MULTI-CONCERT RESIDENCY INCLUDES A SALONEN COMPOSER PORTRAIT WITH THE CALDER QUARTET, ECO ENSEMBLE AND GUESTS PLUS THREE ORCHESTRAL CONCERTS INCLUDING BERG’S MONUMENTAL WOZZECK
Esa-Pekka Salonen is considered one of today’s most brilliant musicians, not only as the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra and for his remarkable legacy as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic but for his work as a composer as well. Cal Performances will present a special evening featuring Salonen’s work on Thursday, November 8 at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall. The concert will be moderated by Cal Performances’ Director Matías Tarnopolsky and the composer who recently received the 2012 Grawenmeyer Award for Music Composition. Maestro Salonen will then lead the Philharmonia Orchestra, an ensemble of “blazing originality” (The Sunday Times) in three distinct concerts: Friday, November 9 at 8:00 p.m. features the music of Beethoven, Berlioz and Salonen; Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. is a concert version of Alban Berg’s masterpiece Wozzeck; and Sunday November 11 at 3:00 p.m. concludes the residency with Mahler’s triumphant Symphony No. 9. All orchestral concerts take place in Zellerbach Hall.
Under the leadership of Tarnopolsky, Cal Performances has established a program of great orchestras in residence on the UC Berkeley campus, designed to deepen the relationship between the world’s finest ensembles, the Northern California cultural community and the campus community through lectures, master classes and extended programs. Opportunities for the community to better know Maestro Salonen and the musicians of the Philharmonia include the Composer Portrait concert mentioned above, a special Composer Colloquium hosted by the UC Berkeley Department of Music, an open master class with the UC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Salonen, and other events to be announced.
Committed to providing unique opportunities for the University community to interact with the artists coming to Cal Performances, Tarnopolsky has arranged for the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus and members of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra not only to perform with the Philharmonia but to tour with the ensemble as part of Wozzeck. The 25 members of the banda and 30 members of the chorus will travel to Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall for a performance, with the musicians in the banda continuing on with the Philharmonia to New York’s Avery Fisher Hall. “These kinds of experiences for our UC Berkeley students are life changing,” said Tarnopolsky. “We are thrilled that one of our most important on-going goals—the integration of Cal Performances more fully into the University— has been manifested in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Esa-Pekka Salonen’s merit as one of the leading composers of our generation will be displayed as the residency opens with a Composer Portrait concert of four of his compositions. The first of these works, Dichotomie, is for solo piano and will be performed by the adventurous new-music advocate Gloria Cheng who premiered the piece in 2000. The work contains two movements: the first, Mécanisme, mimics an active and imperfect machine that evolves into the second, Organime, which represents life. Hommonculus will be performed by the esteemed Calder Quartet. Written in 2007, Salonen wanted to create “a little piece that behaves like a big piece” and does so through a 15 minute composition that has all the thematic content of a longer work. The Calder Quartet, known for breaking the boundaries of what a string quartet does, includes Benjamin Jacobson and Andrew Bulbrook (violins), Jonathan Moerschel (viola) and Eric Byers (cello). Mania, the third piece, was written in 2000 by Salonen for his childhood friend, cellist Anssi Karttuneo. It is about “movement that never stops,” explains Salonen. “The tempo fluctuates between extremes, gestures become other gestures.” The work will be performed by UC Berkeley’s Eco Ensemble, led by David Miles, and cellist Kacy Clopton. Clopton also performs in the fourth work, Knock, Breathe, Shine, written in 2011 and made up of three movements reflecting the title.
Salonen’s work will also be featured in the first concert with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Helix (2005)—an “exuberant showpiece” (Los Angeles Times)—is composed in the style of a classic overture but with tempo markings that steadily increase throughout the work. The concert continues with two favorites of the orchestral repertoire: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.
Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, one of the essential works of the 20th century, will be performed on Saturday. This concert version includes Johan Reuter, baritone (Wozzeck), Angela Denoke, soprano (Marie), Peter Hoare, tenor (the Captain); Frode Olsen, bass-baritone (the Doctor), Hubert Francis, tenor (the Drum-Major) and Joshua Ellicott, tenor (Andres). The UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, directed by Marika Kuzma, and the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, directed by Robert Geary, will serve as choruses in the Tavern Scene; and members of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, directed by David Milnes, will perform as the Tavern and Military banda (see page 2).
The final concert will feature Mahler’s glorious Symphony No. 9, which was written at the end of his life, and is thought to be his farewell to the world; he died having never heard the work performed. The great conductor Herbert von Karajan has said that “it is music coming from another world, it is coming from eternity.” With this work Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra complete their residency.
The UC Berkeley Music Department will host a Composer Colloquium with Salonen on Friday, November 9; time and location, to be announced. Salonen will hold an open master class with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, conducting Debussy’s La Mer, on Sunday November 11, 5:30–7:30 p.m. in Hertz Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.
Sightlines pre-performance talks will be given by music specialists before each concert on November 9,10 and 11 at 7:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. respectively, in Zellerbach Hall. Each Sightlines will focus on the repertoire to be performed at the corresponding concert. Sightlines is a continuing program of pre-performance discussions with artists and scholars, designed to enrich the concertgoer’s experience and are free to ticketholders. For more information about the speakers, visit calperformances.org/learn/discover-engage.
Esa-Pekka Salonen was born in Helsinki, Finland, and studied french horn, composition and conducting at the Helsinki Conservatory.Though he considers himself primarily a composer, in 1973 he took a post as conductor at the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra to ensure his compositions would be performed. He has since worked with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestra as principal conductor. Salonen has worked throughout his career as a composer and has remained committed to pioneering the works of other living composers as well. He is a member of UNESCO’s International Rostrum of composers, in 2006 he was named Musical America’s Musician of the Year and in 2012 won the Grawenmeyer Award for Music Composition. More information can be found on his website at esapekkasalonen.com
The Philharmonia Orchestra has long been considered one of the United Kingdom’s foremost musical pioneers. Throughout its history, the ensemble has been committed to finding new ways of bringing its top quality live performance to audiences worldwide, and to using new technologies to achieve this. Since 1945, millions of people have enjoyed their first experience of classical music through a Philharmonia recording and today, audiences can engage with the orchestra through webcasts, podcasts, downloads, computer games and film scores. The orchestra has created original contents that include artist interviews and features on repertoires and projects that have been watched by more than a million people on YouTube. In May 2010, the orchestra’s digital “virtual Philharmonia Orcheatra” project, RE-RITE, devised with Salonen, secured the Philharmonia’s position as a digital innovator and has won both the PRS Audience Development and Creative Communication Awards. More information about the Philharmonia Orchestra can be found at philharmonia.co.uk.
Tickets for the Composer Portrait: Esa-Pekka Salonen on Thursday November 8, at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall begin at $42.00 and are subject to change. Tickets for the Philharmonia Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen, principal conductor, on Friday, November 9, at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, November 10, at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, November 11, at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall begin at $30.00 and are subject to change. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.