Ever noticed how the sound at Zellerbach is rich, resonant — heroic, even? It's thanks to a system called Constellation created by Berkeley's Meyer Sound.
Nearly 50 years ago, composer Igor Stravinsky sat in the audience at Zellerbach Hall, nodding vigorously as his “Symphony of Psalms” and “Oedipus Rex” were played to celebrate the opening of the concert hall. This Sunday afternoon, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen will recreate that inaugural concert.
A world premiere of a Mark Morris work, the first fully staged performance of an opera in 270 years, a restaging of a groundbreaking collaboration between John Adams, Lucinda Childs and Frank Gehry, a residency by London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, a choral festival, and a complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets are among the highlights of the 2016-17 season of Cal Performances.
On a recent Tuesday Lower Sproul Plaza teemed with grade school children wearing Mardi Gras beads, buzzing, twirling and blinking in the sunlight after a Cal Performances matinee SchoolTime concert by Haitian star Emeline Michel. Inside of Zellerbach, Michel seemed equally energized after the show, a preview of the music she’ll be performing 8 p.m. Saturday as part of globalFEST: Creole Carnival, a Cal Performances triple bill with the great Rio samba band Casuarina and Jamaican guitar master Brushy One String.
TAKACS QUARTET One of the world’s great string quartets, Sunday’s Cal Performances concert by the Takács Quartet includes works by Haydn, Brahms and the 30-year-old, California-born, Brooklyn-based Timo Andres. The program opens with Haydn’s G minor, Op. 74, No. 3, “The Rider,” one of his most popular quartets. Andres’ “String Language” was composed for the Takács, who premiered it last November in Baltimore. The program closes with Brahms’ third and final quartet (although written mid-career), the B-flat major, Op. 67. 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 21, Hertz Hall. Tickets starting at $64 from Cal Performances. (more…)
IRA GLASS If you’re a fan of This American Life (and if you’re not, you should start listening), you know host Ira Glass’s steady, deadpan tone. Cal Performances brings Glass together with choreographer Monica Bill Barnes and dancer Anna Bass for an unusual combination of “live talking and dancing and radio snippets.” Barnes, “the Tina Fey of dance,” according to the Washington Post, combines elements of vaudeville and dance to pair with Glass’s “signature wit and charm.” Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host will be performed Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Tickets available from Cal Performances. (more…)
The big bang of 20th-century ballet was detonated by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, a generative explosion that sent creative waves sweeping across the Americas, all the way to Berkeley. With Twyla Tharp in town for a Cal Performances residency to celebrate her fiftieth year as a choreographer on Oct. 16-18, Berkeley’s deep dance history is embodied Ramona Kelley (who connects with Ballet Russe by about three degrees of separation).
SOLANO STROLL The forecast is for a break in the heatwave this weekend, so it should be pleasant to amble down Solano Avenue with tens of thousands of others on Sunday at the annual Solano Stroll. As always, Berkeleyside is a media sponsor of the Stroll, and we’ll be there with our booth — conveniently located in front of iScream ice-cream shop at 1819 Solano Ave. Come by and say hello! In addition to Berkeleyside, you can enjoy the parade (which kicks it all off at 10 a.m.), plenty of live music, mechanical rides, juried hand-crafters, food and drink, and hundreds of local organizations in over 1 mile of free family fun. Sunday, Sept. 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (more…)
A gala outdoors performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a novel mixture of Olivier Messaien and Berkeley photographer Deborah O’Grady, a rare visit from Paris’ Ensemble Intercontemporain, and Twyla Tharp’s 50th anniversary tour are among the highlights for Cal Performances 2015-16 season, which was announced this week.
EARTH DAY The Brower Center is hosting its first-ever Earth Day Festival, on Saturday, April 18 from noon to 6 p.m. There will be hands-on workshops, live music, family arts activities and organic food tastings, all focused on “protecting and honoring the planet we call home.” Three panels during the afternoon look at carbon farming, climate-friendly consumption and fighting climate change at the neighborhood level. The Ecology Center hosts workshops to show how to reuse common household items and there will be screenings of film shorts on carbon farming. The full schedule is here. Berkeleyside is a media sponsor of the Earth Day Festival. Admission free ($10 suggested donation), The Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way. (more…)
TARTUFFE AT THE REP Molière’s Tartuffe, a satirical attack on religious hypocrisy, still has its sting after 350 years. Berkeley Rep’s production, adapted by David Ball and directed by Dominique Serrand, was acclaimed as “revelatory” by the Chronicle. Actor Steven Epp stars in the title role. If you go on Friday, March 27 (as in tonight!), you can also enjoy the “last call” reception after the play, sponsored by Berkeleyside. Tartuffe is in repertory at the Berkeley Rep through Apr. 12. Tickets from $41 at Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison St. (more…)
SPRING EQUINOX AT CESAR CHAVEZ PARK Gather this evening at the Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar to celebrate the official arrival of spring. The event, led by Lori Lambertson of the Exploratorium Teacher Institute, will include a discussion about the “reasons for the seasons,” the Chavez virtue of HOPE, and other global spring equinox celebrations. Dress warmly: the weather is part of the experience. Friday, March 20, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., sunset is at 7:15 p.m. Cesar Chavez Park, 11 Spinnaker Way, Berkeley. (more…)
GERSHWIN PROJECT Pianist Peter Nero, a two-time Grammy winner, “romps through” George Gershwin’s music with bassist Michael Barnett and vocalist Katherine Strohmaier on Sunday, Feb. 8 at Zellerbach Hall, as part of Cal Performances’ jazz series. Nero’s trio will perform songs from musicals and films like “Strike Up the Band,” “Porgy and Bess,” “Funny Face,” “Girl Crazy,” and “Shall We Dance,” as well as standards from the Great American Songbook. Zellerbach Hall, 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 8. Tickets available from Cal Performances. (more…)
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