Music | Dance | Theater: CAL PERFORMANCES (2021-22 Season)

Post image for Music | Dance | Theater: CAL PERFORMANCES (2021-22 Season)

by Tony Frankel on June 9, 2021

in Dance,Music,Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area

SUPERCALILINEUP

Talk about coming back with a bang! Berkeley’s Cal Performances has announced its 2021–22 season, and the Bay Area is getting the best line-up I have seen since well before the pandemic shut everything down. The world’s greatest artists in jazz, classical, opera, pop, dance, theater, and more are heading to Berkeley, leaving you with one tough decision: What to choose? This season’s dizzying array of the greatest pianists, dance companies, music ensembles, and singers in the world may be dizzying, but choose you must. Trouble deciding? Leave us a comment and we’ll try to help you out. Subscription packages go on sale August 3, so Stage and Cinema is offering a look at the entire season with descriptions of each show below (performance venues will be announced in August). Single tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 27, at noon. For tickets, call (510) 642-9988 or visit Cal Performances.

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AUGUST 2021

Not Our First Goat Rodeo performs with guest Aoife O’Donovan (photo: Josh Golemantif)

Saturday, August 21, 8pm
Not Our First Goat Rodeo
UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre
(Single tickets go on sale on Thursday, July 8 at noon.)

Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Stuart Duncan, fiddle
Edgar Meyer, bass
Chris Thile, mandolin
with guest Aoife O’Donovan, vocals

For the first time in nearly a decade, the musicians of the original Goat Rodeo Sessions—Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Edgar Meyer on bass, and Chris Thile on mandolin—share a stage in selections that combine their diverse backgrounds in classical, folk, and bluegrass music to create a sound that’s part composed, part improvised, and uniquely American. The group likens playing the challenging music to a “goat rodeo,” airplane pilots’ slang for a situation so nearly unmanageable that countless parts must come together perfectly in order to avoid disaster. Ma, Duncan, Meyer and Thile are joined by featured vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, who also appears on last year’s recording Not Our First Goat Rodeo, the follow-up to their double-Grammy winning 2011 debut, for this special performance at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre.

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OCTOBER 2021

Violinist Tessa Lark. (photo: Lauren Desberg)
Pianist Amy Yang. (photo: Balázs Böröcz of Pilvax Studio)

Sunday, October 3, 3pm
Tessa Lark, violin
Amy Yang, piano

Beethoven/Violin Sonata in G major, Op. 30 no. 3
Tessa Lark/Jig and Pop
Michael Torke/Spoon Bread
John Corigliano/STOMP
Lewis/Django
Ravel/Violin Sonata in G major

Grammy-nominated violinist Tessa Lark returns after her season-opening Cal Performances at Home online debut last fall, with her in-person Berkeley debut. Fluent in both classical and contemporary concert repertoire, Lark is also an accomplished bluegrass and folk music fiddler. Here she offers a program that speaks to her singular strengths: Beethoven’s virtuosic Sonata No. 3 from Op. 30 calls for a sprightly athleticism; Michael Torke’s Spoon Bread, named after a popular treat in Lark’s native Kentucky, was composed specifically for her genrebending talents; John Corigliano’s STOMP is a solo study modeled on American fiddle music; and Ravel’s dazzling and delicate Violin Sonata in G major is infused with American jazz and blues. Lark rounds out the program with her own composition Jig and Pop and an arrangement of John Lewis’ popular Django. She is joined by pianist Amy Yang, who also accompanied Lark on her acclaimed 2019 debut recording, Fantasy.

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The Danish String Quartet (photo: Caroline Bittencourt)

Sunday, October 10, 3pm
Danish String Quartet

Brent Sørensen/New Work (US Premiere, Cal Performances Co-commission)
Schubert/String Quartet in G major, D. 887

The Danish String Quartet returns for the first of two Berkeley concerts this season, pairing a Schubert string quartet with a newly commissioned work as part of its Doppelgänger project, a three-season initiative co-commissioned by Cal Performances. Schubert’s final quartet in G major is matched here with its musical “double,” a new quartet by Danish composer Bent Sørensen, a winner of the 2018 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, whose work explores post-Romantic colors and textures.

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Bria Skonberg. (photo: Christine Vaindirlis)

Saturday, October 9, 8pm
Bria Skonberg

Trumpeter, singer, and songwriter Bria Skonberg has been described as one of the “most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation” (The Wall Street Journal). Her latest record, Nothing Never Happens, offers originals and creative arrangements of music by Queen, the Beatles, Duke Ellington, and more. She made her UC Berkeley debut as part of Cal Performances at Home this past winter, and now returns for a live, in-person set with her band.

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Takács Quartet (photo: Amanda Tipton)

Sunday, October 17, 3pm
Takács Quartet

Hadyn/String Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5
Coleridge-Taylor/Five Fantasiestücke, Op. 5
Beethoven/String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132

In the first of two concerts this season, the Takács Quartet performs works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The set of six Op. 20 string quartets by Haydn are considered a milestone in the history of composition; in these complex works the quartet itself began as a singular expressive art form. Coleridge-Taylor’s Five Fantasiestücke are character pieces composed near the turn of the 19th century, when the composer was just a teenager—well before he would achieve renown with his large-scale orchestral and choral works. By contrast, Beethoven was at the end of his life when he wrote the A minor quartet, best known for its technically demanding slow third movement, the “Holy Song of Thanksgiving.” The Takács’ recording of the late Beethoven quartets more than a dozen years ago became a classic: “an exceptional achievement…every detail…is utterly organic and the ensemble at times almost subliminally precise” (The Guardian).

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Pilobolus (photo: Juliana Sohn)

Thursday, October 21, 7:30pm
Friday, October 22, 8pm
Pilobolus
BIG FIVE-OH!

For five decades, the dancers and acrobats of Pilobolus have entranced audiences with their unique version of dance theater. Contorting, bending, and partnering to transform themselves into a phantasmagoria of animals, spirits, and monsters, the Pilobolus dancers tell otherworldly stories through the strength and precision of their bodies, enhanced by magical stage effects. This 50th anniversary celebration includes Untitled, Megawatt, and signature shadow works.

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Tenor Jonas Kaufmann and Pianist Helmut Deutsch. (photo: Gregor Hohenberg)

Sunday, October 24, 3pm
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
Helmut Deutsch, piano

German tenor Jonas Kaufmann is known for his versatility, and combining power with finesse, as demonstrated in roles like Don José in Carmen, Siegmund in Die Walküre, and the title roles in Otello, Andrea Chénier, and Don Carlos. In this rare US recital—his first UC Berkeley appearance since his Bay Area debut 10 years ago—Kaufmann returns with a program showcasing his love of lieder, along with a rewarding mix of French, German, and Italian song.

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Angélique Kidjo performs Remain in Light on Friday, October 29, 2021
and the West Coast premiere of Yemandja on Saturday, April 23, 2022
(photo courtesy of Angélique Kidjo)

Friday, October 29, 8pm
Angélique Kidjo
Remain in Light

For one of her latest recording projects, global pop star and four-time Grammy Award winner Angélique Kidjo partnered with producer Jeff Bhasker (Rihanna, Kanye West, Drake, Jay-Z) to revisit, reimagine, and repatriate the Talking Heads’ landmark 1980 album Remain in Light. Kidjo, Cal Performances’ artist-in-residence for the 2021–22 season, is an artist with a gift for assimilating a wide range of music into a sound that is completely her own, always infused with her powerfully positive message. Here, she connects with the record’s original Afropop influences and filters its new-wave sensibility through her own musical interests—which span the African continent—mining the songs for topics that resonate with her today and adding her own lyrics in languages from her home country of Benin.

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Manual Cinema's Frankenstein.

Sunday October 31, 3pm
Manual Cinema
Frankenstein (Cal Performances co-commission)

Manual Cinema returns to Berkeley with a live production of Frankenstein, a Cal Performances co-commission which was adapted for video by the collective of musicians, composers, theater artists, and filmmakers last fall for Cal Performances at Home. Frankenstein weaves the plot of Mary Shelley’s classic story with themes of desire, birth, and loss from the author’s own biography. Manual Cinema is known for creating handmade and imaginative works of live cinema, and in Frankenstein actors join puppeteers onstage, creating a silent animated film in real time alongside an immersive score performed live by four musicians.

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NOVEMBER 2021

Ballet Hispánico performs Noche de Oro – A Celebration of 50 Years!
Pictured: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Tiburones (photo: Paula Lobo)

Saturday, November 6, 8pm
Ballet Hispánico
Noche de Oro – A Celebration of 50 Years!

Gustavo Ramírez Sansano/18+1 (Bay Area Premiere; 2012; music: Pérez Prado) Vicente Nebrada/Batucada Fantástica (Bay Area Premiere; 1982; music: Luciano Perrone) Annabelle Lopez Ochoa/Tiburones (Bay Area Premiere; 2019; music: Pérez Prado, Dizzy Gillespie, and The Funky Lowlives) Cal Performances welcomes New York’s Ballet Hispánico in its Berkeley debut, with a program of Bay Area premieres by an intergenerational cadre of choreographers who have been part of the company’s 50-year history. Batucada Fantástica is Vicente Nebrada’s homage to the energy of Brazilian Carnival; and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano created 18+1 to celebrate his personal career milestone of making work for 18 years, his choreography inspired by the mambo music by Pérez Prado. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Tiburones addresses the discrimination and stereotypes placed upon Latinx culture, and the role the media plays in diminishing the voices of Latinx artists.

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The English Concert, directed by conductor Harry Bicket (photo: Dario Acosta)

Sunday, November 7, 3pm
The English Concert
Harry Bicket, artistic director
Karina Gauvin (Alcina), soprano
Lucy Crowe (Morgana), soprano
Elizabeth DeShong (Bradamante), mezzo-soprano
Paula Murrihy (Ruggiero), mezzo-soprano
Alek Shrader (Oronte), tenor
Wojtek Gierlach (Melisso), bass

Handel/Alcina, HWV 34

London’s Handel specialists The English Concert, directed by conductor Harry Bicket, returns toCal Performances with a concert performance of Handel’s Alcina. An allegorical fantasy with love triangles and mistaken and misrepresented identities, Alcina takes place on an enchanted island where discarded lovers are transformed into wild beasts and trees. Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin, one of the world’s leading Baroque interpreters, makes her Cal Performances debut singing the title role, portraying Handel’s sorceress; she is joined by an international cast of soloists in their Cal Performances debuts: soprano Lucy Crowe as Morgana, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Bradamante, mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy as Ruggiero, tenor Alek Shrader as Oronte, and bass Wojtek Gierlach as Melisso.

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 Guitarist Miloš Karadaglić. (photo Esther Haase)
Mandolinist Avi Avital. (photo: Harald Hoffmann)

Saturday, November 11, 7:30pm
Avi Avital, mandolin
Miloš Karadaglić, guitar

Bach/Italian Concerto in F major, BWV 971
Schubert/Selected song transcriptions
Villa-Lobos/Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5
Philip Glass/Metamorphosis No. IV
Glass/Etude No. 9
New Work TBA (Cal Performances Co-Commission)

Israeli mandolin player Avi Avital was the first soloist on his instrument to be nominated for a classical Grammy Award; the Montenegrin guitarist Miloš Karadaglić has been called “one of the most exciting and communicative classical guitarists today” (The New York Times). Both artists have revitalized the repertoire performed on their instruments, attracting a new generation of listeners through inventive programs and sheer instrumental prowess. Together in Berkeley for the first time as a duo, Avital and Karadaglić perform a program of arrangements and transcriptions for strummed and plucked strings, from a Bach keyboard work to a set of instrumental transcriptions of Schubert songs, to the fifth section from Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras. The duo also performs two Philip Glass piano compositions, and a new work to be announced.

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The Aaron Diehl Trio performs Mirror. Pictured: Aaron Diehl. (photo: Maria Jarzyna)

Friday, November 12, 8pm
Aaron Diehl Trio
Mirror
Aaron Diehl, piano
Paul Sikivie, bass
Aaron Kimmel, drums

Cal Performances audiences will recognize Aaron Diehl as the pianist and music director for many of Cécile McLorin Salvant’s ensembles, and from several appearances this past year in the Now, More than Ever blog. He returns this season for his Berkeley debut as a bandleader, leading his own trio in a new project showcasing his fluency in both classical repertoire and jazz improvisation. As a concert soloist, Diehl performed Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra several seasons ago, and critics have raved over his meticulously styled recordings, which combine original compositions with jazz tunes by John Lewis and Sir Roland Hanna and concert works by Philip Glass and Sergei Prokofiev. With Mirror, the pianist explores the affinities of the counterpoint in Bach’s music with bebop vocabulary, interspersing solo selections from The Well-Tempered Clavier with original compositions for jazz trio in corresponding keys.

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Violinist Leonidas Kavakos (photo: Marco Borggreve)
and pianist Yuja Wang (photo: Kirk Edwards)

Saturday, November 13, 8pm
Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Yuja Wang, piano

Bach/Violin Sonata No. 3 in E major, BWV 1016
Shostakovich/Violin Sonata in G major, Op. 134
Bach/Violin Sonata No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1014
Busoni/Violin Sonata No. 2 in E minor, Op. 36a

Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, known for her stage presence and facility at the keyboard, joins forces with Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos for their first joint appearance in Berkeley. Here they perform two of Bach’s violin sonatas, complemented by two works that owe a debt to Bach’s masterful approach to counterpoint: Shostakovich’s sonata from 1968, and Ferruccio Busoni’s rarely heard second sonata, which borrows a theme from the Bach chorale Wie wohl ist mir.

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Cellist David Finckel & Pianist Wu Han.

Sunday, November 14, 3pm
David Finckel, cello
Wu Han, piano

Bach/Sonata for Viola da gamba and Keyboard in G major, BWV 1027
Mendelssohn/Cello Sonata in D major, Op. 58
Debussy/Cello Sonata in D minor
Britten/Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 65

Returning after their two-recital program of the complete Beethoven cello sonatas for Cal Performances at Home last fall, the chamber duo of cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han present a program of works spanning centuries. Progressing chronologically, they tackle Bach’s G major sonata for viola da gamba and cembalo—the ancestors of the cello and piano—and continue to Mendelssohn’s second sonata, and Debussy’s cello sonata. The program concludes with Britten’s sonata composed for Mstislav Rostropovich, who as a mentor to Finckel, shared his insight into the work’s conception with his student.

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Vienna Boys Choir. (photo: Lukas Beck)

Saturday, November 27, 8pm
Vienna Boys Choir
Christmas in Vienna

The world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir returns to Berkeley on Thanksgiving weekend for a program of Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, and Christmas hymns and carols from around the world, including favorites like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Joy to the World,” “White Christmas,” and their very own rendition of “Stille Nacht,” the original Viennese version of “Silent Night.” The choir is comprised of boys aged 9–13, who hail from more than a dozen countries and carry on a six-century Viennese choral tradition.

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DECEMBER 2021

Kronos Quartet (photo Jay Blakesberg)
and guest vocalist Mahsa Vahdat (photo Tehmineh Monzavi) perform Placeless.

Thursday, December 2, 7:30pm
Kronos Quartet
Mahsa Vahdat, guest vocalist

Placeless

Kronos Quartet returns with the newest edition of its 50 for the Future project. With 40 compositions commissioned, premiered, and shared to date, the ongoing multiyear project features new works by an international and diverse group of composers, made available online with the goal of training students and emerging professionals in contemporary approaches to string quartet music. This concert features new works by Terry Riley and Cal Performances’ 2021–22 artist-in-residence, Angélique Kidjo. For the second half of this concert, Kronos is joined by Mahsa Vahdat, a prominent performer of Persian vocal music, who collaborated with the quartet on the 2019 recording Placeless. The project features melodies Vahdat composed to classical poems by Hafez and Rumi, as well as contemporary texts by Iranian poets. This performance is part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Place and Displacement” series.

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Damien Sneed presents Joy to the World. (photo: IMG Artists)

Friday, December 3, 8pm
Damien Sneed

Joy to the World: A Christmas Musical Journey

Cal Performances audiences were first introduced to Damien Sneed’s unique artistry in the 2019–20 season, when he presented the stirring tribute We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Now, the musician, conductor, arranger, and producer visits with Joy to the World, a holiday concert that takes the listener through Sneed’s original arrangements of beloved gospel, jazz, and classical repertoire. Sneed is joined by a cast of 10 singers and musicians performing holiday classics such as “Silent Night,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “Joy to the World,” excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, and more.

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Vân-Ánh Võ presents Songs of Strength (World Premiere) (photo courtesy of the artist)

Saturday, December 4, 8pm
Vân-Ánh Võ and Blood Moon Orchestra

Songs of Strength (World Premiere)

Cal Performances audiences already know Vân-Ánh Võ through her many collaborations with Kronos Quartet—most recently performing in Jonathan Berger’s My Lai. Originally from Vietnam and based in Northern California for nearly 20 years, Võ is a virtuoso performer of the 16-string đàn tranh (zither), as well as an ensemble leader and Emmy Award-winning composer. In the world premiere of her latest project, she celebrates the voices and struggles of women and immigrants by placing the music from her native culture in conversation with contemporary sounds from around the world. Võ’s Songs of Strength features a collection of voices—Iranian singer/songwriter Mahsa Vahdat, rapper DemOne, and breakdancer Tunji, plus her multicultural Blood Moon Orchestra—with texts in English, Persian, and Vietnamese.

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Caleb Teicher & Company and pianist Conrad Tao perform the West Coast premiere of More Forever
(photo: Em Watson)

Sunday, December 5, 3pm
Caleb Teicher & Company
Conrad Tao, piano

More Forever (West Coast Premiere)

More Forever brings together dancer and choreographer Caleb Teicher, a founding member of Dorrance Dance and two-time Bessie Award winner, with pianist and composer Conrad Tao, a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, in their Cal Performances debut. More Forever combines tap and Lindy Hop and is danced by the members of Teicher’s acclaimed company without tap shoes, in a 24-foot-square sandbox; Tao performs the piano and electronic score live.

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Jazzmeia Horn. (photo: Angela Bartolo)

Friday, December 10, 8pm
Jazzmeia Horn

Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn has been widely recognized for her talent, including winning the2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition, as well as earning Grammy nominations for each of her full-length albums. Horn’s compositions weave the warmth and feeling of classic jazz with touches of R&B and hip-hop, all held together by her fleet scatting and intuitive vocal phrasing. Berkeley audiences were introduced to Horn’s artistry in her Cal Performances at Home video last fall, and she returns this season for her in-person Cal Performances debut. For her latest project, developed during the pandemic, Horn has crafted a new set of songs that offer a positive message of triumph over adversity.

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Canadian Brass. (photo: Nina Yoshida Nelsen)

Saturday, December 11, 8pm
Canadian Brass

Making Spirits Bright for 50 Years and Counting!

The Grammy-winning Canadian Brass quintet, with more than 100 recordings to its name, has been performing a range of repertoire including music of the Baroque, Dixieland, Broadway, and John Philip Sousa, for more than half a century. This special holiday program features originals like “Bach’s Bells”; favorite songs such as “White Christmas,” “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and “Christmas Time Is Here”; and familiar classical, choral, and popular music arranged for brass.

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Mark Morris Dance Group. Pictured: Dancing Honeymoon (photo: Christopher Duggan)

Friday, December 17, 8pm
Saturday, December 18, 8pm
Sunday, December 19, 3pm
Mark Morris Dance Group

Dancing Honeymoon (1998; music: arranged by Ethan Iverson)
Jenn and Spencer (2013; music: Henry Cowell)
V (2001; music: Schumann)

Continuing a collaboration that dates to 1987, Mark Morris Dance Group returns to its West Coast home away from home with three distinctive works not seen on Cal Performances stages for many seasons, all of them exemplars of Morris’ supreme choreographic sensitivity to musical form and expression. Dancing Honeymoon is a frolic through pop songs past, as dancers joke and whirl about with folding chairs as props. The duet Jenn and Spencer is danced to Henry Cowell’s Suite for Violin and Piano, a work with both modernist and Baroque undertones. The dance V, an abstract and exuberant exploration of color, form, and layered textures, is set to the Piano Quintet in E-flat major by Robert Schumann.

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JANUARY 2022

Violinist Ilmar Gavilán and pianist Aldo López-Gavilán (photo courtesy of the artists)

Sunday, January 23, 3pm
Ilmar Gavilán, violin
Aldo López-Gavilán, piano

Musician brothers Ilmar Gavilán and Aldo López-Gavilán grew up together as young prodigies in Havana in the 1970s. At 14, Ilmar was sent to the former Soviet Union to continue his violin studies, eventually settling as an adult in New York, where he founded the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet. Younger brother Aldo remained in Cuba after training in London, and was mentored by the island’s revered jazz and classical piano masters, his significant talent achieving renown internationally but eluding wider recognition in the States due to the 60-year-old US embargo on Cuba. Reunited (and the subject of a 2020 documentary film, Los Hermanos), the brothers play compositions by Aldo, recorded on their duo release Hermanos, that weave together chamber sonorities with Afro-Cuban jazz and folk forms. This performance is part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Place and Displacement” series.

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Yamato: The Drummers of Japan (photo courtesy of the artists)

Sunday, January 30, 3pm
Yamato: The Drummers of Japan

Tenmei!

The Yamato drummers visit from Nara Prefecture, the cradle of Japanese civilization, with a program of traditional Japanese taiko drumming. Playing drums built from animal skins and ancient tree trunks, the troupe’s drummers channel the heartbeat and spirit of their homeland. Yamato’s newest program, Tenmei! (the name translates as “destiny”), is brought to life through the performers’ theatrical fire and musical discipline and focus.

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 Tenor Paul Appleby (photo: Frances Marshall)
Pianist Conor Hanick (photo: Laura Desberg)

Sunday, January 30, 3pm
Paul Appleby, tenor
Conor Hanick, piano

Schumann/An den Mond, Op. 95, No. 2
Aufträge, Op. 77, No. 5
Meine Rose, Op. 90, No. 2
Loreley, Op. 53, No. 2
Einsamkeit, Op. 90, No. 5
Geisternähe, Op. 77, No. 3
Beethoven/An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98
Schubert/An den Mond, D. 259
An die Entfernte, D. 765
Der Zwerg, D. 771
Berg/Altenberg Lieder, Op. 4
Schubert/Im Frühling, D. 882
Alinde, D. 904
Abendlied für die Entfernte, D. 856
Wilkommen und Abschied, D. 767
Schumann/Sängers Trost, Op. 127, No. 1
Die Sennin, Op. 90, No. 4
Abendlied, Op. 107, No. 6

American tenor Paul Appleby has won fans for his lead roles in Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at the Metropolitan Opera, and here in the Bay Area, he played the lovesick miner Joe Cannon in the world premiere production of John Adams’ and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera. In his Cal Performances debut, Appleby, accompanied by pianist Conor Hanick, presents a program featuring Schumann and Schubert songs, Berg’s Altenberg Lieder (traditionally performed by a mezzo-soprano), and Beethoven’s lone song cycle, An die ferne Geliebte.

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FEBRUARY 2022

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. (photo courtesy of the artists)

Friday, February 4, 8pm
Saturday, February 5, 8pm
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

The ballerinos of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been charming Berkeley audiences with their singular brand of ballet satire since their campus debut in 1976. The “unspeakably talented” (Calgary Herald) all-male ballet troupe performs a sophisticated form of ballet parody en travesty; dance aficionados revel in the company’s smart send-ups of iconic repertory, and ballet “newbies” are delighted by the high-camp drama executed with flair and finesse.

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Friday, February 5, 8pm
Eco Ensemble
Toshio Hosokawa Portrait Concert
David Milnes, director
Kyoko Kawamura, koto
UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus
Wei Cheng, director

Toshio Hosokawa/Koto-uta
Drawing
Singing Trees (Requiem for Toru Takemitsu)
Somon-ka (US Premiere)

Eco Ensemble, UC Berkeley’s ensemble-in-residence, specializes in performances of works by living composers and is directed by new-music champion and music department faculty member David Milnes. This season’s Cal Performances concert showcases the music of Toshio Hosokawa, among Japan’s pre-eminent living composers, who will be a guest of the music department in February 2022 as the distinguished Bloch Lecturer. The program features the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, led by Wei Cheng, and acclaimed koto player Kyoko Kawamura in a selection of works that reflect the composer’s interest in traditional Japanese arts such as calligraphy and gagaku as sources of musical inspiration.

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Pianist Eric Lu  (photo courtesy of Eric Lu)

Sunday, February 6, 3pm
Eric Lu, piano

Schumann/Arabeske in C major, Op. 18
Waldszenen, Op. 82
Brahms/Theme and Variations in D minor, Op. 18b
Bach/Toccata in C minor, BWV 911
Chopin/Piano Sonata in B minor, Op. 58

Young pianist Eric Lu is rapidly building a reputation as a promising artist with a distinctive musical voice, known for elegance, delicacy, and restraint at the keyboard. A recipient of this year’s prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Lu first came to attention at age 17 as a winner at the 2015 Chopin International Competition in Warsaw—and at age 20, he won First Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, the first American to win that award since Murray Perahia. The centerpiece of Lu’s Cal Performances debut is Chopin’s demanding final Piano Sonata, which rallies the pianist’s powers through a turbulent landscape until it arrives at its breathless conclusion.

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Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding perform the West Coast premiere of Iphigenia.

Saturday, February 12, 8pm
Iphigenia (West Coast Premiere, Cal Performances Co-commission)

Wayne Shorter, composer
Esperanza Spalding, librettist and performer
Frank Gehry, set designer
Liliana Blain-Cruz, director
Clark Rundell, conductor

Two generations of jazz royalty collaborate on the new opera Iphigenia, a feminist reimagining of Euripides’ play Iphigenia in Aulis, with music composed by 11-time Grammy-winning composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and a libretto by four-time Grammy-winning bassist, composer, and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, who also stars in the lead role. The fully staged work is performed in its West Coast premiere by a 13-piece chamber ensemble with the Wayne Shorter Quartet at its center, plus a cast of eight singers, directed by Liliana Blain-Cruz and with set design by iconic architect Frank Gehry.

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Spektral Quartet (photo: Daniel Kullman)

Sunday, February 13, 3pm
Spektral Quartet

Philip Glass/String Quartet No. 2, Company
Schubert/String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D. 804, Rosamunde
Samuel Adams/Current (World Premiere, Cal Performances Co-commission)

Chicago’s Spektral Quartet is widely praised for illuminating the connections between beloved works in the canon and fresh new repertoire by living composers. The ensemble’s Berkeley debut features the world premiere of a new electroacoustic composition by Samuel Adams, Current, a bespoke work created especially for the quartet that explores, in Adams’ words, “the relationship between the minimal digital language of resonating snare drums and the warm, acoustic complexity of the string quartet.” Schubert’s haunting Rosamunde Quartet, and Philip Glass’ Company Quartet, originally composed for a theatrical production of Samuel Beckett’s 1979 novella of the same name, complete the program.

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Pianist Jason Moran and mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran. (photo: Fadi Kheir)
Imani Winds (photo: Shervin Lainez)

Thursday, February 17, 8pm
Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration (West Coast Premiere)
Jason Moran, piano
Alicia Hall Moran, mezzo-soprano
with Imani Winds

Alicia Hall Moran and Jason Moran’s Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration explores the Great Migration of six million Black Americans from the rural South to northern cities and beyond. The husband and wife duo—he a MacArthur Fellow and acclaimed jazz composer and pianist, she a celebrated classical vocalist and composer—trace their family histories through the music that accompanied these brave travelers throughout the 20th century, from Harlem Renaissance–era jazz tunes, gospel hymns, bebop standards, and Broadway show tunes, to classical and chamber music and the Morans’ own compositions. Two Wings was created with the help of Isabel Wilkerson’s landmark history The Warmth of Other Suns and also includes texts by Black authors, scholars, and poets. This performance is part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Place and Displacement” series.

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Pianist Stephen Hough. (photo: Grant Hiroshima)

Sunday, February 20, 3pm
Takács Quartet
Stephen Hough, piano

Haydn/Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 76, No. 4, Sunrise
Stephen Hough/String Quartet No. 1, Les Six Rencontres (Bay Area Premiere)
Dvořák/Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81

For its second Cal Performances concert this season, the Takács Quartet collaborates with British-born pianist and composer Stephen Hough. The ensemble performs the Bay Area premiere of Les Six Rencontres, a new work by Hough as well as his first string quartet; Hough then joins them for Dvořák’s elegant Op. 81 Piano Quintet. Pianist and quartet have enjoyed a long musical relationship, and their recording together of the Brahms Piano Quintet earned a Grammy nomination. The Takács also performs Haydn’s Sunrise quartet from the composer’s Op. 76 works, which are prized for their spirit of invention and ensemble interaction.

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Memphis Jookin’: The Show featuring Lil Buck (photo courtesy Lil Buck)

Friday, February 25, 8pm
Saturday, February 26, 8pm
Memphis Jookin’: The Show (West Coast Premiere)
Featuring Lil Buck

Lil Buck, a star of the homegrown Memphis street dance style called “jookin’”, became a YouTube star after director Spike Jonze uploaded a video of his dance improvisation with cellist YoYo Ma, and since then the young sensation has collaborated with everyone from Madonna to choreographer Benjamin Millepied. Along with a DJ and an expert eight-dancer crew, in Memphis Jookin’: The Show, Lil Buck makes his Cal Performances debut, transporting audiences to the streets, the hallways, and the clubs where Memphis “jookin’” was born.

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MARCH 2022

The Joffrey Ballet's Anais Bueno (center), Brooke Linford (left), Christine Rocas (right)
performing Boléro by Yoshihisa Arai. (photo Matt de la Peña)

Friday, March 4, 8pm
Saturday, March 5, 8pm
Sunday, March 6, 3pm
The Joffrey Ballet

Program 1 (March 4 & 6):
Gerald Arpino/Birthday Variations (1986; music: Giuseppe Verdi)
Chanel DaSilva/Swing Low (West Coast Premiere; 2021; music: Zoe Keating)
Nicolas Blanc/Under the Trees’ Voices (West Coast Premiere; music: Ezio Bosso)
Itzik Galili/The Sofa (1994; music: Tom Waits)
Yoshihisa Arai/Boléro (West Coast Premiere; 2021; music: Maurice Ravel)

The Joffrey Ballet's Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili
performing Nicolas Blanc’s Under the Trees’ Voices (photo: Matt de la Peña)

Program 2 (March 5):
Gerald Arpino/Birthday Variations (1986; music: Giuseppe Verdi)
Chanel DaSilva/Swing Low (West Coast Premiere; 2021; music: Zoe Keating)
Nicolas Blanc/Under the Trees’ Voices (West Coast Premiere; music: Ezio Bosso)
Itzik Galili/Mono Lisa (2020; music: Thomas Höfs)
Yoshihisa Arai/Boléro (West Coast Premiere; 2021; music: Maurice Ravel)

The esteemed Joffrey Ballet returns to Berkeley to conclude its six-year, three-visit campus residency. In two programs, the company showcases new choreographic voices and works by an international group of renowned creators, many in their West Coast premieres.

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Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations (photo: A Bofill)

Friday, March 4, 8pm
Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations A Bofill

Tous les matins du monde

Among the biggest surprises of Jordi Savall’s decades-long career as a cross-cultural musical adventurer and explorer of the Baroque was the international blockbuster success of his soundtrack for the film Tous les matins du monde. Alain Corneau’s 1991 drama, set in the 17th and 18th centuries, is a fictional portrayal of the relationship between two composers—Marin Marais, viol player at the court of Louis XIV, and his teacher, Jean de Sainte-Colombe. Savall and his ensemble Le Concert des Nations perform a concert version of works included in the film soundtrack, a mix of court ballet music and stage pieces by Lully, Couperin, and Rameau with solo and duo works for viol by Marais and Sainte-Colombe—including Marais’ catchy Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève.

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Soprano Angel Blue. (photo: Jack Hill)

Sunday, March 6, 3pm
Angel Blue, soprano

The voice of American soprano Angel Blue is praised for its expressiveness both in the heights of her range and the depths of her lower register. Most recently, she starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s long-awaited new production of Porgy and Bess, for which she shared a Grammy for Best Opera Recording this year. Blue makes her Cal Performances solo recital debut with a program of songs and arias by Puccini, Strauss, and Kurt Weill, music by American composers George Gershwin and Lee Hoiby, and arrangements of Black American spirituals.

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 Ted Hearne, Saul Williams, and Patricia McGregor, creators of Place.
The West Coast premiere of Ted Hearne’s Place. (photos courtesy of Ted Hearne)

Saturday, March 12, 8pm
Ted Hearne’s Place (West Coast Premiere)
Ted Hearne, composer
Saul Williams and Ted Hearne, librettists
Patricia McGregor, director
Sanford Biggers and Tim Brown, scenic designers

Composer Ted Hearne confronts the inequities of urban gentrification head-on in Place, an oratorio created in collaboration with director Patricia McGregor and librettist Saul Williams. The fully staged, evening-length work—seen here in its West Coast premiere—features six vocalists and an 18-member ensemble that blends the energy of rock, pop, and electronic music with acoustic orchestral sonorities. The first part of the libretto is a collage of Hearne’s own writings and autobiographical reflections, which are placed in conversation with—and overtly challenged by—Williams’ text in the second half, which addresses displacement through the lens of history, social justice issues, and critical race theory. This performance is part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Place and Displacement” series.

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Countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński. (photo: Jiyang Chen)
Pianist Michał Biel

Sunday, March 13, 3pm
Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor
Michał Biel, piano

Purcell/Music for a while
If music be the food of love
Fairest isle
Here the deities approve
Strike the viol
Schubert/Auf der Donau, D. 553
“Die Stadt,” from Schwanengesang, D. 957
Nachtstück, D. 672
Handel/“Un zeffiro spiro,” from Rodelinda
Karłowicz/Nie płacz nade mną
Z Erotyków
Na spokojnym, ciemnym morzu
Mów do mnie jeszcze
Przed nocą wieczną
W wieczorną cieszę
Czasem gdy długo na pół sennie marze
Zaczarowana królewna
Naginski/Look down, fair moon
Copland/The world feels dusty
Nature, the gentlest mother
Why do they shut me out of heaven
Purcell/Your awful voice I hear

As a performer, Jakub Józef Orliński is praised for bringing vitality and sensuality to centuries-old music, and has enjoyed mining the countertenor repertoire for unrecorded, little-known gems. Joined by his one-time Juilliard dormmate and frequent collaborator, the Polish pianist Michał Biel, Orliński makes his Cal Performances debut with a wide-ranging program in English, German, Italian, and Polish—by Purcell, Schubert, Handel, Copland, the late 19th-century Polish composer Mieczysław Karłowicz, and a setting of a Whitman poem by American composer Charles Naginski.

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Members of The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6 (photo: John Abbott)

Thursday, March 17, 7:30pm
The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6

Ten voices strong and with 20 Grammy Awards between them, the combined forces of vocal group Manhattan Transfer and male gospel ensemble Take 6 deliver an evening of pristine voices raised in song. The unprecedented first meeting of this supergroup was the subject of a PBS special called The Summit, and now the groups come to Berkeley with a rousing program. The two groups sing separately and together—both a cappella and backed by a live band—and then join forces for a friendly “battle of the bands.” Expect hits like “Operator,” “Birdland,” “Boy From New York City,” and “Route 66,” plus music by Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, favorites from the Great American Songbook, and new arrangements prepared just for this tour.

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SOUNDspace, choreography by Michelle Dorrance (photo: Stephanie Berger)

Friday, March 18, 8pm
Saturday, March 19, 8pm
Sunday, March 20, 3pm
Dorrance Dance

SOUNDspace (Bay Area Premiere)

In her tap dance work SOUNDspace—a stripped-down production free of ornate sets and glitzy costumes—, acclaimed choreographer Michelle Dorrance shows how powerfully movement and music are entwined in the bodies of expert dancers. Featuring 12 dancers and a lone acoustic bassist, Dorrance and her company focus the viewer’s attention with a sense of drama and a depth of expression that reveals the choreographer’s deep connection to the art form’s earliest roots.

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Pianist Matthew Whitaker. (photo: Jacob Blickenstaff)

Saturday, March 26, 8pm
Matthew Whitaker

Jazz prodigy Matthew Whitaker began touring internationally at age 11, playing a wide repertoire of straight-ahead jazz, hard bop, R&B, and Latin music. His 2019 record, Now Hear This, was universally praised by the jazz press, and his compositions have recently been recognized with two Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers awards. Whitaker makes his Cal Performances in-person debut following his appearance in last fall’s Cal Performances at Home streaming season.

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Pianist and director Mitsuko Uchida performs with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (photo: May Zircus)

Sunday, March 27, 3pm
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Mitsuko Uchida, piano and director
Mark Steinberg, concertmaster and leader

Mozart/Piano Concerto in A major, K. 488
Webern/Five Movements for String Orchestra, Op. 5
Webern/Variations for Piano, Op. 2
Mozart/Piano Concerto in C minor, K. 491

Following her Cal Performances at Home all-Schubert recital this spring, pianist Mitsuko Uchida returns for an in-person concert with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) that draws a line from Mozart’s Vienna to the Second Viennese School of Webern. Uchida gained renown early in her career for her complete recorded cycles of Mozart’s concertos and sonatas. The program features two concertos composed in the winter of 1785–86, when Mozart was at the height of his genius: the A major concerto is best known for its magnificent slow movement; the C minor concerto for its inventiveness. The musicians of the MCO shine in Webern’s Five Movements, with Uchida joining for the composer’s late-period Variations.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Pictured: Jacqueline Green and Soloman Dumas
(photo: Andrew Eccles)

Tuesday, March 29, 7:30pm
Wednesday, March 30, 7:30pm
Thursday, March 31, 7:30pm
Friday, April 1, 8pm
Saturday, April 2, 2pm
Saturday, April 2, 8pm
Sunday, April 3, 3pm

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Robert Battle, artistic director
Matthew Rushing, associate artistic director

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has been performing annually in Berkeley for more than half a century—appearing at Zellerbach Hall more than any other place in the world outside of New York City. Following its video performance for Cal Performances at Home this June, the Ailey dancers return—in person again after two long years—as the company resumes its annual residency with programs that uplift and inspire. Under the leadership of Robert Battle, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues to embody the legacy of its founder by celebrating artistic excellence, unbounded creativity, and the power of art to transform and engage. Expect new works by young voices like Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts, placed in conversation with timeless classics like Ailey’s own Revelations (1960).

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APRIL 2022

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton (photo: Bree Anne Clowdus)

Sunday, April 3, 3pm
Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano
Jake Heggie, piano

Jake Heggie/“Music,” from The Breaking Waves
Purcell, Britten/“Music for a while,” from Oedipus, Z. 583, No. 2
Schubert/An die Musik, D. 547
Gretchen am Spinnrade, D. 118
Rastlose Liebe, D. 138
Price/We Have Tomorrow
The Poet and His Song
Night
Hold Fast to Dreams
Brahms/Unbewegte laue Luft, Op. 57, No. 8
Meine Liebe ist grün, Op. 63, No. 5
Von ewiger Liebe, Op. 43, No. 1
Jake Heggie/What I Miss the Most… (West Coast Premiere)
Of Gods and Cats
Iconic Legacies

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has captured the music world’s attention with her vocal performances, but she is also lauded for the ways she uses her powerful voice offstage—elevating the concerns of women and LGBTQ+ people through her social media presence and speaking out on topics such as body positivity, diet culture, and social justice issues. In her Cal Performances debut, Barton is accompanied by longtime friend and collaborator, composer/pianist Jake Heggie (Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick), in a program featuring selections from their recent recording, which explores the perspectives of the powerful women represented in Heggie’s songs and operas. The pair also perform the West Coast premiere of Heggie’s What I Miss the Most…, a song cycle with new texts by Joyce DiDonato, Patti LuPone, Sister Helen Prejean, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Kathleen Kelly.

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yMusic. (photo courtesy of the artists)

Friday, April 8, 8pm
yMusic

Gabriella Smith/Tessellations
Missy Mazzoli/Ecstatic Science
yMusic/Zebras
yMusic/Sober Miles
yMusic/Flood
Judd Greenstein/Together
Andrew Norman/Difference (West Coast Premiere, Cal Perf. co-commission)

Following its video presentation as part of this spring’s Cal Performances at Home season, the newmusic ensemble yMusic—all members of Generation Y—returns with a program of new and recent works for its in-person Berkeley debut. The centerpiece of the concert is the West Coast premiere of Difference, a Cal Performances co-commission by Grawemeyer-winning and Grammy-nominated composer Andrew Norman. The program also includes Missy Mazzoli’s Ecstatic Science; Berkeleyborn composer Gabriella Smith’s Tessellations; Together, a new work Judd Greenstein wrote for the group during quarantine; and several new pieces co-composed by the ensemble during the past year’s hiatus from live performance.

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The Vienna Piano Trio. (photo: Nancy Horowitz)

Saturday, April 9, 8pm
Vienna Piano Trio

Schubert/Piano Trio in B-flat major, D. 898
Schubert/Piano Trio in E-flat major, D. 929

The Vienna Piano Trio makes its Cal Performances debut in a rare—and final—West Coast appearance as part of its farewell tour, offering Berkeley audiences a look into Schubert’s chamber music, performing the composer’s two piano trios back-to-back. The B-flat Trio is a lively and lyrical work, among the most revered chamber pieces in the repertoire; the E-flat Trio traverses darker and more ominous terrain. Both works were composed in 1827, a year before Schubert’s death at 31.

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Conductor John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists. (photo: Simon van Boxtel)

Sunday, April 10, 3pm
English Baroque Soloists
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, director

Haydn/Symphony No. 103 in E-flat major, Drumroll
Mozart/Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 364
Mozart/Symphony No. 39 in E-flat major, K. 543

Conductor John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists are best known to US audiences through their award-winning recordings of Monteverdi, Bach, Beethoven, and dramatic works of the Baroque. Gardiner, a two-time Grammy winner, leads the period-instrument ensemble he founded more than 40 years ago in a program of Mozart and Haydn. Haydn’s Drumroll Symphony is a study in drama and suspense; Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante is a conversation between violin and viola soloists and the orchestra; and the composer’s Symphony No. 39 is a late-period opus that reveals supreme craft and ingenuity.

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 Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff, Hanna Weinmeister and Elisabeth Kufferath are the Tetzlaff Quartet.
(photo: Giorgia Bertazzi)

Saturday, April 23, 8pm
Tetzlaff Quartet

Haydn/String Quartet in G minor, Op. 20, No. 3
Berg/String Quartet, Op. 3
Brahms/String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2

The Tetzlaff Quartet visits from its home base of Germany for a program of masterpieces by Haydn, Berg, and Brahms. In this rare US visit, a follow-up to the quartet’s Cal Performances at Home recital last fall, the Tetzlaff Quartet performs Haydn’s G minor quartet from Op. 20, Brahms’ A minor quartet from Op. 51, and Berg’s string quartet from Op. 3.

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Angélique Kidjo performs Remain in Light on Friday, October 29, 2021
and the West Coast premiere of Yemandja on Saturday, April 23, 2022
(photo courtesy of Angélique Kidjo)

Saturday, April 23, 8pm
Yemandja (West Coast Premiere, Cal Performances Co-commission)

Angélique Kidjo, composer and lead performer
Naïma Hebrail Kidjo, writer and librettist
Cheryl Lynn Bruce, director
Kerry James Marshall, production designer
Darryl Archibald, music director
Kathy Perkins, lighting designer
Rasean Davonte Johnson, projections designer
Mary Jane Marcasiano, costume designer

In her first foray into musical theater, Cal Performances’ 2021–22 season artist-in-residence Angélique Kidjo explores themes of love, betrayal, honor, and revenge against the backdrop of slavery in 19th-century West Africa. Yemandja, named for a Yoruban deity, is a panoramic work of magical realism, a parable about gods and humans that illuminates through song what happens when people are robbed of their culture. Kidjo sings backed by a live band and a chorus of dancer-singers, in a fully staged production directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce and featuring stage design by the revered Black American visual artist Kerry James Marshall; the libretto is by Kidjo’s daughter, Naïma Hebrail Kidjo. Last year, Kidjo was honored as one of the BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women from around the world, where she was recognized as “one of the greatest artists in international music today.” This performance is part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Place and Displacement” series.

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Daniil Trifonov. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Thursday, April 28, 7:30pm
Daniil Trifonov, piano

Prokofiev/Sarcasms, Op. 17
Szymanowski/Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
Debussy/Pour le piano
Brahms/Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

Pianist Daniil Trifonov returns to Berkeley in his first solo recital for Cal Performances, with a program of rarely heard masterpieces from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. Trifonov made his Cal Performances debut in 2015 in a duo recital with violinist Gidon Kremer, returning as a soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra the following year—and his star has been rising steadily since then, culminating in a 2021 Grammy nomination. He plays Prokofiev’s miniatures, Sarcasms; Szymanowski’s technically demanding Piano Sonata No. 3; Debussy’s Pour le piano, and Brahms’ Piano Sonata No. 3, a work of symphonic proportions and scope.

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The Danish String Quartet (photo: Caroline Bittencourt)

Friday, April 29, 8pm
Danish String Quartet

Lotta Wennäkoski/New Work (Bay Area Premiere, Cal Perf. co-commission)
Schubert/String Quartet in D minor, D. 810, Death and the Maiden

The Danish String Quartet returns for its second Berkeley concert this season, pairing a Schubert string quartet with a newly commissioned work as part of its Doppelgänger project, a three-season initiative co-commissioned by Cal Performances. Schubert’s Death and the Maiden quartet, one of the pillars of chamber music repertoire, is matched here with its musical twin, a new quartet by Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski—“a composer with ideas and a distinctive way of voicing them.” (The Guardian)

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MAY 2022

David Sedaris. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Thursday, May 5, 7:30pm
David Sedaris

In his most recent book, The Best of Me, David Sedaris has compiled his favorite work, spanning decades of his career—and here reads excerpts of these truly memorable stories and essays, sprinkled with backstories and anecdotes.

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The Tallis Scholars. (photo: Nick Rutter)

Friday, May 6, 8pm
The Tallis Scholars
Peter Phillips, director

Brumel/Missa Et ecce terrae motus (Earthquake Mass)
David Lang/sun-centered (Cal Performances Co-commission)

In a program that builds a bridge between the 15th and 21st centuries, the Tallis Scholars pair a masterwork of Renaissance polyphony with a new composition by composer David Lang. Antoine Brumel’s colossal Earthquake Mass, scored for 12 voices, has been the hallmark of this ensemble’s performances for decades. Lang, who is co-founder and co-artistic director of the new-music collective Bang on a Can, has composed dozens of award-winning works for choir and voice, from chamber works to oratorios to opera—and received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for another a cappella work, The Little Match Girl Passion. His sun-centered is a response to Brumel’s mass, inspired by Galileo’s pursuit of truth, the nature of human curiosity, and the perils of suppressing it.

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Lila Downs. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Saturday, May 7, 8pm
Lila Downs

Mexican American singer and activist Lila Downs has earned multiple Grammy and LatinGrammy Awards, and she now ranks as one of the most recognizable singers in Latin alternativemusic. Downs, “no stranger to raising hell and consciousness through the power of song” (Rolling Stone), champions the causes of immigrants, women, and indigenous groups in her genre-hopping compositions. Her latest release, Al Chile, is infused with the rhythms of cumbia and explores themes of pleasure and pain, suffering and redemption, through the metaphor of Mexico’s ubiquitous chili pepper.

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JUNE 2022

Scene from Eifman Ballet's Russian Hamlet (photo Evgeny Matveev)

Friday, June 3, 8pm
Saturday, June 4, 8pm
Sunday, June 5, 3pm
Eifman Ballet

Russian Hamlet (West Coast Premiere)
A ballet by Boris Eifman

In this recent revival of Russian Hamlet, choreographer Boris Eifman masterfully reimagines Shakespeare’s play in the context of a sordid chapter of Russian history—focusing on the figure of Paul I and his confrontation with a hostile world built on violence, treachery, and lies. The lavish staging and powerful choreography are set to music by Beethoven and Mahler.

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