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Dear Friends,

Cal Performances has announced our ambitious 2015–2016 season and marked 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. Beginning this September, several distinctive projects on each season will feed the Berkeley RADICAL process and include explorations of known works or creation of major new ones, with public performances, residencies of commissioned artists, significant partnerships with the University across academic disciplines, on- and off-campus learning programs, and post-performance dissemination of findings on the creative process, education, research, and scholarship endeavors delivered via various media platforms. Berkeley RADICAL is intended to work in tandem with, and utilize, the unique intellectual resources and capabilities of the university is our home.

Our 2015–2016 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, world stage, dance, and theater—and includes many unique performances that can be experienced nowhere else but here. As in 2014–2015, new music is a primary focus of the coming season. This fall, Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho is in residence at UC Berkeley in the Department of Music. To celebrate her presence on campus, on October 23 UC Berkeley’s own eco ensemble, under the direction of David Milnes, performs a concert of her masterful compositions Notes on Light (2006), The Tempest Songbook (2004), and Sept Papillons (2000). Notes on Light and Sept Papillons feature her longtime collaborator, cellist Anssi Karttunen, as soloist.

On November 6 and 7, we present a major event on our season when we welcome Paris’s Ensemble Intercontemporain (EIC) in its Cal Performances début. The EIC, considered by many the world’s preeminent new music group, was founded in 1976 by composer and conductor Pierre Boulez. The ensemble rarely travels to the United States, which makes its performances here very special indeed. The EIC’s first concert is a multimedia program featuring Beat Furrer’s Linea dell’orizzonte (2012) and Marco Stroppa’s Gla-Dya, études sur les rayonnements jumeaux (2007), alongside two works by UC Berkeley faculty composers commissioned by the ensemble: the United States première of Edmund Campion’s Cluster X, with visuals by Kurt Hentschläger, and the world première of a new work by Franck Bedrossian. The second concert includes two works by the EIC’s Music Director, Matthias Pintscherbereshit (an EIC commission, 2014) and Beyond (A System of Passing) (2014, for solo flute)—as well as a modernist classic, Octandre (1923), by Edgard Varèse, and Boulez’s magisterial Sur Incises (1996–1998), for three pianos, three harps, and three percussion. (This past March, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the founding pianist of the EIC, performed Incises (1993–1994), the work on which Sur Incises was based, in Zellerbach Hall.)

On February 14, eighth blackbird, the acclaimed new music ensemble, comes to Hertz Hall to perform Hand Eye, a suite of six new compositions by Timo Andres (who performed at the 2014 Ojai North!), Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Andrew Norman, and Robert Honstein. And the Kronos Quartet, one of Cal Performances’ longstanding artistic partners, returns to Zellerbach Hall on May 1 to perform Terry Riley’s epic Sun Rings, with visual design by Willie Williams. New music also features on the programs of our chamber musicians. Another new work by Mr. Andres is heard on the February 21 concert by the Takács Quartet, and the Danish String Quartet performs Arcadiana (1994) by Thomas Adès on its November 22 concert.

Cal Performances has recently been selected as recipient of a major, multiyear grant from the Wallace Foundation to develop new audiences for the performing arts. Cal Performances seeks to build a bridge to the so-called “millennial” generation by working to attract current UC Berkeley undergraduates (18–22 years old) and recently graduated young professionals (23–25 years old), the “transition population” of young adults who are one to three years beyond their university studies. We believe it is crucial to focus new, significant research and programming efforts on creating meaningful opportunities for engagement for this segment of our population so as to begin building lifelong Cal Performances audiences and supporters. Events and projects under this initiative align with the principles of Berkeley RADICAL. In the first phase of activity under the grant, we will conduct audience research to learn more about the young professionals in our community and work to develop a communications strategy to best engage them.

I look forward to welcoming you to Ojai at Berkeley and throughout the 2015–2016 season.

Matías Tarnopolsky
Executive and Artistic Director
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