Residency activities include a two-day conference on music education plus a master class for
UC Berkeley musicians and a SchoolTime concert for Bay Area school children
Conducting phenomenon Gustavo Dudamel brings the world-celebrated Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela to Berkeley in two concerts Thursday & Friday, November 29 & 30 at 8:00 p.m. The program titled ¡MUSICA! A Celebration of Music from Latin America, a departure from the European orchestral canon, showcases works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Chávez, Julián Orbón, Silvestre Revueltas, Esteban Benzecry and Antonio Estévez.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Matías Tarnopolsky, Cal Performances has established a program of great orchestras-in-residence on the UC Berkeley campus, designed to deepen the relationship between the ensembles, the Northern California cultural community and the campus community. In recognition of the crucial importance of music education, Gustavo Dudamel and Matías Tarnopolsky will participate in a two day conference with other esteemed music educators and speakers. The residency also includes performance opportunities for UC Berkeley’s University Chorus and the Pacific Boychoir in addition to a master class with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Dudamel.
On Thursday, November 29, the concert will open with Carlos Chávez’s (1899-1978) Sinfonia india, followed by Tres versiones sinfónicas by Julián Orbón and La noche de los Mayas by Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940). Chávez and Revueltas were both born in 1899 in Mexico and served as conductors of the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico in the 1930s. Chávez , is one of the most influential figures in the musical life of Mexico, is known for his close contact with indigenous cultures. Sinfonia india, his second symphony, quotes Native American themes and uses Aztec and Indian percussion instruments. Revueltas’ La noche de los Mayas was originally written as a score for a 1939 film and was later arranged into a four-movement suite by José Limantour. Spanish-born Julián Orbón (1925-1991) moved to Cuba at age 15 and began studying composition. Six years later, he received a grant to study with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. Copland’s influences are evident in Orbón’s three-movement suite Tres versiones sinfónicas.
The music of South America will make up the program on Friday, November 30: Esteban Benzecry’s Rituales Amerindios, II — Chaac (Argentina), Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Chôro No. 10 (Brazil) and Antonio Estévez’s Cantata criolla (Venezuela). Born to Argentine parents in Lisbon in 1970, Esteban Benzecry (1970- ) considered one of South America’s most talented young composers, was raised in Argentina before moving to Paris in 1997, where he studied composition at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris. Commissioned in 2008 by the Goteborg Symphony Orchestra, Rituales Amerindios is a symphonic triptych dedicated to Latin America’s pre-Columbian cultures. The second movement, Chaac, is named for the Mayan water god. Because of his incorporation of Latin American traditions into his music, Benzecry has been referred to as a musical heir to Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), one of Brazil’s greatest composer. Villa-Lobos is known for reinterpreting European classical techniques using Brazilian traditions. His collection of Chôros was composed throughout the 1920s; Chôro No. 10, sometimes referred to as “Rasga o coraçao” (“It tears out the heart”) is his masterpiece. The University Chorus, led by Marika Kuzma, and the Pacific Boychoir, under the direction of Kevin Fox, will sing in Chôro No. 10. Antonio Estévez (1916-1988) is a source of national pride for Venezuelans. After returning from studying in Europe and the United States in 1948, Estévez began working on his nationalistic Cantata criolla, considered one of his finest compositions. He completed the work in 1954 and it will conclude the concert.
November is an especially rich time for the Orchestral Residency Program, established by Tarnopolsky in his first year, with opportunities to learn more about both Esa-Pekka Salonen and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra (Nov. 8-11) and Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. A centerpiece of the Simón Bolívar residency will be Reaching for the Stars: A Forum on Music Education, a two-day conference on music education in Zellerbach Playhouse. Led by award-winning teaching artist Eric Booth, the conference features such renowned panelists as Dr. José Antonio Abreu (founder of the resident orchestra as well as Venezuelan music education program El Sistema), Gillian Moore of London’s Southbank Centre, Leni Boorstin of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Stanford Thompson of Philadelphia’s Play on Philly in addition to Gustavo Dudamel and Matías Tarnopolsky. The conference begins with “The Transformative Power of Music” on Wednesday, November 28, 1:30-6:00 p.m., followed by “Bringing the Work Forward: The Possibilities for a Musical Education” on Thursday, November 29, 12:00-6:00 p.m. The Thursday discussion will culminate in a workshop “What’s Possible: El Sistema and What it Opens For Us.” Registration and further information is available at calperformances.org.
Maestro Dudamel will lead a special master class with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, November 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Hertz Hall and is open to the public. Dudamel and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra offer a one hour SchoolTime concert on Wednesday, November 28, designed specifically for Bay Area school children. SchoolTime tickets are sold in advance only.
There will be a Sightlines talk on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30, at 7:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Sightlines is a continuing program of pre- and post-performance discussions with Cal Performances’ guest artists and scholars, designed to enrich the audience’s experience. This event is free to ticket holders.
Born in 1981, Gustavo Dudamel began his musical journey with the violin, studying under José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin American Academy of Violin. He began studying conducting in 1996, and three years later, he was appointed Musical Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela where he studied conducting under Dr. Abreu. Dudamel is in his fourth season as Musical Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a post which he will maintain until 2019. A highly decorated conductor, Gustavo Dudamel was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2009 and the Gramophone’s artist of the year in 2011. In February 2012, his recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic of Brahms Symphony No. 4 won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. He divides his time between Caracas, Venezuela, and Los Angeles, directing his two orchestras.
Founded as a youth orchestra in 1975 by Dr. José Antonio Abreu, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela is the pinnacle ensemble of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras (a.k.a. El Sistema). Dr. Abreu wanted to ensure music education’s place in the Venezuelan public school system. It is comprised of over a dozen orchestras, choirs and chamber ensembles, with the Simón Bolívar as its flagship. Since 2006, the orchestra has been recording on the Deutsche Grammophon label with Gustavo Dudamel as conductor. They have since produced three albums.
Tickets for Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in ¡MUSICA! A Celebration of Music from Latin America, on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30 in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00 to $175.00 and are subject to change. Tickets for the Reaching for the Stars: A Forum on Music Education are $15.00 per day. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door. 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.
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