One of the Bay Area groups dedicated to engaging families through the magic and wonder of performing art is Cal Performances and its "First Stage for Families" program was started with this ideal in mind. The new series has been designed to introduce children and families to the thrill of music, dance, and theater. The programs in this series are exciting one-hour events in the intimate Wheeler Auditorium. Families are able to truly interact with the performers and experience the music firsthand.
The upcoming performance by Word for Word Performing Arts Company will bring fiction to life within a magical world. The group aims to maintain the integrity of the original work without changing, well, a word. The presentation is Stories from Sonoma Mountain by local Native American author Greg Sarris is rooted in folk tales from the First Peoples set in Northern California. The stories show the importance of the greatest redwood tree to the tiniest spider in our collective well-being. The audience will leave the show feeling connected to each other and the world around them.
The talent found and honed at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts is indisputable. That is especially true following this year’s Menuhin International Violin Competition. Among the ranks of top performers at the competition were freshman Alina Ming Kobialka, a finalist in the junior division, and alumna Eunice Kim, finalist in the senior division. Kenneth Renshaw, a senior at SOTA, won the competition in Bejing last month and he will continue on to Juilliard in the Fall, along with two other SOTA seniors. Before they venture across the country they will grace the San Francisco stage one more time at SOTA’s final concert of the year. Renshaw will show his musical prowess in Bach’s Concerto for Violin in E Major.
The SOTA Orchestra will prove their skills as well, as they tackle their first performance of a full symphonic work. The piece of honor is Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5. The approximately 30-minute piece will certainly challenge the student’s stamina and resilience, but will no doubt be an incredible treat for the audience. In addition the concert will include Vladimir Martynov’s Come In, and Janáček’s Suite for Strings.
Calling all young classical musicians! The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts will be the proud hosts of From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley on Oct. 25. The hit NPR radio program showcases the best and brightest musicians from around the country. In preparation for the big night From the Top is searching for local talent to perform for the live concert recording at the Mondavi Center. The program is broadcast on over 200 radio stations nationwide, including local KXPR 88.9 FM on Sundays at 3 p.m. The show includes incredible performances and insightful interviews with the young musicians heard by an audience of 700,000 listeners.
But first things first: Get a sample of local talent this Sunday, May 6, when 14-year-old guitarist Ashwin Krishna will be a featured performer on From the Top. Ashwin is a student in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division Certificate program. The program will be broadcast in the San Francisco Bay Area on KQED (89.9 FM and 90.3 FM) at 7 p.m.
Every year more than 100 musicians are selected to appear on the program. Additionally, 20 of those musicians will receive a scholarship to further their musical education. The program features soloists, composers, as well as small and large ensembles. Eligible classical musicians must be ages 8 through 18, and not yet graduated from high school. An application and recording must be received by June 25th to be considered. Visit fromthetop.org to answer the call!