Arts & Events

This Friday, March 29th, at 7:30, BERKELEY SYMPHONY meets PIEDMONT CENTER FOR THE ARTS

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday March 26, 2013 - 03:40:00 PM

Piedmont Center--in a partnership with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra--will host a talented, professional quartet playing Mozart and Brahms featuring violinist Rene Mandel, who also is the Executive Director of the Berkeley Symphony. 

The Piedmont program will consist of the first Piano Quartets of Mozart and of Brahms, both in G minor, with local pianist Aileen Chanco, cellist Peter Wyrick and violist Natalie Racine completing the ensemble. 

The evening before the performance at Piedmont Center for the Arts, the Berkeley Symphony’s concert "THE IDEALISTS" at Zellerbach Hall will present The Stars and the Roses by Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Stucky set to the poetry of Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet and former UCB professor Czesław Miłosz and featuring the stunning voice of tenor Noah Stewart. Along with these will be Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Joanna Carniero conducts. 

Rene Mandel is now the Executive Director of the Berkeley Symphony but was a violin prodigy, winning the Los Angeles Philharmonic “Star” Contest at 14 where he soloed under the baton of the late Calvin Simmons. At 20, he became a member LA Chamber Orchestra for 11 years. Mandel came to the Bay Area in the early 90’s to become a founding member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra. He has been featured as a soloist with the SF Ballet Orchestra and the Knoxville Symphony, and has played with San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as in chamber concerts throughout the US and Europe. 

During his years in Los Angeles, Mandel was also a studio musician where he performed on the sound tracks of such classic movies as “Schindler’s List,” “Titanic,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Die Hard.” 

Peter Wyrick is associate principal cellist with the San Francisco Symphony with whom Mandel has played often. Natalie Racine plays with the Montreal Symphony whose music director is Kent Nagano who was the music director of the Berkeley Symphony for two decades. 

Immediately before coming to the Berkeley Symphony, Mandel was the Director of Artistic Operations/Executive Producer at the Montreal Symphony. From 2006 to 2009, he was The The Berkeley Symphony’s Artistic Administrator and Orchestra Manager where he hired musicians and soloists, managed the concert programming and successfully aided in the artistic expansion of the orchestra. 

Mandel studied under such notable teachers as Manuel Compinsky in Los Angeles, Josef Gingold at Indiana University, and Stuart Canin at UC Santa Barbara where he earned his Bachelor of Music. 

When asked about how he got started, Mandel recounted this story, “My parents were serious music lovers, and growing up there was always classical music and opera playing in our home. When I was seven, my father took me to a Pinchas Zukerman concert, and I told my dad I wanted to play the violin. So, on my 8th birthday a couple weeks later, my Dad gave me a 3/4 size violin. It was the happiest day of my life! Both my mother and father—who was a choral singer—totally supported me, and here I am!” 

The Piedmont Center for the Arts is at 801 Magnolia Street in Piedmont, across from Piedmont High. 

Tickets are $25 at the door (no advance sales).