June 16 – 18, 2016 in Zellerbach Hall and Zellerbach Playhouse
- Peter Sellars, music director
- Thomas W. Morris, artistic director, Ojai Music Festival
- Matías Tarnopolsky, executive and artistic director, Cal Performances
Berkeley graduate students enjoy 50% off with their Cal1Card!
$10 ticket for each performance, or $22.50 for all 3!
Kaija Saariaho, La Passion de Simone
Thursday, June 16, 8 pm at Zellerbach Playhouse
Amin Maalouf, text
Julia Bullock, soprano
ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble)
Roomful of Teeth
Joana Carneiro, conductor
Peter Sellars, director
Ben Zamora, lighting designer
The transcendent musical vision of Kaija Saariaho returns to Cal Performances, with a chamber version of the Finnish composer’s powerful oratorio created in tribute to the radical 20th-century French philosopher, Simone Weil. Saariaho’s “magically seductive” (Gramophone), meditative score is performed by ICE and the accomplished vocal group Roomful of Teeth in a new restaging by Peter Sellars; the role of Weil, initially created for Dawn Upshaw, is here portrayed by Upshaw’s one-time student, the extraordinary young soprano, Julia Bullock.
Heroines of note in this performance
Kaija Saariaho • World renowned composer who was in residence at UC Berkeley last year and will have her opera “L’Amour de Loin” performed at the Metropolitan Opera next season — the first by a woman since 1903! Both her operas “L’Amour de Loin” and “La Passion de Simone” feature libretto by Lebanese-born Amin Maalouf.
Simone Weil • Radical philosopher who died while on a hunger strike sympathizing with victims of the Nazis, and the subject of Kaija Saariaho’s “La Passion de Simone.”
Caroline Shaw • At age 30 became a Pulitzer Prize winning composer for her “Partita for 8 Voices.” She is also a violinist and sings alto in the vocal group Roomful of Teeth.
Joana Carneiro • Berkeley Symphony Orchestra music director since 2009, Principal Conductor Orquesta Sinfonica Portuguesa, Guest Conductor Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon.) Carneiro will conduct “La Passion de Simone” on Thursday,
Friday, June 17, 6:30 – 7:30 pm at Zellerbach Hall
Artist talk with Ojai at Berkeley music director Peter Sellars and Cal Performances director Matías Tarnopolsky Free to all ticketholders for the concert that evening.
Dina El Wedidi and Band: The Sounds of Tahrir Square, Cairo
Friday, June 17, 8 pm at Zellerbach Hall
Direct from Cairo, the phenomenal young Egyptian vocalist, songwriter, and activist Dina El Wedidi performs a song cycle depicting the struggles and aspirations of the Egyptian revolution. The charismatic singer’s international career has been on the rise since winning an apprenticeship with Brazilian star, Gilberto Gil. El Wedidi appeared at Cal Performances last season as part of the Nile Project, and returns to Berkeley this season with her genre-defying band, along with three elder women who sing in the centuries old zār trance music tradition.
Heroine of note in this performance
Dina Al Wedidi • 28-year-old Egyptian singer whose current work is about the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Dina represents the future of Egypt and the Arab spring.
Josephine Baker: A Portrait (commissioned by ICE )
Tyshawn Sorey, compositions and arrangements/drum set Julia Bullock, soprano ICE
Saturday, June 18, 8:00 pm at Zellerbach Playhouse
The “ravishingly visceral” (The New York Times) voice of soprano Julia Bullock is at the center of an evening of music and writings honoring the life and legacy of the legendary Josephine Baker. Inventive jazz composer and drummer Tyshawn Sorey collaborates in this poignant, intimate presentation, commissioned by ICE, which celebrates Baker’s courage and daring — and profound personal sacrifice — as a trailblazing African-American cultural icon.
Heroines of note in this performance
Josephine Baker • World renowned dancer and singer who found fame in France outside the confines of the racism that restricted her career in the U.S., the subject of Tyshawn Sorey’s “Josephine Baker: A Portrait.”
Claudia Rankine • Poet contributing text to “Josephine Baker: A Portrait.” Rankine won both the PEN Open Book Award and the PEN Literary Award, the NAACP Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her book Citizen was the first to be named a finalist in both the poetry and criticism categories and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category.
Julia Bullock • Soprano Bullock sang the role of Simone Weil at the world premiere of “La Passion de Simone” with the Berlin Philharmonic in November 2016. She made her SF Symphony debut in the 2014 concert performances of West Side Story, later released on recording. Bullock is featured in Ojai at Berkeley in both “La Passion de Simone” and “Josephine Baker: A Portrait.”
Claire Chase • celebrated flautist, new music champion, and founder and co-artistic director of ICE, International Contemporary Ensemble, will perform in “Josephine Baker: A Portrait.” Chase has embarked on a 22-year commissioning project to create an entirely new body of repertory for solo flute between 2014-2036, the centenary of Varese’s 1936 flute solo, Density 21.5.