Berkeley Symphony Reviews - Berkeley Symphony

Berkeley Symphony Reviews


Berkeley Symphony Hosts Rachel Barton Pine in Season Opener

Michael Zwiebach on October 18, 2022.

Star violinist Rachel Barton Pine wasn’t at the San Francisco Symphony this past weekend. On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 16, she was hanging with Berkeley Symphony musicians at Zellerbach Hall, playing Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 2.
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Review: Berkeley Symphony celebrates end of its 50th season with Beethoven — in English

Joshua Kosman – June 13, 2022

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and specifically its choral finale with the famed “Ode to Joy,” has always come to us through the German poetry of Friedrich Schiller. It makes sense, too — that was the text around which Beethoven, after long searching, shaped his music.
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Stream of consciousness & magnificence at Zellerbach

Joseph Gold – February 9, 2022

The mood was festive in Zellerbach Hall this past Sunday afternoon. A large and enthusiastic audience cheered the Berkeley Symphony as it embarks on its Golden Jubilee season, exactly two years to the day since its last concert in Zellerbach.
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Doing things right

Joseph Gold – December 15, 2021

The Berkeley Symphony does things right, and much of the credit must go to Artistic Director René Mandel. Their ongoing series of chamber music concerts, now in its ninth year at the Piedmont Center for the Arts, is a perfect example.
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Stuart Canin: Sometimes time stands still

Joseph Gold – November 24, 2021

Stuart Canin’s violin concert on Sunday at Piedmont Center for the Arts brought back beautiful memories. You could almost see the hands of the clock flying backwards. Or maybe time just stood still. I was transported back to the memorable days of my youth, a time when musical artists were complete personalities.
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Review: Berkeley Symphony conductor makes a thought-provoking debut with S.F. Symphony

Joshua Kosman – June 4, 2021

Conductor Joseph Young came into our lives suddenly and unexpectedly in 2019, when a last-minute substitute appearance led to his appointment as music director of the Berkeley Symphony. He hadn’t even completed his first season before COVID-19 blew things up.
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Berkeley Symphony Promotes Women’s Achievements in “You Have A Voice” 

Michael Zwiebach – February 11, 2020

Berkeley Symphony pulled out the Brahms Symphony No. 1 on Thursday night and, with a large string section leading the way, did a first-rate job with it. But that was clearly not the main story. The focus of the concert, in the centenary year of the passage of the 19th Amendment, was on two works celebrating women and feminism, with the Brahms tacked on because, well, bums in seats. Read More…


Review: Berkeley Symphony’s terse premiere gives voice to teenage concerns

Joshua Kosman – February 7, 2020

There’s a wonderful flavor to the adolescent voices in composer Mary Kouyoumdjian’s choral piece “Become Who I Am” – a blend of confidence and self-doubt, of anxiety and bravery, that is familiar to anyone who has passed through that precarious stage of life. Behind their simple self-descriptions (age, gender, interests) and their observations about the world, you can detect an entire emotional substratum that is constantly churning. Read More…


Women Conquering Berkeley

Paul Hertelendy – February 6, 2020

BERKELEY, CA – The highlight of the Berkeley Symphony program the other night was, astonishingly, the surprise vocal encore running close to 10 minutes in length: The S.F. Girls Chrous singing a near-a-cappella work with mezzo obbligata, “Only in Sleep” by the Australian Eriks Esenvalds. If ever there was proof of the emergence of the creative female, it was in this mellifluous chorus for the girls as led by the SFGC director, Valérie Sainte-Agathe. Read More…


Berkeley Symphony Season Opener: Celebrating a New Era

Joshua Kosman

Joseph Young’s appointment last year as the Berkeley Symphony’s new music director came as a delightful surprise to nearly all observers. The conductor hadn’t even been in the running, but one concert as a late replacement for an ailing colleague was all it took to land him the job. Read More…


Joseph Young takes lead of Berkeley Symphony

Conductor heads up diverse, premiere-laden 2019-20 season
– Oct. 22, 2019 12:30 p.m.

Joseph Young, who had an auspicious debut as guest conductor of the Berkeley Symphony under short notice in January, leads the orchestra as its new music director this week as it begins its 49th diverse, premiere-laden season Thursday at Zellerbach Hall. Read More…


Classical picks: New era begins at Berkeley Symphony


Conductor Joseph Young, making his first appearance as Berkeley Symphony’s new music director, inaugurates the orchestra’s 2019-20 season Oct. 24. He’ll conduct Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Olly Wilson’s “Shango Memory” and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, with Conrad Tao as soloist. Details: 7 p.m. Oct. 24, Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley; $15-$96; 510-841-2800,


A New Era Begins at Berkeley Symphony

While rehearsing an opera in Baltimore this past January, Joseph Young received a call from Berkeley Symphony, asking if he would be able to step in as a last-minute substitute conductor. He said yes, and within days had conducted the concert, impressing the players and audience enough to ultimately put him at the top of the list as new Music Director. He’ll be leading his first regular season performance this Thursday night in Zellerbach Hall, with a concert of music by Olly Wilson, Ravel, and Beethoven. Read More…