Brown to mark Lindemann Performing Arts Center opening with public celebration in October

Musician Jon Batiste, violinist Itzhak Perlman and countless creators from Brown will take part in a day of performances, discussion, tours and a parade to celebrate the unique performing arts center in Providence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With its one-of-a-kind Lindemann Performing Arts Center just weeks from opening for the Fall 2023 semester, Brown University will welcome the campus community and the general public for a full day of celebratory events on Saturday, Oct. 21. 

The opening celebration will include a parade led by musician, composer and bandleader Jon Batiste, and a concert featuring violinist Itzhak Perlman, who will perform with the Brown University Orchestra and Brown University Chorus. Other events will include pop-up performances, engaging arts conversations, food trucks and tours of The Lindemann, a radically flexible new center for performance and artistic experimentation designed by REX architecture and located in Brown’s Perelman Arts District.

[Editor's Note: While the public celebration in October will include multiple ways for community members to engage and participate, the previously scheduled parade and “Love Riot” led by musician, composer and bandleader Jon Batiste has been postponed. An updated schedule is available on Brown's news website.]

University President Christina H. Paxson said The Lindemann’s opening marks a transformative new chapter for the arts at Brown — one that, under the leadership of the Brown Arts Institute, will be characterized by new forms of art-marking, new opportunities for creative exploration and innovation, and even more collaboration between creators and scholars across the arts and many other fields of study.

“This truly amazing building promises to inspire innovation and experimentation in ways we can’t even yet imagine,” Paxson said. “We’re delighted to celebrate The Lindemann with our own campus and the greater community for events that will offer an exciting glimpse at how brilliant performers, artists and scholars will engage with this one-of-a-kind facility to push creative boundaries for generations to come.”

Avery Willis Hoffman, artistic director of the Brown Arts Institute, said The Lindemann’s opening festivities will welcome visitors from across and beyond College Hill and the Providence area, underscoring the center’s role as a home for creative partnership with the entire surrounding community.

"A moment that has been years in the making, the opening of The Lindemann Performing Arts Center will unlock new realms of possibility for performance and artistic innovation, further expanding Brown’s role as a leading center for creative inquiry,” Hoffman said. "We welcome the community with open arms — and doors — to explore this exciting space and all that it has to offer as a crossroads and catalyst for creative exchange.”

Launching the celebration with a ‘Love Riot’

Opening festivities on Saturday, Oct. 21, will kick off at noon with a parade that begins on Brown’s College Green, weaves its way through the Perelman Arts District and ends at The Lindemann. Among those joining will be Paxson and other University leaders, BAI faculty and staff, student performers, and members of both the Brown and Providence communities. The parade will culminate in a “Love Riot” led by Jon Batiste, a musician who among many musical accomplishments and roles famously served as bandleader and musical director for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” from 2015 to 2022.

Later that afternoon, members of the public will have the opportunity to tour the 101,000-square-foot performing arts center’s main performance hall and studios, with BAI staff providing information on the spaces’ design and functionality. Among the highlights will be the Nelson Atwater Lobby and its “Infinite Composition,” a site-specific, three-dimensional light work designed by award-winning artist Leo Villareal; the radically flexible main hall, which can transform into five dramatically different configurations for a variety of performances and presentations; and the building’s distinctive “clearstory,” which slices through the building’s façade at stage level revealing the interior of the main floor to passersby in every direction.

Following the parade, a series of forums will bring Brown arts alumni together with students, faculty, and special guests for compelling conversations on the future of the arts. Among the speakers is Joshua Ramus, who led the design of The Lindemann as founder and principal of New York architecture firm REX.

The building’s exterior gathering spots will provide space for community members to congregate in celebration and conversation, with food trucks lining the adjacent Olive Street and pop-up performances providing regular entertainment throughout the afternoon.

The day’s events will close with the inaugural public performance inside The Lindemann’s main hall at 7:30 p.m. Renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman — winner of multiple Grammy and Emmy awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom — will join the Brown University Orchestra and the Brown University Chorus in a performance; he appears courtesy of Primo Artists. The student ensembles will also premiere a newly commissioned piece composed by Associate Professor of Music Eric Nathan and set to poetry written by Assistant Professor of Literary Arts Sawako Nakayasu.

Ryan Sawyer, a senior at Brown concentrating in music, has already spent several hours practicing in The Lindeman’s main performance hall with fellow Brown Orchestra members, marveling at the space’s “advanced acoustics.”  But that’s not the only reason why the percussionist is looking forward to the opening day.

“In the past, things were very decentralized: I had rehearsals in Alumnae Hall and classes in Orwig Music Hall, which are on opposite ends of campus,” Sawyer said. “I’m looking forward to seeing The Lindemann operate as a central hub for performing arts activity on campus.” 

Fellow undergraduate Thomas Gotsch, Brown Orchestra’s incoming vice president, agreed that The Lindemann’s central location will kickstart even more collaboration across artistic boundaries.

“The campus arts scene has this unique spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration,” Gotsch said. “All the time, you see dancers collaborating with theater directors, visual artists working with audio engineers, music composers creating with choreographers. From its flexible high-tech spaces to its central campus location, The Lindemann has the potential to foster that spirit of collaboration even more, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing the art that emerges after it opens.”

Endless possibilities for innovation

Hoffman said the opening celebration will launch IGNITE, a series of cross-disciplinary projects curated by BAI in collaboration with the Brown Arts Program Committee, which includes Brown students, faculty, staff and members of the Providence arts community. Launching in Fall 2023 and running through Fall 2024, IGNITE aims to demonstrate how art can be a powerful vehicle for change. Anchored by six large-scale, collaborative residencies with highly respected international artists who work across artistic mediums, the series will share unique insights into pressing issues such as systemic racism, economic inequality and climate change. Among the IGNITE artists is creator and activist Carrie Mae Weems; draftsman, performer and filmmaker William Kentridge; and renowned spoken-word artist Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz.

For many generations to come, The Lindemann will serve as a hub for artistic expression, research and experimentation at Brown.

Avery Willis Hoffman Artistic Director, Brown Arts Institute
Avery Willis Hoffman speaking to a seated audience

IGNITE will also feature work proposed and produced by arts departments at Brown; open-call projects by students, faculty, alumni and Providence-based artists; and BAI collaborations with other University entities, including the School of Public Health, Data Science Institute and Carney Institute for Brain Science.

According to Hoffman, the Oct. 21 public festivities and the IGNITE series are intended to test the seemingly limitless boundaries of The Lindemann. 

“For many generations to come, The Lindemann will serve as a hub for artistic expression, research and experimentation at Brown,” Hoffman said. “We are excited to explore the building as a critical resource not only for the campus community but also for visiting artists and scholars from Rhode Island and beyond.”

Brown will publish a detailed schedule of events for the opening celebration in the coming months and will make limited tickets for the orchestra concert available in October.