Cameron Wittig

The jazz trio the Bad Plus will perform Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" with the Mark Morris Dance Ensemble at the Ojai North Festival at UC Berkeley on June 12.

Summer festivals offer broad pairings with classical music

Published: Sunday, Jun. 2, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 8AANDE
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 - 8:43 am

This summer's Ojai North Festival in Berkeley is a striking example of how festivals can break down walls that divide classical music from dance or from popular music.

Curated by choreographer Mark Morris, who for three years has been its artistic director, the Cal Performances festival at UC Berkeley this year will feature works by composer Lou Harrison.

"I've known and loved his music for many years, and have choreographed a large number of his pieces," Morris said. "Nearly all of the composers represented in the festival had a relationship with Mr. Harrison."

Morris will marry his dance group's work with the music of Harrison and Henry Cowell for a provocative skein of performances.

The highlight of this festival will likely be Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" performed by jazz trio the Bad Plus with Morris' dance company and choreography. The company also is to perform "Mosaic" and "United" set to Cowell's Quartets Nos. 3 and 4, performed by the American String Quartet (June 12).

Also on this festival's lineup: Joshua Gersen conducts Harrison's Concerto for Organ and Percussion, with Colin Fowler and the ensemble red fish blue fish. The program includes Leo Sowerby's "Pageant," William Bolcom's "La Cathedrale Engloutie" (Rock of Ages), and Charles Ives' Variations on America (June 15).

The final concert takes place later that evening with the "Heroic Dance" and the cantata "Atlantis" by Cowell, performed by the Mark Morris Dance Ensemble. The short Fugue for percussion by Harrison and his Concerto for piano and gamelan follow, with pianist Colin Fowler and gamelan artist Sari Raras performing. (June 15).

OJAI NORTH FESTIVAL

When: June 12-15

Where: Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley

Cost: $20-$86

Information: (510) 642-9988, www.calperformances.org


OTHER NOTABLE FESTIVALS

MUSIC IN THE MOUNTAINS

When: June 11-July 3

Where: Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley

Cost: $15-$55; $5 for youths at most concerts

Information: (530) 265-6124, www.musicinthemountains.org

Music in the Mountains celebrates its SummerFest 2013, with 10 concerts spanning two weeks under the musical directorship of Gregory Vajda.

Acclaimed guitarist and Nevada County native Gyan Riley performs Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. The program includes the Festival Orchestra performing Ravel's "Tombeau de Couperin" and Bizet's Symphony No. 1 in C major (June 21).

The Festival Orchestra performs Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in a matinee performance whose program also includes Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9 (June 30).

New music is the focus of the Wet Ink concert in which the Nevada County Composers Cooperative teams up with San Francisco percussion trio Rootstock to present new music by Richard Altenbach, Elliot Carter, Steve Reich, Mark Vance and Gao Wenjing (July 1).

FESTIVAL DEL SOLE

When: July 12-21

Where: Castello di Amorosa, 4045 North St. Helena Highway, Calistoga; Lincoln Theater, 100 California Drive, Yountville; Far Niente Vineyards, 1350 Acacia Drive, Oakville

Cost: $25 to $150

Information: (888) 337-6272, www.festivaldelsole.org

In its eighth year, this music event has carved out an unusual niche: combining Napa Valley's gastronomical offerings in vintner settings with high-watt classical music.

This year the festival partners with Weill Hall at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park for a program that brings the return of the Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro. That concert will include violinist Sarah Chang performing Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet tackling the rarely performed Piano Concerto No. 5 by Saint-Saëns. (July 16).

Russian soprano Ekaterina Scherbachenko and tenor Vladimir Galouzine are to perform an evening of arias and duets with the Russian National Orchestra, including excerpts from Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" (July 21).


MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL

When: July 13-27

Where:Tent Concert Hall at Mendocino Headlands State Park, Mendocino

Cost: $10-$50

Information: (707) 937-2044, www.mendocinomusic.com

This seaside festival, led by former Camellia Symphony Orchestra conductor Allan Pollack, enters its 27th year. The festival offerings include a mix of classical music, jazz and world music.

The festival opener offers the overture to Verdi's "I Vespri Siciliani" as well as Sergei Prokofiev's "Cinderella," Suite No. 1 and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, with pianist James D'Leon. Pollack conducts the festival orchestra (July 13).

Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen performs an evening of his interpretations of American roots music, blues and Americana (July 14)

Pianist Robert Schwartz performs Bach's Partita No. 4 in D major, Frédéric Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaisie and Claude Debussy's Préludes, Book 1 (July 18).


CABRILLO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

When: Aug. 2-11

Where: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz; Mission San Juan Bautista, 406 Second St., San Juan Bautista

Cost: $30-$52

Information: (831) 426-6966, (831) 420-5260, www.cabrillomusic.org

New music and premieres are the watchwords for this Santa Cruz-based festival celebrating its 51st year.

Festival artistic director Marin Alsop conducts works by established and up-and-coming new-music composers, including Derek Bermel, Sean Friar and Magnus Lindberg.

The festival opens by showcasing three composers' works including Bermel's "Dust Dances," the world premiere of Kevin Puts' Flute Concerto with flutist Adam Walker, and the West Coast premiere of Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 3 (Aug. 2).

The Kronos Quartet is joined by Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ on three works written for performance on traditional Vietnamese instruments in a program that also includes Aleksandra Vrebalov's arrangement of Richard Wagner's Prelude from "Tristan and Isolde," and Alter Yechiel Karniol's "Sim Sholom," arranged by Judith Berkson.

Electric strings will be a highlight when the Cabrillo orchestra performs Enrico Chapela's "Magnetar" and Concerto for electric cello with Johannes Moser on the electric cello. Andrew Norman's "Unstuck," will be performed and Philip Glass' Symphony No. 10 (Aug. 10) makes its U.S. premiere.


Call The Bee's Edward Ortiz, (916) 321-1071. Follow him on Twitter @edwardortiz.

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