To celebrate the newly renovated, reopened, and renamed Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall at Mills College, various ensembles and musicians gathered on Saturday evening to perform the music of one of the college’s many musical luminaries: Darius Milhaud, the French composer who took up a post there after fleeing the Germans in 1940.
Last Thursday, the Berkeley Symphony welcomed Joana Carneiro, the last of six candidates to appear at Zellerbach Hall and make a case for their being appointed as music director. Carneiro's selection of pieces was probably the least eclectic of all the candidates' programs, though she chose hers strategically.
For the 12th year running, New Music Bay Area and Lifemark Group Arts sponsored the Garden of Memory, an annual celebration of the summer solstice through new music and sound installations. For four hours on Sunday, more than three dozen artists took over the labyrinthine Chapel of Chimes, a mausoleum on the edge of Oakland's Rockridge district.
It was with some trepidation that I attended.
In a fitting conclusion to a season that has featured works like Maurice Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and William Bolcom's Fairy Tales, the Gold Coast Chamber Players ended their 2008 cycle with a program of musical knickknacks both familiar and obscure.
Last December, Kent Nagano and Stuart Canin unveiled the Berkeley Akademie Ensemble, a project designed to cultivate "explorations of style" and "develop ensemble technical skills" (as the organization describes its goals).
On Sunday afternoon, as part of the Noe Valley Chamber Music series, a small gathering in San Francisco was treated to "Traveling Polyhymnia," a program of chamber music assembled by the Adorno Ensemble.
"Indigenous Instruments," composer Steve Mackey writes of one of his pieces, "is vernacular music from a culture that doesn't actually exist." But at UC Berkeley's Hertz Hall on Friday, the audience was able to catch aural samples of familiar vernacular music.