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Press Releases

Cal Performances at UC Berkeley Announces Cal Performances at Home: Spring 2021 Performing Arts Streaming Series

January 13, 2021 | By Cal Performances

Press room

Cal Performances at Home press kit

Cal Performances at Home Spring 2021 calendar

CAL PERFORMANCES AT UC BERKELEY ANNOUNCES

CAL PERFORMANCES AT HOME

SPRING 2021 PERFORMING ARTS STREAMING SERIES

An ambitious 12-performance series of new, full-length music and dance video streams

premiering on select Thursday evenings, February 25 through June 10, 2021;

Tickets on sale today

Main Stage performance videos will be accompanied by free
Beyond the Stage artist talks, interviews, and lectures

Spring 2021 series culminates with a highly anticipated program of the
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater featuring the world premiere
of a new Cal Performances-commissioned work by company choreographer Jamar Roberts

The Digital Classroom will provide educational content for K–12 teachers and students 

Berkeley, January 12, 2021—Cal Performances at UC Berkeley announces its Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home season of 12 newly produced, full-length Main Stage music and dance video streams filmed expressly for Cal Performances. A continuation of the ambitious performing arts streaming series launched in fall 2020, the spring season features new performances premiering on select Thursday evenings from February 25 through June 10, 2021. Recorded on stages all over the world—in renowned venues and recording studios in the locations where the artists are sheltering in place—all artists currently planned for the spring series were originally booked to perform in person at UC Berkeley as part of Cal Performances’ 2020–21 live season, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and in accordance with UC Berkeley guidelines for campus operations. Tickets for the Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home series go on sale beginning today, Tuesday, January 12 at 12 noon (PST) online at https://calperformances.org/at-home/.

Executive and artistic director Jeremy Geffen says, “It has been tremendously rewarding watching Cal Performances at Home grow—in just a matter of months—from the spark of an idea to a flourishing streaming program presenting the best of the performing arts to audiences throughout the Bay Area and around the world. Our fall 2020 season presented a varied and well-received array of artists and performances and our upcoming spring season promises to build on that success. The growing audience for this kind of programming—streamed directly to viewers, wherever they are—powerfully demonstrates the ability of the performing arts, and the artists who devote their lives to them, to touch us at the deepest, most profound levels. Cal Performances remains dedicated to creating compelling virtual experiences into the future—certainly until it is safe for us to gather together for live performances.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the rich presentations that Cal Performances continues to offer our campus community—and the world at large—through its quick and successful pivot to presenting programs in an online format,” shared UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ. “Cal Performances at Home enjoyed an impressive launch last fall and now promises to extend that success into the new year. The agile response—by the staff, the board of directors, the artists themselves—to the widespread cancellation of in-person performances is emblematic of the Berkeley ethos of resilience and its commitment to spread light, even during the darkest hours. I am especially thankful that UC Berkeley students continue to have such remarkable artistic experiences available to them, especially during these challenging times.” 

The Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home streaming series kicks off on Thursday, February 25 at 7pm (PST) with the Takács Quartet performing Haydn’s String Quartet in G major, Op. 77, No. 1; Britten’s String Quartet No. 3; and Brahms’ String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat major, Op. 67, in a concert filmed at Lone Tree Arts Center near the group’s home base at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

On Thursday, March 4 at 7pm (PST), firebrand harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani performs J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations in a concert filmed in Leipzig, Germany, where Bach composed the music nearly 280 years ago. On Thursday, March 18 at 7pm (PST), pianist Mitsuko Uchida, one of today’s most accomplished and respected artists, gives a rare recital dedicated to the music of Franz Schubert, filmed in London’s iconic Wigmore Hall.

April finds soprano Christine Goerke revealing aspects of her musical personality infrequently demonstrated by the dramatic heroines she usually portrays on the great opera stages of the world, in an intimate recital featuring music by Handel, Schumann, Brahms, and R. Strauss; a special selection of Italian songs in celebration of the soprano's heritage; favorite musical-theater tunes by Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein; and Carrie Jacobs-Bond's charming cycle of short songs, her Half-Minutes Songs of 1910. Goerke will be accompanied by pianist Craig Terry, with the concert set to premiere on Thursday, April 1 at 7pm (PDT). Pianist, MacArthur Fellow, writer, and noted musical commentator Jeremy Denk returns to Cal Performances with a performance of Book 1 of J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, streaming on Thursday, April 15 at 7pm (PDT). On Thursday, April 22 at 7pm (PDT), Cal Performances at Home presents jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn and her ensemble. And at the end of the month, legendary soprano Renée Fleming hosts a special discussion-performance with guest musicians (to be announced) and UC Berkeley Professor of Neuroscience Ehud Isacoff, as part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Music and the Mind” series on Thursday, April 29 at 7pm (PDT).

May programming begins with the iconoclastic contemporary music ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars performing Steel Hammer, an oratorio by the group’s co-founder, Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Wolfe, in an Illuminations: “Fact or Fiction” performance on Thursday, May 6 at 7pm (PDT). Premiering on Thursday, May 13 at 7pm (PDT), pianist Beatrice Rana performs a recital combining all four of Chopin’s diabolically challenging yet lyrical scherzos with Bach’s French Suite No. 2 in C minor and Book 1 of Debussy’s Études. The following week, new-music ensemble yMusic makes its Cal Performances debut with a concert of repertoire by composers from both within and outside the ensemble; the streamed program premieres on Thursday, May 20 at 7pm (PDT).

Longtime Cal Performances collaborator and audience favorite Jordi Savall performs with La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations in a streaming premiere rescheduled from fall 2020, featuring selections from Monteverdi’s Eighth Book of Madrigals (the Madrigals of Love and War), on Thursday, June 3 at 7pm (PDT). Concluding the Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home season on Thursday, June 10 at 7pm (PDT), Cal Performances celebrates its relationship—one that now spans more than half a century—with the beloved Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The highly anticipated program will feature the world premiere of a new work commissioned by Cal Performances from Jamar Roberts, the company’s resident choreographer. This special performance will also feature screenings of rare archival footage from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s storied repertoire.

Two performances on the Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home schedule are part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations series, which invites audiences to explore the connections between UC Berkeley’s groundbreaking scholarship and the performing arts. Illuminations 2020–21 programming is centered around two themes, “Music and the Mind” and “Fact or Fiction.”

  • “Music and the Mind” programs examine the transformative and therapeutic potential of music and feature performances and public activities with artists and scientists from the campus community and beyond. Internationally renowned soprano Renée Fleming’s discussion-performance (April 29) will showcase her ongoing interest in the relationship between music and the human brain. Offering insights into music’s untapped potential and its complex relationship with the human brain, Fleming’s program will be held in collaboration with faculty from the Weill Neurohub, a partnership between UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and the University of Washington. 
  • “Fact or Fiction” events investigate the ways artists and scholars balance the art of storytelling with questions of historical accuracy, exploring the tension between “creative license” and what happens when alterations of fact impact our ability to tell the difference between what is true and what is false. Composer Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer, performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars (May 6), weaves more than 200 often-contradictory versions of the traditional American folktale of John Henry into a musical allegory that explores the historical truths—and untruths—of the industrial age.

The Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home season is dedicated to Gail and Dan Rubinfeld, leading supporters of Cal Performances and the artists it presents for almost 30 years. Gail Rubinfeld, retired Senior Counsel for Kaiser Permanente, has been an active member of Cal Performances’ board of trustees since 2006 and served as its Chair from 2012–16. Dan Rubinfeld is the Robert L. Bridges Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at UC Berkeley and served as the Justice Department’s antitrust division’s chief economist under President Bill Clinton.

In addition to the Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home presentations, executive and artistic director Jeremy Geffen will continue to curate free weekly Now, More Than Ever YouTube playlists and blog posts that celebrate great performances past and present. His Now, More Than Ever series began in spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first led to the cancellation of all in-person performances. Since then more than 50 issues of the playlist and commentary—spotlighting upwards of 300 separate performances—have been viewed by nearly 70,000 visitors worldwide. Now, More Than Ever can be viewed online at news.calperformances.org/now-more-than-ever, with a companion playlist available on Spotify. Guest curators of the project have included classical singer Julia Bullock (who has a Cal Performances at Home recital premiering on January 14), mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

This spring the Digital Classroom, an online venue for Cal Performances’ SchoolTime and Cal Performances Classroom programs, will provide educational content for K–12 students, parents, and educators to use for classes of up to 35 students. The Digital Classroom will include access to select performances from the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home seasons: Manual Cinema’s critically acclaimed Frankenstein; performances by jazz artists Matthew Whitaker, Bria Skonberg, and Jazzmeia Horn; flutist/vocalist Nathalie Joachim and Spektral Quartet’s luminous performance of Fanm d’Ayiti, a celebration of Joachim’s Haitian heritage through songs and stories of Haiti’s most compelling female artists; and Bang on a Can All-Stars’ performance of Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer. Participation will also include access to Cal Performances’ SchoolTime engagement guides and to free Performer Spotlights, brief 30-minute videos that investigate the work and inspirations of remarkable Bay Area performing artists, available on the K–12 web page calperformances.org/learn/k-12/.

The Cal Performances Grand Gala, originally planned as an in-person event on March 4, will not take place as scheduled. Further information about a replacement event will be announced shortly.

Ticket Information

Tickets for the Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home series will go on sale on Tuesday, January 12 at 12 noon (PST).Tickets for streamed programs are $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 for household viewing (three or more viewers). $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students to all events.

Full access to all Spring 2021 Cal Performances at Home content is complimentary for Cal Performances donors at the $450 level and above. Viewers will have access to most of the videos for three months following the streaming debut; exceptions include the Takács Quartet performance, which will remain available for two months, and Beatrice Rana’s concert, which will remain available for six weeks. Tickets are available at calperformances.org and by phone at (510) 642-9988.

 

# # #

 

CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:

CAL PERFORMANCES PRESENTS

 

FEBRUARY 2021

LIVESTREAMED EVENT

Wednesday, February 10, 7pm (PST)

Following the livestream, this event will be available to view on demand for three months, through May 10, 2021.                                                                                                                                                             

Fighting the Disinformation Machine:

Social Media and the Future of Journalism

Program: Fighting the Disinformation Machine, a “Fact or Fiction” talk presented in partnership with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, will feature Dean Geeta Anand and Tristan Harris, former Google Design Ethicist and star of the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, in conversation about the movement to fight back against the challenges to journalism posed by technology. 

This program is part of the Illuminations: “Fact or Fiction series.

Tickets: This talk is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

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PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, February 25, 7pm (PST)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for two months, from February 26 through April 28, 2021.                                                                                                                                                           

Takács Quartet

Program: 

Haydn/String Quartet in G major, Op. 77, No. 1

Britten/String Quartet No. 3

Brahms/String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat major, Op. 67

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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MARCH 2021

PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, March 4, 7pm (PST)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from March 5 through June 2, 2021.

Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord

Program:

J.S. Bach/Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, March 18, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from March 19 through June 16, 2021.

Mitsuko Uchida, piano

Program:

Schubert/Impromptu in A-flat major, D. 935, No. 2

Schubert/Impromptu in C minor, D. 899, No. 1

Schubert/Sonata in G major, D. 894 

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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APRIL 2021

PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, April 1, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from April 2 through June 30, 2021.

Christine Goerke, soprano

Craig Terry, piano

Program: Among the most powerful operatic voices of her generation, soprano Christine Goerke has performed in the title role in Strauss’ Elektra at the San Francisco Opera (2017) and was praised for her performances as Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera (2019). Goerke’s adventurous Cal Performances at Home recital features music by Handel, Schumann, Brahms, and R. Strauss; a special selection of Italian songs in celebration of the soprano’s heritage; favorite musical-theater tunes by Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein; and Carrie Jacobs-Bond’s charming cycle of short pieces, her Half-Minutes Songs of 1910.

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, April 15, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from April 16 through July 14, 2021.                                                                                                                                                           

Jeremy Denk, piano

Program:

J.S. Bach/The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, April 22, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from April 23 through July 21, 2021.                                                                                                                                                        

Jazzmeia Horn

Program: Jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn took first place in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and then won the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition, the highest accolade available to a young jazz musician. Horn’s 2017 debut album, A Social Call, landed in Billboard’s jazz Top 10. Her follow-up release, Love and Liberation, was nominated for a 2020 Grammy and features original compositions and standards from the Great American Songbook, traditional spirituals, and modern R&B.

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, April 29, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this program will be available to view on demand for three months, from April 30 through July 28, 2021.

Renée Fleming, soprano

Program: As part of Cal Performances’ 2020/21 Illuminations—“Music and the Mind” programming, soprano Renée Fleming presents a combination discussion-performance as part of her ongoing creative collaborations with researchers, scholars, and scientists. Fleming has made the relationship between music and the human brain the subject of much of her recent work, and in 2020 launched a live-streamed series of conversations with leaders and practitioners working at the intersection of music, neuroscience, and healthcare. In this special recital/presentation—featuring guest musicians to be announced and UC Berkeley Professor of Neuroscience Ehud Isacoff—Fleming offers insights into music’s potential for healing and transformation, performing selections from her repertoire, with piano accompaniment. 

This performance is part of the Illuminations: “Music and the Mind series. 

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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MAY 2021

PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, May 6, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from May 7 through August 4, 2021.

Bang on a Can All-Stars

Program:

Julia Wolfe/Steel Hammer 

Bang on a Can All-Stars—New York’s iconoclastic contemporary-music ensemble—performs Steel Hammer, an acclaimed oratorio by the group’s co-founder, Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe. Wolfe creates a musical combination of every version of the traditional American folktale of John Henry, weaving together more than 200 versions of the story into an expansive allegory about the human cost of industrialization and the role of perspective in storytelling. The music marries folk cadences with driving rhythms in Wolfe’s layered compositional style and is performed by three female vocalists and a chamber ensemble that features hammered dulcimer, mouth harp, bones, clogs, banjo, and metal percussion.

This performance is part of the Illuminations: “Fact or Fiction series. 

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.          

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PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, May 13, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for six weeks, from May 14 through June 23, 2021.

Beatrice Rana, piano

Program:

Bach/French Suite No. 2 in C minor, BWV 813

Debussy/Études, Book 1

Chopin/Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20

Chopin/Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31

Chopin/Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp minor, Op. 39

Chopin/Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Op. 54

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, May 20, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from May 21 through August 18, 2021.

yMusic

Program: New-music ensemble yMusic boasts an impressive list of collaborators and admirers from across the musical spectrum—artists ranging from Paul Simon and Bill T. Jones to Regina Spektor and Ben Folds. With the instrumentation of string trio, flute, clarinet, and trumpet/horn, the flexible sextet—comprised entirely by members of Generation Y—is sought out for its ability to bridge contemporary concert music with pop and indie rock sensibilities and moves effortlessly between formal venues like Carnegie Hall and massive arena shows.

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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JUNE 2021

PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, June 3, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from June 4 through September 1, 2021. 

Jordi Savall

La Capella Reial de Catalunya

Le Concert des Nations

Program:

Monteverdi/Selections from Madrigals, Book 8, Madrigals of Love and War 

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

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PREMIERE WATCH PARTY

Thursday, June 10, 7pm (PDT)

Following the premiere, this program will be available to view on demand for three months, from June 11 through September 8, 2021.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Robert Battle, artistic director

Matthew Rushing, associate artistic director

Program: Although the Ailey company’s annual Berkeley residency cannot take place in 2021, here the acclaimed dance ensemble offers a video program intended to remind us of the power and resilience of live performance. The centerpiece of this exclusive Cal Performances at Home presentation is the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by Jamar Roberts, the company’s resident choreographer. Roberts has been praised for creating works that engage artfully with contemporary issues such as gun violence and—most recently—the devastating effect the pandemic and police misconduct have had on Black bodies and Black lives.

The program also includes previously unscreened archival footage of performances of two landmark works from the company’s storied repertoire.

Tickets: $15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.

 

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