EDITORIAL: Revamped Festival proves exciting
In 1952, Brandeis decided to dedicate 10 days during the Spring semester to highlight and celebrate the students and professors who specialized in the creative arts. Singers, actors, composers, dancers and artists united in a groundbreaking way to bring special attention to the arts at Brandeis. An amphitheater was built for the performances of plays, operas and dances. Miles Davis appeared in an on-campus jazz concert. Merce Cunningham made the trip to campus to choreograph and perform a modern dance. Festival head and Brandeis music professor Leonard Bernstein even wrote an opera, Trouble In Tahiti, especially for the festival.After that stunning premiere, the festival began to lose steam and attention, until it slipped under Brandeis' radar. But now in 2004, under the auspices of he newly-formed Office of the Arts, and the guidance of Scott Edmiston, its director, and Shane Hudson, its Program Coordinator, the Festival of the Arts is being brought back to the forefront of Brandeis' spring semester.
The tireless efforts of these two men have brought the festival out of hibernation. With over 100 events and installations, this year's Festival of the Arts touches on every aspect of the creative arts at Brandeis and beyond. Interpretive and innovative performances by off-campus groups like Snappy Dance Theater are juxtaposed with unique student art installations, student-run and student-performed theatrical productions and countless musical performances by faculty, undergraduates and graduate students alike.
This crossing of genres and media is sure to be thought-provoking, informative and fun. Highlights include Sunday's presentation by producer Marshal Herskovitz after the screening of his film, The Last Samurai. An installation entitled "Hunting War" will include a performer suspended from an overhang in the Shapiro Atrium. There will also be a musical tribute to the festival's founder Leonard Bernstein.
Perhaps most exciting, this year's festivities included Brandeis' first annual SunDeis film festival, New England's only student-run film festival featuring student-made documentaries, animated shorts, and all other manners of cinematic art. In addition to the work of Brandeisians, SunDeis welcomed submissions from students of schools all over the Northeast. Judged among the work of our own peers are films by students from schools like Yale and New York University. The Justice congratulates the first winners of what is sure to be a lively Brandeis tradition.
The work of Edmiston, Hudson and the organizers of SunDeis, as well as all Festival of the Arts participants, deserve the highest praise from everyone at Brandeis. It is through their efforts that the Festival of the Arts will be able to reclaim its prestigious reputation as one of the foremost celebrations of the creative arts in the Boston area. We applaud their determination and passion for the arts.