Christian Reif guest conducts the Berkeley Symphony

Christian Reif guest conducts the Berkeley Symphony

Christian Reif to conduct the Berkeley Symphony (Photo credit: David Kim)

For immediate release

BERKELEY, CA (April 5, 2019) – Berkeley Symphony presents the final concert of the 18/19 season, Clyne & Strauss, with guest conductor Christian Reif leading the orchestra at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 8pm. The concert starts with Bizet’s fiery Carmen Suite No. 1. The Orchestra is joined on stage by special guests ODC/Dance to perform Thomas Adès’s Dances from Powder Her Face and Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Anna Clyne’s This Midnight Hour, both choreographed by ODC/Dance Co-Artistic Director KT Nelson. The evening concludes with Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier Suite, an operatic tribute to love, intrigue and forbidden pleasures.

German-born Christian Reif is Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He started in San Francisco in the 2016/17 season following two years in Miami as Conducting Fellow with the New World Symphony, working closely with Michael Tilson Thomas.

In 2018/19, Reif will conduct subscription concerts with the San Francisco Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and make debuts with the National Symphony Orchestra in D.C., Hong Kong Philharmonic and Omaha Symphony. He returns to the Berkeley Symphony, leads a production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Opera San Jose, and conducts a new chamber version of John Adams’s El Niño with the American Modern Opera Company as part the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MetLiveArts series in New York.

Christian Reif studied with Alan Gilbert at the Juilliard School, where he completed his Master of Music in Conducting in 2014. He received a diploma in 2012 from the Mozarteum Salzburg, where he studied with Dennis Russell Davies. He was a Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2015 and 2016. Reif is a member of Germany’s Conductor’s Forum (Dirigentenforum) and is one of the forum’s 2017/18 and 2018/19 featured “Maestros of Tomorrow”.

The ODC/Dance Company is widely recognized for its rigorous technique and numerous groundbreaking collaborations. Comprised of nine world-class dancers, the company performs its imaginative repertory for more than 50,000 people annually. Two annual home seasons in San Francisco include Dance Downtown and the holiday production, The Velveteen Rabbit. Recent highlights include appearances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival in New York, MODAFE Festival in Seoul Korea, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, Royce Hall at UCLA and in past years, standing-room-only engagements in Europe, Russia, and Asia.

Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way, ODC is known nationally for entrepreneurial savvy and was the first modern dance company in the United States to build a home facility, the ODC Theater. In 2005, ODC expanded its campus to include the ODC Dance Commons, which houses ODC/Dance, ODC School, a Pilates studio, and a Healthy Dancers’ Clinic.

London-born Anna Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music. Described as a “composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods” in a New York Times profile and as “dazzlingly inventive” by Time Out New York, Clyne’s work often includes collaborations with cutting-edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians worldwide. Appointed by Music Director Riccardo Muti, Clyne served as a Mead Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2010-15. She also recently served as Composer-in-Residence for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra during the 2015-16 season and for L’Orchestre national d’île-de-France from 2014-16. She has been commissioned by such renowned organizations as American Composers Orchestra, BBC Radio 3, BBC Scottish Symphony, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and the Southbank Centre, and her work has been championed by such world-renowned conductors as Marin Alsop, Pablo Heras-Casado, Riccardo Muti, Leonard Slatkin, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

The Residency of Anna Clyne is made possible through Music Alive, a residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA. This national program is designed to provide orchestras with resources and tools to support their work with composers and new music, capitalizing on the power of composers and their creativity to build new paths for orchestras to heighten their relevancy and deepen their relationships with their communities. Major funding for Music Alive comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Amphion Foundation, The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Berkeley Symphony is unique among Bay Area and American orchestras for its commitment to innovation, community, and excellence. Founded in 1971 in the intellectual and artistic nexus of Berkeley, California, the Orchestra is committed to premiering and commissioning new music and champions female composers, sustained by the supportive musical environment of Berkeley, the East Bay, and the San Francisco Bay Area. From the outset, the people behind Berkeley Symphony’s culture and programming were attuned to the culturally diverse people and the heady creative climate of their home city.

Thomas Rarick, a protégé of the great English maestro Sir Adrian Boult, founded the orchestra in 1971 as the Berkeley Promenade Orchestra. Reflecting the spirit of the times, musicians performed in street dress and at unusual locations such as the University Art Museum. When Kent Nagano became the music director of the orchestra in 1978, he charted a new course by offering innovative programming that included rarely performed 20th-century works and numerous premieres. The renamed Berkeley Symphony Orchestra gained an international reputation for its adventurous programming, and became known for premiering the music of international composers and showcasing young local talents. Berkeley Symphony entered a new era in January 2009 when Joana Carneiro became the Orchestra’s third Music Director in its 40-year history. Under Carneiro, the Orchestra continued its tradition of presenting the cutting edge of classical music for nine seasons. In 2016, Berkeley Symphony and composer Anna Clyne were awarded a Music Alive grant for a three-year composer residency, designed to immerse Clyne and the Symphony in the creation of new work, collaboration with other Berkeley arts institutions, music education, community outreach and multidisciplinary activities.

Berkeley Symphony has introduced Bay Area audiences to works by upcoming young composers, many of whom have since achieved international prominence. Celebrated British composer George Benjamin, who subsequently became Composer-in-Residence at the San Francisco Symphony, was first introduced to the Bay Area in 1987 when Berkeley Symphony performed his compositions Jubilation and Ringed by the Flat Horizon; as was Thomas Adès, whose opera Powder Her Face was debuted by the Orchestra in a concert version in 1997 before it was fully staged in New York City, London and Chicago.


Thursday, May 2, 2019, 8pm – Clyne & Strauss
Zellerbach Hall, 2425 Bancroft Avenue, Berkeley

Berkeley Symphony
Christian Reif, Guest conductor
ODC/Dance, Guest artists

Georges Bizet: Carmen Suite No. 1
Thomas Adès: Dances from Powder Her Face
Anna Clyne: This Midnight Hour
Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier Suite

TICKETS: Tickets for the Berkeley Symphony concert on May 2, 2019, are priced at $15 to $96 and are available at or by phone at 510.841.2800. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00am-4:00pm. Student tickets are available. Doors open at 6:30pm. A pre-concert talk, free to ticket-holders, begins at 7:00pm.