation Mishkan Tefila,” appears in the Journal of the Society of American Music, 2009 (Volume 3, Number 1). Photograph of Leonard Bernstein at the Park Avenue Synagogue, 1945. Image courtesy of The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, David J. Putterman, Park Avenue Synagogue Papers and Music Scores.

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Experience the full flavor (sounds, smells, tastes) of Javanese music making in an intimate setting with some of today’s most revered performers of gamelan music. Choose a seat in the recital hall or onstage. In the Javanese tradition, feel free to move around quietly, enjoy some delicious Javanese food and immerse yourself in the flowing lines of gamelan.

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(Pre-concert talk at 7 p.m.) FOR CENTURIES the gamelan, or gongchime orchestras of Indonesia, have produced some of the world’s most beautiful melodies and transfixing sounds. The Central Javanese, in particular, have cultivated a unique repertory for the gamelan, a music that rewards the listener — whether novice or experienced — who listens patiently as the concert event unfolds.

The gamelan troupe that will visit Brandeis on its U.S. tour can be compared to a top-notch jazz combo or a masterful string quartet. The interpretive powers of the musicians flourish in the concert setting, and the ensemble brings to the fore the close-knit connections between the instrumental lines. For the performers, the ensemble fosters the spirit of cooperation, elevates performer agency and develops a patient aesthetic in a turbulent world. The concert begins with stately, reflective pieces and progresses toward lively, more joyful selections. The players make numerous decisions during the performance, bringing out the gamelan’s full, vibrant flavor. A deep attentiveness forms in the musicians and listeners alike, a patient focus that creates a sense of tranquillity. There is no better respite from the turmoil of daily life than an evening of gamelan, where rhythmic cycles and shifting textures provide a subtle soundscape for melodies that arise from a collective imagination. In contemporary Indonesia, the concert tradition has taken a back seat to more commercially viable music, which is faster, louder and more obvious. Daily performances in the courts, for weddings and on the radio have nearly dried up. Younger musicians almost exclusively perform accompaniment for shadow puppet plays, where they can still make a living wage. As the older generation passes away, so does its knowledge and skill of the concert repertory.


saturday, march 24, 8 pm

a night in indonesia

about the ensemble: Henry Spiller is an ethnomusicologist whose research focuses on Sundanese music and dance from West Java, Indonesia. He is the author of "Javaphilia: American Love Affairs with Javanese Music and Dance" (University of Hawai’i Press, 2015). Phil Acimovic is a composer of modern concert music, performer of Javanese gamelan, and creator of sound installations. He is currently a PhD candidate in theory and composition at UC Davis. Wakidi Dwidjomartono is one of the most respected and senior drummers in Solo. He played with Sriwedari Wayang Orang Theater during its golden era in the 1970s, and in the 1980s and 1990s was a highly soughtafter drummer for shadow puppet plays. Cendhani Laras is a leading vocalist for traditional Javanese music. She appears on numerous commercial recordings and is a longtime member of the Kraton Kasunanan, the leading royal court in Surakarta, Central Java. I. Harjito of Wesleyan University has composed many traditional and contemporary pieces for gamelan, including collaborations with tap dance, symphony and chamber orchestra, bagpipes and jazz. Darsono Hadiraharjo is perhaps the foremost karawitan musician of the younger generation in Central Java and is a member of one of the great musical families. Mulyono is the elder brother of Darsono Hadiraharjo. Sularno & Paimin are brothers from Surakarta, Central Java. They are longtime members of The MusicUnitesUS the musical ensemble of the Mangkunegaran program opens unique palace, one of the royal courts of Surakarta. Sumarsam has played Javanese gamelan since childhood. He is also a keen amateur dhalang (puppeteer) of wayang puppet play. His research on the history, theory and performance practice of gamelan and wayang, and on the Indonesian-Western encounter theme, has led to the publication of two books.

pathways to understanding and appreciation across today’s global community. Concert is in Slosberg Music Center. For full residency schedule, visit Tickets: $20/$15/$5.

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STATE ARTS winter/spring 2018 highlights

The arts are central to Brandeis’ commitment to global citizenship and social change. State of the Arts provides information about events and programs from the Division of Creative Arts and other initiatives at Brandeis.



Go to to sign up for Arts at Brandeis E-list and get regular news and announcements, plus free and discount tickets to arts events across Greater Boston.

Admission at the Kniznick Gallery is free and open to the public Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and during WSRC events. For more information, visit or call 781-736-8102.



To buy tickets for events at Spingold Theater Center, Slosberg Music Center or Shapiro Campus Center Theater, visit or call 781-736-3400. The Brandeis Tickets office in the Shapiro Campus Center is open Monday-Friday, noon-6 p.m., and Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Any person requiring wheelchair or other assistance should call Brandeis Tickets.

Brandeis arts venues are located on Lower Campus within easy walking distance of each other. Free parking is available in the Theater Parking Lot. There are also accessible parking spaces in front of Spingold Theater, Slosberg Music Center and the Rose Art Museum. Please check the campus map for lot locations and directions on the Brandeis website,



Admission to the Rose Art Museum is free and open to the public Wednesday-Sunday, 1-5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 781-736-3434.

Brandeis University relies on the support of alumni and friends to educate the best students, maintain a worldclass faculty, provide state-of-the-art performance and studio facilities, and offer dynamic extracurricular programming. Visit

Please note: If you plan to bring a group of more than 15, or any group that may require special attention, please contact Visitor Services Manager Robert Chester, or call 781-736-3442. 28  state of the arts | brandeis university


march 2-july 8 | spring exhibitions at the rose Rose Art Museum

april 15-22 | leonard bernstein festival of the creative arts

march 5-june 22 | a fringe of her own: a collection of ritual objects for women


Kniznick Gallery, Epstein Building

Slosberg Music Center

april 15 | boston lyric opera: bernstein april 15 | brandeis jazz ensemble


february 17 | new music brandeis: dal niente plays george lewis

Slosberg Music Center

Slosberg Music Center

Kniznick Gallery, Epstein Building

april 17 | tamar paley: lecture and reception

february 18 | new music brandeis: dal niente

april 18 | lydian string quartet: sneak peek

Slosberg Music Center

Mandel Center for the Humanities

february 28 | poetry reading: oliver de la paz

april 18 | fafali: music and dance from ghana

Bethlehem Chapel

Slosberg Music Center

april 18-22 | senior theater festival


march 1 | rose art museum opening reception

Laurie Theater, Spingold Theater Center

Rose Art Museum

april 19 | brandeis early music ensemble

march 9-11 | the vagina monologues

Berlin Chapel

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

april 19 | late night with leonard bernstein

march 11 | tribute to irving fine

Slosberg Music Center

Slosberg Music Center

april 20-21 | boris’ kitchen

march 15-17 | beams marathon festival weekend

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Slosberg Music Center

Slosberg Music Center

april 21 | lydian string quartet

march 15-18 | into the woods

april 21 | culture x

Mainstage Theater, Spingold Theater Center

Levin Ballroom, Usdan Student Center

march 21 | music unites us: gamelan preview

april 22 | bernstein’s “mass”

Mandel Center for the Humanities

Slosberg Music Center

march 21 | looted genius for sale: histories of appropriation and restitution Wasserman Cinematheque, International Business School

march 22-25 | beauty and the beast

april 23 | undergraduate composers’ collective Slosberg Music Center

april 24 | brandeis improv collective Slosberg Music Center

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

april 25 | chamber music recital

march 24 | a night in indonesia: javanese gamelan

Slosberg Music Center

april 26 | leonard bernstein fellows recital

Slosberg Music Center

Slosberg Music Center

march 25 | brandeis wind ensemble

april 27-29 | the rosenbergs

Slosberg Music Center

Laurie Theater, Spingold Theater Center

march 27 | fiction reading: akhil sharma Harlan Chapel


MAY april 12-15 | and then there were none Shapiro Campus Center Theater

april 12-22 | the rosenbergs (north american premiere) Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

april 14 | brandeis chamber singers Slosberg Music Center

may 3 | senior honors thesis reading Harlan Chapel

may 6 | new music brandeis: season finale Slosberg Music Center

Programs, artists and dates are subject to change. For updates and additional arts events, visit

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage




Boston, MA Permit No. 15731

Brandeis University | Office of the Arts MS 092 | PO Box 549110 Waltham, MA 02454 -  9110

April 15-22, 2018




30  state of the arts | brandeis university

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