Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
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Events
Monday, September 25, 2017 | 10 – 11amMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Chancellor's Fall Welcome

“Future Forward" is the theme for Chancellor Gary S. May's fall welcome for the campus community and other friends of the university. Alumnus Scott Moak ’95, Sacramento Kings executive and public-address announcer, will be the master of ceremonies. Student pianists will perform, and another student will sing the national anthem. The program also will include spoken word performances by students, and the presentation of three videos, one welcoming Chancellor May, another providing a brief visual biography of him and the last one titled “Celebrating UC Davis.” The audience also will hear from Chancellor May, who assumed his new role Aug. 1, the seventh chancellor since UC Davis became a general campus of UC in 1959.

A reception will follow in the Corin Courtyard.

Please RSVP here.

The welcome event will be livestreamed here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 | 12:10 – 1pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Gentle Yoga

Join us for a four-week relaxing yoga series catered to all levels and abilities, with a focus on breathing, stretches and poses. The classes can help you learn more about improving your well-being through movement. Bring a yoga mat, blanket or towel. Instructor: Kia Meaux.

The class will meet as follows, always from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 20
  • Wednesday, Sept. 27
  • Tuesday, Oct. 3
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11
Register here.

Friday, September 29 – Wednesday, November 1, 2017Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Exhibition: Land, Water and Rock

A retrospective of the work of nature photographer Debal Sen, based in Kolkata, India, who depicts forests, rivers, ocean and animals in a spectral light — neither day nor night, “suggesting a world, which, although elusive, can always be accessed by the ‘other world’ consciousness.” Sen is a cardiologist as well as a photographer, known for his books, Wild Bengal, Panch Kedar, Once Upon a Time and Shores.

This exhibition is among a wide-ranging series of campus events this academic year focused on South Asia.

Land, Water and Rock will be on display from Sept. 29 to Nov. 1. Opening reception, including a talk by Sen, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29. See separate listing.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 | 12:10 – 1pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Gentle Yoga

Join us for a four-week relaxing yoga series catered to all levels and abilities, with a focus on breathing, stretches and poses. The classes can help you learn more about improving your well-being through movement. Bring a yoga mat, blanket or towel. Instructor: Kia Meaux.

The class will meet as follows, always from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 20
  • Wednesday, Sept. 27
  • Tuesday, Oct. 3
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11
Register here.

Saturday, October 7, 2017 | 8 – 9:30pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
In Conversation with Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee has quickly established herself as one of the most unique and sharp comedic voices on television with her late-night show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Bee began her career performing as a member of the all-female sketch comedy troupe The Atomic Fireballs. In 2003, Bee joined Comedy Central's The Daily Show and currently holds the title for being the longest-serving regular  correspondent of all time (12 years).

Sunday, October 8, 2017 | 4 – 6pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Barbara K. Jackson “Rising Stars of Opera”

San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows
with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra
Mark Morash, guest conductor

A beloved tradition this year takes the name of our dear benefactor, Barbara K. Jackson. Free to the public since its inception in 2010, thanks to Jackson’s committed generosity, Rising Stars of Opera features the world’s most promising young singers from the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow program in recital and with full orchestral accompaniment from the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra (this year under the baton of SF Opera Center Director of Musical Studies Mark Morash). Expect vocal artistry, stirring arias and a glimpse at the opera stars of tomorrow.

Monday, October 9, 2017 | 7:30 – 9pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Live

This event is currently at capacity. Ticket availability may change as the event date approaches, but demand remains very high. For more questions, please contact the Mondavi Center ticket office at 530-754-2787.

Join Hillary Rodham Clinton as she travels the United States and Canada this fall.  She’ll connect with audiences with a story that’s personal, raw, detailed and surprisingly funny. She’ll take you with her on her journey and talk about What Happened, what’s next, and what’s on your mind. What you’ll see will be her story – Live.  Her story of resilience, how to get back up after a loss, and how we can all look ahead. It’s about Hillary’s experience as a woman in politics – she lets loose on this topic, and others, in a way she never has before.

All paid ticket holders will receive a copy of What Happened, Hillary Rodham Clinton's new book which was released on September 12.

Note that tickets sales will be limited to 4 per household.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 12:10 – 1pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Gentle Yoga

Join us for a four-week relaxing yoga series catered to all levels and abilities, with a focus on breathing, stretches and poses. The classes can help you learn more about improving your well-being through movement. Bring a yoga mat, blanket or towel. Instructor: Kia Meaux.

The class will meet as follows, always from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 20
  • Wednesday, Sept. 27
  • Tuesday, Oct. 3
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11
Register here.

Sunday, October 22, 2017 | 7 – 9pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird is an internationally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, whistler and songwriter who picked up his first violin at the age of four and spent his formative years soaking up classical repertoire completely by ear. As a teen Bird became interested in a variety of styles including early jazz, country blues and folk music, synthesizing them into his unique brand of pop. His most recent studio album is Are You Serious, released April 1st, 2016 on Loma Vista Recordings.

Friday, October 27, 2017 | 11am – 12:30pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Investiture Ceremony

The Investiture of Gary S. May as the seventh chancellor of UC Davis, in an academic ceremony steeped in tradition, full of pomp and circumstance, conferring upon him the authority and symbols of high office. A reception will follow.

There is no charge to attend; however, tickets are required for admission and can be obtained online or in person at the Mondavi Center box office.

Friday, October 27, 2017 | 12:30pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Investiture Reception

Following the Investiture of Gary S. May as the seventh chancellor of UC Davis.

Saturday, October 28, 2017 | 7 – 9pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Faculty Recital: Rita Sahai

Rita Sahai is a rare Hindustani vocalist residing in the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States. Sahai’s is a soulful performer, a brilliant and prolific composer, and a venerated music teacher. She is a senior disciple of Sangeet Samrat Ustad Ali Akbar Khan sahib, and is the only vocalist and composer to carry forward the heritage of the Seni Allauddin gharana. She has served as an ambassador of India’s rich musical heritage over the three decades that she has been in the United States. Impressed by her talent and passion towards music, Khan sahib gave her the title “Gayan Alankar” (Jewel of Music).

Rita Sahai directs two choir groups: the UC Davis Hindustani Vocal Ensemble and the Vasundhara Choir. In March, 2013 Rita Sahai was inducted into The Alameda County 2013 Women’s Hall of Fame, the first Indian to receive such an honor, and was publicly recognized for her contributions to Culture and Art. Her personal vision is to bring healing, peace and harmony through the universal language of music.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 | 7 – 9:30pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
UC Davis Concert Band

Pete Nowlen, director

Program TBA.

Mondavi Center
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Open Seating)

Saturday, December 9, 2017 | 7 – 9pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Haydn: "The Creation"

University Chorus with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

Soprano [the angel Gabriel, Eve]

Tenor [the angel Uriel]

Baritone [the angel Raphael, Adam]

Haydn: The Creation (Die Schopfung)
Text by an anonymous English poet and Baron Gottfried van Swieten, after the book of Genesis from the Old Testament and Milton’s Paradise Lost.

"The work many consider Haydn’s masterpiece is a direct descendant of Handelian oratorio. From his earliest days in England, Haydn admired the great Handel oratorios; above all Israel in Egypt—with its frogs, flies, and hailstorms—influenced Haydn as he worked on The Creation. It had long been the impresario Salomon’s plan to induce him to compose an oratorio for the English, and it was Salomon who brought Haydn the libretto, which had, in fact, originally been intended for Handel himself.

For each day of the week of creation, the English libretto suggested biblical recitative, commentary based on Milton, and a concluding chorus paraphrasing one of the psalms. Haydn carried the English text back to Austria, where he asked Baron Gottfried van Swieten to provide a German version. This was a good choice: Swieten, a former ambassador to Berlin and the keeper of the Imperial Library, was an enthusiastic promoter of Baroque music, and thus knew the territory well. He followed the English plan closely, and as he went along, suggested to Haydn in the margin of his manuscript the sort of music he thought would be most appropriate. (“Because of the last three lines,” he wrote of the aria, no. 16, “only the joyful twittering, not the long held tones, of the nightingale can be imitated here.”) Swieten cut and altered his English source—though always leaving the King James biblical citation untouched—to fashion an English text that for the most part sits comfortably alongside his German.

Die Schopfung / The Creation is, then, for all intents and purposes bilingual. (This is trickier than it looks: if one is to write, as Haydn did, worm music, the English “worm” and German “Wurm” must fall in the same place, despite the grammatical differences between the two languages.) The English we use today was spruced up by Vincent Novello when the vocal score was published, but is still thick with Miltonian allusions.

Haydn excelled at word painting, such that the illustrative devices are apt to seize your attention early on. They begin subtly in the wondrous first bars of the overture, called by Haydn “Representation of Chaos,” where life seems to stir for the first time with the bassoon arpeggio. At the word “light” of “And there was light” (No. 2), there blossoms an enormous C major from the full performing force. From there, you will doubtless note, among others: the boisterous sea (No.  7); the “cheerful host of birds” and “th’ immense Leviathan” (No. 19); and of course the tawny lion, flexible tiger, nimble stag, and noble steed of No. 22. Likewise, the choice of keys, instruments, and harmonic events is often dictated by the particulars of the text.

Creating a work of such dimensions drove Haydn, for once, to the limits of his legendary stamina. “I fell daily to my knees and asked God for strength to finish it,” he said. He struggled through the first performance: “Sometimes my whole body was ice cold, sometimes a burning heat overcame me, and more than once I was afraid that I would suddenly have a stroke.” Yet the magnitude of the achievement was clear to everybody. “For the life of me,” wrote one listener after the 1799 public premiere, “I wouldn’t have believed that human lungs and sheep gut and calf’s skin could create such miracles.”

  —D. Kern Holoman, professor emeritus

Thursday, January 18, 2018 | 4 – 5pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra: "Revision/s"

David Robertson, music director

Works for chamber orchestra written by Revision/s Festival composer fellows Jenny Beck and Lily Chen, and UC Davis graduate students Phil Acimovic and Chris Castro.

Founded in 1880, the St. Louis Symphony is recognized internationally as an ensemble of the highest caliber, performing a broad musical repertoire with skill and spirit. The symphony continues to build upon its reputation for musical excellence while maintaining its commitment to local education and community activities.

A consummate musician, masterful programmer and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after American conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music-making and stimulating ideas.

Saturday, February 3, 2018 | 2 – 4pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Living Earth Show: "Revision/s"

Christian Baldini, music director and conductor

Works by Sir Edward Elgar—

Introduction and Allegro
Jolán Friedhoff and Dagenais Smiley, violin
Ellen Ruth Rose, viola, and Susan Lamb Cook, cello

Variations on an Original Theme (“Enigma”), op. 36

For string quartet and string orchestra only, Introduction and Allegro is evocative of a Baroque concerto grosso with demanding, soloistic parts playing with and against a full-sounding string orchestra. The work was composed for a concert of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1905, then in its infancy. The piece is meant to showcase the string-players abilities of the orchestra, and the Allegro section features, in Elgar’s words, a “devil of a fugue.”

Elgar wrote of the Enigma Variations: “Its dark saying must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the apparent connection between the variations and the theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes’ but is not played.” In other words, Elgar varied the typical practice itself of a theme and variation—a common enough compositional practice—by writing a set of variations upon a theme (“its dark saying”) that the listener never really hears. Each variation is instead a counterpoint to that enigmatic theme. Although Elgar said only the composer knew the Enigma melody, plenty of individuals have proposed answers, from a minor version of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star to a theme presented in Brahms’s Fourth Symphony to Elgar’s own signature E-minor leitmotif. What is known, however, are the variations are representative of his friends. In fact the dedication of the piece reads, “My Friends Pictured Within.” The Nimrod variation is easily the most famous and most often extracted variation of the set, and represents Elgar’s friend, editor, and critic Augustus Jaeger. The name Nimrod is actually a character from the Old Testament, a mighty hunter. In German, Jäger means hunter—which, although seemingly cryptic, makes the connection between the Nimrod variation and Augustus Jaeger clear.

Saturday, February 3, 2018 | 7 – 9pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Living Earth Show: "Revision/s"

Christian Baldini, music director and conductor

Works by Sir Edward Elgar—

Introduction and Allegro
Jolán Friedhoff and Dagenais Smiley, violin
Ellen Ruth Rose, viola, and Susan Lamb Cook, cello

Variations on an Original Theme (“Enigma”), op. 36

For string quartet and string orchestra only, Introduction and Allegro is evocative of a Baroque concerto grosso with demanding, soloistic parts playing with and against a full-sounding string orchestra. The work was composed for a concert of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1905, then in its infancy. The piece is meant to showcase the string-players abilities of the orchestra, and the Allegro section features, in Elgar’s words, a “devil of a fugue.”

Elgar wrote of the Enigma Variations: “Its dark saying must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the apparent connection between the variations and the theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes’ but is not played.” In other words, Elgar varied the typical practice itself of a theme and variation—a common enough compositional practice—by writing a set of variations upon a theme (“its dark saying”) that the listener never really hears. Each variation is instead a counterpoint to that enigmatic theme. Although Elgar said only the composer knew the Enigma melody, plenty of individuals have proposed answers, from a minor version of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star to a theme presented in Brahms’s Fourth Symphony to Elgar’s own signature E-minor leitmotif. What is known, however, are the variations are representative of his friends. In fact the dedication of the piece reads, “My Friends Pictured Within.” The Nimrod variation is easily the most famous and most often extracted variation of the set, and represents Elgar’s friend, editor, and critic Augustus Jaeger. The name Nimrod is actually a character from the Old Testament, a mighty hunter. In German, Jäger means hunter—which, although seemingly cryptic, makes the connection between the Nimrod variation and Augustus Jaeger clear.

Sunday, March 11, 2018 | 7 – 9pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Bernstein: "Kaddish" Symphony

University and Alumni Choruses
UC Davis Symphony Orchestra
Christian Baldini, conductor

Debussy: Nocturnes

Bernstein: Symphony No. 3 (“Kaddish”)

Saturday, April 21, 2018 | 12 – 1pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
UC Davis Symphony Orchestra: Picnic Day

Christian Baldini, music director and conductor

Saturday, May 5, 2018 | 7 – 9pmMondavi Center for the Performing Arts
UC Davis Symphony Orchestra: Sibelius and LIgeti

Christian Baldini, music director and conductor

Sibelius: Valse triste

Ligeti: Violin Concerto
Miranda Cuckson, violin (artist-in-residence)

Sibelius: Symphony No. 6

Sibelius’s Valse triste was originally part of the incidental music he composed for his brother-in-law Arvid Järnefelt’s 1903 play Kuolema (Death), but is far better known as a separate concert piece. The composer describes the scene in Valse triste / Kuolema—

"It is night. The son, who has been watching beside the bedside of his sick mother, has fallen asleep from sheer weariness, Gradually a ruddy light is diffused through the room: there is a sound of distant music: the glow and the music steal nearer until the strains of a valse melody float distantly to our ears. The sleeping mother awakens, rises from her bed and, in her long white garment, which takes the semblance of a ball dress, begins to move silently and slowly to and fro. She waves her hands and beckons in time to the music, as though she were summoning a crowd of invisible guests. And now they appear, these strange visionary couples, turning and gliding to an unearthly valse rhythm. The dying woman mingles with the dancers; she strives to make them look into her eyes, but the shadowy guests one and all avoid her glance. Then she seems to sink exhausted on her bed and the music breaks off. Presently she gathers all her strength and invokes the dance once more, with more energetic gestures than before. Back come the shadowy dancers, gyrating in a wild, mad rhythm. The weird gaiety reaches a climax; there is a knock at the door, which flies wide open; the mother utters a despairing cry; the spectral guests vanish; the music dies away. Death stands on the threshold."

György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto uses, as New York TImes arts critic Allan Kozinn says, “Hungarian folk melodies, Bulgarian dance rhythms, references to medieval and Renaissance music and solo violin writing that ranges from the slow-paced and sweet-toned to the angular and fiery.” The concerto was written for German violinist Saschko Gawriloff and premiered in 1992. Ligeti’s writing makes use of microtonality in its scordatura (atypical tuning) of violin and viola, and then instruments unusual for orchestra that include recorders and ocarinas. It could be said that it is a concerto where the very old meets the very new.

Coming from a deep background in the classical repertoire, Miranda Cuckson has in recent years become one of the most active performers of contemporary music. She is passionate about the role of the performer / interpreter in the creative process and in communicating the music. Downbeat Magazine recently stated “violinist Miranda Cuckson reaffirms her standing as one of the most sensitive and electric interpreters of new music.”

Sibelius wrote in 1943 that “the sixth symphony always reminds me of the scent of the first snow.”

For a free opportunity to listen to Miranda Cuckson, violin, come to the Ann E. Pitzer Center at 12 noon on Thursday, May 3, to hear a program of works by UC Davis graduate student composers including Addie Camsuzu, Josiah Catalan, Sam Clark-McHale, Daniel Godsil, Aida Shirazi, Sarah Wald, and FangWei Luo.

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