Berkeley Symphony opens its 2018-19 season on Oct 4 with Ming Luke conducting Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto, featuring violinist Benjamin Beilman, Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Anna Clyne’s Night Ferry, and Ravel’s La Valse.
BERKELEY, CA (September 20, 2018) – Berkeley Symphony opens its 2018-19 season with Guest Conductor Ming Luke taking the podium at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley on Thursday, Oct 4, 2018 at 7pm. Following Joana Carneiro’s announcement that she is stepping down as Berkeley Symphony’s Music Director and Conductor as of the end of the 2017-18 season and after nine seasons at its artistic helm, Associate Conductor and Education Director Ming Luke makes his debut leading Berkeley Symphony on the main stage. The Orchestra kicks off the season in an exultant mood with the grand ceremonial fanfare of Festive Overture, Op. 96 by Dmitri Shostakovich. Benjamin Beilman makes his debut performance with Berkeley Symphony as soloist in Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto. The Orchestra performs Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Anna Clyne’s visually stunning Night Ferry. The concert concludes with Ravel’s La Valse.
Berkeley Symphony and Clyne are entering the final year of a three-year collaboration that will give the composer new opportunities while in Berkeley to write and workshop new orchestral music, and engage with the Berkeley community beyond the orchestra hall. Music Alive is a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA.
Ming Luke, Associate Conductor and Director of Education for the Berkeley Symphony since 2006, has conducted ensembles across the United States and Europe and has been praised for his “pure musicality” and “charisma.” Allan Ulrich at the San Francisco Chronicle stated that “Luke delivered the best live theater performance I’ve ever heard of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.” Luke is also the Principal Guest Conductor for the San Francisco Ballet, and Music Director of the Merced Symphony as well as the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra. In addition to work with these companies, 2018-19 season highlights include working with Opera San Jose, San Francisco Opera as a teaching artist, San Bernardino Symphony, and Billings Symphony, in addition to tours to the Kennedy Center and London with the San Francisco Ballet, and a tour of the Baltics with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra.
American violinist Benjamin Beilman is recognized as one of the fastest rising stars of his generation, winning praise for his passionate performances and deep rich tone, which the Washington Post called “mightily impressive” and The New York Times described as “muscular with a glint of violence.”
In March 2016, Warner Classics released his debut recital CD. Highlights of Mr. Beilman’s 2017-18 season include performances with the Houston Symphony, Oregon Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Orchestra St. Luke’s, as well as a multi-city tour of California play-directing the New Century Chamber Orchestra in a program including Bach, Stravinsky, and Andrew Norman. In recital, he will premiere a new work written for him by Frederic Rzewski and commissioned by Music Accord, presented by Boston Celebrity Series and Shriver Hall Concert Series, and on tour throughout the US in the 17-18 and 18-19 seasons. Abroad, Mr. Beilman will make his Australian concerto debut with the Sydney Symphony where he will perform Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto, and debuts with Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Trondheim Symphony. He will also perform the European premiere of Frederic Rzewski’s new work at the Heidelberg Spring Festival, and return to the Wigmore Hall in recital.
London-born Anna Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music. Described as a “composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods” in a New York Times profile and as “dazzlingly inventive” by Time Out New York, Clyne’s work often includes collaborations with cutting-edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians worldwide. Appointed by Music Director Riccardo Muti, Clyne served as a Mead Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2010-15. She also recently served as Composer-in-Residence for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra during the 2015-16 season and for L’Orchestre national d’île-de-France from 2014-16. She has been commissioned by such renowned organizations as American Composers Orchestra, BBC Radio 3, BBC Scottish Symphony, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and the Southbank Centre, and her work has been championed by such world-renowned conductors as Marin Alsop, Pablo Heras-Casado, Riccardo Muti, Leonard Slatkin, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
ABOUT BERKELEY SYMPHONY
Berkeley Symphony is unique among Bay Area and American orchestras for its commitment to innovation, community, and excellence. Founded in 1971 in the intellectual and artistic nexus of Berkeley, California, the Orchestra is committed to premiering and commissioning new music and champions female composers, sustained by the supportive musical environment of Berkeley, the East Bay, and the San Francisco Bay Area. From the outset, the people behind Berkeley Symphony’s culture and programming were attuned to the culturally diverse people and the heady creative climate of their home city.
Thomas Rarick, a protégé of the great English maestro Sir Adrian Boult, founded the orchestra in 1971 as the Berkeley Promenade Orchestra. Reflecting the spirit of the times, musicians performed in street dress and at unusual locations such as the University Art Museum. When Kent Nagano became the music director of the orchestra in 1978, he charted a new course by offering innovative programming that included rarely performed 20th-century works and numerous premieres. The renamed Berkeley Symphony Orchestra gained an international reputation for its adventurous programming, and became known for premiering the music of international composers and showcasing young local talents. Berkeley Symphony entered a new era in January 2009 when Joana Carneiro became the Orchestra’s third Music Director in its 40-year history. Under Carneiro, the Orchestra continued its tradition of presenting the cutting edge of classical music for nine seasons. In 2016, Berkeley Symphony and composer Anna Clyne were awarded a Music Alive grant for a three-year composer residency, designed to immerse Clyne and the Symphony in the creation of new work, collaboration with other Berkeley arts institutions, music education, community outreach and multidisciplinary activities.
Berkeley Symphony has introduced Bay Area audiences to works by upcoming young composers, many of whom have since achieved international prominence. Celebrated British composer George Benjamin, who subsequently became Composer-in-Residence at the San Francisco Symphony, was first introduced to the Bay Area in 1987 when Berkeley Symphony performed his compositions Jubilation and Ringed by the Flat Horizon; as was Thomas Adès, whose opera Powder Her Face was debuted by the Orchestra in a concert version in 1997 before it was fully staged in New York City, London and Chicago.
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
Thursday, October 4, 2018, 7p – HIGDON & RAVEL
Zellerbach Hall, 101 Zellerbach Way, Berkeley
Ming Luke, Guest Conductor
Benjamin Beilman, Violin
Dimitri Shostakovich: Festive Overture, Op. 96
Jennifer Higdon: Violin Concerto
Anna Clyne: Night Ferry
Maurice Ravel: La Valse
TICKETS: Tickets for the Berkeley Symphony concert on October 4 are priced at $15 to $96 and are available at tickets.berkeleysymphony.org or by phone at (510) 841-2800. Student tickets are available. Doors open at 5:30p.