- 08/28/2013 - Free Outdoor Screening in the BAM/PFA Sculpture Garden
- 08/27/2013 - MARK EPSTEIN / The Trauma of Everyday Life
- 08/24/2013 - The goat Rodeo Sessions
- 08/20/2013 - Yang Fudong and Philippe Pirotte in Conversation
- 08/03/2013 - Book Signing and Discussion with Dave Kehr, followed by The Lawless Breed
Tag Archives: Cal Performances
When Cal Performances presents musician-storyteller Laurie Anderson’s Dirtday!, the third part of a trilogy and co-commissioning project begun in 2002, one thing is certain: she won’t be “put in a bin”.
“I try not to label myself,” she says, while seeking words to define her genre in a phone interview several weeks before her Sept. 18 Berkeley appearance. “Music is freer now, there’s no necessity to categorize.” … Continue reading »
By Jason Victor Serinus
In only its second year, the artistic excellence of Cal Performances’ Ojai North festival already rivals anything that San Francisco’s venerable Opera and Symphony produce in late spring.
Ojai North opens today, June 11, and runs through June 14, less than a week after the annual Ojai Music Festival (OMF) concludes its 66th season in its idyllic open air Ventura County setting. Berkeley’s Ojai North offshoot will reprise a good chunk of the performances that … Continue reading »
It’s been at least two generations since jazz stars took on aristocratic titles, otherwise Dianne Reeves would surely be known as The Queen. The gorgeous singer with an even more glorious voice is one of jazz’s most regal figures, an artist who embodies the music’s enduring values of elegance, class and improvisational poise (which isn’t to say that she can’t get earthy when the music requires a little grit).
She’s a performer with a gift for transforming any space she inhabits into her living room, where she spins evocative tails for her listeners. Over the years I’ve seen her tear the roof off little theaters and mesmerize the Hollywood Bowl, where she put together events for several years as the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s first head of jazz programming.
“Small, large, it doesn’t make a difference,” says Reeves, 55, who plays Friday at Zellerbach Hall for Cal Performances with her longtime pianist and music direcotr Peter Martin, bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Terreon Gully, and Brazilian guitar master Romero Lubambo. “No matter where you are, it’s all the same place when it comes to communicating with an audience.” … Continue reading »
Cal Performances launched their 2012-13 season yesterday with a live Skype chat with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, whose Philharmonia Orchestra will be in residence in November. “It’s a neat little program of concerts you’ve got for Berkeley,” Salonen told Cal Performances Director Matías Tarnopolsky. That “neat little program” includes massive pieces: Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, a concert performance of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, and Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.
As Tarnopolsky stressed, however, the 125 performances in the next season cover a bewildering range of genres, scales and periods. As well as the London-based Philharmonia, music director Gustavo Dudamel is bringing his Simón Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela in late November — which will also be the occasion for a conference on music education (Venezuela’s La Sistema is envied worldwide). Three circuses — from China, Canada and Australia — will be performing; there are dance groups from Chicago (both Hubbard Street Dance and the Joffrey Ballet), Russia (both the Mariinsky Ballet and the Eifman Ballet) and Switzerland (the Béjart Ballet); jazz from two Marsalis brothers (both Wynton and Delfeayo); theater, including Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinocéros from Paris’s Théâtre de la Ville; world music including Benin’s Angélique Kidjo and Chucho Valdés & The Afro-Cuban Messengers; and chamber music from the Brentano, Afiara and Kronos quartets, among many others. … Continue reading »
No single concert can capture more than a small fraction of the music of India, a dizzying, multi-ethnic subcontinental nation that is home to one of the world’s oldest classical music traditions (not to mention polyglot pop scenes and numerous folk forms).
But Saturday’s Masters of Percussion concert at Zellerbach Hall features an extraordinary array of artists reflecting the striking contrasts and breathtaking creativity that make India such a vibrant cultural force. A mini-festival presented by Cal Performances, the event is the latest incarnation of a long-running cross-cultural showcase assembled by tabla master Zakir Hussain.
In past years, Hussain designed the evening as an extended encounter between the North Indian Hindustani and South Indian Carnatic traditions, but this season the focus has shifted. The concert still unfolds as a series of solos, duets, and ensemble jams, but rather than an internal Indian dialogue the concert features mostly Hindustani musicians with Uzbek frame drum expert Abbos Kosimov thrown in as a ringer. … Continue reading »
The mighty ship that is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater docked at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall this week for a residency that begins tomorrow, March 13, and runs through March 18. The company’s Artistic Director, Robert Battle, stands as the captain of an organization that has known only two previous leaders.
Battle has choreographed on the company Alvin Ailey founded in 1958 and drove to a pinnacle of international acclaim, before passing the reins to dancer Judith Jamison in 1989, but he has never performed as a member of AAADT.
All of which has meant that the passing of the baton in July 2011 was preceded by a long, intricately planned transition. Battle has been groomed for the role with the same care that is poured into each movement the dancers execute. … Continue reading »
On Friday and Saturday, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will present “Story/Time” at Zellerbach Hall courtesy of Cal Performances. Lou Fancher previews the show with the company’s Associate Artistic Director Janet Wong, and, below, sits down with Jones himself to talk about the new project and the impact it is having on his life’s work
When the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company catapults onto the stage at Zellerbach Hall on February 24 and 25, even the dancers won’t know exactly what will happen.
Just a few hours before the 8:00 pm curtain, they will have lined the backstage hallway, learning the sequence spewed out by Random.org and refined under the watchful eye of Bill T. Jones and his Associate Artistic Director Janet Wong.
“We use Random to spin the material to determine which story goes where and what dancer does which part,” Wong explains, in a 45-minute phone interview a week before opening night. “Everyone has a chart: sometimes it’s brilliant and sometimes it’s horrible.”
Her evaluations are hardly begin to reflect Wong’s high standards and intense commitment to Jones, with whom she has worked for decades.
“The reason Bill wanted to do this piece is that John Cage is a mentor,” she says, citing the inspiration for the new work. … Continue reading »
As Cuba’s latest piano sensation, Alfredo Rodríguez knows he’s walking in exalted company. A graduate of the Manuel Saumell Conservatory, the same Havana institution that launched Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Manuel Valera, Rodriguez found out early on that prodigious talent could be a passport to an illustrious musical career.
“Knowing that Gonzalo had gone there, it’s a very big deal,” says Rodríguez, 26, from his home in Los Angeles. “In the school, they just teach classical music. It’s on the street that you play popular music and discover jazz. In my case, I love classical music and jazz too. Improvisation is the most important thing to me in the music. It’s my passion.”
Rodríguez makes his Berkeley debut Sunday when Cal Performances presents his solo recital at Hertz Hall. While he often tours with a trio the pianist is completely at home alone at the keyboard, a setting that allows him to fully explore his virtuosic technique and boundless imagination. … Continue reading »
By Lou Fancher
Trey McIntyre is bringing his Boise-based dance company to Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall on November 18th and, along with it, a paradox.
The Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) began as a pick-up company in 2004. During summer months, the towering dance maker (at 6’6” tall, he’s hard to miss,) and his treasure trove of talented professionals, bounced across the country to roaring success and rave reviews. Already one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”, McIntyre spent the rest of the season earning accolades and commissions to choreograph for Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Memphis, Washington Ballet, and the Bay Area’s Smuin Ballet, Diablo Ballet and Sacramento Ballet. His was a sweet gig. … Continue reading »
When it comes to exploring interesting music, this week is good for the Jews.
Tonight, Josh Kun presents “Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black Jewish Relations” at the JCC East Bay, a mind-expanding excursion into little known territory where African-American artists interpreted Jewish liturgical and secular Yiddish material. The director of USC’s Popular Music Project, Kun is an incisive critic and scholar who is a founding member of the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, which compiled and produced the multimedia presentation “Black Sabbath” that ran last year at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
On Sunday, Cal Performances presents Abraham Inc., a collaboration spearheaded by clarinetist David Krakauer, trombonist and bandleader Fred Wesley and accordionist and beat architect Socalled. The Montreal-based Socalled (aka Josh Dolgin) grew up grooving to Wesley’s insistently funky riffs on classic James Brown tracks sampled by hip hop artists, and he arranged a meeting in 2006 between Krakauer, a frequent creative partner, and Wesley. … Continue reading »
Desdemona, one of the highlights of the Cal Performances season had its opening last night in Zellerbach Hall. The work is a collaboration between Nobel-prize winning novelist Toni Morrison, singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré, and director Peter Sellars. Sellars talks about the genesis of the work in the video above.
As The New York Times detailed yesterday, the collaboration grew out of a furious argument Sellars had with Morrison a decade ago about Othello. Sellars thought it was a terrible, senseless play; Morrison disagreed. Sellars agreed to stage a production of Othello, while Morrison agreed to “talk back to Shakespeare”. Desdemona was originally staged at the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers near Paris. It has three further performances in Berkeley (tonight, Friday and Saturday), before moving to New York next week for two performances. It then transfers to Berlin and will be staged in London to coincide with the 2012 Olympics next summer. … Continue reading »
Listen to Keith Jarrett playing Paris Concert while you read our review
Every performance by pianist Keith Jarrett comes freighted with outsized expectations. One of jazz’s most popular and influential pianists and composers since the early 1970s, Jarrett performs at Zellerbach Hall on Saturday with his “Standards Trio” featuring sublime bassist Gary Peacock and ingenious drummer Jack DeJohnette, a prolific ensemble that’s recorded a series of often ravishing live albums for ECM.
As the group’s nickname implies, the trio is a vehicle for exploring American Songbook standards and modern jazz staples, rather than for Jarrett’s original compositions or the extended extemporaneous improvisation captured on his 1975 monster hit album “The Köln Concert.”
At his best, Jarrett can reach astonishing heights of lyricism propelled by DeJohnette’s feathery caress of his cymbals, though recent Bay Area performances have been hit or miss affairs. At some concerts, half a set passed before the trio hit its stride and found its way into a startlingly beautiful place. But much of the drama surrounding a Jarrett performance is temperamental rather than musical. Famously irascible on stage, the pianist has been known to stop playing mid-tune if distracted by an offending cough during a pianissimo passage. He’s also not shy about critiquing his instrument if he finds it unsatisfactory (take note Cal Performances). … Continue reading »
TIDY OPENING California Closets has opened a manufacturing and retail space at 1716 Fourth Street and will be holding an official grand opening on October 19th, from 5-8 pm. The company, which is a franchise operation, makes custom closets, and is taking over a mixed-use light industrial-zoned space that has been vacant for several years. The location will also be the company’s regional headquarters and is bringing new jobs to the city as it is currently hiring.
“This is good news for … Continue reading »