Cal Performances :: Music, Dance, Theater :: University of California Berkeley

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Dear Friends,

For Emily Dickinson, "March is the month of expectation," and it is with great expectation that we greet this month of exceptional live art at Cal Performances.

The great performer and early music scholar Jordi Savall is a frequent force on our stages, and we begin our month expectation with the latest of his inspired programs that explore the cross-cultural musical interchange that occurred during the baroque period. Folias Antiguas & Criollas: From the Old World to the New pairs Mr. Savall's ensemble Hespèrion XXI with Mexico's foremost early music group, Tembembe Ensamble Continuo, in its Cal Performances début. Their wide-ranging program in First Congregational Church features music by Spanish and Mexican composers as well as improvisations on jarocho, fandango, and Celtic dance forms. More early music can be heard on March 29, when the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin makes its fourth Cal Performances appearance in a program that includes music by Bach family composers Carl Philipp Emanuel, Johann Christian, Wilhelm Friedemann, and their distinguished father, Johannes Sebastian.

South Africa's iconic vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which we presented here in 2005, 2006, and 2009, returns to Zellerbach Hall on March 2 to resume our world stage series by performing a concert in honor of Nelson Mandela, who died last December. This is a most fitting tribute to a great man by the artists who knew him best and whose music served as the voice of South African liberation. Cal Performances' first "Focus on Flamenco" mini-festival takes place on March 12 and 14 and features two of Spain's most celebrated flamenco artists: bailarína Eva Yerbabuena and her dance company, for the first time since 2006, in her beautifully staged program Lluvia; and cantante Estrella Morente in Autorretrato, her Cal Performances début, an evening of pure cante. The world's preeminent tabla player, Zakir Hussain, returns to Zellerbach Hall on March 23 for the fourth time in a decade with his all-star ensemble, the Masters of Percussion, which brings together drummers from around the world. The renowned en travesty ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo last appeared at Zellerbach Hall in 2005, but the Trocks' relationship with Cal Performances goes back almost to the group's founding in 1974. Betty Connors, who directed Cal Performances from 1945 to 1979, saw the Trocks perform early in their history and invited them to Berkeley in 1976, providing critical support for what would become their first West Coast tour. Now celebrating their 40th anniversary, the Trocks return to Zellerbach Hall on March 25, and we are delighted to welcome them back.

Cal Performances' 2013—2014 Orchestra Residency, one of the signal events on our season, takes place from March 7 to 9. The Vienna Philharmonic launched our Orchestra Residency program in 2011, making its Cal Performances début after an absence from Bay Area stages of more than 20 years. The event was a transformative one in our history, and it is with great expectation that we welcome the Vienna Philharmonic's return. To commemorate the outbreak of World War I on its centenary, this season's Orchestra Residency is entitled "The Vienna Philharmonic 100 Years After the Outbreak of World War I" and includes three orchestra concerts under the direction of three world-class conductors: Lorin Maazel, music director of the Munich Philharmonic, leading the orchestra in Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony and Mahler's Symphony No. 4, with soprano Juliane Banse as soloist; Andris Nelsons, music director of the Boston Symphony, conducting Haydn's Symphony No. 90 and Brahms's Symphony No. 3 and Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn; and Franz Welser-Möst, music director of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera, in Mozart's Symphony No. 28, Bruckner's Symphony No. 6, and On Comparative Meteorology, a recent work by Austrian composer Johannes Maria Staud. The residency includes master classes, a coaching session for the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, a chamber music concert, and a unique two-day symposium that convenes scholars from UC Berkeley, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the City of Vienna to consider the enduring impact of the Great War 100 years on and the position of the Vienna Philharmonic as a major cultural institution during both World Wars. This important cultural event, in all its dimensions, is not to be missed.

Our chamber music series continues with two acclaimed string quartets performing 20th-century masterworks of the genre. Israel's Jerusalem Quartet, one of today's finest young string ensembles, made its Cal Performances début in 2006 and performed again at Hertz Hall in 2010. On March 16, the Jerusalem Quartet returns with a program dedicated to the works of Dmitri Shostakovich, performing the Russian master's String Quartets Nos. 2, 4, and 13. On March 22 and 23, we welcome the return to Hertz Hall of the Takács Quartet, one of our audience's most beloved ensembles. The Takács Quartet has given 17 concerts at Cal Performances in the past ten years alone, all of them memorable, and their upcoming recital should prove no exception. On March 22 and 23, the group performs the complete string quartets of Béla Bartók over two concerts. The authentic Hungarian flavor the musicians impart to these remarkable works makes the Takács's Bartók an unforgettable experience.

The Trey McIntyre Project made a great impression its Cal Performances début in November 2011, and on March 21 and 22 the modern dance troupe returns with two West Coast premières, The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction (set to Shostakovich's Piano Quintet) and Mercury Half-Life (set to music by Queen). Inspired by the drawings of Edward Gorey, The Vinegar Works was co-commissioned by Cal Performances and feature puppets created by designer Michael Curry. Mr. McIntyre's youthful, vital choreography continues our dance series in a most felicitous way as winter turns into spring.

Our recital series progresses on March 25 with Mitsuko Uchida, one of the world's élite piano artists, in her first Bay Area appearance in nearly a decade. Her eagerly anticipated Hertz Hall program includes Schubert's late Sonata in G major, D. 894, and Beethoven's 33 Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli, his magnum opus for the keyboard. On March 28, the English duo of countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Thomas Dunford makes its Cal Performances début in First Congregational Church. Their program of late Tudor and Stuart songs by Thomas Campion, John Danyel, John Dowland, and Robert Johnson is complemented by Old Bones, a new work by Nico Muhly composed for Mr. Davies and inspired by the unexpected discovery of the skeleton of King Richard III beneath a Leicester, England, parking lot just over a year ago.

We have added a special event on March 29 to conclude our month of expectation. Public radio personality Ira Glass, a favorite of our audience, returns to Zellerbach Hall for his fifth Cal Performances engagement in less than a decade. For his new show, Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, Mr. Glass has teamed up with choreographer Monica Bill Barnes and dancer Anna Bass for a light-hearted, vaudevillian review.

I look forward to welcoming you throughout the season.

Matías Tarnopolsky
Director, Cal Performances
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