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Dear Friends,

In Shakespeare's words, "April hath put a spirit of youth in everything," and at Cal Performances this month the artists on our stages enliven artworks old and new in harmony with the season of renewal.

To begin our April programs, we welcome back The Tallis Scholars, the world's premier Renaissance vocal ensemble, and their Artistic Director, Peter Phillips, to First Congregational Church for two concerts to continue our 2014/15 early music series (April 10 & 11). On first program are Josquin's Missa Pange lingua and Gaude virgo, three settings by William Byrd, Arvo Pärt's Tribute to Caesar, and Recordare, domine, a work written for The Tallis Scholars by the young American composer Nico Muhly. The second concert includes Byrd's Mass for Four Voices, Pärt's Triodion, and two settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla and Thomas Tallis.

Ian Bostridge's portrayal of the Madwoman in Netia Jones's remarkable production of Benjamin Britten's Curlew River made an unforgettable impression here last fall. The acclaimed tenor returns to Cal Performances in a Hertz Hall recital commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of World War I with pianist Wenwen Du (April 12). Their program, entitled The Music and Poetry of the Great War, includes three songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Rudi Stephan's Ich will dir singen ein Hohelied, Kurt Weill's Four Walt Whitman Songs, four selections from Britten's Who Are These Children?, and George Butterworth's A Shropshire Lad.

Two world stage events mark the middle of the month. On April 15, we welcome pianist and singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby, in his Cal Performances début, for a special evening of his Americana-infused piano compositions and improvisations. And on April 17, celebrated raconteur Arlo Guthrie, a Cal Performances favorite for many years, returns to Zellerbach Hall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his 1960s folk classic, "Alice's Restaurant."

The great American choreographer Alvin Ailey first brought his innovative dance troupe to Cal Performances in March 1968. Just months before the opening of Zellerbach Hall, the Ailey company's performance took place on the modest Wheeler Auditorium stage. In the 47 years since, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Cal Performances have deepened and expanded this special artistic partnership. For decades now, the Ailey company has spent a week each spring in residence here. Artistic Director Robert Battle carries on Ailey's artistic legacy and upholds the company's status as one of America's leading most beloved cultural treasures, while maintaining Ailey's spirit of perennial freshness and excellence in dance. Our 2014/15 dance series comes to a spectacular conclusion when we welcome the Ailey company back for three programs showcasing varied dance styles and featuring four Bay Area premières (April 21–26): Matthew Rushing's ODETTA, to music by the work's namesake, the great folk singer, and Sweet Honey in the Rock's Ysaye Barnwell; Robert Moses's The Pleasure of the Lesson, to music by Mr. Moses and David Worm; Hofesh Shechter's Uprising, to music by Mr. Shechter and Vex'd; and Jacqulyn Buglisi's Suspended Women, to music by Ravel. Also on the programs are Asadata Dafora's groundbreaking 1932 solo dance, Awassa Astrige/Ostrich, to music by Carl Riley; Ulysses Dove's Bad Blood, to music by Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel; David Parsons's Caught, to music by Robert Fripp; Hans van Manen's Polish Pieces, to music by Henryk Górecki; and Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain Pax de Deux, to music by Arvo Pärt. As always, each program closes with the inspirational, iconic Revelations.

This season, Cal Performances reaffirms its unparalleled commitment to contemporary music with the premières of more than 20 compositions of varying styles, instrumentation, and subject matter. Our new music series continues on April 25 in Hertz Hall with a concert by UC Berkeley's own new music group, the eco ensemble, under the direction of David Milnes. On the program is Philippe Leroux's De la Texture (2007), a composition which was given its world première under the baton of Mr. Milnes. Works by two UC Berkeley composers also feature: Franck Bedrossian's Epigram I (2010) sets poems of Emily Dickinson, and his Epigram II (2014), for instrumental ensemble, receives its Bay Area première; and Edmund Campion's Auditory Fiction II (2014), which was premièred by the eco ensemble last September at the 58th International Festival of Contemporary Music in Venice, receives its West Coast première.

On April 20, Cal Performances announces our ambitious 2015/16 season and marks the launch of Berkeley RADICAL (Research And Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts and Learning), our newest and boldest plan to address our role in the future of the performing arts in our culture and community, and on our campus. Our 2015/16 programming carries forward a curatorial vision rooted in the principles of Berkeley RADICAL and abounds with the most important performing artists in classical, new, and early music, jazz and world stage, dance and theater—and includes many unique performances that can be experienced nowhere else but here.

I look forward to welcoming you throughout the season.

Matías Tarnopolsky
Executive and Artistic Director
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