Music Matters: Berkeley's Matías Tarnopolsky On Marrying Treasures Of Civilization With The Highest Calibre New Classical Music
"When Matías Tarnopolsky took the reins of Cal Performances two years ago, one of the projects that was high on his to-do list was to establish an annual residency in Berkeley for some of the world's leading orchestras as part of the regular schedule.
He didn't waste any time doing it, either. In February, as part of Tarnopolsky's first planned season, the Vienna Philharmonic set up shop on the UC campus, not only giving orchestral concerts but also playing chamber programs, giving master classes and meeting with undergraduate members of the UC Symphony.
This weekend brings a follow-up, as Valery Gergiev leads the Mariinsky Orchestra through a three-concert cycle of the six Tchaikovsky symphonies. Tarnopolsky took the opportunity to talk about recent presentations and his plans for the future.
Q: Bringing in the big-name orchestras - including the Vienna Phil, which hadn't been in the Bay Area in more than 20 years - has been one of your signature projects. How do you foresee these residencies figuring in Cal Performances' coming seasons?
A: Our programming is always in a constant state of evolution, and there are many pieces of the mosaic that need to be put into place. But I think the Vienna residency showed how powerful it can be to have an orchestra here in concentrated doses.
Those concerts and master classes were transformative for people who were in the audience and the students who got to take part. And I really do want to keep those going. The Vienna Philharmonic will certainly be back, and next year - this hasn't been announced publicly yet, but here I go - we're going to bring the Philharmonia Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Q: What kind of ancillary activities will accompany the Mariinsky residency?
A: There will be coaching sessions with young students, and a public interview with Gergiev about Tchaikovsky....
Q: What state are things in for next season?
A: We're putting the finishing touches on that right now. One of the things you're going to see in future seasons is more thematic moments, where we focus on a particular subject and look at it in different ways. I also want to expand our new music programming - that will take another couple of seasons - and broaden our collaborations with leading artists and ensembles around the world."
Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle October 13, 2011
Header credits: New covered courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum (c) museumlab.org and Susan Biddle and the Washington Post.