Division of Creative Arts news & updates | February 2024

Dear Colleagues,

The spring semester at Brandeis began with a splash with the Brandeis Creative Arts Award to the violinist Midori. She performed to a full house in Slosberg, held a master class with students, and discussed her music education projects around the world. Looking back on the early part of her career, she acknowledged Leonard Bernstein as an important inspiration. Bernstein was, of course, also a mentor to Seiji Ozawa, who recently passed away. Joy and sadness, entrances and exits—all frequently converging in the arts—help us experience the world more deeply.

This year, we celebrate the retirement of two faculty members in Fine Arts, Susan Lichtman and Charles McClendon. Their support for students as well as their junior colleagues through the decades has been unwavering. Susan and Charles will be dearly missed.

New curricula are constantly evolving to better meet our educational mission and student needs, such as Jen Cleary’s course in Theater Arts on “Wellness and Sustainability in the Theatrical Process,” which spotlights techniques of “communication, collaboration, boundary-setting, and conflict resolution.” This course is cross-listed with our interdepartmental program in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation.

As I write this on Valentine’s Day, with the love tunes performed by music faculty Bob Nieske and his collaborator Billy Novick at Music at Mandel freshly on my mind, I wish for your spring season to be filled with affection and cherished moments.

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

Midori with violinist Hugh Park '26 

Photo by Dan Holmes/Brandeis


Midori Gotō, a visionary violinist, activist, and educator, is the 2023 recipient of the Brandeis Creative Arts Award, a program of the Brandeis Division of Creative Arts, is made possible by the Poses Fund.

In the four decades since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 11, Midori has performed with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and has collaborated with world-renowned musicians including Leonard Bernstein, Yo-Yo Ma, and many others. She is the newly appointed Artistic Director of Ravinia Steans Music Institute’s Piano & Strings program.

The violinist hosted a master class in Rapaporte Treasure Hall on December 1, 2023. She received her award from President Ron Liebowitz on January 18, 2024 in the Slosberg Music Center. The ceremony was followed by a recital performance accompanied by pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute.


After 43 years with the Department of Fine Arts, Professor Susan Lichtman is retiring -- and allowing her department to celebrate her. Through March 10, Susan's paintings are on view at the Rose Art Museum alongside some of her favorite works from the collection, in the exhibition Susan Lichtman: At Home at the Rose. On February 8, Susan spoke about her work with Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator, followed by a reception at the Faculty Club attended by many colleagues, students, and friends.


Thursday, March 21, 3-5 pm

Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library

Sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts

Neoplatonism in a Nutshell

Jeffrey Hamburger, Kuno Francke Professor of German Art & Culture, Harvard University

The Patron, Always the Patron

Virginia Raguin, Distinguished Professor of Humanities Emerita, College of the Holy Cross

Finding Your Roots

Dustin Aaron'14, Assistant Professor, Theory and History of Art and Design, Rhode Island School of Design

RSVP to attend


Sonia Almeida (FA) held a conversation with curator Bruno Marchand about artist books and the role of printed matter in her work at the Simone Subal Gallery in New York City on November 4, 2023. The gallery also celebrated the publication of Almeida's monograph "Ó (o acute)," produced for her solo exhibition at Culturgest, Lisbon.

Cameron Anderson (THA) will open the musical version of the national bestseller children’s book series The Cat Kid Comic Club at the Lucille Lortel Theater this summer, followed by a national tour.

Composer Yu-Hui Chang (MUS)'s album “Mind Like Water” was released by New Focus Recordings in January. The album presents three ensemble works and one solo cello piece and features the Lydian String Quartet, among other performers.

Tory Fair (FA)'s solo exhibition, "Ground," at A.D.NYC in New York, is on view through March 9.

Neal Hampton (MUS)’s musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility will be performed at the Minack Theater, Cornwall, UK, in June 2024.

In December 2023, the Lydian String Quartet--Andrea Segar and Julia Glenn, violins; Mark Berger, viola; Joshua Gordon, cello (MUS)--recording of Henri Lazarof’s String Quartet No. 6 was released by the Immersive Music Project.

Toni Shapiro-Phim (CAST) served on the Peace Research Institute of Oslo's first-ever INSPIRE Art Award panel, selecting finalists from across the globe whose artistic practice is or has been affected by violent conflict.

Robert Walsh (THA) appeared in Trouble in Mind, directed by Dawn M. Simmons, for the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, January 12 through February 4.

Aida Yuen Wong (FA) published "Kang Youwei" In Creators of Modern China: 100 Lives from Empire to Republic 1796-1912. Edited by Jessica Harrison-Hall and Julia Lovell, pp. 286-89. London: British Museum, 2023.


Janet Morrison passed away on December 26, 2023 in her Watertown home at the age of 71. Janet retired in 2017 as an Associate Professor of Theater Arts after nearly 25 years.

Janet (pictured here with colleagues Marya Lowry and Susan Dibble) enjoyed a successful career as an actor and director, working with professional theater companies such as Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Hartford Stage, and the Nora Theatre Company. She directed numerous productions at Brandeis, but she discovered that her true passion and calling was the teaching of acting. She dedicated herself body and soul to her students, many of whom went on to become successful actors in theater and film or dedicated teachers themselves. Janet was respected and beloved as a committed mentor, a supportive colleague, a true collaborator and a trusted leader in the Theater Arts Department.

The Department of Theater Arts will host a memorial for Janet on May 11, 2024. Please email [email protected] if you would like to learn more about the event.


The Division of Creative Arts Council has set aside $500 this year for professional development for one full-time Creative Arts staff member. Payment will be in the form of a reimbursement. Examples of eligible expenses include conference or workshop fees. Please contact Christine Kahn ([email protected]) if you have a question about whether an expense can be covered. We cannot reimburse for materials. Reimbursement must be requested before June 30, 2024, and the expense must be incurred during the 2023-24 fiscal year. To apply, please click on the link below and submit the form by February 29, 2024.

Application form


Wolf Play

Friday, March 8 at 8 pm

Saturday, March 9 at 2 pm and 8 pm

Sunday, March 10 at 2 pm

Laurie Theater, Spingold Theater Center

Wolf Play, by Hansol Jung, is a messy, funny, disturbing theatrical experience grappling with a wolf, a puppet and the very prickly problem of “What is a family, and what do we need from families today? Is it very different from what humans have needed from families before?” Directed by Sarah Shin.

Reserve your free tickets

Eric Chasalow: Muriel's Songs

Saturday, March 16, 7:30 pm 

Slosberg Music Center

Eric Chasalow's new song cycle, Muriel's Songs, will be performed in the 2024 DiLuzio Concert, presented by the Women’s Studies Research Center. The work was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation for the Boston new music group Sound Icon. The soloist will be soprano Sharon Harms. Cosponsored by the Department of Music.

Reserve your free tickets

Rise Up Exhibition - Work by Studio Arts Majors and Minors

Through March 3

Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center



Payton leans against a speaker holding a set of headphones. She is backstage in a theater.

As a stage manager, Payton Gunner '24 finds the logical processes inherent in theater.

A man playing standup bass and a young woman playing piano

For Dakota Lichauco '25, the arts are a key to a balanced education.

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