Berkeley Symphony Presents ‘Literary Soundscapes’

By Francisco Salazar

The Berkeley Symphony, led by Music Director Joseph Young, will present “Literary Soundscapes.”

The concert will be held on March 23 at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley. It will feature soloists Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Clairedee (Jazz Vocals), Arianna Rodriguez (Soprano), Olivia Johnson (Mezzo-Soprano), and Wendel Patrick (narrator).

The concert will include the West Coast premiere of Joel Puckett’s “There Was a Child Went Forth,” featuring the tenor Phan, to whom the piece is dedicated as well as Mendelssohn’s overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The concert will also feature Langston Hughes’ epic poem and Laura Karpman’s interdisciplinary creation, “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz, Part 1 and Part 3.”

In a statement, Joseph Young said, “At the heart of this program is music that transcends genre and time period to pay homage to musical evolution and shared experiences. Joel Puckett’s There Was a Child Went Forth transports us back to childhood—the world needs some of that wonder right now. Laura Karpman’s iconic setting of Langston Hughes’ jazz-poetry reminds us that we can jam to poetry, jazz, and hip hop, and we can honor orchestral music at the same time. And Mendelssohn’s playful take on Shakespeare invites us to dream. This music is an eclectic mix that I hope Bay Area audiences find relatable and refreshing.”