Ballet Stars and Conductors Featured in Musical Point(e)s

Janos Gereben on September 8, 2020
Ming Luke conducting the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra | | Credit: Bill Hocker

SF Ballet Principal Guest Conductor Ming Luke’s Musical Point(e)s is a series of live, online discussions with leading names from the worlds of ballet and classical music.

On Saturdays, beginning at noon, through September and October, audiences are invited to join live Zoom chats between major conductors and dancers. All sessions are free, with a suggested donation to participating companies.

The program offers subjects such as:

From how Balanchine’s Serenade is a minihistory of New York City Ballet, to how Prokofiev’s themes for Juliet grow as her character develops in Romeo and Juliet, hear how choreographers take advantage of the music of these ballets and how dancers make the movements and music their own.

Deeper than preconcert lectures and program book notes, you’ll hear directly from the artists that live these ballets day in and day out in the studios and on the stage.”

Programs include conductors and dancers from the San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Semperoper Ballett, Royal Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and the National Ballet of Canada.

Luke, who is also music director of the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra and the principal conductor of the Nashville Ballet, told SF Classical Voice:

Sofiane Sylve, former SF Ballet principal dancer, is on the Sept. 26 program |

Musical Point(e)s allows me to connect to my colleagues that I sorely miss, talking about the repertoire we love. We would normally be in rehearsals right now, debating and working on those special moments in the ballets that make it powerful.

“These points are at the heart of what makes the ballet special — Musical Point(e)s gives us the opportunity to connect to each other through the repertoire again — and hopefully can generate some donations to support these companies.”

The series opened last weekend, with SF Ballet principal dancers Sasha de Sola, Tiit Helimets, and Misa Kuranaga speaking about the company production of Sleeping Beauty. These future programs are scheduled:

Sept. 12 — Balanchine, Serenade, Stravinsky Violin Concerto: Andrew Litton, New York City Ballet music director, with NYCB Principal Dancer Tiler Peck

Sept. 19 — Swan Lake: David LaMarche, American Ballet Theatre conductor, with Cynthia Harvey, former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer and artistic director of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy School

Sept. 26 — Stanton Welch, Romeo and Juliet: Ermanno Florio, Houston Ballet music director, with Sofiane Sylve, former principal dancer with SF Ballet, NYCB, Dutch National Ballet, and current ballet master with Semperoper Ballett

Oct. 3 — Christopher Wheeldon, The Winter’s Tale: David Briskin, National Ballet of Canada music director, with Lauren Cuthbertson, the Royal Ballet principal dancer

Oct. 10 — The Nutcracker: SF Ballet Music Director Martin West

Cynthia Harvey, who will be on the Sept. 19 Zoom stream, is shown working with students at ABT’s Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy School, where she is artistic director | Credit: Richard Corman