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In the News

Press Release (October 19, 2003)

New music program at Brandeis aims to enrich Waltham public school curricula

WALTHAM, Mass. -- More than 100 fifth graders will gather at Brandeis University 1:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 17 to take part in Music Unites, an exciting new program that integrates music in the curricula of Waltham public schools. The students from Fitzgerald and Northeast schools will participate in a concert at Slosberg Recital Hall featuring the internationally renowned Lydian String Quartet (LSQ), resident artists at Brandeis since 1980. The LSQ will present a program of music from around the world, including Russia, the British Isles, France, Austria, Argentina, and the United States.

The program, created by violinist Judith Eissenberg, a founding member of the Lydians, is based on the premise that “music is a common language that can unite diverse cultures”, and “ shape children’s ability to act ethically and responsibly in an increasingly complex world”.

Teachers from participating classrooms create lessons relating to the historical and social aspects of the cultures represented in the music programs. These lessons precede each program, linking the classroom curriculum to the music performances. For example, a class on repression in the former Soviet Union might precede a performance of the music of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. “The idea is to reveal music’s power to reflect society and to connect people across cultures”, said Eissenberg.

Future concerts

A second program is planned for November, featuring two musicians from Africa, in conjunction with the Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence at Brandeis University. Visiting Slifka fellows Nicholas Kotei Djanie (Johannesburg, SA), and Lena Slachmuijlder (Bujumbura, Burundi), will be performing. Their work in Africa promotes reconciliation in divided communities through African drumming, music, and song. Two other programs, each representing other cultures will be scheduled for the second half of the academic year.

Brandeis University

Brandeis University offers one of the best small, professional quality concert halls in the Greater Boston area: Slosberg Recital Hall. Having the performances in this venue serves two purposes: to expose students to high quality music in a professional venue, and to invite the students to a valuable resource in their community. With its many programs and departments, including the Education Program to prepare teachers entering the field of education, and the Music Department, Brandeis seeks to offer its resources to the surrounding community and make a difference in the lives of Waltham schoolchildren.

The Lydian String Quartet

Since its formation in 1980, the Lydian String Quartet has inspired critical acclaim worldwide. The quartet's special flair for contemporary music as well as its interpretive mastery of standard repertoire has won the ensemble prizes at international competitions in Canada, France, England and in New York (the prestigious Naumburg Award for Chamber Music).

Winners of a Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the quartet has also received grants from the Meet the Composer/Rockefeller Foundation/AT&T Jazz Program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, and numerous awards from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. The Lydian String Quartet are Artists-in-Residence on the faculty of Brandeis University.

Their recent recording of John Harbison's String Quartet No. 3 and "The Rewaking" was chosen by both the NY Times and The Boston Globe as one of the best recordings of 2001.

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