World Premiere Of Mark Morris’s Acis And Galatea; Three-Concert Orchestra Residency By Vienna Philharmonic; Jeremy Denk Curates Ojai North!; Emanuel Ax Salutes Brahms With Yo-Yo Ma And Anne Sofie Von Otter; And Kronos Quartet Celebrates 40 Years With Two Concerts, Including World Premiere Top Cal Performances’ 2013/14 Season Season Kicks Off with Fall Free for All on September 29
Highlights of Cal Performances’ 2013/14 season, announced today by Director Matías Tarnopolsky, include the world premiere of a new, fully staged opera production of Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s Acis and Galatea choreographed and directed by Mark Morris; 40th birthday celebrations for the Kronos Quartet, including A Meditation on the Great War, a world premiere commission from composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and filmmaker Bill Morrison; more than a dozen multiperformance residencies, including the return of the legendary Vienna Philharmonic for three concerts with three stellar conductors; Emanuel Ax’s personal journey into the music of Johannes Brahms with colleagues Yo-Yo Ma and Anne Sophie von Otter; John Malkovich exploring the legend of Casanova; Jeremy Denk curating the fourth season of Ojai North!; seven of the finest early music ensembles and musicians, including Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI and Stephanie Blythe with Les Violons du Roy; the Bay Area’s Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra in a salute to Duke Ellington; and the otherworldly vocals of the Barefoot Divas bringing alive the indigenous music of Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea. A commitment to new work and collaborations remains a hallmark of Tarnopolsky’s tenure, with two major world premieres anchoring a season that brings more than 20 new works to the Bay Area from prestigious commissioning partners, including Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Ojai Music Festival.
The Kronos Quartet, Cal Performances’ Artists-in-Residence and arguably the most well-known contemporary string quartet in the world, celebrates 40 years of innovation and adventure with two concerts in Berkeley. The first concert brings the ensemble full circle, featuring the work that inspired its founding: George Crumb’s astonishing Black Angels, a haunting work evocative of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. The concert also features music by Terry Riley and the extraordinary pipa virtuoso Wu Man (featured in two concerts this season) in a Bay Area premiere by Philip Glass. Later in the season, Cal Performances presents Kronos in the world premiere of A Meditation on the Great War—a multimedia commission from Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov, filmmaker Bill Morrison, and Iraq War veteran-turned-visual artist Drew Cameron of the Combat Paper Project. Kronos continues its exploration into works that offer reflection and solace in the wake of profound events in modern history with this new work centered on war and its consequences. Morrison, known for his artistic signature collages of rare archival footage, will draw on seldom seen World War I film from the Library of Congress.
The 2013/14 season launches on September 29, 2013, with Fall Free for All—a free, daylong festival initiated by Tarnopolsky to introduce new audiences to Cal Performances’ impressive range of music, dance, and theater presentations. Since its inception in 2010, Fall Free for All has featured more than 500 artists and ensembles performing for audiences totaling more than 30,000 people. Highlights of the 2013 Fall Free for All include the New Century Chamber Orchestra, La Tania Baile Flamenco, Theatre of Yugen, Los Cenzontles, Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz, a family stage with percussionist Keith Terry, and much more.
The music of Schubert, Brahms, and Beethoven is presented on the programs of many artists and series. Pinchas Zukerman on violin and viola joins forces with pianist Yefim Bronfman for a recital program featuring all three of these master composers: the duo will perform Schubert’s Sonatina in A minor; Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2; and Brahms’s Viola Sonata in F minor. Two celebrated artists make their Cal Performances debut this season in programs that feature Schubert: pianist Mitsuko Uchida, praised by The New York Times for her “transporting brilliance,” performs the Sonata in G major, D. 894, and baritone Gerald Finley, widely known for his exceptional performance as Robert Oppenheimer in the world premiere of John Adams’s Dr. Atomic at San Francisco Opera, performs Schubert’s haunting Winterreise, accompanied by pianist Julius Drake. Richard Goode brings the Austrian master’s Sonata in A major, D. 959. Shai Wosner, whose performance at the 2012 Fall Free for All received an enthusiastic ovation, offers a program that combines Drei Klavierstücke, the Sonata in A major, D. 664, and the Sonata in B-flat major, D. 960, with a work by the brilliant German composer Jörg Widmann, whose Idyll and Abyss: Six Schubert Reminiscences was written specifically to precede the Sonata in B-flat. The Calder Quartet brings “Death and the Maiden” Quartet, Schubert’s masterful rumination on mortality.
Three soloists and two ensembles offer audiences a chance to experience varied, distinct, and critically acclaimed viewpoints on Beethoven. Mitsuko Uchida performs his Diabelli Variations; Paul Lewis, whose recording of Beethoven’s sonatas was chosen as New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini’s number-one pick, performs Op. 27, Nos.1 and 2 (“Moonlight”); and Jonathan Biss, in the midst of a nine-year project to record Beethoven’s complete sonatas, returns to play two of them, Op. 90 and Op. 53 (“Waldstein”).
Anchoring the exploration of Brahms is pianist Emanuel Ax’s major project, Brahms and Beyond, offered over two evenings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and mezzo-soprano Anne Sophie von Otter. In addition, Jonathan Biss offers his interpretation of Brahms’s Klavierstücke, and Andris Nelsons leads the Vienna Philharmonic in an evening featuring the composer’s Third Symphony and his Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn. In speaking of the inspiration for his major project, Ax credits a statement attributed to the late Herbert von Karajan: “Brahms’s music is like a deep well—you can keep drawing from it forever and never come to the bottom.” To add a new dimension to the musical evenings, Ax sought out four very different composers—Anders Hillborg, Brett Dean, Missy Mazzoli, and Nico Muhly—and asked each to create a new work using the beautiful opening notes of the Third Symphony as an inspiration or motif. Von Otter joins Ax for a program featuring Nico Muhly’s new work for mezzo-soprano and piano, Brahms’s Four Serious Songs, and selections from folksong and lieder repertoire. On the second evening, Ax performs Australian composer Brett Dean’s new work for solo piano and Yo-Yo Ma performs Anders Hillborg’s new cello sonata alongside Brahms’s Cello Sonatas No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38, and No. 2 in F major, Op. 99. The new works were co-commissioned by Cal Performances, Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center Presents, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
A remarkable number of contemporary works are interwoven in a similar way on programs throughout the season, including many United States, West Coast, and Bay Area premieres (see press kit for a complete list). With Thomas Dunford on the lute, countertenor Iestyn Davies makes his debut with a program that includes the West Coast premiere of another new work by Nico Muhly. Newly commissioned song cycles from Jonathan Leshnoff and David Bruce will be presented on a program featuring soprano Jessica Rivera, with the debut of mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor and an unusual chance to experience Atlanta Symphony music director Robert Spano in the role of accompanist. Franz Welser-Möst leads the Vienna Philharmonic in the West Coast premiere of On Comparative Meteorology, a work from contemporary Viennese composer Johannes Maria Staud. Premiered in 2010, the work is made up of six short pieces, which follow each other without pause and which are offset by fragments of text by the Polish Jewish visionary poet Bruno Schulz. Ned Rorem’s How Like a Winter, William Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs, and Michel van der Aa’s And how are we today? (2012) are featured on mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn’s program of solo, duo, and trio works. Cal Performances supports UC Berkeley composer Edmund Campion in bringing two world premieres to Bay Area audiences: Campion’s The Ossicles will receive its world premiere by the Berkeley Symphony in a co-commission with Cal Performances, and the Eco Ensemble performs the composer’s new work for piano and electronics on one of the chamber group’s two concerts featured on the 2013/14 season. The Eco Ensemble’s concerts also feature works by Franck Bedrossian, György Ligeti, Pierre Jodlowski, Erin Gee, Jonathan Harvey, and Mei-Fang Lin. A key work from the early period of Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen will be given its West Coast premiere by the Danish String Quartet.
New work is also central to programming for Cal Performances 2013/14 Dance series. In addition to the world premiere of Mark Morris’s Acis and Galatea, Nederlands Dans Theater brings West Coast premieres of Paul Lightfoot and Sol León’s Sehnsucht and Schmetterling; Trey McIntyre Project performs a new work to be named; and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet brings three works, all new to the Bay Area. The Shanghai Ballet will perform The Butterfly Lovers for the first time to Cal Performances patrons, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater traditionally includes premieres in its Berkeley residency.
Situated in the nation’s finest public university and at the heart of campus life, Cal Performances brings the performing arts front and center with the academic experience. We are deeply committed to collaborations and partnerships that strengthen the relationships between great artists, the campus community of UC Berkeley, and the audiences of Northern California. To this end, Tarnopolsky inaugurated the annual Orchestra Residency in 2011 with the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Austrians return this season with conductors Danielle Gatti, Andris Nelsons, and Franz Welser-Möst. Over three evenings, this legendary orchestra will explore some of the finest music by Schubert, Mahler, Brahms, and Bruckner and introduce Staud’s On Comparative Meteorology. A special symposium on the Vienna Philharmonic’s history in the context of politics and culture and master classes with the University’s student musicians further inform a wide variety of residency activities being planned. Another important partnership is the multi-year collaboration of Cal Performances and the legendary Ojai Music Festival, making possible annual reprises of Ojai concerts in Berkeley, as well as co-commissions and co-productions. More than a sharing of resources, Ojai North! represents a joining of artistic ideals and aspirations. The 2014 Music Director will be the renowned pianist Jeremy Denk.
Throughout the season, more than a dozen artists and ensembles, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Kronos Quartet, the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Shanghai Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company, Jordi Savall with Hespèrion XXI and Tembembe Ensamble Continuo, and the Venice Baroque Orchestra, will spend an extended period working with the UC Berkeley community in lecture-demonstrations, master classes, school concerts, and symposia. Students and faculty benefit in numerous ways from Cal Performances’ programs, including performance opportunities with world-class artists and ensembles, fellowships and internships with the institution, opportunities to attend rehearsals and performances and to meet leading artists as part of coursework, significant discounts on performance tickets, performance opportunities through Student Musical Activities, and master classes designed and created specifically for University choral and instrumental ensembles.
“In this season we offer the opportunity to experience transformative performances by great artists from around the world—ranging across continents and genres, and spanning hundreds of years from the music of John Dowland to new projects born on our stages by such artists as the Kronos Quartet and the Mark Morris Dance Group,” said Tarnopolsky. “From the transcendent virtuosity of Mitsuko Uchida to the entirely unique vocal styling of Mariza, these artists and what they do are at the heart of Cal Performances. ‘Discover’ and ‘engage’ are the words we live by as we craft a season that stimulates the imagination and curiosity of our audiences.”