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Chris Bedford

brings new buzz to Brandeis

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A Laboratory


for the

It was a daring idea at the time of Brandeis University’s founding, and it is a daring idea today: that the creation of art — music, theater, painting and more — has a vital place in a liberal arts curriculum. Traditionally, the history of the arts and critical analysis are taught in the academic disciplines, while it is left to the conservatories and art institutes to train aspiring musicians, actors and painters. At Brandeis, we do it differently.

In our view, theory and practice go hand in hand. Theory informs practice. Just as experimental scientists must be versed in historical studies and current theories to design their experiments, just as ethnographers draw upon conceptual frameworks to interpret field observations, so, too, are artistic performance and creation dependent upon, and made richer through, engagement with fundamental principles and new ideas. And practice informs theory. The practice of creation, like the testing of scientific hypotheses, involves solving puzzles and confronting dilemmas, and is how new concepts and principles emerge. In creating art, we enlarge our knowledge of what art is and also who we are.

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The making of new art is a vital form of exploration and discovery.

The current issue of State of the Arts vividly illustrates how theory, practice and the search for truth define the creative arts at Brandeis. In these pages, you will find a description of an exciting venture in new theater wherein our acting students devise 10 original one-act plays. You will meet sophomore Nate Shaffer, who tells of his experiments in new musical forms and ideas. You will read about an inspiring new work by renowned artist Chris Burden, commissioned by the Rose Art Museum. Burden has created an outdoor sculptural assemblage called Light of Reason — a gathering place for our community and a gateway to the Rose Art Museum. The sculpture will be a powerful, permanent expression of the central place of the arts at Brandeis University. The founders would surely be proud of our daring experimentation and our passion, and recognize Brandeis as home.

Steve A.N. Goldstein ‘78, MA ‘78, MD, PhD Provost and Professor of Biochemistry


We do art differently at Brandeis for another reason as well. We create art in the pursuit of truth. We value art not only for the pleasures it yields, but because it increases our understanding of the world. Great works teach. Fresh interpretations reveal new and overlooked features. Just as modern physics has taught us to think differently about space and time, modern artists have reshaped

how we perceive the world. The making of new art is a vital pathway for exploration and discovery. Painters and sculptors, composers and musicians, playwrights and actors, all are in a search for truth. And these are truths that connect us to the past, join us to each other and help us communicate with those who will follow.

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contents Winter/Spring 2014 Volume 10, Number 2 State of the Arts is published twice a year by Brandeis University Office of the Arts.

2 visual arts

Office of the Arts Director Scott Edmiston Associate Director Ingrid Schorr Art Director John Sizing

9 music

Photography Mike Lovett Copy Editor Susan Pasternack Contributors Alyssa Avis ’07 Judith Eissenberg Michele L’Heureux Deborah Rosenstein Caitlin Julia Rubin Nate Shaffer ’16 Joy Vlachos

14 theater

Correspondence Office of the Arts MS 052 Brandeis University PO Box 549110 Waltham, MA 02454-9110

17 festivals Correction: A caption in the Fall 2013 issue misidentified the role of Seaghan McKay, lighting and audiovisual director of the Brandeis Theater Company, in “The Flying Dutchman” at Boston Lyric Opera. McKay was the projection designer, not the production designer.

18 portraits

20 artifacts cover photograph: mike lovett

21 calendar highlights 01r1_BrandeisSOA_WS14.indd 1

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E f

t R

In this moment of the museum’s history, I want to make a bigger gesture and be as bold and generous as possible, to create an object that is quite literally for everyone.

Be br to

by SC




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Electrifying Bedford and Burden bring the buzz back to Brandeis by SCOTT EDMISTON, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF THE ARTS

BEDFORD IS NOT AFRAID TO TAKE RISKS. And his boldest move is about to begin. LAST NOVEMBER, BEDFORD ANNOUNCED the commission of an original work of public art on a scale unprecedented in Brandeis history. Light of Reason, a large, site-specific sculpture by Chris Burden, will be constructed in front of the museum in 2014. Comprising 24 restored Victorian lampposts in three rows, the sculptural installation is inspired by the three torches, three hills and three Hebrew letters in the Brandeis University seal. Its title comes from a statement by the university’s namesake, Justice Louis D. Brandeis: “If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.” ON A SYMBOLIC LEVEL, LIGHT OF REASON signifies the Rose’s hard-earned revitalization and Brandeis’ renewed commitment to being a beacon for art and culture. When the work is unveiled this fall, it will be the only major public art in the city of Waltham and will surely become one of the most visited and recognizable sculptures on any New England campus. The commission is funded through the Rose’s art acquisition endowment, exclusively earmarked for art purchases.


BEDFORD, ONE OF THE YOUNGEST MUSEUM directors in the U.S., shares how his luminescent vision took shape. winter/spring 2014

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the Rose

CONFIDENT, AMBITIOUS AND DECIDEDLY on trend, Chris Bedford embodies the quicksilver edge of the contemporary art world. Since his arrival on campus just over a year ago as the Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum, he has been sparking new excitement in the arts. His principal challenge was to reinvigorate Brandeis’ museum and more fully integrate it into the life of the university. As a recent Boston Globe profile put it, “He has done that, and more, building a staff, board and exhibition schedule virtually from scratch, acquiring new works, and recruiting a key Boston philanthropist [Lizbeth Krupp] to lead a board … Attendance at the Rose has been climbing steadily since his arrival, from 9,145 before he came to 14,303 in the current year.”


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Scott Edmiston: The idea for this installation strikes me as distinctly Brandeisian. CB: There are several things about Light of Reason that are unique. We have commissioned an artist to create an object that can serve as an icon for both the museum and the university. It will signal a rebirth and usher people across the threshold from the campus into the museum and vice versa.

and in its ambition to engage a broad public through a kind of generosity of address. In a gallery, you’re engaging with someone who’s made the decision to come in and see the work you’ve produced. But if art is out in the public sphere, it encroaches on the space of the viewer, and the viewer encroaches on it. There’s a kind of free and clear transaction that goes on. I believe Chris is de-

His work has taken diverse forms over time, from performance art to sculpture. He first gained attention in 1971 for “Shoot,” in which he was literally shot in the arm by a rifle.

possible, to commit funds to creating an object that is quite literally for everyone, from the moment it’s unveiled through many, many generations.

CB: Yes, but there is a connection. If you look at the images of his performances in the ’70s, they tend to be extremely spare and composed. I think Chris would make the case that he has always been a

This reflects your ongoing mission to “turn the museum inside out.”

CB: Yes. And I hope Light of Reason will become a platform for further artistic expression. It will be an icon and a stage simultaneously. This is the con-

Left: (detail) Chris Burden, “Light of Reason,” conceptual sketch (2013). Right: Chris Burden, “Urban Light” (2008). Both courtesy of Chris Burden Studio.

And it will demonstrate a commitment to making visual art part of the daily social fabric — the idea that public space can go beyond function to contain artistic meaning. What does the use of light signify?

CB: I hesitate to use the word “universal” because that’s an implication that can reduce people to a homogeneous mass. But light as a metaphor is something that prevails across cultures, across groups of people, across demographics — the whole concept of lighting the night or illuminating the future. Light of Reason is, on a basic level, elevating. Art, like light itself, is transcendent. Why did you choose Chris Burden for the commission?

CB: Chris has one of the most important bodies of work among 20th-century American artists. He’s radical. He is socially engaged. And I’ve been interested in public sculpture for a long time. I’m interested in its vulnerabilities 4

veloping a radical new vocabulary in his use of public space. I always thought that Urban Light, the piece he produced in 2008 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, could be the first of many civic sculptures all over the world with varying public contexts. So there’s one in Los Angeles and now one in Greater Boston, and who knows where next? What distinguishes his body of work?

CB: He’s an artist who believes in something really fundamental, which is that art can change the world. Art changes people in the proposals it makes, and then those people go on to become agents of change in the world. Chris is somebody who has the confidence of age that enables him to make these claims. The first time I heard him speak of this I was really inspired to start looking at objects in a different way. His sculptures are acts of social engineering that cause us to think about the world differently.

brandeis university | State of the Arts

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sculptor, and the way his body, along with the apparatus of a performance, was distributed in space was always a sculptural enterprise. There is a consistency of philosophy, of pushing boundaries, even if the media shift. What’s Burden like personally?

CB: He’s vigorously analytical yet extremely warm and caring. He will be in residence at Brandeis for a span of weeks, so the possibilities for student engagement are really, really exciting. Why did the Rose choose to commission an original work of art instead of purchasing one that has already been created?

CB: We could have gone after a couple of paintings that would have filled gaps in the collection, but I believe we’ll have the chance to do that in the coming years through gifts and acquisitions. In this moment of the museum’s history, I want to make a bigger gesture. I want to be as bold and generous as

cept. It’s not a static sculpture. It invites behavior and can be a place for music, dance, theater, performance art, or to hang out. There are no parameters. And if that encourages people to come to the Rose — great. If that encourages people to come to Brandeis — superb. If it becomes a social space for the community — well, I would love that. “If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.” What does that mean to you?

CB: Well, what I love about that quote is the idea that to do the right thing, you have to be audacious. You have to step beyond and do something unexpected and daring that might be slightly uncomfortable. You shouldn’t shy away from ambition. The reasonable can be synonymous with the bold. I find that inspiring. EXPAND YOUR EXPERIENCE BRANDEIS.EDU/ARTS/EXTRAS

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the Artist: burden Born in Boston in 1946, Chris Burden gained international attention in the 1970s as a controversial figure in performance art. Once called the “Evel Knievel of contemporary art,” Burden has allowed himself to be shot, almost drowned, electrocuted and even crucified. In “Transfixed” (1974), he was nailed to a Volkswagen with the engine revved to mimic a howl of pain. The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl notes, “He was immediately taken very seri-

ously, as the most extreme and enigmatic of provocateurs in a subculture that, in highly educated ways, reflected the political disarray of the nation during the seemingly eternal Vietnam War, and prefigured the swingbarrelled rage of punk.” In the 1980s, Burden’s interests shifted to installation, technology and engineering. He began a series of ambitious sculptures of increasing size and complexity, often using materials common to childhood playtime

activities to create structures and environments. He began collecting street lamps in 2000 without a specific work in mind. They eventually found form in Urban Light (2008), a largescale sculpture in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which has become an icon of the city of Los Angeles.

of the artist and his first major U.S. exhibition in more than 25 years. The New York Times proclaimed, “All his work shares a single-minded drive to examine the facts of life, whether social, psychological, physical or natural, with an emphasis on outer limits ... and usually to make a case for peace.”

Last fall, the New Museum presented “Extreme Measures,” an expansive presentation of Burden’s work that marked the first New York City survey

main photo: Robert Fimmano. Inset: Charles Hill, Courtesy of chris burden studio

Chris Burden, “Trans-fixed” (1974)

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visual arts ROSE ART MUSEUM

The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis is among the premier university museums of modern and contemporary art in the country. Through the museum’s distinguished collection of mid-20th- through 21st-century art and dynamic exhibitions and programs, visitors can experience the great art, artists and ideas of our time.

WINTER/SPRING EXHIBITIONS On view Feb. 14-June 8 Opening Celebration: Thursday, Feb. 13, 5-8 p.m.

Chris Burden: The Master Builder Gerald S. and Sandra Fineberg Gallery Experience a near-comprehensive look at Chris Burden’s small-scale erector set bridges, constructed from vintage and reproduced Meccano and Erector sets, perforated metal construction toys first sold at the start of the 20th century. Modeled on bridges imagined and actual, the sculptures extend the artist’s work as a social engineer.

Mika Rottenberg: Bowls Balls Souls Holes Lois Foster Gallery This exhibition of recent important work by the video installation artist Mika Rottenberg provides a comprehensive account of the artist’s conceptual interests and material sensibilities — both sculptural and moving image — as they have grown over the course of her career. In addition to her 2010 video “Squeeze,” Rottenberg, the recipient of this year’s Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Award, has created a new work specifically for this exhibition.

Rose Projects 01A | The Matter That Surrounds Us: Wols and Charline von Heyl Rose Video Gallery Rose Projects is a new initiative that addresses one theme from different perspectives in a series of exhibitions by curator at large Katy Siegel. “The Matter That Surrounds Us” pairs the midcentury




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German artist Wols, whose mysterious works combine media in unorthodox ways, with new paintings and collage by contemporary artist Charline von Heyl. At once visceral and visual, each of these works of art is something never seen before.

Rose Video 02 | Josephine Meckseper Rose Video Gallery Feb. 14-March 16 Consider the links between the commercialization and militarization of contemporary society. In “Mall of America” (2009), Josephine Meckseper’s object of fascination and repulsion is one of the world’s largest shopping malls. As the artist explains, “The focus … was to show the iconography of US American consumer ritual in relation to military expansion.” Lingering on advertisements, shop windows and sale signs, Meckseper defamiliarizes the mall, transforming its banal motifs into a sinister landscape.


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Rose Video 03 | Maria Lassnig and Mary Reid Kelley Rose Video Gallery March 26-June 8 The third iteration of Rose Video draws a link between the animation-based practice of Maria Lassnig, whose landmark videos from the early 1970s reflect on art and gender, and the contemporary videos of Mary Reid Kelley, who writes and performs pun-filled ballads about WW I-era women. The pairing explores video’s relationship to other media (performance, drawing and poetry) and reflects on the trajectory of feminist video art.

ROSE PROGRAMS & EVENTS Free and open to the public. For complete listings, visit the Rose website. Spring Exhibitions Opening, 5-8 p.m. Artist Talk: Mika Rottenberg, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13

WOMEN’S STUDIES RESEARCH CENTER The Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC) is where research, art and activism converge. The center’s Kniznick Gallery presents feminist exhibitions that promote dialogue and address the ever-changing challenges related to women and gender. For more information, call 781-736-8102 or visit www.

Blood Memory: A View from the Second Generation Lisa Rosowsky Jan. 23-March 10 Opening Reception: Thursday, Jan. 23, 5-7:30 p.m. Artist Gallery Talk with Lisa Rosowsky: Monday, Feb. 10, 12:30 p.m. Using fabric, photographs and wood, multidisciplinary artist Lisa Rosowsky mines her experience as a member of the so-called second generation — one who did not directly suffer or witness the horrors of the Holocaust, but in whom the “blood memory” of her family’s experience lives. Rosowsky transforms family photographs and a collection of gloves, along with silk, wool and plaster, into haunting and perfectly crafted sculptures, fiber works and even furniture. This installation of recent work in a variety of media is as thoughtprovoking as it is elegant, exploring a sorrowful tale of memory, family legacy and our collective dark history.

Artist Talk: Mark Dion Wednesday, March 12, 6 p.m. Rose Video 03 Opening, 5-8 p.m. Artist Talk: Mary Reid Kelley, 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 25 Curator Talk: Katy Siegel Tuesday, April 1, 5 p.m. Artist Talk: Charline von Heyl Wednesday, April 2, 6 p.m. Museum Tours Student guides trained in Visual Thinking Strategies, an educational approach that encourages conversation rooted in close looking, facilitate group discussion about works on view. Visit the Rose website or call 781-736-3434 to schedule a tour. Become a member of the Rose and enjoy special access and information. Membership categories range from $75 to $5,000. winter/spring 2014

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Lisa Rosowsky and “Paris/Vel D’Hiv”



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visual arts BRANDEIS STUDENT ART EXHIBITIONS Brandeis student exhibitions are held in the Dreitzer Gallery in the Spingold Theater Center. Opening receptions take place on the first day of each exhibition from 5-7 p.m., and are free and open to the public. Visit www.brandeis. edu/finearts for more information.

Fired Up! Senior Exhibition Through Jan. 29

Prospect I and II: Postbaccalaureate Shows March 26-April 6 and April 9-27

Dimensions 2: Work From Classes in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking

Class of 2013: Studio Art Majors Exhibition

Feb. 5-26

April 30-May 21

ART HISTORY PUBLICATIONS Spring 2014 sees the publication of several noteworthy books by faculty in the fine arts department.

“Art Since 1980: Charting the Contemporary,” by Peter Kalb Laurence King Publishing

“Frida Kahlo,” by Gannit Ankori Critical Lives/Reaktion Books

This survey of art from the late 20th century into the early 21st century gathers compact discussions of individual artists from the fields of painting, photography and sculpture, plus installation, performance and video art. Kalb balances a social history of institutions and contexts — from ACT UP and post-revolution Cuba to the unparalleled excesses of the art market in the late 20th century — with careful attention to individual aesthetic choices.

Gannit Ankori slices through “Fridamania” to examine Kahlo’s life, art and legacies, while also scrutinizing the myths and contradictions of her dramatic history: medical traumas, volatile marriage to muralist Diego Rivera, allegiance to the Mexican and Russian revolutions, and, most important, her iconic and innovative art.


Kalb writes: “The art of our own age speaks to far more than our own lives. The art that fills the first chapters of this book transformed my thinking about culture, self and politics. Here are conceptual and formal practices that invited the viewer into intellectual critiques of power and injustice while lavishing him or her with the sensual power of everything from the oil paint with which I had grown familiar to media as diverse as lead, chrome, video, bodies and breath.”


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What does it mean to be a modern woman in China, Japan and Korea during the first half of the 20th century? How do gender divisions affect creativity? Whose interests does the pursuit of beauty serve? “Visualizing Beauty” examines the intersections between feminine ideals and changing sociopolitical circumstances. From portraiture to beauty pageants to the opposition between “male” practices (architecture) and “female” practices (interior design), this collection of essays contemplates the complex relations between feminine subjectivity and the promotion of modernity, commerce and colonialism. Sarah Frederick in Woman’s Art Journal noted: “The mission to discuss East Asia in an integrated way is set up explicitly and thoughtfully in the introduction by Aida Yuen Wong. … [R]ead as a whole, the volume succeeds in this ambition.”


Kahlo was of her time, deeply immersed in the issues that dominated the first half of the twentieth century. Yet she was also ahead of her time. She challenged social norms and broke taboos, addressing themes such as gender, hybridity, identity and trauma, in ways that continue to inspire contemporary artists worldwide. Ankori guides the viewer beyond Kahlo’s irresistible gaze. She writes: “Her paintings are often depositories of human experiences, containing genealogies of knowledge. … They continue to resonate and exert meanings to be deciphered long after the artist’s death.”

“Visualizing Beauty: Gender and Ideology in Modern East Asia” Edited by Aida Yuen Wong Hong Kong University Press

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music MARQUEE CONCERTS The Brandeis Department of Music hosts an exceptional series of professional concerts each year featuring faculty and visiting artists. Marquee concerts take place in Slosberg Music Center and tickets are $20/$15/$5 for students, unless otherwise noted. Brandeis Tickets: 781-736-3400 or online at tickets.

Cellotica Vol. 3: Music Ecstatic and Exuberant Sunday, March 2, 8 p.m. Lydian String Quartet cellist Joshua Gordon and pianist Randall Hodgkinson perform Scott Wheeler’s acclaimed “Spirit Geometry,” written especially for the dynamic duo, as well as spirited sonatas o by Erno“ Dohnányi and Bohuslav Martinu. “Insightful and impassioned” — The New Yorker.

A Tribute to Irving Fine Sunday, March 9, 3 p.m. Aaron Copland praised the “elegance, style and finish” of the music by Fine (19141962), the beloved founder of the Brandeis music department. Lydian Daniel Stepner

Randall Hodgkinson and Joshua Gordon

Shapiro celebrate the poetry of Emily Dickinson in a recital of modern song settings, including a world premiere by Yu-Hui Chang, PhD ‘01; Aaron Copland’s “Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson”; and new Dickinson cycles by Ross Bauer and Eric Sawyer. Free and open to the public.

and Sally Pinkas ‘79, PhD ‘91 perform two sonatas for violin and piano by Fine and by his Brandeis faculty colleague Harold Shapero. For other events in the yearlong Fine Centennial, visit Free and open to the public.

My Business Is to Sing: Giving Voice to the Poetry of Emily Dickinson Saturday, March 15, 8 p.m. Sarah Pelletier, soprano, and pianist Lois

Sally Pinkas ‘79. PhD ‘91


Daniel Stepner Xxx


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music M USICU NITESUS Music unites communities across global cultures, providing pathways to social justice and coexistence. This semester brings to Brandeis the Trio Da Kali, performing contemporary griot music from Mali. For a full residency schedule, visit MusicUnitesUS.

Contemporary Music From the Griot Tradition of Mali Campuswide Residency: Feb. 25-March 1 West African culture, with its roots in the ancient traditions of musical storytelling and praise-singing, is explored and celebrated in a weeklong residency with Trio Da Kali. Join the musicians for open classes, workshops and performances, guided by ethnomusicologist and guest residency curator Lucy Durán from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Presented in partnership with the Aga Khan Music Initiative. For a complete schedule, visit

World Music Concert: Trio Da Kali Saturday, March 1, 8 p.m. (Preconcert Talk, 7 p.m.) Slosberg Music Center The griot tradition — an early ancestor of the blues — is one of Africa’s most subtle and sublime musics. The outstanding Trio Da Kali brings a fresh sensibility to the tradition, breathing new life into this ancient art form. The trio features the deep, vibrant voice of Hawa Kasse Mady; the dazzling virtuoso balafon playing of Lassana Diabaté; and brilliant bass lines by Mamadou Kouyaté on ngoni. Tickets are $20/ $15/$5 for students. Brandeis Tickets: 781-736-3400 or online at brandeis. edu/tickets.

Above: Hawa Kasse Mady. Below: Mamadou Kouyaté (left) and Lassana Diabaté (right).


The 2013-14 MusicUnitesUS Intercultural Residency Series is supported in part by the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


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fined musical theater. Tom Souza, director.

Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra: Catch a Rising Star Saturday, April 12, 8 p.m. The BWO performs the Gregson Tuba Concerto and Mozart’s “Exsultate, Jubilate,” featuring Aaron Zuckerman ’14, winner of the annual concerto competition. Neal Hampton, conductor.

Brandeis Early Music Ensemble: Timepieces Sunday, April 13, 3 p.m. Delight in the repertoires of 15th-, 16thand 17th-century Europe, from madrigals and dances to motets and fantasias.

Brandeis Improv Collective: Unexpected Pathways Tuesday, April 29, 7 p.m. Challenge your expectations, delight your senses and follow your own improvisational pathways. Tom Hall, director.


CONCERTS Brandeis’ outstanding student ensembles perform music ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary jazz. Student concerts take place in Slosberg Music Center, and are free and open to the public.

Brandeis University Chorus and Chamber Choir: Early-20thCentury Masterworks

Brandeis Jazz Ensemble: Groovin’ Sunday, April 6, 3 p.m. Be there to bebop to Thelonious Monk and original compositions written specifically for the group. Bob Nieske, director.

Brandeis University Chorus and Chamber Choir: The Great American Songbook

Brandeis Wind Ensemble: History of the American Musical

Saturday, April 5, 8 p.m. They’ve got rhythm. They’ve got music. Who could ask for anything more than

Sunday, April 6, 7 p.m. Experience life on the stage, from “Showboat” to “Wicked,” with songs that rede-

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Sunday, March 9, 7 p.m. Enjoy an evening of magnificent European choral repertoire featuring works by Fauré, Stravinsky, Bartòk and Debussy. James Olesen, director.

beloved favorites from Tin Pan Alley? James Olesen, director.



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Clinton, Mozart &


Music has always been part of my life. When I was three, I saw Bill Clinton play the saxophone on TV, and I asked my mom if I could have one. Since saxes don’t come in child sizes, she enrolled me in violin lessons instead. In third grade, after appearing as Mozart in a school play, I thought, “if he started composing when he was a kid, why can’t I?” This led me to dive into my first original work, “Nate’s Ocean,” which featured a melody

The founder of the undergr ad composers collective recalls how he found his calling by Nate Shaffer ’16, as told to State of the Arts

In high school, I started writing my own songs for piano and guitar. I was in bands, so I got to experiment with that. But my ability to play outpaced my ability to learn, so there was only one natural choice for impatient 14-year old me: improvise. By my senior year, those improvisations had turned into fleshed-out compositions. I came to Brandeis because it seemed like a great place to experiment, to make discoveries, to explore my diverse interests in philosophy, politics, theater, visual arts, math, literature, soccer and, of course, music. It’s been a perfect fit. I’m a declared music major, but I’ve yet to decide between composition and performance. I’ve been studying classical piano as a member of the Chamber Music Ensemble, and I formed a composers collective to connect with other undergrads who are interested in writing new music. Off campus, I perform as a singer-songwriter, sing with the barbershop chorus Vocal Revolution, and am a music director of ImprovBoston. For me, beginning the com-

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position is the easiest part. Sometimes a musical idea comes while I’m noodling on a keyboard or singing something to myself. Sometimes I take a pre-existing idea and impose a music form on it. For example, I’m developing a piano suite inspired by the novel “Le Petit Prince.” But regardless of where it comes from, the idea needs to grab my attention and compel my curiosity onward. Every piece of music I create involves some essential element that moves me. The trickiest part is striking a balance between allowing ideas to develop organically and methodically working stone by stone. My points of frustration come from trying

to switch between these two modes — when to trust my intuition and when to question it? It’s exciting to be on the cutting edge of new music and art and to know that the things I’m doing have never been done before. There’s a thrill to believing that my music could potentially change the lives of others. I have a bizarre hope that real communication can happen outside the realm of spoken language — that I can share what it’s like to be inside my body and mind. Maybe the only rational explanation of my creative process is just this: I love what I do and I have to do it because music is who I am.

mike lovett

for dolphins, arpeggios for krill and a choice quote from “Jaws.” By the time I was 11, I was playing piano, trumpet, guitar, mandolin, marimba, accordion, theremin, dulci-

mer and French horn.

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music Talea Ensemble


New Music Finale

Listen to the future in this groundbreaking concert series. Professional guest artists perform world premieres and new compositions by Brandeis faculty, alumni, undergraduates, and award-winning young composers in the composition and theory graduate programs. Concerts take place in Slosberg Music Center, and are free and open to the public.

Poetic Overtures Sunday, March 16, 3 p.m. Student composers premiere works inspired by poetry, performed by Sarah Pelletier, soprano, and Lois Shapiro, piano.

Talea Ensemble This New York ensemble, known for its global, cutting-edge musical practice, performs two concerts. “Talea Ensemble makes modernist music not just accessible but positively engaging through its combination of ... virtuosity and infectious commitment.” — TimeOut New York. Friday, March 28, 8 p.m. New music by Brandeis graduate composers Frank S. Li, Rebecca Sacks, David Dominique, Emily Koh, Todd Kitchen and Richard Chowenhill.

Saturday, March 29, 8 p.m. New music by acclaimed Brandeis faculty composers Eric Chasalow, Georges Aperghis and others.

East Coast Contemporary Ensemble: Integrations Friday, April 4, 8 p.m. Impassioned about bringing the contemporary repertoire to an international audience, the ECCE reflects a new generation’s ideas of new music. Enjoy music by faculty Yu-Hui Chang, PhD ’01; alumni John Aylward, MFA ’06, PhD ’08 and Maxwell Dulaney, PhD ’13; and Gerard Grisey, Liza Lim, Wei Chieh Lin and Schuyler Tsuda (Barlow Commission).


Sunday, May 4, 7 p.m. Celebrate the accomplishments of grad composers Victoria Cheah, David Dominique, Bradley Kuhn-McKearin, Emily Koh, Mu-Xuan Lin, Kyo Shimizu and Joseph Sowa.

LEONARD BERNSTEIN FESTIVAL OF THE CREATIVE ARTS CONCERTS For full festival schedule, visit brandeis. edu/arts/festival.

Music and Dance of Ghana Discover the irresistible rhythms of West Africa. Faith Conant, director.


Yu-Hui Chang, PhD ‘01

Sunday, April 27, 3-5 p.m. Enjoy all eight Brandeis student ensembles in one spectacular concert.

Daniel Stepner and Frank Glazer


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Sunday, April 27, 7 p.m. Classical pianist Frank Glazer joins Lydian violinist Daniel Stepner for a concert benefiting the Aston Magna Festival scholarship fund. Tickets: $25/$20/$5.


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Sam Gillam

Brandon Green

Laura Jo Trexler

Sarah Elizabeth Bedard

Over the past three years, audiences have gotten to know the 10 young graduate students at the core of the Brandeis Theater Company as characters in plays by Arthur Miller, Chekhov and Shakespeare. Undergraduate theater students know them as teachers and mentors. In April, we will get a look at who they “really” are. For their capstone performances, these actors look within themselves to research, devise 10 solo performances, which will premiere at Brandeis April 26 and 27 during the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts.

Their strong group identity, supported by intensive training in script analysis, stage combat, singing, vocal production and diverse acting methods, opens doors to brand-new insights and experiences that lie beyond the reach of traditional theater making.

J. Andrew Young

“I certainly couldn’t have done this three years ago,” says Sam Gillam, a Baltimore native and 2009 graduate of Elizabethtown College. “You don’t start out with that kind of trust in yourself.”

Eddie S

Nicole Dalton

2011 they’ve virtually lived in Spingold Theater Center, even working out together under the coaching of “gradmate” J. Andrew Young, who for several years supplemented offBroadway acting with work as a personal trainer. (A five-gallon container of protein powder sits atop the greenroom refrigerator like a trophy.)

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“We’ve been together so long, it’s a challenge to create something that my classmates haven’t seen before,” says Alex Johnson, a seasoned musical theater performer from Wichita, Kan.

photographs by mike lovett

dream “So much of the actor’s work is organized around rehearsing a play that someone else has created,” says Marya Lowry, associate professor of theater arts, who is overseeing and advising “Ten by Ten.” “These solo projects empower the actors to be full creative agents.”

When the grads arrived in Waltham in fall 2011, some of them were fresh from undergraduate studies around the country. Others had decided, after working in regional theater or in New York, to dedicate three years to further training. All were selected through an intensive national searchand-audition process. Since

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on on on amon Eddie Shields

The MFA actors devise their own works for the stage, inspired by everything from superheroes to superstitions

Alex Johnson

by Ingrid Schorr Associate Director, Office of the Arts


Sara Schoch

The actors began a weeklong development workshop by writing freely for 10 minutes, then searching that text for the seeds of a dramatic story. (“If anyone read mine, they’d think, What is wrong with him?” recalls Brandon Green.) The devising process also demands an extension of technical skills, Lowry notes. “Physically and vocally, they can find room to bend or break, to go outside the lines and tell each story differently.”

tragedy,” says Eddie Shields of Philadelphia, who is “riffing” on Christopher Marlowe’s 16thcentury play “The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England” and its 20th-century adaptation by Brecht. Sarah Elizabeth Bedard wants to “spark a movement.” The Providence College grad gives voice to survivors of sexual assault on women in the military, based on the 2012 documentary “The Invisible War.”

And the stories are dazzling in their variety. “I’ll find my favorite thing: the comedy in

Poetry — particularly that of D.H. Lawrence — and dance — by Twyla Tharp — fuel Alex

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Alex M. Jacobs

Johnson’s desire to create a performance that is “hot, desperate, loud, hard and fast.” Gillam is fascinated by the human brain, and Young is playing with the idea of a support group for people who embody superstitions, like “someone who stepped on a crack and is living with the guilt of that.”

A persistent image of masking tape inspired Sara Schoch’s autobiographical piece. Alex M. Jacobs, a transplanted Brit, reflects with mixed affection and relief on his 10 years on the road performing in adaptations of everything from “Romeo and

Juliet” to “Alice in Wonderland.” Recent Alabama State graduate Green weaves a story about an asylum patient around two of his core beliefs: superheroes and willpower. “I was the kid in the Batman pajamas who dreamed of flying through the house,” he laughs. “And I’ve spent the past three years testing my will.” “I love that this is our solo work, but it’s also the 10 of us,” says Gillam. “We’re each other’s crew — literally — which puts the right energy out to the audience.”

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The Brandeis Theater Company is a collaborative home to students, guest artists, faculty and staff in the Department of Theater Arts. Performances are held in Spingold Theater Center. For the full BTC season, visit Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $20; $15 for Brandeis community and seniors; $5 for students. Brandeis Tickets: 781-736-3400 or online at

A View From the Bridge Senior Theater Arts Festival

By Arthur Miller Directed by Michael Hammond Feb. 6-9 Betrayal, blood loyalty and revenge clash in Arthur Miller’s classic American tragedy. Eddie Carbone is a hard-working man who is raising his niece Catherine in 1950s Brooklyn. Their lives are disrupted after his wife’s two cousins, illegal immigrants from Italy, move in with the family. When Catherine and one of the cousins fall in love, what Eddie discovers — about her, about life and about his own heart — has devastating consequences.

Senior Theater Arts Festival March 18-23 The acting, directing and playwriting talents of six graduating seniors are showcased in this weeklong festival. Projects include “Make Me a Song,” featuring the music of William Finn (“Falsettos”); Eve Ensler’s “Necessary Targets”; and original works on topics ranging from modern families to animal rights. Featuring Lizzy Benway, Jason Dick, Grace Fosler, Justy Kosek, Emma Lieberman and Levi Squier (photo, below right). Free and open to the public. For a complete schedule, visit A View From the Bridge

10 by 10: A Theatrical Celebration


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April 26-27 Ten graduate acting students present 10 short, original, solo pieces, each uniquely capturing their personal perspectives and creative passions. Experience the vision and voices of a new generation of theater artists in performances that are raw, real, a little radical and a little renegade. Free and open to the public as part of the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. For a complete schedule, visit and

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April 24-27

Experience the unexpected at this annual arts happening. The Festival of the Creative Arts was founded in 1952 by legendary American composer and Brandeis faculty member Leonard Bernstein. Today, the festival honors his legacy — as an artist, an educator, an activist, and a humanitarian who believed in the power of art to effect social change and engage young people. The festival brings the

Brandeis campus together to celebrate creativity and community, with innovative performances and exhibitions by our faculty, staff, alumni and students, along with national and regional artists. Most events are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule, visit

Super Sunday Sunday, April 27, 1-5 p.m. More than 200 actors, singers, dancers and musicians give free performances across the Brandeis campus, with artmaking activities and demonstrations for the whole family.

Ben Lovenheim ‘15

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‘DEIS Impact Social Justice Festival Feb. 1-10 Topics from global health to climate change come to life through performances, exhibits, films and more. Keynote address by Kweku Mandela-Amuah and Ndaba Mandela, whose Africa Rising Foundation honors the legacy of their grandfather Nelson Mandela. ‘DEIS Impact is a collaboration between the Brandeis Undergraduate Student Union and the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, with support from the Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice.


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portraits James Olesen Director of the Brandeis University Chorus & Chamber Choir Expertise: Conducting, choral repertory Which composers do you love to perform? The ones I’m working on at the moment. I’m currently rehearsing Fauré, Stravinsky, Bartòk and Debussy. What is required to become a great singer? Musicianship skills; steady, concentrated, thoughtful practice; some talent; and perseverance. Recordings you recommend: Pierre Boulez con-

ducting Schönberg’s orchestral music and Debussy; the “Enigma Variations” of Elgar conducted by Colin Davis; the German lieder recordings sung by the baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau; Bach performed by Emmanuel Music; Beethoven’s symphonies conducted by René Leibowitz; Beethoven and Schubert piano sonatas played by Artur Schnabel; and Bach performed by pianists Glenn Gould or András Schiff.

Sarah Mead Director of the Brandeis Early Music Ensemble Expertise: Historical performance practice, viola da gamba, Renaissance ensembles What do you most love to perform? I am at my most transported when playing the music of the great European polyphonists from the end of the 16th century and the English consort composers of the years just before Cromwell. What is required to become a great musician? Immersion, obsession, love ... experimentation, risk-taking, patience, love ... observation, communication, love. What’s on your playlist? This question reflects how we think of music in the 21st century. To tell the truth, I almost never listen to recorded music unless it is to study an unfamiliar piece or a particular performance. The concept of fixing one performance in time is a very recent one — go back a hundred years and this question would be

meaningless to a musician. But there are a few groups I highly recommend: Tenet, a New York-based ensemble that gathers wonderful musicians from around the country for rich and sparkling performances of 17th-century music. Blue Heron, a Renaissance vocal group in Boston, whose recordings of early-16thcentury sacred music are stunning and revelatory. Fretwork, based in the U.K., has a glorious 2008 recording of the six-part fantasias of William Lawes. The warmth, virtuosity and wit in their performances bring you in direct touch with a time when music flourished across Europe and composers met to debate how best to express language, emotion and the human condition.

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Neal Hampton Conductor of the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra Expertise: Orchestral repertory, jazz history, musical theater composition What are your favorite pieces to perform? The Brahms Requiem, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, Samuel Barber’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance from his opera “Medea,” Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from “Tristan and Isolde.” What is required to become a great musician? A profound desire to communicate, tremendous discipline and perseverance. What’s on your playlist?  Mozart Concerto 23, K.488,

Géza Anda, piano (1963). The second movement is one of the most sublime pieces in the canon. Sinfonia, Luciano Berio (1968). Commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic with Berio conducting the orchestra and eight singers.  The Trio, Oscar Peterson (1973). Peterson is joined by Joe Pass on guitar and Niels Pedersen on bass for long-form blues and fantastic swing. Gorilla, James Taylor (1975). I associate this music with a lot of great road trips.

Bob Nieske Director of the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble Expertise: Bass performance, jazz improvisation and composition Who were your first creative heroes? I was a huge Beatles fan and credit Paul McCartney with steering me toward the bass. I also loved Handel, Bach, Ellington, Simon and Garfunkel. What is required to become a great jazz artist? Natural ability. Really caring that you do it really well.

photographs by mike lovett

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Must-have jazz recordings: Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing/ But Not For Me (1958). A study in groove and arranging. The time feel is the most swinging of any in jazz, and his arranging techniques are continuously inventive and surprising. Jamal is one of the few pianists to use the complete register of the instrument. New York, NY (1959), George Russell. Russell’s writing is simply brilliant. His backgrounds are more interesting to me than

the solos. Lines are constantly moving to unexpected places, and his use of guitar as both a horn and rhythm instrument is a lesson for any composer. Also featuring John Coltrane, Max Roach, Jon Hendricks, Barry Galbraith and Art Farmer. Waltz for Debby (1961), Bill Evans Trio. The groundbreaking live piano/bass/drums trio to end all trios (they invented it!). It features Evans, the most influential jazz pianist of the 20th century; the wonderful bassist Scott LaFaro; and the supersensitive drummer Paul Motian. And His Mother Called Him Bill (1967), the Duke Ellington Orchestra. This is a tribute to composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn, Ellington’s alter ego and musical co-conspirator. It was recorded three months after Strayhorn’s death, and you can hear mourning for a great friend in the performances.

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artifacts Join the Arts at Brandeis E-List to receive invitations to plays, concerts and exhibitions at Brandeis as well as free and discount tickets to arts events across Greater Boston. Visit www.brandeis. edu/arts. Get even more up-to-the-minute news on the Arts at Brandeis Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Shapiro Campus Center, Monday-Friday, noon-6 p.m. or Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Tickets are available for pickup or purchase in the lobbies of Spingold, Slosberg and Shapiro one hour before curtain. Reservations are recommended. Any person requiring wheelchair or other accommodations should call Brandeis Tickets at 781-736-3400.

Arts at Brandeis Calendar Online

Visiting the Rose Art Museum

Visit the Brandeis events calendar for comprehensive event listings, including film, dance, lectures and arts symposiums: www.

Online Extras For interviews, additional images, audio files and other extras, plus archived issues of State of the Arts, visit arts/office.

Student Art Clubs

Admission is free. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, noon5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 781-736-3434.

Visiting the Kniznick Gallery Admission is free. The Kniznick Gallery at the Women’s Studies Research Center is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and during WSRC events. For more information, visit wsrc or call 781-736-8102.

Brandeis is home to more than 60 arts and culture clubs and over 30 performing arts clubs, including a cappella groups, sketch comedy teams, dance troupes and music ensembles. This semester’s undergraduate theater club productions include “1984,” “Hairspray,” and “Killer & Me.” For a full schedule of theater productions, visit


Theater and Concert Tickets

Programs, artists and dates are subject to change. For updates and additional arts events, visit For directions to Brandeis University, call 781-736-4660 or visit www.

Brandeis arts venues are located on Lower Campus within easy walking distance of each other. Free parking is available directly behind the Spingold Theater Center in the Theater Parking Lot (T Lot). There are accessible parking spaces in front of Spingold, Slosberg and the Rose.

mike lovett

To buy tickets for events at the Spingold Theater Center, Slosberg Music Center or Shapiro Theater, visit, call 781-736-3400, or stop by the Brandeis Tickets office in the

Mike Lovett

Stay in Touch

“Cabaret,” Brandeis Theater Company, 2013

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State of the Arts

fall 2013

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Mike Lovett

calendar highlights

Through Jan. 29

Fired Up! Senior Exhibition

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center

Through March 10

Lisa Rosowsky: Blood Memory

Women’s Studies Research Center

Feb. 1-10

’DEIS Impact Festival


Feb. 5-26

Dimensions 2

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center

Feb. 6-9

A View From the Bridge

Spingold Theater Center

Feb. 10, 12:30 p.m.

Artist Talk with Lisa Rosowsky

Women’s Studies Research Center

Feb. 14-March 16

Rose Video 02: Josephine Meckseper

Rose Art Museum

Feb. 14-June 8

Winter/Spring Exhibitions

Rose Art Museum

March 1, 8 p.m.

World Music Concert: Trio Da Kali

Slosberg Music Center

March 2, 8 p.m.

Joshua Gordon and Randall Hodgkinson: Cellotica, Vol. 3

Slosberg Music Center

March 5-22

Work, Now and Then: A Bob Moody Retrospective

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center

March 9, 3 p.m.

Irving Fine Tribute Concert

Slosberg Music Center

March 9, 7 p.m.

Brandeis University Chorus and Chamber Choir

Slosberg Music Center

March 15-16

My Business Is to Sing: Lois Shapiro and Sarah Pelletier

Slosberg Music Center

March 18-23

Senior Theater Arts Festival

Spingold Theater Center

March 26-April 6

Prospect I

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center

March 26-June 8

Rose Video 03: Maria Lassnig and Mary Reid Kelley

Rose Art Museum

March 27-29


Shapiro Campus Center Theater

March 28-29, 8 p.m.

Talea Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

April 2, 6 p.m.

Artist Talk: Charline von Heyl

Rose Art Museum

April 3-6

The Killer Me

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

April 4, 8 p.m.

East Coast Contemporary Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

April 5, 8 p.m.

Brandeis University Chorus and Chamber Choir

Slosberg Music Center

April 6, 3 p.m.

Brandeis Jazz Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

April 6, 7 p.m.

Brandeis Wind Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

April 9-27

Prospect II

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center

April 10-13


Shapiro Campus Center Theater

April 12, 8 p.m.

Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra

Slosberg Music Center

April 13, 3 p.m.

Brandeis Early Music Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

April 24-27

Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts


April 26, 8 p.m.

Culture X

Levin Ballroom, Usdan Student Center

April 26-27

10 by 10: A Theatrical Celebration

Spingold Theater Center

April 27, 3 p.m.


Slosberg Music Center

April 29, 7 p.m.

Brandeis Improv Collective

Slosberg Music Center

April 30-May 21

Class of 2013: Studio Art Exhibition

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center

May 4, 7 p.m.

New Music Finale

Slosberg Music Center

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State of the Arts | BRandeis university 21

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Volume 10 / Number 2

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Boston, MA Permit No. 15731

Brandeis University Office of the Arts MS 052 / PO Box 549110 Waltham, MA 02454 -  9110

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Moustapha Diallo

MusicUnitesUS presents Trio Da Kali, in residence at Brandeis, Feb. 25-March 1.

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Brandeis University State of the Arts, Winter/Spring 2014  
Brandeis University State of the Arts, Winter/Spring 2014  

The bi-annual Brandeis arts magazine explores the role of art in society, celebrates the achievements of students, faculty and alumni, and p...