Cal Performances :: Music, Dance, Theater :: University of California Berkeley

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Dear Friends,

Cal Performances concludes our 2013—2014 season with the fourth annual Ojai North Music Festival (June 19—21), our partnership with the Ojai Music Festival. Ojai North is an important element of Cal Performances' programming philosophy–part of our commitment to collaboration and the art of the innovative. The adventurous spirit that has, for generations, distinguished both the Ojai Music Festival and Cal Performances internationally is in full force throughout Ojai North, which features programs curated by the renowned pianist Jeremy Denk, this year's Ojai Festival Music Director. Mr. Denk's multidimensional approach to a musical life–as performer, teacher, writer, creator, and thinker on music–makes him an ideal choice. The programs he has crafted for Ojai and Berkeley bring together the perfect combination of the very old and the very new, of the ferocious and the contemplative, and of the expected and the surprising. That the centerpiece of Ojai North is two performances of Steven Stucky's opera The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), to a libretto written by Mr. Denk, is testament to his remarkable talents. (Please see "Ojai North: Reverence and Irreverence" for more information about the festival.)

Cal Performances recently announced our ambitious 2014—2015 season. I have often likened Cal Performances to both a museum and a laboratory: a museum where our treasured masterworks are carefully curated and presented in rich historical and cultural context; and a laboratory where the great artists of our day create and nurture innovations that advance the performing arts–such as Mark Morris's Acis and Galatea. As the largest presenter on the West Coast, and uniquely situated within one of the world's premier public research universities, this notion lies at the heart of Cal Performances' responsibility to the preservation and progress of the performing arts.

Our commitment to preservation and progress is demonstrated by the multitude of new works and commissions running throughout our upcoming season. Choreographer Mark Morris, one of Cal Performances' longtime artistic partners, begins our 2014—2015 Dance series by bringing the Mark Morris Dance Group back to Zellerbach Hall from September 25 to 28. The program features six West Coast premières setting music by Henry Cowell and Samuel Barber, among others, and a reprise of Spring, Spring, Spring, Mr. Morris's dance to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, which received its world première at Ojai North last season, when Mr. Morris was its Music Director. Stravinsky's score will again be performed in the re-imagination by the brilliantly eclectic jazz trio The Bad Plus.

On November 14 and 15 we present a major event on our season: Benjamin Britten's Curlew River–A Parable for Church Performance (1964), in a stunning new realization co-produced by Cal Performances. This visionary production, directed by Netia Jones, one of the most exciting directorial voices to emerge from the U.K. in recent years, stars tenor Ian Bostridge and received unanimous critical acclaim in its world première at London's Barbican last fall.

New Music is a principal focus of 2014—2015. Project TenFourteen, our collaboration with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and their galvanizing Artistic Director Steven Schick, features ten world premières over four concerts (November 16, January 25, February 22, and March 29). Chou Wen-chung, Du Yun, Lei Liang, Laurie San Martin, Koji Nakano, Gabriela Ortiz, Elena Ruehr, Agata Zubel, and UC Berkeley's own Ken Ueno all première new works, and the great George Crumb enjoys the world premières of three new compositions. Masterworks of Italian modernism by Luciano Berio and Luigi Nono and Edgard Varèse's pioneering piece for percussion ensemble, Ionisation, also feature on the programs, along with Harrison Birtwistle's The Axe Manual and Gigue Machine, with pianist Nicolas Hodges. Gigue Machine, co-commissioned by Cal Performances and written for Mr. Hodges, received its West Coast première in Hertz Hall in January 2013. Mr. Schick returns to Cal Performances next June as Music Director of the 2015 Ojai North Music Festival.

They Will Have Been So Beautiful: Songs and Images of Now, a concert of photography-inspired songs by ten composers, receives its world première by the Paul Dresher Electro-Acoustic Band and Amy X Neuburg on December 5 and 6. On January 18, the Kronos Quartet, another of our longtime partners, celebrates the music of minimalist composer and UC Berkeley-alum Terry Riley, whose work Kronos has long championed. Pipa virtuoso Wu Man joins the Quartet for Riley's The Cusp of Magic.

New Music also appears on our Chamber and Recital series. On November 23, alongside music by Beethoven and Haydn, the St. Lawrence String Quartet performs Osvaldo Golijov's acclaimed Qohelet (2011), a work the St. Lawrence premièred. The January 13 concert by the remarkable violinist Gidon Kremer and pianist Daniil Trifonov includes music by Philip Glass and Mieczyslaw Weinberg juxtaposed with Mozart and Schubert. And violinist Jennifer Koh's solo recital on March 15 features a new work by John Harbison (co-commissioned by Cal Performances), Berio's Sequenza for violin, and two sonatas by Bach.

Our curatorial spotlight remains on the centenary of the outbreak of World War I during 2014—2015. On December 4, the distinguished vocal ensemble Cantus join actors from Minnesota's Theatre Latté Da to perform All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, a theatrical work that tells the story of the remarkable holiday cease-fire at the height of hostilities on the Western Front. The music and poetry of the Great War is explored in an April 12 recital by tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist Wenwen Du.

The influential French composer Pierre Boulez turns 90 next year, and on March 12 we welcome pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich to perform Boulez's complete music for solo piano and piano four hands–from Notations (1945) to Une page d'Éphéméride (2005)–representing 60 years of his work. Boulez's music exemplifies the height of European modernism, and this rare comprehensive survey is not to be missed.

Closer to home, the works of Berkeley's own world-class composer, John Adams, is the focus of three March concerts by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Cal Performances' 2014—2015 Orchestra in Residence. The programs include Adams's Chamber Symphony, Son of Chamber Symphony, and Shaker Loops, as well as Anders Hillborg's clarinet concerto Peacock Tales with Martin Fröst as soloist. The new season begins in spectacular fashion on August 12, with Yo-Yo Ma performing a selection of Bach's cello suites at the Hearst Greek Theatre. As I have often said, one can never have too much Bach, and Mr. Ma's is among the best.

I look forward to welcoming you throughout the 2014—2015 season.

Matías Tarnopolsky
Director, Cal Performances
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