Arts & Events

New: A dazzling display of piano artistry by Saleem Ashkar

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday April 25, 2017 - 10:17:00 AM

There are so many young instrumental soloists endowed with prodigious technique breaking into the international concert circuit these days that it’s hard to keep up. Where concert pianists are concerned, the New Yorker recently ran rave pieces about Yuja Wang and Daniil Trifonov, two of the most heralded young artists currently making a big splash. On Friday evening, April 21, U.C. Berkeley’s Hertz Hall hosted a recital by another illustrious newcomer, Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Ashkar, who performed four piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven. Ashkar made his Carnegie Hall debut a few years ago at age 22, and since then he has performed with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Ricardo Chailly, and Fabio Luisi, to name only a few. Ashkar’s current project is a complete Beethoven sonata cycle presented by Konzerthaus Berlin and performed in parallel in Prague, Osnabrück, and Israel. Here at Hertz Hall, under the auspices of Cal Performances, Ashkar performed Beethoven’s Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3; Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, Appassionata; Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major, Op. 81a, Les Adieux; and Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110. -more-

New: MOVIES IN THE MARGINS:Vittorio Gassman Shines in Delicious Dino Risi Italian Film Festival

Gar Smith
Friday April 21, 2017 - 06:35:00 PM

At the Castro Theater—all-day and all-night on April 22.

Here is a challenge for film buffs (and you'll need to be buff to survive this challenge)—a film festival that last just one day! Or, in other words: 13 hours.

On Saturday, April 22, Luce Cinecittà, in collaboration with The Italian Cultural Institute and Cinema Italia San Francisco are celebrating the work of director Dino Risi with "An Homage to the Master of the Comedy Italian Style."

The festivities include four classic films that start screening at 11 in the morning and won't finish until sometime around midnight.

Two bits of good news: (1) There will be a food break at 8:30 in the form of a Commedia all'Italiana Party and (2) the festival's four films are ingenious, wry, intelligent, subversive, and flat-out hilarious.

If you don't know much about the great Italian star Vittorio Gassman, this is a great introduction to a major talent whose work ranged from Shakespearian pathos to sketch-comedy brilliance. The chameleonic Gassman would have been a perfect host for Saturday Night Live.