Taking a Break with Cal Performances


Concert Study Breaks Anytime in the Fall 2020 Season

When the world suddenly moves remote, so do performing arts—fortunately, also providing the any-time benefits of on demand streaming. For UC Berkeley students, that means a fun and easy mental health break to connect with people and cultures in new ways through Cal Performances at Home. While the Berkeley community has been working together to adjust lifestyles and behavior for the pandemic, this has not taken away the deeply human need for connection and expression through creativity and art. That’s why Cal Performances has been so dedicated to maintaining the highest artistic quality and culturally diverse representation in the fall season of 2020, even arranging a concert with Yo-Yo Ma that was free to all UC Berkeley students!

Nathalie Joachim. Photo credit Daniel Kullman.

Nathalie Joachim and Spektral Quartet. Photo credit Daniel Kullman.

Pivoting in a Pandemic

For the Fall season of 2020, Cal Performances at Home was able to provide a special offer of a $15 student-streaming pass, to cover the 15 performances of the season (no longer available). UC Berkeley students (graduate and undergraduate) can still take advantage of $5 tickets to any Cal Performances at Home show (including ones still on demand), or receive a 50% Berkeley student discount off any single ticket price. Some of the Fall 2020 series performances will be on demand through April 2021, and a new Spring 2021 streaming series will be announced in January. Each streaming premiere hosts a live stream chatroom where students can share the experience with other viewers, so if you know someone else with a pass or tickets, maybe it’s time for a watch party!

Holiday Specials

Even though the most concerts are on demand, there are two holiday specials that will be available for a limited time only! Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol streams live performances from December 17–19, promising to broadcast holiday cheer directly to your home in the world premiere of a special adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This is a new production tailored for home viewing and poignantly resonant with our current lives. A New Year’s Eve Musical Celebration stars Yo-Yo Ma, Julia Bullock, Bria Skonberg, Leif Ove Andsnes, Matthew Whitaker, and many more! Soloists, recitalists, jazz artists, and chamber ensembles will help our audiences usher in 2021 in style and leave 2020 at the door. The celebration streams live at 8 p.m. PST, December 31, 2020 (available on demand from Thursday, December 31 at 2 a.m. until Saturday, January 2 at 4 a.m. PST). Hope to see you there! And don’t forget to check out some of the other fun concerts that have been on demand, like the ones featured below.

Nathalie Joachim and Spektral Quartet, Fanm d’Ayiti

Stream Premiere: Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 7 p.m. PDT
On Demand Until: January 12, 2021,11:59 p.m. PST

“Haitian-American composer, flutist, and vocalist Nathalie Joachim collaborates with Chicago’s Spektral Quartet in Fanm d’Ayiti (Women of Haiti), a suite of kaleidoscopic original compositions and arrangements that explores Joachim’s Haitian heritage and celebrates the songs and stories of Haiti’s most compelling female artists.”

Nathalie Joachim

Nathalie Joachim. Photo credit Daniel Kullman.

Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott, Songs of Comfort and Hope

Stream Premiere: Friday, November 27, 2020, 7 p.m. PST
On Demand Until: December 12, 2020, 11:59 p.m. PST

“Their Songs of Comfort and Hope program—inspired by the phenomenally popular series of recorded-at-home musical offerings that Ma began sharing in the first days of the COVID-19 lockdown—combines a wide range of selections from the piano/cello repertoire with traditional and fresh new takes.”

Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott

Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott. Photo © Todd Rosenberg Photography

Matthew Whitaker Quartet

Matthew Whitaker, piano and Hammond B3 organ
Marcos Robinson, guitar
Karim Hutton, bass
Isaiah Johnson, drums

Stream Premier: Thursday, November 5, 2020, 7 p.m. PST
On Demand Until: February 3, 2021, 11:59 p.m. PST

“To witness the breathless virtuosity of Matthew Whitaker improvising at the keyboard is to be in the presence of a once-in-a-generation musical talent. Blind since birth, Whitaker holds court on piano and Hammond B-3 organ, with a bold and confident sense of swing and a wide-ranging palette that spans straight-ahead jazz and hard bop, R&B, and Latin influences.”

Matthew Whitaker Quartet

Matthew Whitaker Quartet. Photo Credit Ras Dia.

If you’ve ever felt the thrill and energy of a performing arts concert, from theatrical to orchestral, then you understand the gift that cultural centers like Cal Performances provide for the community. In a strange synchronicity, Cal Performances first started as a cultural and community response to the tragedy of the 1906 San Francisco fire. Now a hundred years later, when we face a new kind of need, Cal Performances at Home has been able to provide a much-appreciated lightness and joy to help uplift the UC Berkeley community.