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Berkeley Talks: Alumnus Jimmy López on composing Dreamers oratorio inspired by Berkeley undocumented students

By Public Affairs

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Jimmy López reading and writing music

Berkeley alumnus Jimmy López interviewed undocumented students on campus to help create his oratorio, “Dreamers.” (Photo by Franciel Braga)

Composer Jimmy López, who earned his Ph.D. in music from UC Berkeley in 2012, speaks about Dreamers , an oratorio he was commissioned by Cal Performances to write that is informed by interviews held with undocumented students at UC Berkeley. The piece was written in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, who created the libretto. Esa-Pekka Salonen, the music director designate of the San Francisco Symphony, conducted the world premiere performance of Dreamers in Zellerbach Hall on Sunday, March 17 at 3 p.m. with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, soprano Ana María Martínez, and a chorus of nearly 80 voices, including those from the UC Berkeley Chamber Choir.

Watch the world premiere of the oratorio, ‘Dreamers,’ performed at Zellerbach Hall on March 17, 2019. (Video by ETS)

López’s talk was held in an open session of the academic course Thinking Through Art and Design @ Berkeley: Creativity, Migration, Transformation taught by Peter Glazer and Stan Lai held in Osher Auditorium, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) on Thursday, March 14 at 12 p.m. It was free and open to the public.

Read a Q&A with Jimmy López, “Alumnus’s ‘Dreamers’ oratorio inspired by Berkeley undocumented students” on Berkeley News.

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