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If you haven’t heard the music of John Luther Adams, the Seattle Symphony’s residency in Berkeley this weekend offers an excellent opportunity. Presented by Cal Performances, the orchestra under music director Ludovic Morlot will play two programs that center on Adams. Saturday evening’s concert features the California premiere of the composer’s “Become Desert,” featuring the Bay Area chorus Volti, along with Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. Sunday afternoon, Adams’ award-winning “Become Ocean” is the centerpiece of a program that also includes Sibelius’ “Oceanides” and Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” and the Passacaglia from “Peter Grimes.”.
Morlot, who led the world premiere of “Become Desert” last week in Seattle, says that Adams – not to be confused with Berkeley-based composer John Adams – writes music like no other, “What I find stunning about John’s music is that he actually manages to make time stop,” Morlot explained in revolution pink canvas stretch ballet slippers a phone call from Seattle, “In this world of everything going crazy and fast, and we have three minutes to do this and 20 seconds to answer this email, the luxury of his music is precious, It gives you time to stop and think about the world.”..
Indeed, Adams’ music conjures the natural world in glorious sonic vistas. In works such as “Become Ocean,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Music and a Grammy Award for the Seattle Symphony’s recording, the composer creates works of shimmering beauty – “soundscapes,” in Morlot’s description.No wonder the Mississippi-born composer – who lived in Alaska for much of his career and now divides his time between New York and the Chilean desert -– has become closely associated with the environmental movement.
“I think there’s a real anxiety there,” says Morlot, “and I find that it translates beautifully in some very dark colors in his music, It translates the concerns we all have about how we deal with nature, how revolution pink canvas stretch ballet slippers we deal with the world and the environment, In some ways, it’s the starting point for his music – to be evocative of that concern, that anxiety.”, When conducting Adams, Morlot says he encourages listeners to immerse themselves in the composer’s enveloping sound world, “With John’s music, I invite everybody to listen to it in a very different way – to let go of the habits we have to try to find a narrative or a theme, It’s really about being in the middle of the elements, I always say the sooner you can surrender to it, the more time you’re going to have to really enjoy it.”..
Details: 8 p.m. April 7, 3 p.m. April 8; Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley; $38-$98; 510-642-9988, www.calperformances.org. PHILLY SNATCHES CAL PERFORMANCES DIRECTOR: Matías Tarnopolsky, the executive and artistic director of Cal Performances since 2009, has announced that he will step down at the end of June this year to take up a post as president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra in August. During his tenure, Tarnopolsky, who succeeded Robert Cole in 2009, brought many top international music, dance, theater and spoken-word events to UC Berkeley’s arts presenting organization. Born in Argentina and raised in London, Tarnopolsky came to Berkeley from posts at the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic. A champion of music education and outreach, he launched a number of innovations at Cal Performances, such as the Berkeley RADICAL initiative, which brought conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela to Berkeley in 2015.
Other events during his tenure included residencies by the Vienna Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; full productions of Philip Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach,” the John Adams-Lucinda Childs-Frank Gehry dance work “Available Light”; and, with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the revolution pink canvas stretch ballet slippers internationally cast production of Rameau’s opera, “The Temple of Glory.” Some of his initiatives are still to come, including “Dreamer,” the new oratorio by Jimmy López and librettist Nilo Cruz, scheduled to premiere at Cal Performances in 2019..
KRONOS CRANKS IT UP: The Kronos Quartet returns to Bing Hall this weekend for a special event – a screening of “The Green Fog,” a new film by Guy Madden, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson, with the renowned quartet in a live performance of the original score by Jacob Garchik. New works by John Oswald and Tanya Tagaq are also on the program. Details: April 6, 7:30 p.m., Bing Hall, Stanford: $15-$65; 650-724-2464; http://live.stanford.edu. Kronos is also preparing for its Kronos Festival 2018, April 26-28 at SFJazz; get the details at www.kronosquartet.org.
OTHER MINDS MARKS YEAR 23: Other Minds, the Bay Area’s long-running new music festival, is preparing to convene its 23rd annual event, Curated by artistic director Charles Amirkhanian, “Sound Poetry: the Wages of Syntax,” melds music and poetry from composers Enzo Minarelli, Ernst revolution pink canvas stretch ballet slippers Toch and Amy X Neuburg, poets Anne Waldman and Michael McClure, and a rare performance of “Capital Capitals,” by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson, featuring Berkeley’s inimitable pianist Sarah Cahill, Details: April 9-14, ODC Theatre, San Francisco; $30-$50 single tickets, $100-$150 festival passes; 415-863-9834, www.otherminds.org..