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Performances

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the second half of Cal Performances' 2014-2015 season. We begin the new year by bringing you the best in recital, new music, and world stage performances. Our fall 2014 season was opened and closed by Yo-Yo Ma, the world's best-loved cellist: He launched our season with an unforgettable concert of solo Bach at the Greek Theatre (August 12), and gave a lecture-recital on the theme of cultural citizenship in Zellerbach Hall (December 10).

The programs of our rich fall season will be remembered for their many highlights: two programs of premieres by the Mark Morris Dance Group, including a restaging of Mr. Morris's Spring, Spring, Spring to music by Stravinsky interpreted by The Bad Plus; the Australian Ballet's contemporary reimagining of Swan Lake; Theatre de la Ville's rendering of the Pirandello classic, Six Characters in Search of an Author; Jiri Belohlavek leading the Czech Philharmonic and Prague Philharmonic Choir in a grand choral masterwork from their homeland, Dvorak's Stabat Mater; Ian Bostridge as the Madwoman in Netia Jones's new staging of Benjamin Britten's church parable, Curlew River; the inaugural concert of Project TenFourteen, our collaboration with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, which features ten world premieres over four concerts; and the unforgettable Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe in Robert Wilson's production of The Old Woman, based on a story by Daniil Kharms-just to name a few.

Our first performance of 2015 is recital by violinist Gidon Kremer, an essential artist of our time, and pianist Daniil Trifonov in First Congregational Church (January 13). Their program includes three masterworks for violin and piano duo-Mozart's E-flat major Sonata, Schubert's Fantasy in C major, and Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Sonata in G minor-as well as two solo pieces: Mozart's Fantasia in D minor for piano and Weinberg's Third Sonata for violin. Mr. Trifonov, an emerging young virtuoso, makes his Cal Performances debut.

The Kronos Quartet, Cal Performances Artists in Residence, return to Hertz Hall in the company of Wu Man, the world's foremost virtuoso of the pipa, or Chinese lute. Wu Man last collaborated with Kronos at the Quartet's 40th birthday concert in Zellerbach Hall in December 2013, and made her Cal Performances recital debut in Hertz Hall the following month. On their evening program is a Kronos classic, South African composer Kevin Volans's White Man Sleeps (1986), alongside David T. Little's AGENCY (2013) and Terry Riley's The Cusp of Magic (2004), a six-movement work for pipa and string quartet featuring Wu Man and celebrating the composer's 80th birthday (January 18).

The return of the Peking Acrobats on January 24 and 25 marks our first "For Families" event of 2015. Chinese acrobatics is a thrilling, 2,000-year-old cultural tradition passed down through the generations. The Peking Acrobats preserve and advance this tradition in the form of a highly entertaining spectacle that people of all ages can enjoy.

We welcome the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and their galvanizing director, Steven Schick, back to Hertz Hall for the second Project TenFourteen concert of the season (January 25). On the program are the world premieres of two chamber works-Du Yun's Quatrains, Slow Portraits (3) (2014) and Agata Zubel's where to (2014), which features the composer as soprano soloist-and three piano pieces by the great British composer Harrison Birtwistle: The Axe Manual (2000), Gigue Machine (2011), a Cal Performances co-commission, and Variations from the Golden Mountain in its U.S. premiere. The pianist is Nicolas Hodges, a champion of Birtwistle's music and the artist who gave the West Coast premiere of Gigue Machine in Hertz Hall in January 2013.

Lyric tenor Matthew Polenzani makes his Cal Performances debut with pianist Julius Drake in a wide-ranging program in First Congregational Church that includes Liszt's French songs set to poems by Victor Hugo; Samuel Barber's Hermit Songs, based on writings by medieval Irish monks; and works by Beethoven, Ravel, and Satie (January 31). Closing this month and opening the next are the drummers of Kodo, Japan's premier taiko ensemble, who return to Zellerbach Hall to rouse the spirit as part of their One Earth Tour (January 31-Feburary 1).

Cal Performances is pleased to announce four events newly added to our season. Novelist and poet Michael Ondaatje, best known for his Booker Prize-winning novel The English Patient, inaugurates our new series of performances at the University Club in a Berkeley Talks conversation with Chancellor Nicholas Dirks (February 13). Composer, pianist, and vocalist Clarice Assad comes to the University Club for an evening of music of her homeland (February 21). Genre-crossing singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby, a musician of eclectic tastes and influences, makes his Cal Performances debut in Zellerbach Hall (April 15). And UC Berkeley's own new-music group, the Eco Ensemble, returns to Hertz Hall to perform Philippe Leroux's De la texture (2007) and three works by Berkeley faculty composers: Franck Bedrossian's Epigram I (2010) and Epigram II (2013) and Edmund Campion's Auditory Fiction II (2014), which was written for the Eco Ensemble and premiered by the group this past September at the 58th International Festival of Contemporary Music at the Venice Biennale (April 25).


Matías Tarnopolsky
Executive and Artistic Director
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