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Live music returns to Brandeis: Music at Mandel

Live music at Brandeis returns featuring the work of the two person music group BOOMscat. Musicians Asha Santee and Patience Rowe performed at Mandel as a part of a series called Music at Mandel this Tuesday. The return of BOOMscat and the Music at Mandel series marks the continuation of an old tradition after the yearlong pause due to the pandemic; Judith Eissenberg, founder of MusicUnitesUS, a campus-wide organization, notes that lunchtime concerts have been a Brandeis tradition since the beginning of her career at Brandeis in 1980. 

The MusicUnitesUS program was founded in 2004 with the mission of furthering the appreciation for numerous cultures through the medium of music, according to their website. Since its inception, the organization has highlighted the musical traditions from six different continents, Eissenberg described in an email interview with The Brandeis Hoot. Brandeis University has been host to musicians from Azerbaijan, Ghana, India, Korea, Peru, Syria, Turkey and more. The artists use music and storytelling to convey aspects of the history, society and cultural traditions to the public. 

“There’s something about music that invites empathy–that powerful shape-shifting quality,” Eissenberg wrote in an email to The Hoot. 

The MusicUnitesUS program facilitates the connection between creative projects and academic inquiry, according to their website. For one-week-long periods during the semester, the program hosts artists whose work and background pertain to a certain social, political or cultural setting. These one-week programs are called residencies. Brandeis students can participate in workshops that integrate the curricula of current classes, panels or guest speakers and informal gatherings for the participants. 

In addition to the residencies, the program organizes concerts such as those performed in Mandel, as well as a final concert in Slosberg Music Hall. In partnership with the Waltham Public School system, the artists and staff of MusicUnitesUS take part in outreach programs to help propagate the mission of integrating the sharing of diversity and culture through the medium of music. 

During the pandemic, the residencies were all shifted to a remote mode, Eissenberg explained in her email. Instead of a final concert, the artists created a new film showcasing their work. The event garnered the attention of approximately one thousand online viewers, cites Eissenberg.

More live performances are yet to come. The Brandeis Concert Series page details the upcoming events available for the Brandeis community at the Mandel Center for Humanities. 

“I love the connection between the Humanities and the Arts … and the space is fun!” Eissenberg said. 


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