Berkeley Symphony Announces Its 2024-25 Season

A.A. Cristi February 28, 2024.

The historic institution will highlight the music of movement and hope, celebrating both the classical canon and emerging contemporary voices.

Review: From Impressionism to Jazz and Back With the Berkeley Symphony

Jeff Rosenfeld – February 28, 2024.

Music Director Joseph Young conducted, and his sibling, Robert, was the soloist in A Kind of Trane, a saxophone concerto by Guillaume Connesson honoring the great John Coltrane.

Berkeley Symphony Presents HOLIDAY WINDS, December 3

By A.A. Cristi – November 27, 2023

Holiday Winds is the third chamber concert of the season and will feature pieces from Tchaikovsky, Holst, Guaraldi, and others.

REVIEW: Berkeley Symphony’s ‘American Kaleidoscope’ reignites ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ burns the house down

By Sarina Bell – October 19, 2023

“Somehow, after the tear-jerking solos from Roberts (or the almost slapstick throws back to the orchestra), Young still managed to make Gershwin’s ending just as monstrous and magnificent as in the original. The concert-goers flew to their feet.”

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Bay Area arts: 8 great live shows and concerts to see this weekend

By Randy McMullen – October 12, 2023

“American Kaleidoscope” at Berkeley Symphony: American jazz is on the program when Berkeley Symphony opens its 52nd season; conducted by music director Joseph Young, the orchestra welcomes the Marcus Roberts Trio, performing James P. Johnson’s 1927 “Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody.” Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” along with works by Barber and Peter S. Shin, complete the lineup.

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Best Bets: SF Music Day, Berkeley Symphony, Alonzo King classics, ‘Disenchanted,’ ‘Turn of the Screw’

By Local New Matters – October 12, 2023

A sparkling jazz infusion: Expect colorful, shifting and possibly symmetrical patterns at the Berkeley Symphony’s season-opening concert Sunday afternoon in Zellerbach Hall, as the orchestra’s music director Joseph Young has chosen to title it “American Kaleidoscope.” Conductor Young explains his intent is to showcase “the intersection of different musical styles and the richness of our country’s culture.”

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Around Berkeley

The Berkeley Symphony will open its 2023-2024 season with a program celebrating the evolution of American music. The orchestra will be joined by the Marcus Roberts Trio for jazz composer James P. Johnson’s Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody. Also on the program are Samuel Barber’s vibrant and intense Second Essay for Orchestra, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (which you might know from United Airlines’ famous onboard commercial), and Korean American contemporary composer Peter S. Shin’s Relapse.

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The Berkeley Symphony kicks off its 2023-24 season with the Symphonic Series Concert

By KTVU 2 – October 12, 2023

When I was offered this opportunity, there was a list of things I needed to improve upon. I feel that I have far exceeded those professional requests and have gone above and beyond to be the best version of myself when I show up to work.

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Ticket Alert: Berkeley Symphony Performing Free for K-12 Children

By 510Families – October 10, 2023

In an effort to inspire and engage young minds in the arts, Berkeley Symphony wants to ensure that money isn’t a barrier for any student and is offering free access to its amazing Symphonic Series Concerts for all K-12 students through its “Students at the Symphony” program. Performances are on weekends and hosted at two different Berkeley locations.

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Cultural Attaché’s BEST BETS

By Cultural Attaché October 9, 2023

Nearly 28 years ago, pianist/composer Marcus Roberts released his album Portraits in Blue. It was anchored by his transformative interpretation of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. At nearly double the length of the original composition, Roberts infused Gershwin’s masterpiece with harmonies and rhythms he didn’t live long enough to experience. In short, it’s a brilliant work. The Marcus Roberts Trio (Roland Guerin on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums) will play Rhapsody in Blue and also James P. Johnson’s Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody at this concert. Conductor Joseph Young leads the Berkeley Symphony in Samuel Barber’s Essay for Orchestra No.2 and Peter S. Shin’s Relapse on the program as well.

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The Chicest Things To Do In San Francisco This October

By Alea Wilkins October 4, 2023

The curtains will rise on the Berkeley Symphony’s 52nd season this month. The program features four symphonic performances and five chamber performances, led by music director Joseph Young. On Oct. 15, the American Kaleidoscope symphonic series begins at Zellerbach Hall and features jazz-influenced performances by the Marcus Roberts Trio.

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Berkeley Symphony opens season on October 15

By Piedmont Post – October 4, 2023

“We open this season with a celebration of the American sound, showcasing the intersection of different musical styles and the richness of our country’s culture,” says Joseph Young, Music Director of Berkeley Symphony.

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Fall Arts Guide 5 Events Not to Miss | Classical Music

By Diablo Magazine – October 1, 2023

Berkeley Symphony’s season kicks off with an exploration of the diversity of the American experience. The Marcus Roberts Trio joins the symphony for George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and James P. Johnson’s response to that piece, Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody. Rounding out the program are Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra and Peter S. Shin’s meditation on his Korean American identity, Relapse.

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VIDEO: Berkeley Symphony premieres “American Intersections” series

By KTVU – September 19, 2023

This weekend, the Berkeley Symphony will kick off its 2023-24 chamber series, featuring a diverse series of performances called “American Intersections”. KTVU’s Heather Holmes and Alex Savidge discuss how the series aims to expand the audience’s expectations of what classical music sounds like in our country with Kate Kammeyer, Executive Director of the Berkeley Symphony.

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Berkeley Symphony starting season soon at Piedmont Center for the Arts

By LOU FANCHER – September 12, 2023

“I’m privileged to program the chamber music series that complements the orchestral series (at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall and Berkeley’s First Presbyterian Church) and solidifies the arc of the season,” Kammeyer says. “The audience is greatly influenced by the art center and the schools being close together and by people going to the park, farmer’s market or shops.

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Berkeley Symphony Reveals 2023-24 Season

By July 12, 2023

Berkeley Symphony has announced its 2023-24 Season, led by Music Director Joseph Young, who is now in his fifth season with the historic organization. With four Symphonic Series performances and five Chamber Series performances, Berkeley Symphony will present a range of impactful programming that spans the expansive catalog of orchestral music. The 52nd Season will highlight musings on poetry, literature, light, and art, while converging classic and contemporary scores.

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California’s Berkeley Symphony Receives $1.5 Million Gift

The donation comes from Gordon Getty, American businessman and classical music composer

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REVIEW: Berkeley’s New Voices

Minorities and timeless tales stepped up in the Berkeley Symphony’s program of June 4 concurrent with Black Music Month. The timely program featured no less than three salient women’s issues and two living composers, the latter in attendance to supplement the interpretations by Music Director Joseph Young.

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How Joseph Young went from high school teacher to Berkeley Symphony conductor

By Jeneé Darden  – June 1, 2023

The first time Joseph Young saw an orchestra was when he was a teenager in South Carolina. He was drawn to the role of the conductor. Joseph is the conductor for the Berkeley Symphony. He’s one of a small number of Black conductors in the country. A 2023 report by the League of American Orchestras found about 6.7% of music conductors are Black.

Joseph says when it comes to diversity he wants his shows to not only be accessible, but relatable.

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Best Bets: Berkeley Symphony’s ‘Enduring Stories’

Girl power: The theme is the strength, courage and resiliency of women as conductor Joseph Young and the Berkeley Symphony close out the season at 4 p.m. Sunday in Zellerbach Hall with a program called “Enduring Stories.” Bay Area actress Leontyne Mbele-Mbong will be on hand to narrate, portraying four archetypal black females for composer Carlos Simon’s “Portrait of a Queen,” transforming from the proud African of the title to a plantation slave, then a woman enduring the strictures of the Jim Crow South and finally a strong, church-going matriarch of the modern era. The program will open with the world premiere of Chinese-born composer Xi Wang’s “Lotus Prayer” and conclude with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”

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All through the spring in the Bay Area, musical events keep hopping

By Joshua Kosman

Orchestras are still trying to figure out the best way to integrate jazz into their offerings. The Berkeley Symphony and Music Director Joseph Young, together with the intrepid piano soloist Lara Downes, plunge right in with two works for piano and orchestra, one by Duke Ellington and another based on the music of his longtime associate Billy Strayhorn. Music by Juan Pablo Contreras and Edward Elgar rounds out the program.

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Berkeley Symphony to Present ‘Winter of Love’ Featuring Artistic Director René Mandel & Friends

By Afton Wooten – JAN 5, 2023

Berkeley Symphony to Present ‘Winter of Love’ Featuring Artistic Director René Mandel & Friends

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Berkeley Symphony opens season Sunday with music of 2 Black composers, born a century-plus apart

Florence Price’s violin concerto, composed in 1952, will be played after Brian Nabors’ new piece, commissioned via a program supporting composers of color, on Oct. 16 at Zellerbach Hall.

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Berkeley Symphony Hosts Rachel Barton Pine in Season Opener

Michael Zwiebach – 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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Bay Area children’s book illustrators bring Berkeley Symphony’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’ to life

Iris Kwok

Illustrator Nidhi Chanani had never heard Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” before she received a call from Berkeley Symphony Executive Director René Mandel in January asking if she would be interested in creating a visual accompaniment for the orchestra’s upcoming performance of the piece. But upon learning more about the piece, she recognized it as one that lends itself to visual components and agreed to take on the gig.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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

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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.

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