Since the pandemic began, Jeremy Geffen, director of Cal Performances, has been sending a weekly email to patrons, a playlist of half a dozen or so performing arts videos, entitled “Now, More Than Ever.” The title resonates. At a time of great crisis, like the one we are experiencing, we need the arts, to bring us moments of beauty, of profound reflection on the human condition, of heightened emotion captured in the symmetries of form.
Cal Performances isn’t in the habit of weighing in on topical controversies, but when it comes to defending Cal students, the organization decided it was time to raise a voice.
Make that many voices—Cal Performances has assembled a stellar roster of artists to create an oratorio inspired by the stories of undocumented students living in fear that they and their families could be uprooted at any moment.
Cal’s interest in the fate of undocumented students predates the 2016 election by years.
When Matías Tarnopolsky steps down at the end of this month after nine years as executive and artistic director of Cal Performances in order to take the reins of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he’ll be leaving behind a lot of people who are sad to see him go.
Posted on June 14, 2018 - 10:38am
When the Alvin Ailey dancers are in the house, Zellerbach can feel more like a church than a theater. When the doors open, the audience members file in like parishioners. Some are regulars, while others are first timers, but when the curtain comes up it doesn’t matter. Young, old, student, professional, black, white, devout, secular, right, left; the differences between them disappear during the rapturous gospel of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Posted on April 10, 2018 - 4:47pm
As co-artistic directors and founders of Portland-based Imago Theater, Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad had a motto: If it’s too complex, don’t do it. That motto had to go out of the window when they began creating La Belle: Life in the world of the Automaton.
Posted on November 20, 2017 - 12:57pm
As a composer, Edmund Campion has found his sweet spot peering several moments into the future, scouting the indefinite crossroads where new technologies suggest unexpected possibilities for making music.
Posted on October 24, 2017 - 2:22pm
Comics writers aren’t generally household names these days, but Matt Groening is close. For those who can’t quite place the name, say, “The guy who made The Simpsons,” and they’ll usually respond, “Oh, yeah!”
Posted on October 6, 2017 - 2:08pm
A couples counselor could have warned Vijay Iyer that the relationship was doomed, but he needed to figure it out for himself. When he arrived at UC Berkeley in the summer of 1992 to start a graduate program in physics, Iyer was also nursing a simmering passion for jazz. The pianist quickly started connecting with some of the Bay Area’s leading improvisers, and after two years, he found himself in something of a crisis—uninspired by his academic courses while increasingly drawn to intensive jazz sessions.
Posted on June 5, 2017 - 11:31am
Cal Performances will stage the first ever modern-day performance of the original The Temple of Glory, a gem of the music library’s collection, this weekend at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley.
Posted on April 26, 2017 - 2:04pm
Last week Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket, author of the children’s novels A Series of Unfortunate Events, now a Netflix series that was largely written in Handler’s San Francisco dining room, lead an eclectic assortment of guests—singer/songwriter Thao Nguyen, record producer John Vanderslice, perfumer Yosh Han, poet Matthew Zapruder, and, in a powerful closing discussion, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood—through an evening of music and conversation.
Posted on March 1, 2017 - 12:11pm
This week, Cal Performances presents Language of Dreams, a non-narrative multi-media production featuring jazz pianist Myra Melford and her musical ensemble, Snowy Egret.
Posted on November 15, 2016 - 3:48pm
The epic poem Layla and Majnun is arguably the most famous love story in the Middle East, and yet many Westerners have never heard of it. It is the tale of two teenagers who fall deeply in love but are tragically kept apart, even until death. After Layla’s father rejects Qays’s request for her hand in marriage, Qays wanders the desert expressing his undying love through poetry.
In the weeks after the sudden death of legendary kathak dancer, choreographer and guru Pandit Chitresh Das last January, the Bay Area company that bears his name seemed determined to forge ahead. Das was in the midst of completing a major new work, “Shiva,” which was scheduled to premiere for Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall last March. But as his disciples started to come to terms with his loss, moving forward so soon after his passing at 70 seemed unthinkable.
Posted on February 26, 2016 - 1:42pm