Cal Performances has been awarded $1.3 million dollars in new gifts in recognition of the institution’s outstanding performances and innovative educational programs, it was announced by Director Matías Tarnopolsky. A gift from Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem of $250,000 will support the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela’s residency with music director Gustavo Dudamel in Berkeley November 26-30. The engagement will be named “The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Orchestra Residency.” In honor of the Shrems, Ann and Gordon Getty are matching their contribution to Cal Performances Orchestra Residency Program and directly supporting the Philharmonia Orchestra’s engagement under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen on November 9-11. A $760,000 award over five years was given by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to further the integration of Cal Performances’ artistic programs into the academic life of UC Berkeley.  Lastly, the National Endowment for the Arts $75,000 grant supports the presentation of Einstein on the Beach, An Opera in Four Acts, a groundbreaking work which will have its West Coast premiere in Zellerbach Hall October 26-28. The largest grant ever given to Cal Performances from the NEA, the award is also the NEA’s largest in the Art Works opera category for this funding year.

“The performing arts are vital to the cultural and intellectual life of the campus community,” commented UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau. “With the extraordinary leadership of Matías Tarnopolsky, Cal Performances is acknowledged as one of the top presenting arts organizations in the world and we are thrilled that his vision has been recognized by these prestigious arts funders.”

“Cal Performances is an organization in a unique class. We have extraordinary artistic standards and attract the world’s greatest artists and ensembles, and we are situated at the heart of one of the world’s top public universities,” said Tarnopolsky. “These gifts are at once a powerful endorsement of our vision and a recognition of the importance of the role of Cal Performances both on the UC Berkeley campus and in the Bay Area at large. Cal Performances’ mission is to meaningfully engage our audiences with transformative experiences in the performing arts. When we reach the students at UC Berkeley, we fulfill our crucial role in creating well-rounded and culturally connected citizens of tomorrow. I’m tremendously grateful for these gifts, which allow us to forge new programs and promote ever deepening relationships between the artists on our stages, and the great minds at work in our students, faculty and in our community.”

Engaging students and the community is a fundamental element which inspired the gift from Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem underwriting Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela’s residency. “Maria and I have focused our philanthropic efforts on three strong and simple concepts. We believe in a life of culture and that all of the arts enrich society. We believe in a lifetime of learning, in new possibilities and ideas being necessary to regenerate civilization. And we believe that the arts must be accessible to people of all ages and all social and economic strata,” said Jan Shrem. “What Matías Tarnopolsky is creating with these orchestra residencies embodies everything we believe is best about the intersection of arts and education,” added Maria Manetti Shrem. “The spirit of outreach, generosity and inclusion speaks directly to our philosophy. We are delighted to be in a position to support and encourage this kind of thinking, programming and courageous vision.” This gift encompasses two main stage concerts and educational events including a SchoolTime performance for K-12 students, a major educational symposium titled “Reaching for the Stars: A Forum on Musical Education” aiming to stimulate an expansion of music education in public schools with a slate of nationally-recognized speakers, masterclasses for UC Berkeley students, a rehearsal of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dudamel and numerous  activities in local schools with the musicians of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Continuing an ambitious plan laid out by Tarnopolsky in his first season of programming, this residency follows hugely successful earlier residencies with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Orchestra.

Ann and Gordon Getty’s gift of $250,000 is in support of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s residency at Cal Performances, the other signature Orchestra Residency of the 2012-2013 season.  Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the Philharmonia Orchestra in three performances of repertoire including Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Salonen’s own Helix, Berg’s Wozzeck with an internationally-renowned cast, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 9. The performances will be accompanied by a host of exciting and enriching education and community programs. Perhaps the most meaningful for UC Berkeley students will be the opportunity for members of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra to perform in Wozzeck, playing the Tavern and Military bands. These students will also have the opportunity to travel with the Philharmonia Orchestra to Los Angeles and to New York for further performances.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, and one-time gift of $760,000 to be utilized over five years beginning in Fall 2012, focuses on supporting and encouraging fuller integration between Cal Performances’ artistic programs and the academic programs on the campus of UC Berkeley. Among the ambitious plans proposed is the creation of courses linking performances with current teaching and research yielding a new level of exchange of ideas which will enrich the programming at Cal Performances and the intellectual lives of UC Berkeley students and faculty. Further plans include an in-depth Performing Arts Course, providing a comprehensive study of six performances in the organization’s season, and a new survey class to introduce students to the performing arts. “Magic happens when the worlds of ideas and performance interact. The Mellon Foundation has made it possible for us to bring these worlds together, launch new programs and further our primary goal of engaging more Cal students in live performance,” explained Tarnopolsky.

The National Endowment for the Arts grant supports Cal Performances’ role in recreating the masterpiece Einstein on the Beach, An Opera in Four Acts by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson, widely recognized as one of the great theatrical achievements of the 20th century. Einstein on the Beach will receive its West Coast debut in Berkeley; these will be the first fully realized performances in the United States outside of New York. Cal Performances is part of an international consortium of co-commissioners that includes BAM; the Barbican, London; Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity; De Nederlandse Opera/The Amsterdam Music Theatre; Opéra et Orchestre National de Montpellier Languedoc-Rousillon; and the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The work is produced by Pomegranate Arts, Inc.

Cal Performances is a beneficiary of UC Berkeley’s renowned intellectual and cultural environment. Under the leadership of Matías Tarnopolsky, who became Director in 2009, the organization has expanded its artistic and educational programs to include annual Orchestra Residencies by some of the finest orchestras in the world, a new music program for at-risk young adults called TEMPO and a variety of open rehearsals, master classes and lectures for the campus and greater Bay Area community. Cal Performances receives around 3% of its budget from the University, generates a healthy 60% from ticket sales and other earned income, and relies upon the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations to provide the remaining funds. Through this important private support Cal Performances is able to curate one of the world’s finest performing arts seasons reaching nearly 200,000 people each year.

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