Arts & culture, Campus & community, Events at Berkeley, Literature, Performing arts, Visual arts

Coming up this fall — arts, authors, visual expression

What's on tap in art, music, dance, theater and exhibitions at UC Berkeley (Part 2 of our look ahead)

Mikhail Baryshnikov, Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and the Cullberg Ballet
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and the Cullberg Ballet

The Berkeley campus is perennially a hub of artistic performances, exhibits and readings in the Bay Area, and this semester is no exception. From a world premiere by Mark Morris to theater inspired by student veterans to readings by bestselling authors, the arts are thriving at Berkeley.


Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Oct. 7-9. Photo by Benjamin Ealovega

Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Oct. 7-9. (Photo by Benjamin Ealovega)

Philharmonia Orchestra of London will perform works by Beethoven, Sibelius and Stravinsky with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (Friday-Saturday, Oct. 7 – 8, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 9, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Auditorium). A master class for student musicians in the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra will be open to the public (Sunday, Oct. 9, 9 p.m., Zellerbach Auditorium).

Gustavo Dudamel returns to Cal Performances for the 10th-anniversary tour with the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (Sunday Oct. 30, 3 p.m., Paramount Theater, Oakland). The performance will include works by Bernstein, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak and John Williams.

Inspired by the golden era of acoustic Cuban bands, the Havana Cuba All-Stars will play lush ensembles of percussion, guitar, trumpet and voices channeling the island dance halls of the 1930s (Friday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Auditorium).

Havana Cuba All-Stars, Friday, Nov. 18

Havana Cuba All-Stars, Friday, Nov. 18

The Noon Concert Series continues this semester, now in its 63rd year. Free and open to the public, the concerts are performed by students in the Department of Music. This semester’s highlights include a performance of student compositions (Sept. 7), a composition for the Korean haegeum (Sept. 14) and the Takacs Quartet performing a piece by Beethoven (Oct. 14), (Wednesdays, noon, Hertz Hall).

Vienna Boys Choir, Saturday, Nov. 26

Vienna Boys Choir, Saturday, Nov. 26

The angelic voices of the Vienna Boys Choir will fill Zellerbach Auditorium to kick off the holiday season with “Christmas in Vienna” (Saturday, Nov. 26, 8 p.m.). The program will include Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, carols and hymns.


Mark Morris Dance Group returns to Berkeley for an annual residency, including a world premiere of a new work, Layla and Majnun, which combines Mark Morris’ lyrical choreography with the music of the Silk Road Ensemble (Friday-Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 2, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Auditorium). The company’s residency also includes a community dance class (Saturday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m., Bancroft Studio) and a symposium that gives context to Layla and Majnun (Saturday, Oct. 1, 2 p.m., BAMPFA Barbro Osher Theater).

Cullberg Ballet, Oct. 22-23

Cullberg Ballet, Oct. 22-23

Sweden’s innovative Cullberg Ballet will perform Figure a Sea, the latest work by postmodern choreographer Deborah Hay (Saturday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 23, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Auditorium).


Mikhail Baryshnikov returns to Berkeley with another inspired collaboration with director Robert Wilson. In Letter to a Man, Baryshnikov brings to life the diaries of ballet icon Vaslav Nijinksy, exploring a troubled man and his relationship to art, God, family and moral issues (Thursday – Saturday, Nov. 10-12, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 13, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Auditorium).

Letter To A Man, Nov. 10-13. Photo by Lucy Jansch

Letter to a Man, Nov. 10-13 (Photo by Lucy Jansch)

Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, Berkeley professor Peter Glazer will direct a vibrant musical that he also co-wrote, Heart of Spain. Following a diverse group of U.S. volunteers across the Atlantic and over the Pyrenees, the show will feature a mix of popular music from the era and original songs (Oct. 21 – 30, Zellerbach Playhouse).

The Process of Resilience explores the experiences of Berkeley’s student veterans in a new work of physical theater. Professor Joe Goode’s new work reflects on how these brave individuals worked to reintegrate into civilian life and the tenacity of the human spirit (Nov. 17-20, Durham Studio Theater).

Visual expression

An exhibition and reception will celebrate the internet archive’s 20th-anniversary, featuring a large-scale projected GIF-collider. The exhibit explores how our aesthetics and information systems have evolved over two decades (Friday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m., BAMPFA lawn).

Incite the Spirit, Sept. 6 - Dec. 16

Incite the Spirit, Sept. 6 – Dec. 16

Incite the Spirit commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War. Drawn from the Bancroft Library’s collection of political posters from the era, the exhibit brings to life the fight against Francisco Franco and the Nationalists (Sept. 6 – Dec. 16, Bancroft Gallery).

A retrospective of the paintings of professor emeritus Katherine Sherwood will be on display this semester, along with the work of 10 alumni artists. Sherwood’s bold, figurative work is an embodiment of her feminist ideals, her experience as a person with a disability and her personal journey (TBD, Worth Ryder Art Gallery).

The diversity of global comics will be the subject of the exhibit “Beyond Tintin and Superman.” A selection of comics and graphic novels from around the world will explore themes such as censorship, race relations, political agendas and gender biases (Sept. 19, 2016 – March 2017, Bernice Layne Brown Gallery, Doe Library).

Artist talks

Sculptor and art innovator Tom Sachs visits campus this fall to discuss his re-creations of Modern icons and the intersection of engineering and design (Monday, Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m., Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium). Sachs work is currently on display at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Inspired by the mathematical qualities of a caterpillar’s crawl, artist Reuben Margolin will discuss his large-scale kinetic sculptures that mimic the complex structures in nature (Monday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m., Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium).

Symposium celebrating "Dream of the Red Chamber," Monday, Sept. 12

Symposium celebrating “Dream of the Red Chamber,” Monday, Sept. 12

Berkeley alumnus Stan Lai will direct the San Francisco Opera’s world premiere of Dream of the Red Chamber, and he comes to campus for a symposium and discussion with history professor Wen-hsin Yeh (Monday, Sept. 12, 2:30 p.m., 180 Doe Library).

Achinoam Nini, known as Noa, an Israeli singer/songwriter, will discuss her approach to music, cross-cultural collaborations with artists in the Arab world, her work as a U.N. goodwill ambassador and her performance at the Vatican (Monday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m., Magnes Center).

A new, yearlong lecture series will address “The Art of Cultural Criticism,” and will invite prominent cultural critics and art writers to campus to discuss popular culture and the latest trends in new media, literature, film and art (series kickoff Thursday, Sept. 29, 5 p.m., 220 Stephens Hall).

Readings and author talks

Juan Felipe Herrera, Thursday, Dec. 1

Juan Felipe Herrera, Thursday, Dec. 1

The beloved poetry reading series Lunch Poems kicks off for the fall with members of the campus community reading their favorite poems (Thursday, Sept. 1, noon, Morrison Library). Current U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will also join the series (Thursday, Dec. 1, noon, Morrison Library).

Story Hour in the Library begins its fall reading series with NoViolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names (Thursday, Sept. 8, 5 p.m., Morrison Library). Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, will read from her new novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Thursday, Oct. 6, 5 p.m., Morrison Library).

NoViolet Bulawayo, Thursday, Sept. 8

NoViolet Bulawayo, Thursday, Sept. 8

Berkeley Book Chats, a reading series by faculty authors, begins its fall series with Adam Hochschild’s exploration of American’s in the Spanish Civil War, Spain in our Hearts (Wednesday, Sept. 21, noon, 220 Stephens Hall). Eric Stover and Alexa Koenig will discuss their new book, Hiding in Plain Sight, which details the hunt for war criminals from WWII to the War on Terror (Wednesday, Oct. 26, noon, 220 Stephens Hall).

Ali Eratz will read from his acclaimed debut novel about Muslim identity, Native Believer (Thursday, Sept. 22, 5 p.m., 10 Stephens Hall). The book has been praised by the New York Times book review, where it is an Editor’s Choice pick.

The nonfiction writing community at Berkeley is invited to join Berkeley Writers at Work to discuss the writing process, make connections and find out about campus resources for writers. School of Information professor Geoffrey Nunberg, will be a featured writer this fall (Thursday, Oct. 20, noon, Morrison Library).

Also see:

Coming attractions Part 1 – Race, gender and politics in America

Coming attractions Part 3 – Environment, healh, science and global affairs

To explore more Berkeley events, visit the Critic’s Choice calendar or sign up for weekly event emails. This is one of three stories this week highlighting fall events related to race and politics, science and global perspectives.