Music

Upcoming Events

Event

Barbara K. Jackson “Rising Stars of Opera”
Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center

San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows
with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra
Mark Morash, guest conductor

A beloved tradition this year takes the name of our dear benefactor, Barbara K. Jackson. Free to the public since its inception in 2010, thanks to Jackson’s committed generosity, Rising Stars of Opera features the world’s most promising young singers from the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow program in recital and with full orchestral accompaniment from the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra (this year under the baton of SF Opera Center Director of Musical Studies Mark Morash). Expect vocal artistry, stirring arias and a glimpse at the opera stars of tomorrow. 

Free, but tickets required. Limit 4 per household. (Assigned Seating)

Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA
Event

Faculty Recital:
Rita Sahai

Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

Rita Sahai is a rare Hindustani vocalist residing in the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States. Sahai’s is a soulful performer, a brilliant and prolific composer, and a venerated music teacher. She is a senior disciple of Sangeet Samrat Ustad Ali Akbar Khan sahib, and is the only vocalist and composer to carry forward the heritage of the Seni Allauddin gharana. She has served as an ambassador of India’s rich musical heritage over the three decades that she has been in the United States. Impressed by her talent and passion towards music, Khan sahib gave her the title “Gayan Alankar” (Jewel of Music).

Rita Sahai directs two choir groups: the UC Davis Hindustani Vocal Ensemble and the Vasundhara Choir. In March, 2013 Rita Sahai was inducted into The Alameda County 2013 Women’s Hall of Fame, the first Indian to receive such an honor, and was publicly recognized for her contributions to Culture and Art. Her personal vision is to bring healing, peace and harmony through the universal language of music.

Tickets will be available starting July 14.
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Assigned Seating)

Ann E. Pitzer Center, Davis, CA
Event

“Death with Interruptions”
a one-act opera

Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

Based on José Saramago’s Novel Death with Interruptions,
translated by Margaret Jull Costa

Libretto by Thomas Laqueur
Composed by Kurt Rohde
Conducted by Matilda Hofman
Directed by Barbara Heroux

Nikki Einfeld, soprano
Daniel Cilli, baritone
Joe Dan Harper, tenor
Leighton Fong, cello

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble
Anna Presler, Artistic Director

Volti Chorus
Bob Geary, Artistic Director

The translator Margaret Jull Costa writes—

José Saramago’s (1922–2010) later novels take a scathingly critical look at modern-day society and often ask the question ‘What would happen if…?

In Death with Interruptions (published in 2005), Saramago asks—in a society obsessed with eternal youth and terrified of death—what if death (who is lower-case and a “she”) were to decide that no one should die? When this, inevitably, has dire consequences for society, death decides to reinstate death.

Instead, death chooses to give people warning of their imminent demise by sending them a little purple note. However, when one of death’s purple notes is sent to a humble cellist, mysteriously, he never receives it and so doesn’t die. Rather puzzled, death (invisible) goes to visit the cellist in the apartment he shares with his dog. She sits on the sofa watching the cellist sleeping, observes him when he wakes up to get a drink of water, to let the dog out for a pee, and to go back to bed. Later, the dog leaves his master’s bed and curls up on death’s lap.

Intrigued, death disguises herself as a beautiful young woman, flirts with the cellist and, to her own astonishment, falls in love and, one night, goes to bed with him (he, of course, has no inkling of her true identity). However, the novel ends on an ambiguous note: “the following day, no one died.”

As composer Kurt Rohde writes, “What does this tell us? I believe it shows us that death is destined to forever occupy that moment just before reaching the ideal of what humans think they want most: to live and love forever.”

Costume Design by Jennifer Gonsalves

Tickets will be available starting July 14.
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Open Seating)

Ann E. Pitzer Center, Davis, CA
Event

Empyrean Ensemble:
”American Music”

Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

Mika Pelo, director

[Pre-concert talk with the composers at 2:15 pm.]

American music; three composers across three generations, all still alive! Genres range from opera to songs to intimate chamber music—

Derek Keller: California Tableaux, Act I
A thought-provoking opera that deals with the complexity of California’s multicultural history. The piece questions what it means to be a citizen of the US; who’s in and who’s out, and perhaps even what it means to be “American.”

Also on the program is a piece by San Francisco composer Mark Winges, and a duo by Karl Kohn, born in Vienna but emigrated to the US in 1939, an eminence of Californian music life who turned 90 last year.

Tickets will be available starting July 14.
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Open Seating)

Ann E. Pitzer Center, Davis, CA
Event

Haydn: “The Creation”
Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center

University Chorus with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

Soprano [the angel Gabriel, Eve]

Tenor [the angel Uriel]

Baritone [the angel Raphael, Adam]

Haydn: The Creation (Die Schopfung)
Text by an anonymous English poet and Baron Gottfried van Swieten, after the book of Genesis in the Old Testament and Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Tickets will be available starting July 14.
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Assigned Seating)

Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA
Event

Empyrean Ensemble:
”Revision/s”

Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

Mika Pelo, director

[Pre-concert talk with the composers at 2:15 pm.]

Works written by “Revision/s” Composer Fellows Oren Boneh and Natalie Draper.

The Empyrean Ensemble presents engaging, thought-provoking, eclectic programs, enabling audiences to experience new musical sensations delivered with high artistry by its seven extraordinary core players—the finest new music performers in California. Ensemble-in-residence at UC Davis, Empyrean has premiered more than 200 works and performed throughout California, including appearances at many prominent music festivals and concert series.

Tickets will be available starting July 14.
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Open Seating)

Ann E. Pitzer Center, Davis, CA
Event

UC Davis Symphony Orchestra:
Music of Edward Elgar

Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center

Christian Baldini, music director and conductor

Works by Sir Edward Elgar—

Introduction and Allegro
Jolán Friedhoff and Dagenais Smiley, violin
Ellen Ruth Rose, viola, and Susan Lamb Cook, cello

Variations on an Original Theme (“Enigma”), op. 36

On sale starting July 14:
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Assigned Seating)

For string quartet and string orchestra only, Introduction and Allegro is evocative of a Baroque concerto grosso with demanding, soloistic parts playing with and against a full-sounding string orchestra. The work was composed for a concert of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1905, then in its infancy. The piece is meant to showcase the string-players abilities of the orchestra, and the Allegro section features, in Elgar’s words, a “devil of a fugue.”

Elgar wrote of the Enigma Variations: “Its dark saying must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the apparent connection between the variations and the theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes’ but is not played.” In other words, Elgar varied the typical practice itself of a theme and variation—a common enough compositional practice—by writing a set of variations upon a theme (“its dark saying”) that the listener never really hears. Each variation is instead a counterpoint to that enigmatic theme. Although Elgar said only the composer knew the Enigma melody, plenty of individuals have proposed answers, from a minor version of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star to a theme presented in Brahms’s Fourth Symphony to Elgar’s own signature E-minor leitmotif. What is known, however, are the variations are representative of his friends. In fact the dedication of the piece reads, “My Friends Pictured Within.” The Nimrod variation is easily the most famous and most often extracted variation of the set, and represents Elgar’s friend, editor, and critic Augustus Jaeger. The name Nimrod is actually a character from the Old Testament, a mighty hunter. In German, Jäger means hunter—which, although seemingly cryptic, makes the connection between the Nimrod variation and Augustus Jaeger clear.

Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA
Event

Faculty Recital:
Jolán Friedhoff, violin

Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

Stravinsky: Suite Italienne

Respighi: Sonata in B Minor

Schubert: Sonatina

Jolán Friedhoff, violin, and Antoinette Perry, piano, will perform the popular Suite Italienne, an arrangement of several movements from Stravinsky’s ballet Pulcinella, written in 1919 and inspired by music attributed to Baroque composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. Less well known, and seldom played, is another work on the program from the 20th century: the Sonata in B Minor by Ottorino Respighi was written in 1917. Despite being a ‘modern’ work, the sonata is written in a fluid, romantic style. A sonatina by Franz Schubert rounds out the program. Jolán and Antoinette met when they were graduate students at the University of Texas, Austin, and have performed together several times, both in Europe and in the USA.

Jolán Friedhoff relocated to Davis after serving as assistant concertmaster of the Saar State Opera Orchestra, Germany, for 20 years. She also served as concertmaster of the Sinfonietta Saarbrucken for five seasons. Prior to joining the Saar State Opera Orchestra, she was a member of the first violin sections of the Rhine Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Hungarica. Since her return to California, she has performed as Assistant Concertmaster and Concertmaster for a number of orchestras in the region, including the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Modesto Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony and the Bear Valley Music Festival. Friedhoff teaches violin at UC Davis, where she also regularly coaches chamber ensembles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Indiana, and a master’s degree from the University of Texas.

Antoinette Perry, born to professional musicians, gave her first public performance at the age of four. Since then, she has appeared throughout the US, Europe, and China as a soloist and chamber musician, collaborating with many of the world’s greatest artists, including John Perry, Leon Fleisher, Ralph Kirshbaum, Ronald Leonard, Brooks Smith, David Shifrin, Gabor Rejto, Henri Temianka, Joaquin Valdepenas, Carol Wincenc, Froydis ReeWekre and actors Michael York and Walter Matthau. She has performed with members of the American, Chicago, Cleveland, Emerson, Juilliard, Los Angeles, Paganini, Sequoia, and Takacs String Quartets, and also with principals of the L.A., New York, Rotterdam and the Hague Philharmonics, the Concertgebau, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Gulbenkian and Zurich Tonhalle Orchestras, the Chicago, St. Louis, Toronto, and San Francisco Symphonies, and the L.A. and Orpheus Chamber Orchestras. Perry teaches at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Tickets will be available starting July 14.
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Assigned Seating)

Ann E. Pitzer Center, Davis, CA

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