Symphonic Hall Series
April 30, 2015 , 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley

First produced in 1991, John Adams’ opera The Death of Klinghoffer is based on the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985, and the resulting murder of Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer. Mozart’s Requiem was composed in Vienna in 1791, during the last year of the composer’s life. Though considered one of Mozart’s most popular and respected works, the question remains as to how much of the music he actually completed before his death and how much was later composed by others. The Orchestra is joined by soloists from the Adler Fellowship Program of the San Francisco Opera Center and the choruses from the University of California, Berkeley. Watch video.

6:30 pm – Box Office/Will Call and Cafe Zellerbach open*
7:00 pm – Pre-concert talk in the main hall (free to all ticket holders)
8:00 pm – Concert begins

*To make a reservation at Cafe Zellerbach, contact Cindy Hickox at or (510) 841-2800, x303. Reservations subject to availability.


John Adams: Choruses from The Death of Klinghoffer
Mozart: Requiem

Joana Carneiro, conductor
Jacqueline Piccolino, soprano
Zanda Švēde, mezzo-soprano
Michael Dailey, tenor
Anthony Reed, bass
University and Chamber Choruses of the University of California, Berkeley
Marika Kuzma, director
Berkeley Symphony

Read More About...
John Adams:

Composer, conductor, and creative thinker - John Adams occupies a unique position in the world of American music. His works, both operatic and symphonic, stand out among contemporary classical compositions for their depth of expression, brilliance of sound, and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes. Over the past 25 years, Adams’s music has played a decisive role in turning the tide of contemporary musical aesthetics away from academic modernism and toward a more expansive, expressive language, entirely characteristic of his New World surroundings.

UC Berkeley Choruses:

The Chamber Chorus is the university's premiere concert choir. A select group of some thirty-two singers, it is open to current students and alumni, staff, faculty, and singers from the greater Berkeley community. The University Chorus has a similar make up, but is comprised of approximately eighty singers. Both groups perform under the direction of Marika Kuzma.

Program Pieces
John Adams: Choruses from The Death of Klinghoffer

Born on February 15, 1947, in Worcester, Massachusetts, John Adams resettled in the Bay Area in the early 1970s and currently resides in Berkeley. He composed The Death of Klinghoffer, his second opera, in 1990-91, on a commission from a consortium of opera companies that included San Francisco Opera. Peter Sellars served as the stage director, and Alice Goodman wrote the libretto — both collaborators having been part of the original team for Nixon in China, Adams’s first opera. Klinghoffer immediately generated great controversy on account of its subject matter dealing with terrorism.

While Nixon playfully alludes to the conventions of grand opera, The Death of Klinghoffer turns to the older model of Baroque oratorio: above all the Passions of Bach, with their intercutting of individual and collective points of view. In order to give voice to the intense, conflicting emotions of Klinghoffer, Adams was driven to enrich his musical language with melodic elaboration and a darker and more complex harmonic palette. It’s no coincidence that the polarizations inherent in his subject led Adams to transform his musical style.

© Thomas May

Mozart: Requiem Mass in D minor

Born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg; died on December 5, 1791, in Vienna. Mozart began composing the Requiem in 1791, the last year of his short life, and died before he could complete it. The state of incompletion is one of the most haunting aspects of Mozart’s Requiem. Over the past two centuries, countless scholars and Mozart aficionados have pondered the extent to which the Requiem as we know it represents the composer’s own musical thoughts.

First performance: part of the Requiem was performed as a memorial for Mozart on December 10, 1791, while a performance of the posthumously completed score was arranged for his widow Constanze on January 2, 1792. The Requiem is scored for a quartet of vocal soloists, mixed chorus, and an orchestra of 2 basset horns, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings with organ continuo.

© Thomas May

Program Notes & Text
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