Beyond the Valley of the Ninth

Berkeley RADICAL, a new Cal Performances initiative to “uncover new means of revealing our shared human potential” included two significant events with significant contributions by the Music Department.

Berkeley RADICAL posterAssociate Professor of Music Nicholas Mathew organized the symposium, “Beyond the Valley of the Ninth‚ The Afterlives of Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphony” held in Hertz Hall on Friday, September 25th. The symposium included Andrea Bohlman (UNC Chapel Hill), Stephen Hinton (Stanford University), Alexander Rehding (Harvard University), Christopher Reynolds (UC Davis), Anicia Timberlake (Williams College), and Mina Yang.

This was followed by the evening performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela, conducted by world-renowned Gustavo Dudamel, at the Greek Theater. Singers from Music Department’s Chamber Chorus and from the Alumni Chorus joined in.

Visiting Professor Carol Vernallis lectures on October 9

vernallis_facultyCarol Vernallis’s areas of specialization are music video and recent film; her research deals more broadly with questions of sound and image in moving media. Her first book, Experiencing Music Video (Columbia University Press), attempts to theorize the genre.

Her second, Unruly Media: Youtube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema (Oxford University Press), takes account of a new mediascape driven by intensified audiovisual relations. The book considers techniques and strategies that are shared between the three forms of digital media it focuses on. She’s now working more closely with directors and other practitioners who create innovative audiovisual work across platforms and media – her book-in-progress is entitled Transmedia Directors – and she is asking about the viewer/listener’s experience of audiovisuality in today’s media-saturated, multi-platform swirl. She is also co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics and The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media. Her Music Studies Colloquium, “Beyoncé’s Overwhelming Opus; or, the Past and Future of Music Video,” is on Friday, October 9, in 128 Morrison Hall.

Zakir Hussain, Crossing Borders

Zakir Hussain, one of the foremost percussionists of the contemporary world, was Regent’s Lecturer at the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies in Spring 2015. As a performer of Indian classical jazz and a composer, he is a brilliant example of border crossing music, and is widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement.Jazz Ensemble plays with Zakir Hussain

While at Berkeley he participated in two public events: a discussion with Professor Bonnie Wade about the changing dynamics of the tabla in Hindustani classical music, and a Jazz Fusion master class with music students, with Myra Melford as faculty lead.

Hussain’s collaborators include John McLaughlin and L. Shankar (they formed Shakti together), as well as Diga Rhythm Band, Making Music,  Planet Drum with Mickey Hart, and recordings and performances with artists as diverse as Joshua Redman, George Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans Symphony. He has been hailed by media as a virtuoso, a superstar and an encyclopedia of tabla.

Distinguished Visitors, 2014–2015

Photo of Donatienne Michel-Dansac

Donatienne Michel-Dansac, French soprano, Regent’s Lecturer in 2015

Donatienne Michel-Dansac

French soprano Donatienne Michel-Dansac, was the Music Department’s Regent’s Lecturer in spring 2015. In addition to meetings with students, she gave a colloquium in the Music Department and appeared in a Cal Performances/Eco Ensemble concert in April. Michel-Dansac has worked closely with composers at France’s IRCAM since 1993, and has premiered significant works by composers such as Philippe Manoury, Pascal Dusapin, Luca Francesconi, Georges Aperghis, Fausto Romitelli and Philippe Leroux.


Georgina Born, Bloch Professor in spring 2014

Georgina Born, 2014 Bloch Professor

Georgina Born

Anthropologist of music Georgina Born, 2014 Bloch Professor from the University of Oxford, presented a series of lectures on “Music and the Digital” which offered fresh insights drawn from a global program of ethnographic studies of digital music cultures in Argentina, Canada, Cuba, India, Kenya, the United Kingdom, and beyond. She also gave a graduate seminar in music history and criticism entitled “Emotional Anthropologies of Romantic Music.”





Vienna Philharmonic Master Class for UCB Symphony Orchestra String Section

Cal Performances’ prestigious annual orchestra residency continued in spring 2014 with a return visit by the venerable Vienna Philharmonic, not only is it Austria’s most highly coveted “cultural export,” it is also an ambassador of peace, humanity, and reconciliation, concepts which are inseparably linked to the message of music itself. The musicians endeavor to implement the motto with which Beethoven, whose symphonic works served as a catalyst for the creation of the orchestra, prefaced his Missa Solemnis: “From the heart, to the heart.” It is in this spirit that the string masterclass, free and open to the public, was run by esteemed Vienna Philharmonic concertmaster Rainer Honeck. Read more about the event here and here.