Berkeley Neighborhoods Council


Dedicated to improving the quality of life for all
by creating a unified neighborhood voice
for promoting livability and resolving problems


The Cultural Corner

In this eNEWS section, BNC considers community organizations, businesses, activities, architecture, events, and people that make the City of Berkeley such a special place.  Whatever or whoever is nominated for this section must reside in, or have a strong connection with Berkeley, and be nominated by a Berkeley resident who has no connection, other than that of an ordinary patron of, or a participant in whatever is being nominated.  Nomination does not automatically mean selection.  In the case of multiple selections, the BNC Newsletter Committee will determine the selection and description/comments about the selection are published anonymously.  Send submissions to  BNC will notify the selected treasure.

Our selection for this issue is:

The Berkeley Symphony
(510) 841-2800

A review, published on January 28, 2017, in the San Francisco Chronicle, written by Music Critic, Joshua Kosman carried the headline:  Ludwig vs.  Ludwig:  Berkeley Wins.  The review referred to back-to-back performances on January 26 of Beethoven's Fourth Symphony by the San Francisco Symphony in the afternoon and the Berkeley Symphony in the evening.  Mr. Kosman wrote that the SF performance was “blocky and uninspired, from its lumbering, slow introduction right through the predictable, square phrasing of the finale.” In contrast, he found that the performance by the Berkeley Symphony, led by Christian Reif in UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, restored the “dramatic wit and rhythmic vitality that give Beethoven's Fourth its distinctive allure. All, we can say is WOW, the city of Berkeley should be bursting with pride.  How about one of those special proclamations from our new Mayor? And no, the Berkeley Symphony did NOT ask us to mention them or any of their events that are coming up.

And, there certainly is a very special event coming up that all Berkeley residents should consider supporting.  It's a Benefit Gala to be held on Thursday, March 30, 2017, at the Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond, CA.  The Craneway Pavilion is part of the Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front Historical Park.  It has plenty of parking, offers stunning Bay views, and includes a restaurant, The Assemble, adjacent to the performance space.

The Pavilion itself, has lots of Berkeley connections.  The building was constructed in 1931 and had a life as the Ford Assembly Plant until it was abandoned.  It stayed that way for awhile until it was restored a few years ago as the Craneway Pavilion.  The architects who won an award for this work were from Berkeley, Marcy Wong and Don Logan.  The sound system installed in the Pavilion is by Meyer Sound, a Berkeley company.  Kudos to all involved.

The money raised at this Gala goes to support the work of the Symphony's concert and educational programs which include the commission of new works and their award-wining Music-in-the Schools Program.  A current example of the Music-in-the-Schools Program is the performance scheduled on April 15, 2017 at Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley where children have a chance to play with professional musicians.  There will be two performances, one at 10:00 am and one at 11:30 am.  Both performances are free, but a donation of $10 from adults will be suggested.

The performances offered by the Berkeley Symphony are varied.  Chamber music is scheduled for April 23 at the Piedmont Center for the Arts.  On May 4, 2017, Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich's haunting Symphony #13, “Babi Yar”, a moving eulogy to the World War II massacre that took place at Babi Yar, will be performed at U.C.  Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall.

Berkeley is fortunate to have such a wonderful cultural asset.  You can find out more, buy tickets, and make a donation by going to their website,  Our hats off to you for the wonderful work you do and the joy the Symphony's music brings to our City.