Cal performances season kicks off next month with Wynton Marsalis

- Cal Performances picked a fitting way to trumpet the start of its 2018-19 season -- with the rousing brass of jazz virtuoso Wynton Marsalis.

He'll be leading the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra along with special guest Jon Batiste, from the house band for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," all celebrating the music of Duke Ellington.

The opening concert and gala are scheduled for Sept. 23 at the Hearst Greek Theatre on the University of California at Berkeley campus.

Rob Bailis, interim artistic director, is thrilled to launch the season with Marsalis and company.

"Seeing and hearing these musicians in the spectacular environment of the iconic Greek Theatre makes this an only-at-Berkeley moment not to be missed," Bailis said.

The opening celebration will usher in a season of eclectic programming in music, dance and theater that Bailis calls "as ambitious and wide-ranging as ever, with a real diversity of scale and aesthetic."

Shows are held at campus venues like the Greek and Zellerbach Hall, as well as sites such as Oakland's Paramount Theatre.

Large-scale productions include "Barber Shop Chronicles," from Nigerian poet and playwright Inua Ellams (Oct 26-28) and German choreographer 
Sasha Waltz's seminal work, "Krper" (Oct 20-21).

More intimate gems presented in the Zellerbach Playhouse will feature Poland's Song of the Goat Theatre's "Songs of Lear and Hamlet: A Commentary" (May 11-12) and "Mouthpiece" from Canadian duo Quote UnQuote (March 22-29).

"Nowhere else in the world will you see Daniel Barenboim and the West Eastern Divan Orchestra (Nov. 10) and Brooklyn choreographer Pavel Zustiak and his Palissimo Company's Custodians of Beauty (Dec 7-9) under the same banner," Bailis said.

The 2018-19 season, running through June 2, 2019, is part of Cal Performances' "Berkeley RADICAL" programming initiative, exploring timely cultural issues.

The season will also be the last overseen by artistic director Matias Tarnopolsky, who will move on as CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra next year.

Tickets for the "Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis" concert at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 range from $50 to $150. Tickets for the separate Gala at the Greek celebration and reception, held before and after the concert, are $500 to $2,500 and support Cal Performances' education 
and community programs.

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