Hundreds of performers, visual artists surround Waltham campus for Leonard Bernstein Festival

WALTHAM – Be on the lookout as innovative art emerges from unexpected places at this year’s Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts.

Arts events will encompass the campus, indoors and out. Work created especially for the festival will be exhibited, and performance art “happenings” – mash-ups of dance, theater, and music – will pop up in various locations from now to May 1.

The Brandeis Electro-Acoustic Music Studio will sponsor a 12-hour marathon of experimental media and electronic music by an international roster of musicians and composers in conjunction with the Boston Cyberarts Festival.Performers will include Mari Kimura, Michael Lowenstern, Shanna Gutierrez, Krista Reisner, Geoffrey Burleson, Phoenix Ensemble, Phillip Staudlin, and Talea Ensemble.

Waltham artist Judy Thomas’s large-scale sculpture/installation called “Tendrils” will envelop the Shapiro Campus Center.

Among the many student performances, highlights include the irreverent satire of teen angst “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” by Bert V. Royal, directed by Summer Williams of Boston’s Company One; and A Cappela Fest, a charity concert featuring nearly 200 Brandeis students and concluding with a tribute to Michael Jackson.

In the visual arts, the Rose Art Museum will host conversations about collection works by Warhol and Wesselmann, as well as tours of its exhibition “Regarding Painting.” The Kniznick Gallery at the Women’s Studies Research Center will present “Golum and Dybbuk,” a site-specific installation by Chicago-based artist Jessica Riva Cooper; and works by graduate students in studio art will be on view.

On Sunday, May 1, in honor of founder Leonard Bernstein’s commitment to engaging young people in the arts, the festival offers an afternoon of dozens of free performances for families. Guest performers and artists include the Guy Mendilow Band, Sidewalk Sam, and family performers Keith Munslow and Len Cabral. The 19-piece brass band What Cheer? Brigade, from Providence, and the Boston Hoop Troop will give a roving performance.

Brandeis’ FolkFest, which once showcased the young Bob Dylan, will offer musical sets by a new generation of up-and-coming folk artists: Danielle Miraglia, Jolly Beggars, Jim’s Big Ego and Ryan Fitzsimmons. The renowned Lydian String Quartet closes the festival with a free concert of music by Debussy and Bernstein on Sunday, May 1 at 8 p.m.

For a complete schedule, visit the Festival of the Creative Arts website. All events are handicapped accessible and all are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Highlights:

Saturday, April 30

BEAMS Electronic Music Marathon. A 12-hour concert of 50 electronic and mixed-media works by emerging and established composers from around the world – as well from Boston University, Harvard University, New England Conservatory, and Northeastern University — with an international array of top performers. Noon – midnight, Slosberg Music Center.

Sunday, May 1

Family Day,1 to 5 p.m.
An afternoon of free dance, music and theater performances, plus children’s art activities.

Highlights:

Guy Mendilow Band:Guy returns to the Festival to debut the Ladino Project, a dynamic blend of ancient Sephardi music driven by Brazilian street beats and tempered with blues. Enjoy vibrant musical storytelling awash with warm vocal harmonies, intricate textures and spellbinding rhythms. 1 p.m., Shapiro Campus Center Theater.

What Cheer? Brigade:The outrageous 19-piece brass band encircles the Brandeis campus with musical mayhem and an explosion of good cheer influenced by Bollywood, the Balkans, New Orleans, Samba and hip-hop. Begins on the Great Lawn at 2 p.m.

Words and Music by Keith Munslow:Young and old alike will delight in Keith Munslow’s unique mix of funny and original songs and stories, tongue-twisting poems and oddball characters. Visit Keith at Kids’ Place Live on Sirius Radio! 2 p.m., Rose Art Museum.

Brandeis FolkFest:featuring some of New England’s most exciting young singer/songwriters, including Danielle Miraglia, Jolly Beggars, Jim’s Big Ego and Ryan Fitzsimmons. Hosted by Geoff Bartley. 2:30 – 5 p.m., Shapiro Campus Center Theater.

Lydian String Quartet
Currently celebrating their 30th anniversary at Brandeis’s resident music ensemble, audiences around the world have thrilled to the exceptional musicianship of the Lydians. “The Lydian Quartet seems to have arrived at its prime, finding a balance between instinct and intellect, exploration and experience, brains and heart.” — The Boston Globe

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