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JUST ABOUT Gertrude Stein wrote, “Art isn’t everything. It’s just about everything.”

“Cabaret,” a work of musical theater based on a novel. Christopher Isherwood’s characters and Kander and Ebb’s songs brilliantly capture the essence of the era that led to the rise of the Third Reich. Without trying to document the history of Weimar Germany, they dramatize something potent and chilling in the tone of the time and its people, most of whom are willfully unaware of the lurking doom. As Sally Bowles says, “It’s only politics … what’s that got to do with us?”

“ ”

With her iconic economical style, Stein captures two truths I hold to be self-evident. First, art is just about the most important thing in life. And, second, art is rarely about itself — more often it’s about everything else.

Art communicates the mood, the moment, the feeling, the essential truth that must be experienced to be known.

In higher education, the current term for this is “integrated arts.” Or “interdisciplinary arts,” or “cross-disciplinary arts,” or “collaborative arts.” But the concept is not new. Aristotle was as interested in politics, philosophy, physics and poetry as he was the theater. Leonardo was a painter, yes, but also a botanist, an engineer, a musician, a geologist and an architect. Chekhov was a theater artist, a fiction writer and a practicing doctor. The Greek term is “polymath”: a person whose talents and interests span diverse areas. They used to call this a “Renaissance man” back when men dominated the field. I suppose another term might be a “liberal artist.” Consider today’s creative artists whose vision defies categories: composer-choreographer-singer-visual artist Meredith Monk. William Kentridge, best known for his drawings-as-film, also an accomplished theater and opera director. Or author-Internet artist-filmmakerperformer Miranda July, whose innovative artistry can be found at Sundance, at MoMA, and in The New Yorker. New paths of knowledge can be found in the uncharted spaces between traditional disciplines. A work of art can uniquely capture something powerful and intangible about subjects and ideas that transcend labels, facts and figures. Art communicates the mood, the moment, the feeling, the essential truth that must be experienced to be known.

In October, Brandeis premieres an electronic music composition that holds an aural mirror up to the rituals and beliefs of the ancient world. Composer Eric Chasalow’s “Where It Finds Nothing But the Wind” is inspired by the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition on view at Boston’s Museum of Science. The following month, the complex cultural identity of China — both traditional and contemporary — is illuminated by musicians from Shanghai and Bejing, who will interact with students studying painting, acting, history, literature and the Chinese language. At the Rose Art Museum, Israeli-born artist Omer Fast combines multiple disciplines in a devastating fictionalfactual video debate over U.S. foreign policy. And fame gives power to the image machine of Andy Warhol, the pop master who claimed art isn’t everything — it’s what you can get away with. Don’t miss his portrait of Gertrude Stein. I could write more, but I’m off to rehearse the Boston premiere of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Water by the Spoonful,” by Quiara Alegría Hudes. It’s about crack addiction, the Internet, the war in Iraq, adoptive families, forgiveness and redemption — told in the form of jazz music. But I think I’ve covered everything. Just about.

Scott Edmiston

Our cover story “wilkommens” you to

Director Office of the Arts

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This fall, you have the opportunity to cross over some disciplines yourself.

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contents FALL 2013 VOLUME 10, NUMBER 1 State of the Arts is published twice a year by Brandeis University Office of the Arts. Office of the Arts Director Scott Edmiston

2 theater

Associate Director Ingrid Schorr Art Director John Sizing Photography Mike Lovett

8 music

Copy Editor Susan Pasternack Editorial Assistant Esther Brandon ’13 Contributors Nancy Armstrong Paul Belenky ’15 Lori Cole Judith Eissenberg Tory Fair Dabney Hailey Shawna Kelley Michele L’Heureux Ryan McKittrick Jared Redmond (GRAD) Sofia Retta ’15 Katy Siegel

12 visual arts

18 art of the matter

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


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The Musical


n the first day of “Cabaret” rehearsals in 1966, the director Harold Prince brought in a Life magazine photograph of shirtless youths wearing religious medals and snarling at the camera. “Was it Munich in 1928?” he asked his cast. “In fact,” Prince wrote in his autobiography, “it was a [contemporary] photograph of a group of students in residential Chicago fighting the integration of a school.” Prince had long been interested in adapting Christopher Isherwood’s “Berlin Stories” into a musical set during Hitler’s rise to power. Isherwood’s descriptions of the nightlife, decadence and antiSemitism in Weimar Germany would become the inspiration for the stories and songs of “Cabaret.” But what really drew Prince and his collaborators to the project was what he described as “the parallel between the spiritual bankruptcy of Germany in the 1920s and our country in the 1960s.”

Two of the show’s most unforgettable elements come from Prince’s time in Stuttgart with the Army in 1951. He recalled a club called Maxim’s, nestled in the rubble of an old church basement and home to a pawing master of ceremonies with lacquered hair and false eyelashes. Maxim’s became the Kit Kat Klub (its initials possibly a reference to the Ku Klux Klan), and the master of ceremonies a model for its host, a role Joel Grey played with an exquisite blend of androgyny, seduction


Prince worked on developing “Cabaret” for more than a year with composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, a team that was a bit of a professional gamble. Their previous musical, “Flora, the Red Menace,” had flopped, but it launched the Broadway career of 19-year-old Liza Minnelli, who became the youngest actress to win a Tony Award, for her performance in the title role. Kander and Ebb wrote the part of cabaret singer Sally Bowles with Minnelli in mind, but Prince refused to cast her. He insisted that the character had to be a lousy singer in a dingy nightclub, and Minnelli just sang too well. She didn’t have to wait long, however, for her chance. Minnelli’s iconic portrayal of Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film adaptation of “Cabaret” is one of the greatest performances in the history of the American musical.



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cabaret through the years 1931 Christopher Isherwood leaves England for Berlin.


Publication of Isherwood’s “Goodbye to Berlin.”


Brandeis revisits the divinely decadent musical about a world dancing on a precipice.

Broadway debut of “I Am a Camera” by John Van Druten. Tony Award for Julie Harris as Sally Bowles.


Harris plays Sally in the film of “I Am a Camera,” joined by Laurence Harvey as Christopher and Shelley Winters as Natalia Landauer.


Broadway premiere of “Cabaret” with Joel Grey as the Emcee, Jill Haworth as Sally, Bert Convy as “Cliff,” the Isherwood character, and Lotte Lenya as Fräulein Schneider. Wins eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical.


First London production, featuring Judi Dench as Sally Bowles.


Release of the film “Cabaret” with Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey and Michael York as “Brian,” the Isherwood character. Receives eight Oscars, including for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (Grey) and Best Director, for Bob Fosse.


London stage revival at the Donmar Warehouse. New elements include reveal of the Emcee’s yellow Star of David and pink triangle, and explicit references to Cliff’s bisexuality.

1995 Amanda Palmer as the Emcee in Steven Bogart’s production of “Cabaret” at the American Repertory Theater, 2010.


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The Library of Congress selects “Cabaret” for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.


Broadway revival, based on the 1993 London production, at the Kit Kat Klub and later Studio 54. Tony Awards for Alan Cumming (Emcee), Natasha Richardson (Sally) and Ron Rifkin (Herr Schultz) as well as for Best Revival of a Musical. Runs for 2,377 performances.


“Cabaret” ranked fifth on the American Film Institute’s list of best musicals.


Time magazine names “The Berlin Stories” one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.



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and aggression in the premier production, the film adaptation and the 1987 Broadway revival. Prince made another brilliant casting decision with the role of Fräulein Schneider, the German landlady who loves her Jewish grocer but rejects him out of fear that she, too, may be persecuted by the Nazis. The role was originated by Lotte Lenya, the widow of composer Kurt Weill and one of Germany’s most famous performers, who brought a haunting realism to the production.

make their own connections between Weimar Germany and the contemporary United States, confident they would understand the danger of choosing to close their eyes to the world outside the cabaret. —Ryan McKittrick, assistant professor of theater arts, teaches American musical theater.

The origins


hristopher Isherwood’s novel “Goodbye to Berlin” is the story of a young British expat named Christopher Isherwood who teaches English, meets new friends, keeps a diary. Nothing too unusual about this fish-out-ofwater scenario. What makes Isherwood’s story so compelling that it has been retold as a novel, a play, two movies and a musical, and continues to be reimagined in the 21st century?

At one point in the show’s development, Harold Prince considered ending the production with a film of the Selma to Montgomery marches and the Little Rock riots. In the end, he decided to let audiences Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles in the 1972 film.

In this fictionalized memoir (reissued as “The Berlin Stories”), young Isherwood leaves safe, repressed England for Berlin. He finds a city that is rumbling with unrest but has not yet engaged in the Third Reich. In a now-famous description, Isherwood calls himself a “camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.” Had the camera been a 21st-century product, it might have been less passive. But Isherwood risked arrest in England if he published the truth about his sexual orientation and his activities in Berlin. In a 1954 introduction to “Goodbye to Berlin,” he wrote: “I destroyed a certain portion of my real past … because I preferred the simplified, more creditable, more exciting fictitious past which I’d created to take its place.” Not until his 1976 memoir “Christopher and His Kind” could he declare, unambiguously, that “Berlin meant Boys.”




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For all his skirting around the gay question (“I’m very queer indeed,” the fictional Christopher archly informs a very drunk American youth), Isherwood is unambiguous in his portrayal of Berlin’s dark side. “The whole city lay under an epidemic of discreet, infectious fear,” he wrote. The novel is studded with arrests and disappearances. Banks collapse between breakfast and lunch. Uniformed men in heavy boots stomp through the streets beating up Communists. Unmoved by current events is Isherwood’s naughty, high-maintenance friend Sally Bowles, a mediocre singer and would-be actress, a proto-Holly Golightly who occupies only a single chapter in the novel. After a series of romantic and career disasters, Sally bids toodle-oo to Berlin, promising to send Christo-

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Julie Harris as Sally Bowles in “I Am a Camera,” 1951.

Christopher Isherwood

Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb

What makes Isherwood’ s story so compelling that it has been retold as a novel, a play, two movies and a musical, and continues to be reimagined in the 21st century

pher a postcard from Paris or Rome when she becomes famous. (Jean Ross, the real-life inspiration for Sally, actually remained friends with Isherwood until her death in 1973, and she has been described by others as warm, intelligent and politically aware.)

Woman” (1992) and “The Scottsboro Boys” (2010). What’s their greatest musical? I think it’s really a tossup between “Cabaret” and “Chicago,” though I personally adore their lesser-known whodunit “Curtains” (2006).

For a time, Isherwood and his close friend W. H. Auden discussed adapting the novel as a musical themselves. “Our ultimate message,” Isherwood wrote to Auden, “is the indestructibility of landladies and artists.” At the novel’s conclusion, Isherwood is packing for England. He overhears his pragmatic landlady Fräulein Schroeder (called Schneider in the musical), who a year earlier had voted Communist, talking reverently to a friend about Hitler. “She is merely acclimatizing herself,” he observes, “like an animal which changes its coat for the winter.”

Kander and Ebb’s music is so colorful, so theatrical, so razzle-dazzling, yet so honest. It is imbued with paradox, often existing on two levels. Their songs are gutsy and intense, with big ranges and big feelings, but at the same time, the lyrics are quite simple and straightforward. I am always struck how naturally the language scans into actable, conversational rhythms.

—Ingrid Schorr, Associate Director, Office of the Arts

The songs


omposer John Kander (b. 1927) and lyricist Fred Ebb (1928-2004) are among the most successful creative partnerships in Broadway history. The two first collaborated on the musical “Flora, the Red Menace” (1965), a satire of lefty politics that starred Liza Minnelli. The three of them became great friends, and Kander and Ebb continued to compose for Minnelli’s stage, screen and concert performances for the next 40 years. Their best-known song is perhaps the “Theme from New York, New York,” written for Liza and famously recorded by Frank Sinatra. “Cabaret” (1966) was the team’s breakthrough hit, bringing them international recognition. Their subsequent Broadway productions include “Chicago” (1975), “The Act” (1978), “Woman of the Year” (1981), “The Rink” (1984), “Kiss of the Spider

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One of the qualities that distinguishes the duo’s songs is the way they are artfully integrated into the libretto while advancing both the plot and character development. Each song is perfectly matched with each character, displaying all the depth of emotion one could want with each phrase. Singers need to be careful not to sing the song, but to tell the story honestly.

Their songs for “Cabaret” brilliantly evoke a specific time and place. There is a sly nod to the influences of Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht and “The Threepenny Opera.” More so than in their other musicals, many of the songs provide social context and commentary, and “Cabaret” is one of the rare American musicals that is also compelling political theater. I love the use of the Emcee character, whose songs draw us into two worlds simultaneously — the divinely decadent Kit Kat Klub and the horrific rise of Nazism. There’s that duality again. Seductive and disturbing, the music of Kander and Ebb can get you from every angle.  —Nancy Armstrong, adjunct associate professor of the practice of theater arts, teaches singing for musical theater.


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theater The Seagull By Anton Chekhov Translated by Ryan McKittrick and Julia Smeliansky Directed by Shira Milikowsky Oct. 3-12 Chekhov’s masterpiece of modern comedy-drama captures what it means to be an artist, and particularly an artist in love. On a 19th-century Russian estate, the family and friends of actress Madame Arkadina gather to watch her son Konstantin’s new play, an event that will dramatically alter the course of all their lives. The theatrical ambitions and unrequited love of Chekhov’s characters soar in a new translation by theater arts faculty member Ryan McKittrick.


COMPANY 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 go.brandeis. edu/btc. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $20; $15 for Brandeis community and seniors; $5 for students. Brandeis Tickets at 781-736-3400 or online at

Cabaret Book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb Directed by Steven Bogart Nov. 21-24 At the dawn of the 1930s, a young American writer is drawn to the decadence of Berlin’s Kit Kat Klub and its outrageous singing star, Sally Bowles. Their unlikely romance is juxtaposed against the rise of Hitler and the poignant courtship of landlady Fräulein Schneider by her Jewish suitor, Herr Schultz. Steven Bogart, who directed the award-winning American Repertory Theater revival, brings a cutting-edge sensibility to this provocative Broadway musical classic.

Suzan-Lori Parks

Studio Series Theater arts students will present a range of workshop-style projects ranging from original plays to musical revues. The fall season includes “Tick, Tick...Boom!,” “[title of show]” and “Matt & Ben.” For more information, visit the Brandeis Theater Company website.

365 Days/365 Plays By Suzan-Lori Parks Directed by Akiba Abaka Dec. 5-8



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After becoming the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama (for “Topdog/Underdog”), Parks spent a year writing a short play every day. The resulting work has since been produced in more than 700 theaters worldwide in one of the largest grass-roots collaborations in theater history. This production features a selection of pieces that explore the everyday, the obscure and everything in between. “Park’s stark but poetic language and fiercely idiosyncratic images [are] haunting and marvelous” —Time. Free and open to the public. fall 2013

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Brandeis undergraduates get into the act with the all-student-produced season of the Undergraduate Theater Collective. UTC productions are held in the Shapiro Campus Center Theater unless otherwise noted. Brandeis Tickets at 781-736-3400 or online at For updated information on the UTC season, visit



The Children’s Hour

Oct. 24-27 In this groovy 1960 farce by Marc Camoletti, swinging bachelor Bernard is engaged to three gorgeous stewardesses and couldn’t be happier. His perfect life turns bumpy when all three come to town simultaneously and catastrophe looms. Produced by Brandeis Players.

Nov. 14-17 “Who am I and who do I want to become?” Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Tony-nominated songwriters of the Broadway musical “A Christmas Story,” wrote this coming-of-age song cycle as undergraduates. Produced by Tympanium Euphorium.

Nov. 21, 23-24 Gossip triggers a shocking chain of events with extraordinary consequences at a girls’ boarding school in 1930s New England. Lillian Hellman’s classic drama was banned in Boston in 1934. Find out why. Produced by Hillel Theater Group.

Almost, Maine

Culture X, 2013

Oct. 31-Nov. 3 As the northern lights hover above the town of Almost, Maine, residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and hilarious ways. Hearts are broken and they mend — almost — in this comic midwinter night’s dream by John Cariani. Produced by Brandeis Ensemble Theater.



Nov. 7-10 On a dark winter night, a ghost walks the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark and a noble mind is overthrown. Is Shakespeare’s famed prince seeking justice or revenge? Find out what’s to be. Produced by Hold Thy Peace.

PERFORMING ARTS CLUBS Brandeis is home to more than 30 student arts and culture clubs, including a cappella groups; improv comedy teams; and ballet, folk, modern, hip-hop and ballroom dance troupes. Through the Intercultural Center, students of international backgrounds present performances that celebrate their diverse cultural traditions. For more information, visit clubs.html.

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music PROFESSIONAL CONCERTS The Brandeis Department of Music hosts an exceptional series of professional concerts each year featuring faculty and visiting artists. Unless otherwise noted, concerts are in Slosberg Music Center. Brandeis Tickets: 781-736-3400 or online at

Back to the Classics Friday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m. Naoko Sugiyama returns to Slosberg for a concert of Mozart and Beethoven works for piano, followed by Schubert’s mighty and soulful Piano Trio in B-flat major, joined by Susanna Cortesio Ogata, violin, and Jacques Lee Wood, cello. Tickets are $20; $15 for seniors and Brandeis community. Free to students.

Evan Hirsch and Sally Pinkas

Saturday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. A celebration of the beloved professor emeritus and acclaimed neoclassical composer by pianists Evan Hirsch and Sally Pinkas. Program includes Shapero’s Four-Hand Sonata (1941), Sonata in F minor (1948), and Variations in C minor (1947). Free and open to the public.

Dead Sea Scrolls: Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble Saturday, Oct. 5, 8 p.m. The world premiere of “Where It Finds Nothing But the Wind,” composed by Eric Chasalow and inspired by the exhibition Dead Sea Scrolls: Life in Ancient Times, hosted by the Museum of Science, with Brandeis as educational partner. Boston’s finest new-music ensemble performs the work, which features soprano Tony Arnold with flute, guitar, percussion and electron-


Eric Chasalow

ics. Tickets are $20; $15 for Brandeis community and seniors; $5 for students.

Jazz in the Afternoon


Wednesday, Oct. 9, 12 p.m. Mandel Center for the Humanities Add pizazz to your day with bassist Bob Nieske, director of the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble, and special guest Billy Novick on clarinet. Lunch provided. Free and open to the public.

Solar Winds Quintet with Jill Dreeben Sunday, Oct. 13, 3 p.m. This versatile Boston woodwind ensemble, known for its inventive, insightful programs, combines the traditional and the unexpected. Featuring Brandeis flute instructor Jill Dreeben. Tickets at the door. $15/$10 seniors. Free to students.


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Harold Shapero: A Tribute

Solar Winds Quintet

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How Brandeis shaped the sound of the 20th century

by Jared Redmond

Alvin Lucier in BEAMS

Harold Shapero, photographed by Gordon Parks

Erwin Bodky

“BRANDEIS MUST CREATE THE VERY FINEST of musical education, else it is better that we do not start.” This was the challenge thrown down by Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Serge Koussevitsky to the very young Brandeis University. On the conductor’s recommendation, the German harpsichordist and musicologist Erwin Bodky became the first member of the School of Creative Arts faculty, arriving in fall 1949 to teach a single full course. Carole Kessner ’53, one of Brandeis’ first music majors, recalls Bodky telling that class, “My job is to get you to love music.” Bodky did just that, and with the blessing of President Abram Sachar, the new School of Creative Arts built up its reputation as a home for an extraordinary range of music luminaries. In 1950, at the urging of Leonard Bernstein, composer Irving Fine joined the faculty. Brandeis’ ideals and reputation attracted illustrious composers such as Marc Blitzstein and Aaron Copland, even though the emergent campus could offer as lecture hall only a former kennel known as the “banana,” a curved yellow stucco structure from the campus’s days as a medical and veterinary college. In 1953, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences inaugurated its programs with one in music composition and hired composer Arthur Berger. The commitment Brandeis showed to music as a whole was unusual for a university at this time (President Sachar recalled Bernstein being unable to earn academic credit for piano while at Harvard), but the emphasis on compositional training for the fledgling institution was truly remarkable. Brandeis composition faculty have contributed widely celebrated music and theoretical scholarship. Berger co-founded Perspectives of New Music, which remains a dominant contemporary music journal. In 1969, Alvin Lucier created his famous tape work “I Am Sitting in a Room” in BEAMS (Brandeis Electro-Acoustic Music Studio), the same studio used by current students. Yehudi Wyner received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music, and Martin Boykan’s pedagogical impact has become something of a contemporary legend, much touted by his most famous pupil, the late Peter Lieberson.

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Harold Shapero, who died in May at the age of 93, led a particularly long and celebrated musical life. Along with Fine and Berger, Shapero was a member of the socalled “Boston School” and was heavily influenced by Stravinsky’s neoclassicism. Later, these and others composed with Arnold Schönberg’s 12-tone technique, as did Copland and Stravinsky themselves. These days, the nondogmatic, omnivorous aesthetic appetites of our “postmodern” time are securely installed. Invigorating rhythms; angular, precise marriages of electronic and acoustic tones; and playful, vivid colors inhabit the music of David Rakowski, Eric Chasalow and Yu-Hui Chang, respectively. Under their tutelage, a student composer is guaranteed three unique and sophisticated approaches to analysis and compositional technique. —Jared Redmond is a Ph.D. student in composition and theory.



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music MUSICUNITESUS Music unites communities across global cultures, providing pathways to social justice and coexistence. The 2013-14 season brings to Brandeis residencies by world-renowned performers: this fall, the Music From China ensemble, and in the spring, Trio Da Kali, performing contemporary griot music from Mali. For a full residency schedule, visit

Silk and Bamboo: Music From China

Noontime Concert: Music From China

World Music Concert: Silk and Bamboo

Residency: Nov. 20-23 Music From China invokes the subtlety and power of both traditional and contemporary Chinese music. Artistic director and erhu soloist Wang Guowei leads the ensemble in sizhu, one of the most popular Chinese music genres. Comparable to Western chamber music, sizhu, or silk and bamboo (for the silk strings and bamboo flutes), is commonly heard in the informal atmosphere of the Chinese teahouse. The Saturday night concert will include Jiangnan sizhu as well as Cantonese music. There will also be solo and ensemble music featuring erhu, pipa, qu zheng, yangqin, ruan and dizi, and a performance of Pu Songling’s “Bizarre Tales” (2011) by Brandeis composer Yu-Hui Chang.

Wednesday, Sept. 18, 12 p.m. Mandel Center for the Humanities Enjoy a preview of the November concert, followed by lunch. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, Nov. 23, 8 p.m. (preconcert talk, 7 p.m.) Slosberg Music Center Tickets are $20; $15 for Brandeis community and seniors; $5 for students. Brandeis Tickets: 781-736-3400 or online at

New Music Brandeis: East Meets West Friday, Nov. 22, 8 p.m. Slosberg Music Center The Music From China ensemble performs new music written for them by Brandeis graduate composers. Free and open to the public.


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The 2013-14 MusicUnitesUS Intercultural Residency Series is supported in part by the CDQ Charitable Trust, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Brandeis Arts Council, the Brandeis Music Department, the Waltham Public Schools, and many other on- and off-campus supporters.


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Improv Collective Tuesday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m. Spontaneous musical combustion. Anything could happen. Tom Hall, director.

New Music Brandeis Saturday, Dec. 7, 8 p.m. Listen to the future with the premiere of music by graduate composer Yiguo Yan. MIKE LOVETT


Brandeis Early Music Ensemble: The Sum of Its Parts Sunday, Dec. 8, 3 p.m. In the 16th century, musicians interwove melodies like threads on a loom. Experience this exploration of their musical fabric. Sarah Mead, director.


Music and Dance of Ghana

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

Sunday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. Discover the irresistible rhythms of Ghana with a dynamic evening of drumming and authentic dance. Faith Conant, director.

New Music Brandeis: Composers Collective

Handel’s “Messiah” Community Concert

Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. Undergraduate and graduate composers perform new compositions.

Tuesday, Dec. 10, 4 p.m. Shapiro Campus Center Atrium Be a part of a great Brandeis tradition. Sing along with the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra and the University Chorus in the annual community concert of Handel’s magnificent masterpiece. Scores and refreshments are provided.

Brandeis University Chorus and Chamber Choir Saturday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m. Enjoy a harmonic treasury of the classic choral repertory featuring classical, romantic and modern works. James Olesen, director.

Brandeis Wind Ensemble

Sunday, Nov. 24, 3 p.m. You’re invited to a groove party. Cool jazz, post-bop and original compositions. Bob Nieske, director.

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Brandeis Jazz Ensemble


Sunday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m. Delight to five musically diverse performances from the wind repertoire of the past 50 years, one from each decade. Tom Souza, director.

Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra Sunday, Nov. 24, 7 p.m. The BWO performs the “Gaelic” Symphony (1896) by Bostonian Amy Beach and Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra (1942). Neal Hampton, conductor.



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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.

Light Years: Jack Whitten, 1971-73




On view through Dec. 15 Opening celebration: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 5-8 p.m.

Gerald S. and Sandra Fineberg Gallery

or the American abstract painter Jack Whitten, 1970 marked what he calls a “time of reckoning” in his painting, a decisive moment when he erased the hand of the past and moved into his own present. Whitten began a course of experiments with paint that expanded, quite literally, the scale of painting on canvas, and, still more significantly, the possibilities of the medium. He began with the “slab” paintings of 1971, for which he constructed a kind of developing tool — a large wooden T — that pulled acrylic paint across a surface in a single gesture. Moving forward from this success, Whitten made several monumental paintings up to 20 feet long using the developer as well as other tools. “Light Years” also includes experimental drawing studies and small works on canvas made with slices of dried acrylic paint, among the first collages ever made using paint. Incorporating the speed and look of mechanical reproduction with painting’s unpredictable materiality, these works create new forms of light and space that speak directly to contemporary reality. Never before exhibited, these works by Jack Whitten are like a signal that has taken lightyears to reach us. —Katy Siegel, Curator-at-Large

“The history of painting is encoded in the light and space of all paintings produced since the dawn of human consciousness.” —Jack Whitten



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Rose Video 01: “Omer Fast, 5000 Feet Is the Best” Mildred S. Lee Gallery Omer Fast’s 30-minute video “5000 Feet Is the Best” employs both documentary and cinematic techniques to confront America’s military use of drones. (The work’s title refers to the ideal height of a war drone.) “It’s not like a video game. I can’t switch it off. It’s always there,” says the former Predator drone pilot whom Fast interviewed about the technical aspects of his missions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The pilot’s observations are spliced together with a dramatized interview of a fictional drone operator. The fictional interview occurs in three sequences, OMER FAST, STILL FROM “5000 FEET IS THE BEST,” (2011), DIGITAL FILM, 20-MINUTE LOOP. COURTESY GB AGENCY, PARIS; AND ARRIATIA BEER, each offering a different anecdote or BERLIN. STILL: YONN THOMAS extended metaphor on the origins and repercussions of drone technology. By displacing some of the psychotrauma that they describe. By inserting himself into the narrative, logical effects of the job onto an actor, Fast highlights the ethical Fast encourages us to likewise imagine ourselves as a witness and ambiguities of drone surveillance and warfare in society at large. participant in an expanded debate over drones and U.S. foreign Fast, born in Jerusalem and based in Berlin, has said that he policy. “Omer Fast, 5000 Feet Is the Best,” curated by Chris Bedlikes to work with those “whose story is somewhere between ford, inaugurates Rose Video, an ongoing video series housed in an experience and its re-enactment, the push and pull between the newly renovated Mildred S. Lee Gallery. historical time, personal time and dramatic time.” Here, Fast —Lori Cole, Charlotte Zysman Postdoctoral Fellow in the structures the elliptical interview sequences to resemble the Humanities and Lecturer in Fine Arts

Image Machine: Andy Warhol and Photography Lois Foster Gallery This exhibition focuses on Warhol’s exploration of the photographic medium. In addition to appropriating photographs from mass media, Warhol was a photographer in his own right. He left behind more than 100,000 Polaroids and gelatin silver prints of his social life and environment, relatively understudied until the formation of the Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, through which the Rose received the pieces that form the core of this exhibition. Curated by Joseph Ketner and co-organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.



Minimal and More: 1960s and 1970s Sculpture From the Collection Lower Rose Gallery


Collection in Focus: Al Loving Mildred S. Lee Gallery

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visual arts ROSE PROGRAMS & EVENTS Events are free, open to the public, and take place at the Rose unless otherwise noted. Museum tours are offered by student guides trained in Visual Thinking Strategies, an educational approach that encourages a group dialogue rooted in close looking at a few works of art. To schedule a tour, visit the Rose website or call 781-736-3436.

Artist Talk: Omer Fast Tuesday, Sept. 17, 4-5 p.m. Wasserman Cinematheque, Sachar International Center

Symposium: Jack Whitten: Painting, Politics, Technology Saturday, Oct. 5, 2-4:30 p.m. Admissions Center Presentation Room With curator Katy Siegel, Jack Whitten, Michelle Kuo, Mark Bradford, Mingus Mapps and Howard Singerman.

Lecture: Reva Wolf on Warhol Thursday, Oct. 24, 5 p.m. Reva Wolf is professor of art history at SUNY-New Paltz and the author of “Andy Warhol, Poetry and Gossip in the 1960s.”

Curator’s Talk: Joseph Ketner on Warhol Sunday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m. Joseph Ketner is the Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art and Distinguished Curator-in-Residence at Emerson College and a former director of the Rose Art Museum (1998 – 2005).

Close Looking Series Wednesday, Oct. 16, 3:30 p.m. Ellen Smith (Near Eastern and Judaic Studies) and Thomas Doherty (American Studies) discuss Andy Warhol’s “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century.” Wednesday, Dec. 4, 3:30 p.m. Susan Lichtman (Fine Arts) and Faith Smith (English) on Al Loving’s “SelfPortrait #23.”


BRANDEIS STUDENT EXHIBITIONS Brandeis student exhibitions are held in the Dreitzer Gallery in the Spingold Theater Center, unless otherwise noted. 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 go.brandeis. edu/finearts.


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Views From Home and Abroad Sept. 18-Oct. 30 Goldman-Schwartz Art Center Summer work by members of the Class of 2013, supported by the Brandeis Arts Council and the Remis Fund.

Dimensions 3: Sculpture and Photography Nov. 5-26

Fired Up! Senior Exhibition Dec. 4, 2013-Jan. 29, 2014 fall 2013

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Vivian Maier: A Woman’s Lens Oct. 6-Dec. 18 Opening reception: Sunday, Oct. 6, 4-7 p.m. Vivian Maier (1926-2009), a reclusive woman who made her living as a nanny, spent more than three decades taking photographs on the streets of Chicago and New York. After her death, hundreds of her negatives were discovered in a storage locker and have since been printed, catapulting Maier to critical acclaim in the international photography community. Co-sponsored by the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, this is the first Boston-area exhibition of Maier’s photographs.

Vivian Maier, “New York, NY, October 18, 1953.” © Vivian Maier/ Maloof Collection. Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery.

WOMEN’S STUDIES RESEARCH CENTER KNIZNICK GALLERY 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

Unearthed Treasures: The Street Photography of Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier’s Fractured Archive: A Woman’s Story

Turning the Wheel: The Emergence of Women Artists

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 12:30-2 p.m. Slide lecture by photographer Karin Rosenthal, WSRC Scholar.

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 6:30 p.m. Slide presentation by Pamela Bannos, Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Department of Art Theory and Practice, Northwestern University.

Thursday, Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. A panel discussion with Kristen Gresh, Laura Prieto and Francine Weiss, moderated by Parrish Dobson, organized by New England Women in Photography at Simmons College.


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Whether they are making art or uncovering its historical me

Paul Belensky


y family is Russian, and a lot of us are in science, or art, or both. My parents are both research chemists, and my father was a semiprofessional painter in Russia. My siblings both majored in science at Brandeis, and like me, my brother had a second major in studio art. I am a person who spends a lot of time outdoors — I’m a white-water canoe guide — and my art explores both the natural world and the world of ideas. Usually I have an idea for a work of art that comes from some experience in the real world that I flesh out with research. But I never strive for complete realism in my work. To me, “art as transformation” means that art can provide alternative ways to look at things by transforming them into something that’s a bit skewed from direct reality. A lot of the artists who inspire me are collaborators — Os Gêmeos, Die Antwoord, H.R. Giger. Similar to the way scientists pursue innovation through collaboration, I’m interested in large-scale, ambitious art projects or questions that cannot be created or solved by just one person.

From Lucy’s studio practice, I’m learning that it’s important to make multiples of an idea and to be ready to make unexpected changes to adapt to unpredicted outcomes. This has inspired me to keep working with the idea of the giant clam sculpture that Olivia Leiter ’14 and I made out of metal and fabric for the 2013 Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. It was called “Innermost Parts” and inverted the viewer’s expectations of what is hard or soft, inside or outside, truth or imagination. I’m interested in how a biological clam functions compared with this fictional clam. Right now I’m working on a clam that is dysfunctional not because its shell is the wrong material, but because it’s too small.

’14 After completing an intensive five-week independent studio program in New York City this summer, I’m looking forward to senior studio and the Festival of the Creative Arts. Be prepared for something even grander than the clam!


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This summer I assisted Brandeis studio art faculty member Lucy Kim. The first thing we did was go to the beach. She wanted to make a large sculpture mold of textured sand and beach debris at low tide. I helped with preparations — finding a location and building the supports for the mold. At first I was really skeptical. There are so many variables, like the sand and the tide, and the texture is so subtle, but it came out fantastic.

I’m interested in large-scale, ambitious art that cannot be created by just one person.

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rical meaning, these two fine arts majors find joy in

Sofia Retta


complexity and experimentation

y two sisters and I grew up with a desire to travel and know about other cultures. My father is a cultural consultant and my mother is an interpreter and translator; my family is half Mexican. I went to a very, very small high school in Dallas that didn’t have art classes, so coming here I was excited to learn about art in an academic setting and to understand its particular social, historical and political contexts.

When I arrived at Brandeis, I knew I would pursue photography and modern and contemporary art, but I did not expect to become so enthralled with the entire range of art history. As I learn more about the different periods and regions, I am fascinated by the connections I notice between artists and movements from completely different eras. I wonder if Rothko’s abstract expressionist paintings prompt a spiritual contemplation in modern audiences similar to what the decorative patterns in illuminated manuscripts induced in their medieval English viewers. Vermeer’s sensitivity to light and the quiet stillness of his Dutch Golden Age paintings remind me of some of my favorite 20th-century photographers. The dark drama of Caravaggio’s baroque paintings makes me think of Cindy Sherman’s theatrical and challenging self-portraits. These associations remind me of the lasting impact that artwork can have centuries after it is made. Creating my own art is incredibly important to me. Photography is my main mode of artistic expression, and I can often convey thoughts, ideas or feelings in pictures better than I can with words. Taking digital photography classes has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Brandeis, and studying art history has had an immense effect on my own art, providing sources of inspiration and pushing me to take my creative concepts to more complex levels. If I could bring any contemporary artist to campus, I would choose Jenny Holzer or Lorna Simpson. Holzer’s poetic yet unsettling text-based art addresses feminism, consumerism and violence, and would engage not just the arts community but also those interested in humanities. Simpson confronts identity, gender, race, ethnicity and history. Her multimedia artwork could generate compelling discussions within the Brandeis community.

Artists praise, rebel against, criticize and study their societies.

When I come back for my 10th Reunion in 2025, I would love to see an expanded studio art building with new gallery spaces for student exhibitions, darkrooms and digital labs. With these resources, fine arts students could blur boundaries and combine disciplines, explore multimedia studio focuses, and produce personal artistic projects that incorporate art historical research.


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Artists alternatively praise, rebel against, criticize and study their societies — then they create works that in turn have an impact on the world around them. Art can calm and challenge us at the same time. Ultimately, it can open new understandings — not just about our perceptions of history but about the issues we face today.


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art of the matter Ellsworth Kelly, the legendary painter and sculptor whose career has spanned seven decades, received an honorary degree at Brandeis’ 62nd Commencement. Kelly gave a fascinating talk at the Rose Art Museum in front of his painting “Blue White.” The Rose Art Museum continues to flourish with new staff, including: Nancy Gunn, director of development; Hepzibah Rapoport ’13, collections maintenance technician; Katy Siegel, curator-at-large; and Jennifer Yee, patron services coordinator. Lizbeth Krupp will chair the Rose board of overseers for the next three years. Krupp is a collector of antiquities and contemporary art and serves on the board of the trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


Ellsworth Kelly and Rose Art Museum director Chris Bedford

Concert program manager Shawna Kelley has left Brandeis to start a community arts center in Haverhill, Mass., and theater arts faculty member Eric Hill has retired from teaching to return to his career as an actor and director.

Faculty In April, composer Neal Hampton’s musical adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility” opened at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to rave reviews. said: “It’s to be fervently hoped that this superb rendering finds its way [to Broadway] soon.” New faculty recordings include Dan Stepner’s “J.S. Bach Sonatas and Partitas” for solo violin (Centaur); “Fly Away,” Barbara Cassidy, MA ’93, and Eric Chasalow’s album of original folk songs; and pianist Evan Hirsch’s selections from “Olivier Messiaen Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus” (MSR Classics).

Cynthia Cohen, director of Brandeis’ Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, was honored by Boston’s Medicine Wheel Productions. Cindy’s documentary, “Acting Together on the World Stage,” received the Spirit of Place Award at the Orlando Latin American Film & Heritage Festival. The Denver Center’s world premiere of “Sense & Sensibility: The Musical,” 2013


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Seaghan McKay was the projection designer for “On the Town” at Lyric Stage Company and “The Flying Dutchman” at the Boston Lyric Opera, as well as production manager of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” a highlight of Boston’s new Out of the Box Festival.

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Landau and Springsteen, 1974

Susan Lichtman

Joe Wardwell

New books by art history faculty include Gannit Ankori’s biography of Frida Kahlo (Reaktion Books); Talinn Grigor’s “Persian Kingship and Architecture: Strategies of Power in Iran From the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis” (I.B. Tauris); and Charles McClendon’s “Old Saint Peter’s and the Iconoclastic Controversy” (Cambridge University Press).


Sean Downey

Studio art faculty exhibited their artwork around the world, including Sean Downey in Bangor, Maine; Susan Lichtman in Philadelphia and Umbria, Italy; and Joe Wardwell at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass.

Alumni Nora Theatre artistic director Mimi Huntington, MFA ’87, was honored with the 2013 StageSource Theater Hero Award for her service, inspiration and leadership to the Boston theater community. The Boston Jewish Film Festival honored Annette Miller ’58, MFA ’76, at its annual gala.

Adam D. Weinberg ’77, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, announced in June the commission of “Six in Four” by Richard Artschwager, comprising four functioning elevators based on motifs in the late artist’s drawings and paintings for the museum’s new building in Manhattan’s meatpacking district (to be completed in 2015). Music producer Jon Landau ’68 received the 2013 Brandeis Alumni Achievement Award. The former journalist is known for his 1974 statement, “I saw rock and roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” He spent the next 40 years as Springsteen’s record producer and manager.

Composer and violist Mark Berger, Ph.D. ’12, served as guest violist with the Lydian String Quartet last season. In June he performed the premiere of Brandeis composer emeritus Marty Boykan’s Sonata for Viola and Piano (2012), which Boykan wrote for Berger as part of the Music at Eden’s Edge 2013 concert series.


Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” production design by Seaghan McKay ’16, Boston Lyric Opera, 2013

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artifacts Stay in Touch

Theater Clubs

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 go.brandeis. edu/arts. Get even more up-to-the-minute news on the Arts at Brandeis Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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. For a full schedule of theatre productions, visit

Visiting the Rose Art Museum Arts at Brandeis Calendar Online Visit our online calendar for comprehensive event listings, including film, dance, lectures and arts symposia: arts/calendar.

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

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

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

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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.

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20 BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY STATE OF THE ARTS Brontë Velez ‘16, Festival of the Creative Arts, 2013

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

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calendar highlights


“Visions of an Ancient Dreamer,” Brandeis Theater Company, 2013

Tuesday, Sept. 17

Artist Talk: Omer Fast

Wasserman Cinematheque, Sachar International Center

Tuesday, Sept. 17

Fall exhibitions opening celebration

Rose Art Museum

Wednesday, Sept. 18

Noontime Concert: Music From China

Mandel Center for the Humanities

Sept. 18-Oct. 30

Views From Home and Abroad

Goldman-Schwartz Art Center

Saturday, Sept. 28

Harold Shapero Tribute Concert

Slosberg Music Center

Oct. 3-12

The Seagull

Spingold Theater Center

Saturday, Oct. 5

` Dead Sea Scrolls: Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble

Saturday, Oct. 5

Symposium: Jack Whitten: Painting, Politics, Technology

Admissions Center Presentation Room

Oct. 6-Dec. 18

Vivian Maier: A Woman’s Lens

Kniznick Gallery

Sunday, Oct. 6

Opening reception for Vivian Maier: A Woman’s Lens

Kniznick Gallery

Wednesday, Oct. 9

Jazz in the Afternoon

Mandel Center for the Humanities

Sunday, Oct. 13

Solar Winds Quintet with Jill Dreeben

Slosberg Music Center

Wednesday, Oct. 16

Close Looking: Andy Warhol

Rose Art Museum

Thursday, Oct. 24

Lecture: Reva Wolf on Andy Warhol

Rose Art Museum

Oct. 24-27


Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Saturday, Oct. 26

New Music Brandeis

Slosberg Music Center

Oct. 31-Nov. 3

Almost, Maine

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Friday, Nov. 1

Back to the Classics, with Naoko Sugiyama and Friends

Slosberg Music Center

Saturday, Nov. 2

Brandeis University Chorus and Chamber Choir

Slosberg Music Center

Sunday, Nov. 3

Curator’s Talk: Joseph Ketner on Andy Warhol

Rose Art Museum

Nov. 5-26

Dimensions 3: Sculpture and Photography

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center

Thursday, Nov. 7

Turning the Wheel: The Emergence of Women Artists

Women’s Studies Research Center

Nov. 7-10


Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Nov. 14-17


Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Sunday, Nov. 17

Brandeis Wind Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

Nov. 20-23

Silk and Bamboo: Music From China Residency


Nov. 21-24


Spingold Theater Center

Nov. 21, 23-24

The Children’s Hour

Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Friday, Nov. 22

New Music Brandeis: East Meets West

Slosberg Music Center

Saturday, Nov. 23

World Music Concert: Silk and Bamboo

Slosberg Music Center

Sunday, Nov. 24

Brandeis Jazz Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

Sunday, Nov. 24

Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra

Slosberg Music Center

Tuesday, Dec. 3

Improv Collective

Slosberg Music Center

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Close Looking: Al Loving

Rose Art Museum

Dec. 4, 2013-Jan. 29, 2014

“Fired Up!” Senior Exhibition

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center

Dec. 5-8

365 Days/365 Plays

Spingold Theater Center

Saturday, Dec. 7

New Music Brandeis

Slosberg Music Center

Sunday, Dec. 8

Brandeis Early Music Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

Sunday, Dec. 8

Music and Dance of Ghana

Slosberg Music Center

Tuesday, Dec. 10

Handel’s “Messiah” Community Concert

Shapiro Campus Center Atrium

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Slosberg Music Center

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State of the Arts, Fall 2013, Brandeis University  
State of the Arts, Fall 2013, Brandeis University  

The bi-annual Brandeis arts magazine, State of the Arts, explores the role of art in society, celebrates the achievements of students, facul...