Division of Creative Arts news & updates | June 2023

Aris Wang '24, Slosberg Music Center, January 19, 2023. Photo: Dan Holmes

Dear Colleagues,

Spring is finally here. Our community has been busy saying goodbye to our graduating class, which is always bittersweet. I also look back on a year chock-full of activities. My fondest memories include Professor Emeritus Susan Dibble’s dance theater performance “Five Doors One Room,” in which sprightly dancers passed through portals evoking the five doors in the President’s office. The joyful choreography was just what everyone needed. (Scroll down to watch a video interview with cast members.)

Close to the end of the semester was the annual Festival of the Arts organized by our indefatigable Ingrid Schorr, Director of the Arts Engagement. This year’s festival highlighted climate action, featuring events such as “Slowing Down Fast Fashion: Upcycling Workshop.” Many people had fun repurposing old clothing into unique items. After a marathon of grading, I personally needed some great art and music, and found them in the Senior Studio students’ exhibition in the Dreitzer Gallery and at Slosberg where the Lydians played Mozart, Zohn-Muldoon, and Mendelssohn (Fanny, not Felix). The last was a hugely adventurous composer I learned about for the first time here. Fanny, Felix’s sister, was not permitted in her lifetime, due to her gender, “to be a public-facing professional composer,…and she heard her [String Quartet in E-flat Major] performed only once,” explains our new Lydian violinist Julia Glenn. There was more than I have room to mention here, with other highlights described below. Thank you to all the faculty, students, staff, and donors for making this year another year of success in the arts at Brandeis!   

With all best wishes,

Aida Yuen Wong

Head of the Division of Creative Arts

Nathan Cummings and Robert B. and Beatrice C. Mayer Chair in Fine Arts, and Professor of Fine Arts and East Asian Studies


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Adrianne Krstansky (THA) is one of two recipients of the Professor Mark A. Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards in the Humanities and Creative Arts.

Erin Gee (MUS) was selected for the prestigious 29th Annual Herb Alpert Award, an unrestricted prize of $75,000 and a residency at CalArts, given to risk-taking artists in mid-career.

Sarah Mead (MUS) has retired from Brandeis with emeritus status.

Adrianne Krstansky (THA) and Yu-Hui Chang (MUS) were honored with endowed chairs, respectively the Louis, Frances, and Jeffrey Sachar Chair in Creative Arts and the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Music.

Karen Desmond (MUS) has accepted a faculty position at Maynooth University in Ireland as well as a European Research Council award to lead research on medieval music communities in Ireland & Britain.


Andy Wilds has joined the Department of Music as Public Programs & Engagement Manager. In addition to his work as a music administrator (most recently at MIT Music & Theater Arts), Andy is a professional saxophonist and a published arranger of music for saxophone quartet and saxophone and piano. To learn more, visit andywilds.com.


For a complete list of awards and prizes given to students in the Division of Creative Arts, visit brandeis.edu/creative-arts/prizes-awards.

Selected awards

Three graduating seniors from each of the Creative Arts departments received the Exceptional Achievement Award in the Creative Arts, sponsored by Herbert and Sandra Fisher '56 and Gail Fisher '88. Pictured above: Angela Sun, Anthony Quinn, Juliette Lillywhite, Kieran Whitney, Liana Perlman, Anne Liu, Gail Fisher, Alaysia Penso, and Evelyn Inker. (Not pictured: Andrew (Minan) Wang.)

Sienna Bucu '22, PB'23 was awarded a Mortimer Hays-Brandeis Traveling Fellowship to support a year of independent research in the Philippines, Italy, Hong Kong, and Australia resulting in a series of artists books on Filipino care workers.

Abby Miranker '20 was awarded a Fulbright grant to pursue a master’s degree in art history at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, where she will undertake research on contemporary local art collectives.

Angela Sun '23 received the Outstanding UDR Award.

PhD candidate in musicology Alexandra Burkot was awarded the Schwarz Fellowship for Research on Music at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, in Athens, Greece.

PhD candidate in composition and theory Ali Can Puskulcu received a Charles Ives Award Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Alumni Artists Bring Their Work Home to New Campus Gallery

Brandeis has launched the Brandeis Alumni Art Gallery at the recently refurbished Wien Faculty Center. Sponsored by the Brandeis Alumni Association, the Office of the President, and the Division of Creative Arts, the exhibition series will feature a different group of alumni artists every six months. A pre-launch exhibit opened during the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts and featured paintings and works on paper by Alison Judd '04, PB'05.

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Bob Nieske, bass; Dakota Lichauco ‘25, keyboards; and Sungwon Cho ‘23, saxophone performed at the opening reception of the new art gallery.

Jessica and Ron Liebowitz hosted the opening reception, which artist Alison Judd '04 joined on Facetime.


Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts takes on climate action | BrandeisNOW

The festival took place April 21 through April 30 and celebrated "Art in the Year of Climate Action."

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The following students gave presentations on their research in the creative arts at the 2023 Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations Symposium:

  • Kariyana Calloway-Scott ’23 | Faculty Mentor: lauren woods
  • Juliette Lillywhite '23 | Faculty Mentor: Sheida Soleimani
  • Astrid Schneider ’23 | Faculty Mentor: Sheida Soleimani
  • Angela Sun ’23 | Faculty Mentor: Aida Wong
  • Parker Thompson ’23 | Faculty Mentor: Ellen Schattschneider

2023-24 Creative Arts UDRs

CAST: Meli Jackson '25 & Madison Sirois '25

Fine Arts: Pilar Duvivier '24 and Adie Woolf '25 (Studio Art); Lauren Podhorzer '24 and Ella Amouyal '25 (Art History); Jennifer Podhorzer '24 and Ohemaa Pipim '24 (Architectural Studies)

Music: Grace DeRoche '24, Ken Takeoka '25

Theater Arts: Payton Gunner '24, Liam Delaney '26 and Laya Fridman '25

At-Large Lead UDR

Meli Jackson '25

Two students talk in front of a window


The cast of "Five Doors One Room" reflect on the process of creating original dance theater for the Spingold mainstage.


Uncovering the art and soul of the Brandeis Pottery Club | BrandeisNOW

For decades, the Brandeis Pottery Club has been a creative hub for students from all disciplines to gather and create art together.

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Division of Creative Arts Website