Cal Performances brings the excitement of the Ojai Festival north to Berkeley for the second year in a row! This season, we welcome Leif Ove Andsnes"a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight" (New York Times)as Ojai's 2012 music director. Teaming up with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Andsnes puts his own special stamp on the legendary festival, showcasing the inventive programming and spellbinding artistry that have come to be synonymous with Ojai events.
Cal Performances' partnership with the Ojai Music Festival features co-productions, co-commissions, and multiple concerts in Berkeley. Established in 1947, Ojai has an unparalleled musical legacy, defined by its intersection of daring artists, adventurous music, and passionate audiences.
The first of six concerts kicks off on Tuesday, June 12, at 7:00 p.m. with Leif Ove Andsnes performing Alfred Schnittkes Piano Quintet with members of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; Andsnes will accompany rising star mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn in Dmitri Shostakovichs late song cycle Six Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, Op. 143; and longtime collaborator Marc-André Hamelin will join Andsnes for Igor Stravinskys own two-piano arrangement of his prodigious Le Sacre du Printemps.
On Tuesday, June 12, at 9:30 p.m. the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra will perform Leos Janáceks String Quartet No. 1, After Tolstoys The Kreutzer Sonata, featuring actor Theodore Jansen in readings from Tolstoy arranged for string orchestra and narrator.
Reinbert de Leeuws cycle of 21 songs Im wunderschönen Monat Mai (In the Merry Month of May) was inspired by works by Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert and is the centerpiece of the concert on Wednesday, June 13, at 7:00 p.m. This Bay Area premiere was written for actress Barbara Sukowa, best known for her work in films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and is arranged for ensemble and singing actress. The composer joins 15 musicians from the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra at the piano; the work will debut at the Ojai Music Festival. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai will premiere at the Ojai Music Festival. Opening Wednesdays program is the Norwegian Chamber Orchestras arrangement of Janáceks Quartet No. 2, Intimate Letters.
On Wednesday, June 13, at 9:30 p.m., Marc-André Hamelin will perform Charles Ivess Concord Sonata, a work Hamelin has loved and performed since he was 15 years old.
Thursday, June 14, at 7:00 p.m. On Thursday evening, Norwegian composer Bent Sorensens Piano Concerto No. 2, La Mattina, will have its Bay Area premiere with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Andsnes as soloist; the American premiere will take place at Ojai Music Festival. The program also includes Icelandic composer Haflidi Hallgrímssons Poemi, Op. 7, with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and violinist Terje Tønneson, and Alban Bergs early Four Songs, Op. 2, sung by mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn with Hamelin at the piano. Concluding the program, Andsnes will perform Ludwig van Beethovens Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, Waldstein.
Franz Liszts Elegy for cello, harmonium, harp and piano, with Hamelin on the harmonium, opens the Thursday, June 14, at 9:30 p.m. concert. Claude Debussys Danses Sacre et Profane for strings and solo harp. A selection of spirited cabaret songs by William Bolcom will be sung by mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn and accompanied by Hamelin on the piano. Capping off the concert and Ojai North! will be the Nowegian Chamber Orchestras interpretation of their countryman Edvard Griegs Holberg Suite.