Arts & Events

Press Release: Solstice Celebration and Concert on June 21 at Chapel of the Chimes

From Sarah Cahill
Monday June 06, 2011 - 06:34:00 PM

New Music Bay Area and Lifemark Group/Chapel of the Chimes present their popular summer solstice celebration Garden of Memory: a Columbarium Walk-Through Concert to Celebrate the Solstice at Chapel of the Chimes, a labyrinthine Julia Morgan-designed columbarium and mausoleum replete with gardens, fountains, and stained-glass skylights at 4499 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland on Tuesday, June 21 from 5 to 9 pm. 

Described by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joshua Kosman as “a walk-through fun house of musical and visual splendor,” the concert features simultaneous performances in different parts of the building by Bay Area composers, musicians, and other performers presenting a variety of acoustic and electronic music, installations, and interactive events; the audience is free to move throughout the building during the performances. Admission is $15 general, $10 students and seniors, $5 kids under twelve. Tickets are available at For information, visit

The artists, many of whom are well-known to Bay Area audiences, include Paul Dresher and Joel Davel, Kitka, Beth Custer, Gyan Riley, the Cardew Choir, Amy X Neuburg, the William Winant Percussion Ensemble, Sarah Cahill and Regina Schaffer, Adam Fong, Maggi Payne, Jason Serinus, Dylan Mattingly, Dan Plonsey’s Daniel Popsicle, Vorticella, Pamela Z, and many others. 

Guests are invited to walk through the multilevel maze of internal gardens, cloisters, alcoves, stairwells, fountains and other architectural elements, which rise into vaulted ceilings. The facility’s numerous chapels, columbaria, and mausoleum areas are adorned with antiquities that date back to the 16th century. All architectural and garden areas have excellent acoustics and are illuminated by gentle natural light, often through beautiful arrangements of stained glass. 

Garden of Memory offers a unique and personal musical experience to every listener as he or she wanders freely through this multilevel maze of interior gardens, alcoves, pools, and antechambers ingeniously designed by Julia Morgan. Drawing crowds of over a thousand people each year (including a large number of children), Garden of Memory has become a favorite summer solstice celebration for Bay Area audiences. 

Chapel of the Chimes, the largest above-ground cemetery west of the Mississippi, started out as a streetcar station and became the California Memorial Crematorium and Columbarium in 1909. The property was expanded and transformed by Julia Morgan and later, Aaron Green – a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. The lobby and hallways feature artwork by Diego Rivera, a marble table top from the Medici family crest and a page from the Gutenberg Bible. 

Tickets are available through Listeners are advised to either carpool or come by public transportation, as parking is very limited. 

New Music Bay Area is a nonprofit organization which provides opportunities and information to composers and performers of new music throughout the Bay Area. New Music Bay Area is supported by the generosity of its members and donors. In addition, Garden of Memory is supported by a Community Partnership Grant from the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the American Composers Forum, with additional support from the Berkeley Arts Festival. 

WHAT: Garden of Memory solstice concert 

WHEN: 5 to 9 pm on Tuesday, June 21, 2006 

WHO: composer-performers Kitka, Paul Dresher and Joel Davel, Amy X Neuburg, Gyan Riley, and about thirty others. 

WHERE: Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland 


ADMISSION: $15 general, $10 students and seniors