ARTS FIRST is Harvard's annual showcase of student and faculty creativity. Produced by the Office for the Arts, with support from the Board of Overseers of Harvard College, the festival is a public event with many free performances and activities for Harvard and community members of all ages.
Highlights from Last Year’s Festival
Thursday, April 28, 4 pm
He received the Arts Medal from President Drew Gilpin Faust in a ceremony on April 28, 2016, moderated by John Lithgow ’67 ArD ‘05, Master of the Arts at Harvard.
Watch the Harvard Arts Medal Ceremony honoring Frank Gehry GSD '57, ArD ’00 recorded Thursday, April 28 at Farkas Hall (event starts at 21:40).
On the Plaza
ARTS FIRST comes alive at Harvard’s popular gathering place!
The ARTS FIRST weekend kicked off with a free concert under the Plaza tent. New Director of Jazz Ensembles, Yosvany Terry, a Grammy-nominated saxophonist/composer, made his ARTS FIRST debut leading the Harvard Jazz Band. Tia Fuller, saxophonist and Berklee faculty member, was the guest artist.
11 am: Stravinsky's Petrushka performed by Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra
A puppet’s progress: Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra (HRO) led by Maestro Federico Cortese performed the score from Michel Fokine’s celebrated 1910 ballet.
12 pm: Ballroom Gets Bold with Harvard Ballroom Dance Team and Orpheus Ensemble
Move over, Fred and Ginger—waltz, tango, salsa! And more! Harvard Ballroom Dance Team hit the floor accompanied by the student musicians of the Orpheus Ensemble (Gabe Fox-Peck ‘19, piano/melodica; Philip Golub ‘16, piano/ melodica; Sumire Hirotsuru ‘16, violin; Carlos Snaider ‘17, electric guitar; and others).
12:30 pm: Welcome from John Lithgow '67, ArD '05
1-3 pm: Global Voices
The universal language of music is shared through performances featuring mariachi, Indonesian music, American spirituals and musical theater works.
3-5 pm: DanceFest
From breakdancing to bhangra, capoeira to contemporary, Korean hip hop to tap, Bollywood and beyond: a celebration of more than 20 dance traditions from around the world.
A dynamic musical double feature! Two of Harvard‘s resident professional ensembles performed under the tent: the grooves, melodies and percussive power of the eclectic and dynamic Silk Road Ensemble; the energetic, compelling interpretations of varied repertoire—from classical to romantic to new music—by the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet, currently the Music Department Blodgett Distinguished Artists-in-Residence.
Roll over, Beethoven, and rock the Plaza! Performances by Harvard’s best bands were judged by an expert panel of campus music aficionados, as well as the audience. The winning group: Shitzu Jujitzu!