Cal Performances Launches New Intitiative for Arts Literacy, Berkeley Radical

by Jacob Coakley

Cal Performances, the UC Berkeley-based presenting, commissioning and producing organization for world-class music, dance and theatre events is launching a new initiative to create new access to the arts and increase public arts literacy called Berkeley Radical. The program will include a residency component for commissioned artists to explore known works and create new ones. During the residency artists will work with students on campus and off in learning programs. Additionally, there will be post-performance distribution of such things as creative process, education, research and scholarship endeavors delivered via various media platforms—starting with a dedicated iTunes destination. The first to be named Berkeley Radical artists are conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.



Named First Berkeley RADICAL Artists In Residence at Cal Performances September 22–26, 2015

DEDICATED CAL PERFORMANCES iTunes DESTINATION To Feature Exclusive Berkeley RADICAL Podcasts, Music, and Artists


Berkeley, CA — Cal Performances Board Chair Gail Rubinfeld and Executive and Artistic Director Matías Tarnopolsky today announced Berkeley RADICAL, a framework to cultivate public artistic literacy and create cultural access for diverse future audiences in the context of the digital age and transitional generations. Berkeley RADICAL is a platform on which Cal Performances artists will operate within and beyond the University and instigate substantive interactivity between Cal Performances’ commissioning, creation, and presentation, UC Berkeley learning and scholarship, and Bay Area public learning across a wide age range. Berkeley RADICAL at Cal Performances will contribute to determining a future for the performing arts—broad dissemination of the process and results in contemporary digital forms will be key to this goal. To serve the goal of dissemination, Cal Performances will be available on iTunes with a dedicated destination ( featuring exclusive Berkeley RADICAL podcasts, as well as a selection of music from artists performing in concert at Cal Performances.

“Through Berkeley RADICAL we assert that the arts are necessary, that they enhance our ability to handle change and challenges, and that they are essential to sustain and advance our society,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, Executive and Artistic Director of Cal Performances. “If we define the arts as necessary, then artistic literacy is as essential as any other literacy, including reading, writing, and arithmetic. Because we see artistic literacy as equally the responsibility of artists, educators, arts organizations, and digital partners, Berkeley RADICAL will have components that serve each of these primary stakeholders.”

Beginning in September 2015, several distinctive projects in each season will contribute to the Berkeley RADICAL process and will include explorations of known works or creation of major new works with public performances; residency of commissioned artists; a significant partnership with the University across academic disciplines; on- and off-campus learning programs; post-performance dissemination of such things as creative process, education, research, and scholarship endeavors delivered via various media platforms. Berkeley RADICAL is intended to work in tandem with, and harness, the unique intellectual capital and capabilities of the world-class research university that is home to Cal Performances.

The first to be named Berkeley RADICAL artists are conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. It is fitting that they launch this program since it was musical training as a youth that put the conductor on his life path. Gustavo Dudamel brings to music and the larger cultural landscape, a deep understanding of the necessity of the arts. Residency activities, featuring Gustavo Dudamel and musicians of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, will include symposiums, master teaching, lecture/demonstrations, a film screening, rehearsals open to Bay Area music students, multiple concerts, and the recording, framing and disseminating of these events on iTunes and other digital platforms.

“Being able to combine music, learning, and ideas is at the heart of the new Berkeley RADICAL, and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, and I are very happy to be returning to Cal Performances as part of this innovative idea,” said conductor Gustavo Dudamel. “We are proud to be Cal Performances’ first Berkeley RADICAL artists. I know from my own childhood in Venezuela that the arts can be the force and inspiration to imagine a better future. They transformed my life and have given generations of young people purpose and vision and hope.”

Symposiums, forums, research presentations, and more, derived from the Berkeley RADICAL process will take place in conjunction with each Cal Performances season. Berkeley RADICAL will call on students, professors, and visiting artists, experts, and scholars to envision a future for the performing arts in response to essential cultural questions: What does it mean to be artistically literate? What is the role of art and the artist in the advancement of society? What is the audience of the future with a focus on the millennial generation? How do artists envision the future of the performing arts? What is the impact of the digital age on live arts?

“All that we do in the realm of the arts is based on our belief that Berkeley, as the nation’s leading public university, has a unique and vital role to play when it comes to the advancement of culture. This goes well beyond putting performances on stage,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks. “Matías Tarnopolsky’s exciting vision for Cal Performances is right in line with this idea, given the design of Berkeley RADICAL to integrate Cal Performances’ world-class work into the University’s research and educational endeavors. I see this as an important step that will enable the entire process of art-making to fulfill its significant role in promoting a civilized, empathetic, and creative society. Consistent with our public mission and ethos, one of Berkeley RADICAL’s signature goals is to bring not just the Berkeley campus community, but the entire Bay Area public, into a productive relationship with the arts, including the use of digital media to share all that we learn and experience across our state and beyond.”

Pilot funding to develop the concept of Berkeley RADICAL was provided by Ann and Gordon Getty, in support of the idea of the necessity of the arts and the unique role of artists addressing the challenges of contemporary society.

“Cal Performances is poised for transformation—from the prestigious producing and presenting organization it is currently to a center for creating and codifying new art and ideas from an international, pan-cultural perspective,” stated Cal Performances Board Chair Gail Rubinfeld. “While Cal Performances is already a major actor in the realm of international collaborations, consistent with the Global University concept of UC Berkeley, fully understanding and embracing the diversity and internationalism of our immediate community, and the American population, is the crucial second half of the equation. We are grateful to Chancellor Dirks for recognizing the leadership contribution Cal Performances can make to the arts in general, and to the ecosystem of research and learning at UC Berkeley, and to Ann and Gordon Getty and to Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, for their visionary support.”

With artistic literacy as a primary objective of Berkeley RADICAL, Cal Performances will create age-appropriate educational programming across subject matter, with materials culled from the forums, symposiums, and other events. Educational programming will be directed at students on the UC Berkeley campus, K–12 students, and lifelong learners in the Bay Area, and for digital dissemination. For K–12 learning programs, Cal Performances will reimagine its longstanding SchoolTime program, which reaches 20,000 students per year. Utilizing teaching artists from the Bay Area arts community, the program will be reoriented from one of exposure and observation, to one that is practical and participatory, with a focus on artistic literacy, with deep immersion in a given piece or art form, including multiple classroom visits, hands-on practice in the art form, and quality trainings intended to build knowledge in classroom teachers as well.

Through a major academic integration project created and run by Cal Performances, and funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, work with UC Berkeley students is already underway, and will be integral to the Berkeley RADICAL process. Accessible through a competitive application process, the Cal Performances-Mellon program provides full-credit courses, based on its main stage presentations, across academic departments of UC Berkeley.

Berkeley RADICAL
September 22–26, 2015

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem 2015 Cal Performances Orchestra Residency

Tuesday, September 22
Time TBD
Screening: Crescendo: The Power of Music
Location TBD
A film by Jamie Bernstein and Elizabeth Kling
Panel Discussion to follow with Elizabeth Kling and Jamie Bernstein

Wednesday, September 23
Time TBD
Master Class: Gustavo Dudamel with UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
Zellerbach Hall
Time TBD
Bay Area School Visits with Ensembles of the Orchestra
Time TBD
Rehearsal / Choral Rehearsal
Open Doors: Bay Area Music Students in the House

Thursday, September 24
Concert: Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8
Zellerbach Hall

Friday, September 25
Concert: Beethoven Symphony No. 9 — Broadcast/Webcast Live (TBC)
Mariana Ortiz, soprano
J’nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Joshua Guerrero, tenor
Soloman Howard, bass
Kevin Fox, chorus director
Hearst Greek Theatre
Gala at the Greek
Cocktail Reception and Post-Performance Dinner with the Artists
Event proceeds will directly support Cal Performances

Saturday, September 26 (TBC)
Time TBD
Forum: “Reaching for the Stars” Symposium
Participants TBA
Time TBD
Community Visits by Musicians from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela