Arts & Events

Berkeley Symphony Opens On Thursday With Music By Chapela, Brahms, Shostakovich

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday October 26, 2011 - 10:00:00 AM

Berkeley Symphony, conducted by Joana Carneiro, opens the new season with music by Enrico Chapela, Brahms and Shostakovich, Thursday at 8, Zellerbach Auditorium. 

A piano tribute to civic leader Harry Weininger, written and performed by Gabriela Lena Frank, will open the program, followed by the Symphony with Chapela's Li Po, after the poem by Mexico's Jose Juan Tablada about the eighth century Chinese poet, for chamber orchestra and electronic soundtrack, Brahms' Third Symphony in F Major and Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 in E Flat, featuring 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition winner Johannes Moser.  

Chapela, who was born in Mexico City, 1974, premiered his commissioned piece Private Alleles, referring to the genome of Mexican mestizo and American Indian population, here last December. His music's influenced by jazz, rock and Latin popular music, as well as European classical music and contemporary composition and electronic music.  

Called "Brahms' Eroica" by Hans Richter, who conducted its premiere in 1883, the composer's Third Symphony employs his musical motto, F-A Flat-F, "Frei aber froh," Free But Happy, finished by the 50 year old bachelor 30 years after he, Schumann and Dietrich jointly composed a violin sonata following Joseph Joachim's motto, "Frei aber einsam," Free But Lonely. 

Shostakovich's Cello Concerto, from 1959, itself employs a motto, D-S-C-H, and quotes popular song and a lullaby the composer used in other pieces, as well as finding an "impulse" from his admiration for one of the other among the most difficult pieces for cello, Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concerto.  

Last week, Moser premiered Chapela's Magnetar, for electric cello, with the LA Philharmonic, led by Gustavo Dudamel. 

A post-concert dinner for the season's opening will honor Robert Commanday of Oakland, former music critic with the Chronicle and founder of the San Francisco Classical Voice. 

Concert tickets: $20-$60. 841-2800;