Of the many “returns to normalcy,” Cal Performances’ 2021–2022 season, announced today, is one of the most like what Cal has been doing for many years. Varied, eclectic, star-studded, adventurous — just like “old times.”
Consider the opening performance, on Aug. 21, with the return — after a decade — of Not Our First Goat Rodeo at the Greek Theatre, with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Aoife O’Donovan.
Before sampling just a few of the many top attractions of 2021–2022, a reminder that there are a handful of still available performances from the all-streamed current season; the last new program debuts June 10.
The 2021–2022 season will offer 11 West Coast premieres, including three in Cal Performances Illuminations: “Place and Displacement” series: the Cal Performances co-commissioned Yemandja, composed and performed by Angélique Kidjo; Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran’s Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration; and Ted Hearne’s Grammy-nominated Place.
The Kronos Quartet will cross the Bay from San Francisco, and The English Concert comes from London to launch a new multi-season Handel opera/oratorio project with a concert performance of Alcina on Nov. 7, featuring Karina Gauvin in the title role, Lucy Crowe, Elizabeth DeShong, Paula Murrihy, Alek Shrader, and Wojtek Gierlach.
On Dec. 2, Kronos offers a rich concert of the newest edition of its 50 for the Future project, with new works by Terry Riley and Cal Performances’ 2021–2022 artist-in-residence, Angélique Kidjo. For the second half of this concert, Kronos is joined by Mahsa Vahdat, a prominent performer of Persian vocal music.
The Takács Quartet performs on Oct. 17 (Haydn, Coleridge-Taylor, and Beethoven) and with composer/pianist Stephen Hough on Feb. 20, 2022: Hough’s String Quartet No. 1, Les Six Rencontres, a Haydn quartet, and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81.
Alicia Hall Moran told SF Classical Voice about the West Coast premiere of her Two Wings on Feb. 17, 2022:
When we gather around the subject of The Great Migration, the historic mass exodus of six million black people out of the South from 1910 to 1970, we are already replacing; placing our family stories back into the center of our music-making.
So much music is about “Who am I?” but in Two Wings we started asking, “Where am I?” and all this richness started pouring out. For me, it connected a lot of dots to really have to focus on that question.
There is generational pain there but it’s also been the source of so much ingenuity and superior understanding of what holds this country together. The choices that all these families made reshaped their lives, and really, the way America looks and sounds and feels today.”
The Danish String Quartet inaugurates a new four-part, three-season commissioning partnership with Cal Performances, beginning on Oct. 10 with the U.S. premiere of a co-commissioned work by Bent Sørensen, along with Schubert’s String Quartet in G major, D. 887. On April 29, 2022, the quartet performs another co-commission premiere, by Lotta Wennäkoski, and Schubert’s String Quartet in D minor, D. 810 (“Death and the Maiden”).
The Joffrey Ballet concludes its six-year residency with a program featuring three West Coast premieres, including a new work by ballet master Nicolas Blanc, Under the Trees’ Voices, to music by Ezio Bosso. Joffrey programs on March 4, 5, and 6, 2022, include works by Gerald Arpino, Chanel DaSilva, Itzik Galili. and Yoshihisa Arai.
About dealing with pandemic regulations as the season unfolds, Andy Kraus, director of strategy and administration, explained:
Cal Performances is developing reopening protocols in conjunction with rapidly evolving state, local, and university health regulations and guidelines, and we are committed to formulating health and safety protocols for our venues that support the continued health and safety of our staff, artists, and audiences.
We expect to have a much clearer understanding of requirements after June 15 when the state and local governments settle on what guidelines will remain as more activities open. We would like to encourage everyone to consider receiving a vaccination for COVID-19, as this is the best measure we have to enable us to join together in experiencing community and the arts together.
To ensure alignment with the most current COVID-19 health regulations, Cal Performances will announce venues, seating configurations, pricing, and other safety protocols when tickets go on sale in June (for outdoor events) and August (for indoor events). We anticipate that pandemic conditions will continue to evolve, and we will stay in close communication with audience members about all changes throughout the season.”