From the Chair:
Dear Alumni and Friends of the Department of Music,
Campus may be a bit quieter and the calendar indeed says it is summer, but we are as busy as ever here in the Department of Music!
We are buzzing over the recent news that our beloved and revered Professor Emeritus Richard Taruskin has been awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize. Truly an achievement of the highest honor, the Kyoto Prize has long been regarded by many as the most eminent award available in fields that are traditionally not honored with a Nobel Prize. We join in the whole campus community congratulating Richard on this momentous accomplishment and thank him for his lifetime of scholarship and service.
In this edition of the UC Berkeley Department of Music newsletter, you will see stories on UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra’s tour through Spain and from our friends at Cal Performances who just wrapped up the Ojai at Berkeley music festival, which featured Music Ph.D. alum Vijay Iyer ’98.
You may have noticed that this note from the Chair has a different author. Our cherished Cindy Cox is taking a much-deserved sabbatical over the 2017-18 academic year so I will be filling in as Acting Chair. She will return to her role as Chair next summer, but in the meantime, we wish her a productive and relaxing year away from campus.
We look forward to seeing you all in the fall as we continue our 65th season of Noon Concerts and of course our wonderful evening and weekend performances. Look for a full schedule closer to the start fall semester. Until then, have a happy and safe summer!
Department Acting Chair
Taruskin Wins Esteemed Kyoto Prize
UC Berkeley Department of Music Professor Emeritus Richard Taruskin has been awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize. A notable honor, the Kyoto Prize has long been regarded by many as the most significant award available in fields that are traditionally not honored with a Nobel Prize.
Bestowed annually since 1985 by the Inamori Foundation, the Prize is presented in three categories: Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy. Taruskin joins prominent scholars to win the award including Noam Chamsky, Jane Goodall, Witold Lutosławski, and fellow UC Berkeley faculty member Richard Karp. The Kyoto Prize also comes with a 50 million Yen prize that will be awarded at the official ceremonies in Kyoto, Japan in November.
“It’s obvious that he is the most important music historian of his generation in this country – perhaps in the world,” said Princeton University musicologist Simon Morrison of Taruskin.
A world-renowned musicologist, music historian, and critic Taruskin came to UC Berkeley Music in 1986. Previously he served numerous roles at Columbia University where he earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. While at Columbia he worked as choral conductor and played viola da gamba with the well-known Aulos Ensemble.
While at UC Berkeley he published widely including his widely-lauded six volume “Oxford History of Western Music” which examines the whole of the European musical history. He retired from the UC Berkeley Department of Music in 2014.
UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra Spanish Tour
By Paris Cotz, Arts + Design Initiative
The UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra (UCBSO) just wrapped up their eleven-day tour of Spain. The goal of this trip was to engage an international audience in Berkeley’s depth of musicality, and to give the students a chance to perform abroad and in new, complex spaces.
UCBSO, led by Professor David Milnes, performed their first concert in the town of Úbeda, at the Centro Cultural Hospital de Santiago, where they played pieces by Berlioz, Debussy, and works by two UC Berkeley composers, Amadeus Regucera and Cindy Cox.
The second concert was performed at Auditorio Manuel de Falla in Granada. The symphony played Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel, and two pieces by UC Berkeley composers, Scott Rubin and Jean Ahn. Soo Yeon Lyuh was featured on the haegeum, a traditional Korean string instrument. The audience enjoyed the performance so much, that two encores had to be played!
The beautiful city of Valencia hosted the third concert of this series at the Palau de la Música. A similar program was played, but this time the orchestra had three encores!
After exploring Barcelona, UCBSO played their fourth and final concert in Reus, a city near Barcelona. They performed at the Teatre Fortuny, where they played Strauss and Berlioz, and Cindy Cox and Amadeus Regucera’s original compositions. Their grand final encore was Debussy’s Iberia.
In the News: Vijay Iyer ’98 Plays Ojai at Berkeley
Vijay Iyer graduated with his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1998 studying music cognition with the guidance of Music Department faculty members David Wessel and Olly Wilson. Iyer has gone on to become a premier jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, producer, electronic musician, and writer. He recently performed at the Ojai Music Festival in Berkeley.
San Francisco Classical Voice: “Ojai at Berkeley Festival Bears the Vijay Iyer Stamp This Year”
SF Gate: “VIjay Iyer brings sprawling ‘jazz’ style to Ojai at Berkeley”
California Magazine: “Vijay Iyer Jazzes Up the Ojai at Berkeley Music Festival”
UC Berkeley Public Affairs: “Pianist found his path at Berkeley, returns to lead Ojai music fest”
Daily Cal: “‘Ojai at Berkeley’ unites trailblazing musicians in celebration of diverse classical styles”