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Cal Performances: An Astounding Legacy of Artistry

The lights dimmed, and the crowd instantly came to a hush in anticipation. The performers within the dynamic period-music ensemble, Apollo's Fire, of the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra raised their instruments. All at once, the massive auditorium of Zellerbach Hall filled with the euphonious melodies of Monteverdi's beloved and timeless opera, L'Orfeo.

In March of 2018, American stand-up comedian, Margaret Cho, took the same stage, and in May, Mark Morris Dance Group celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ groundbreaking album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, with an exuberant new dance. All of these performances could not be more distinct from one another, yet they were organized and produced by Cal Performances, a UC Berkeley-based organization that presents, commissions, and produces for world-class music, dance, and theater events. 

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Dedicated to the mission of creating and and arranging performances of the highest artistic quality, Cal Performances has explored the most compelling intersections of education and the performing arts. This organization also uniquely offers the SAFTA program, or Student Ambassadors of the Arts, in which UC Berkeley students, ranging from undergraduates to PhD students, work with industry professionals as well as peers to coordinate and execute these mainstage performances.  SAFTA brings together arts lovers — united by a common aspiration to foster cultural citizenship and social change — from all corners of campus and provides them a space to communicate. Not to mention, committee perks include complimentary tickets to performances as well as backstage opportunities to interact with performers. this diverse program, made up of students with all types of majors and interests, allows students to embrace art in an entirely new way, all while meeting students with a similar passion for performing arts.

Cal Performances’ famed Zellerbach Hall turned 50 years old during the 2017-18 season, and this momentous occasion has allowed the organization to highlight the auditorium’s storied history.  After spending decades putting on such marvelous and memorable shows for the Berkeley community, Cal Performances has set itself apart with its unparalleled devotion to the promotion of artistic literacy and diversification of its audiences.

Whether or not you consider yourself an art-lover, make sure to check out this exceptional organization on campus!

After three years at Cal, Brianna Brann graduated UC Berkeley in 2020 with a double major in Economics and Media Studies! She is originally from Santa Clarita in Southern California, but she loves the weather, nature, and people in the Bay Area. In addition to her unmatched passion for film and television, she also enjoys visiting the beach, playing with her dog, and hiking outdoors!
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