These diverse musicians are at the leading edge of jazz and improvisational music in the world today, innovative performers across generations who are blending composition and improvisation in exciting, original ways.

—Myra Melford

Myra Melford Jazz Platform
David Virelles Trio
featuring Marcus Gilmore and Rashaan Carter
David Virelles, piano
Rashaan Carter, bass
Marcus Gilmore, drums

Spider Web
by Nicole Mitchell and Josh Kun
Nicole Mitchell, flute, voice, electronics
Josh Kun, spoken word
JoVia Armstrong, percussion
Damon Locks, voice, electronics
Joshua White, keyboards
S. Ama Wrey, movement, spoken word

Cal Performances has invited pianist and composer Myra Melford to co-curate our jazz programming this season, with concerts that will introduce Bay Area jazz aficionados to artists who are household names in New York and abroad, but may be less well-known on the West Coast.

A "stalwart of the new-jazz movement" (The New Yorker), Melford is among the most respected artists of her generation. A Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the Alpert Award for Music and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, she has been a professor of music at UC Berkeley for the past 14 years, teaching improvisation and composition while maintaining a vigorous international career as a touring and recording artist.

Here is what Melford has to say about the singular artists visiting this season:

"When I first heard David Virelles, I was struck by how thoroughly his piano playing embodies the traditions of Cuban music, while at the same time drawing in very modern influences from contemporary classical music and the avant-garde. There is great freedom in his playing—he can groove and also take the music out into new territory at the same time."

"There is no one who plays the flute like Nicole Mitchell—everything about her playing is totally unique, and stellar. Nicole I are close collaborators, and I am continually inspired by her imagination and vision. Her fascinating new Spider Web is a collaboration with scholar Josh Kun that explores race and politics in Southern California in the context of Afrofuturism, black experimental music, and her own family history."

Want more Myra Melford Jazz Platform? Also see An Evening of Duos Onstage: Tim Berne, saxophone, Matt Mitchell, piano; Ingrid Laubrock, saxophone, Kris Davis, piano (Feb 9)


Related Events

Public Forum
Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 3pm
Geballe Room, Stephens Hall
Thinking Composition. A conversation with Nicole Mitchell and Josh Kun, with poet Chiyuma Elliott of UC Berkeley’s African American Studies graduate program. Presented in association with the Dept. of Music and the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities. Free and open to the public.


Improvisation Workshop CANCELLED
Sun, Oct 27, 2019, 3pm
250 Morrison Hall
Myra Melford and jazz bassist Lisa Mezzacappa lead a free workshop based on improvisational techniques, meant to provide a window into the work of the musicians on the two programs curated by Melford this season (Oct 27 and Feb 9). Participants are encouraged to bring their own instruments. Open to all ages and abilities. Presented in association with the Dept. of Music. Free and open to the public.


Pre-performance Talk CANCELLED
Sun, Oct 27, 2019, 6pm
Hertz Hall
Myra Melford, professor of jazz and improvised music at UC Berkeley and co-programmer of Cal Performances’ Jazz Series this season, talks with KCSM Jazz91 music director Jesse "Chuy" Varela about her curatorial choices and the Cuban-based music of David Virelles. Free to ticket holders.


Major support for public programs provided by Bank of America.

Donor Benefits

Donor Parking
As a service to our donors at the $750 level and above, we offer the opportunity to reserve parking for our performances. Reserve parking online 5 business days or more in advance of the performance, or by contacting Cal Performances' Development Department at 510.642.8653 or email

View my current parking benefits

Additional information regarding donor parking benefits can be found on our Donor Services/Parking page.

Program Notes

Program notes are available online. [PDF]