The region’s oldest and largest performance-presentation organization has a dynamic new director and the promise of a brilliant new season.
Cal Performances at UC Berkeley is about to open its 105th season, working with an operating budget of $13.6 million.
For 23 years, “CalPerfs” was under the direction of Robert Cole. The new director is Matías Tarnopolsky, 40, who has held executive positions with the New York Philharmonic, the BBC and Chicago symphonies.
A newcomer to Cal, but well familiar with the region, Tarnopolsky said of the opportunity to work in such a vibrant, engaging artistic environment, “Throughout the culturally rich Bay Area, we understand that the arts are not extra, but at the heart of who we are. I have the honor of bringing together the most important artists in the world — in performance and in dialogue.”
Born in Buenos Aires and raised and educated in London (King’s College), Tarnopolsky has worked in arts administration in Europe and the U.S. for his entire career.
Putting together some 70 music, dance and theater events for the 2010-11 season, he drew on personal and professional contacts with top artists and leading music and dance organizations.
The result: a great variety in the lineup, including numerous world-renown performers. The season opens with a rare visit of the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company on Sept. 24, and includes an extraordinary residence of the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Semyon Bychkov on Feb. 25-27.
A Tarnopolsky-initiated “Fall Free for All” open house runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 and features the Kronos Quartet, Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Ensemble, Melody of China and San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows among the 14 groups performing.
The Mark Morris Dance Group, a Cal Performances regular, appears Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Circus Oz follows Oct. 7-10 and Gamelan Çudamani from Bali on Oct. 22.
Benjamin Bagby performs from the ancient classic “Beowulf” Oct. 26-27; violinist Gideon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica appears Oct. 31. The Zenshinza Kabuki Theater Company is due
Nov. 13-14. Opera great Bryn Terfel gives a recital Nov. 20, and the Swiss pantomime troupe Mummenschanz returns Nov. 26-28.
Christian Tetzlaff performs the complete Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin on Dec. 4, followed by the Takács Quartet on Dec. 5 playing works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Beethoven.
Others in the variety package: Tango Buenos Aires, Jan. 21, Kodo “samurai percussionists,” Feb. 3-4 and Zukerman Chamber Players, Feb. 12-13.
The Berlin-based Akademie für Alte Musik performs March 4. March 6 provides geographically expansive programs: The Berlin chamber group Scharoun Ensemble performs in the afternoon; in the evening, Balé Folclórico da Bahia of Brazil.
The hottest tenor of the day, Jonas Kaufmann makes his West Coast debut on March 13, with the Nederlands Dans Theater performing March 18-19. Castleton Festival Opera will perform Britten’s “Albert Herring” and “The Rape of Lucretia” on March 24-26.
And that’s just a small sample from a long, rich season.
IF YOU GO
Cal Performances 2010-11 season
Where: Zellerbach Hall, Zellerbach Playhouse, Hertz Hall, Wheeler Auditorium , UC Berkeley campus
When: Sept. 24 through
June 16, 2011
Tickets: $20 to $225
Contact: (510) 642-9988, www.calperfs.berkeley.edu