Berkeley Arts Festival

The Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar is dedicated to the notion that in Berkeley every day is an arts festival. With the first month-long Arts Festival in 1997, we initiated this web site and realized that it could fill a need for information about the activities of all the Berkeley arts organizations year-round. So we expanded it and kept it going, as a guide for the arts-loving people of Berkeley and in appreciation of the City's continued support.

The Berkeley Arts Festival presents

We again have a home for the Berkeley Arts Festival this year, 2133 University Avenue right next to Ace Hardware. We have scheduled concerts with some of the most creative people in Berkeley--the musicians, composers and writers who bring vibrant talents for all to hear and see. So come along with us on an exciting journey into their domains.
Suggested donation $10-$20 unless otherwise noted. Check for changes on our website:

Friday, May 29th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

Saturday, May 30th 2015

Wendy Reid: Tree Piece #62 "frogpond 433"

Benefit concert for "Save the Frogs"

Wendy Reid's Tree Pieces ( are musical processes based on nature's manner of operations, a bit of a diversion in that it features sonic haiku by 17 composers. It was created especially for this "Save the Frogs" benefit concert.

Guest composers include:
Katt Atchley,
Kenneth Atchley
Krys Bobrowski
John Cage
Steed Cowert
Tom Dambly
Ellen Fullman
Barbara Golden
Ron Heglin
Brenda Hutchinson
Ralph Lewis
Silvia Matheus
Pauline Oliveros
Tim Perkis
Brian Reinbolt
George Tingley
and Bill Thibault with live graphics.

$10 - 25 no one turned away

8pm to 10pm, 2133 University

Friday, June 5th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

Saturday, June 6th 2015

Greenlief & Raskin's 2 + 2: saxophones & poets

Phillip Greenlief & Jon Raskin's 2 + 2

Phillip Greenlief - alto and tenor saxophones
Jon Raskin - alto and baritone saxophones
Claudia La Rocco - poetry, voice (New York)
Elizabeth Robinson - poetry, voice (Colorado)

Over the past two decades, Greenlief and Raskin have invited performers who play like instruments to join them in musical dialogues inspired by their graphic scores and free improvisation. The list of collaborations has covered every musical instrument family.

On this occasion, the bay area reed virtuosos invite celebrated poets Claudia La Rocco and Elizabeth Robinson to join the 2 + 2 project.

8pm to 11pm, Berkeley Arts - 2133 University Avenue

Monday, June 8th 2015

NewBorn Trio

NewBorn Trio is Katie Down & Miguel Frasconi playing glass objects and other instruments, plus Jeffrey Lependorf playing shakuhachi and Asian winds. NewBorn Trio was formed in 2011 after being invited to perform in Pristina, Kosovo, for Kosovar day of independence, NewBorn Day. The Trio has performed throughout the New York City area and has collaborated with theater, dance, and visual artists in structured and free improvisations. This will be the Trio's first performance in California.

8pm to 10pm, 2133 University Avenue

Thursday, June 11th 2015

Julie Moon & Adria Otte - Greenlief's Barbed Wire with Bischoff and Perkis

8 pm
Julie Moon and Adria Otte will present a set comprising of recent studies exploring configurations of duet improvisations, processing, and the negotiation of roles within these structures. The set will conclude with Jeux D'eau, a piece by Maurice Ravel exploring the motion of water using impressionistic harmony.

Julie Moon is a musician, studying and exploring music through the roles of performer, improviser, and composer. As a performer, she strives to deliver music with the gestural simplicity and physicality of improvisation whereas aspects of her improvisational vocabulary are derived from studies in piano music. Her current compositions are aligned with personal explorations that invite listeners to experience these emotional journeys themselves.

Adria Otte is a sound designer and multi-instrumentalist whose primary focus has been on violin and guitar. She has performed in ensembles ranging from string quartets to rock bands to free improvisation groups and currently frequently collaborates with performance artist Dohee Lee and Navarrete x Kajiyama Dance Theater. She is currently pursuing an MFA in electronic music from Mills College.

9 pm
Phillip Greenlief's BARBED WIRE - a series of 37 graphic scores for trio, performed by
John Bischoff - electronics
Phillip Greenlief - reeds
Tim Perkis - electronics

Composed in early 2015, BARBEDWIRE is a new edition of graphic scores for trio by Phillip Greenlief. The works were recently featured on the Crosswinds Program on KALW, National Public Radio:

BARBEDWIRE will be performed five times in 2015 in as many trio settings, to explore how different combinations of musicians/instruments will realize the scores.

8pm to 10:30pm, 2133 University Avenue

Friday, June 12th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

Saturday, June 13th 2015

"Retard!" with Jeffrie Givens and Marty Nemko

"Retard!" is the inspiring story, told in words and song, of a woman who had applied unsuccessfully for 600 jobs. Prominent career counselor Marty Nemko is her co-storyteller and piano accompanist.

Donations of $10 to $20 are suggested but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

8pm to 10pm, 2133 University Ave.

Wednesday, June 17th 2015

Michael Dessen and Friends

Michael Dessen, trombone
Kyle Bruckmann, oboes
Steve Adams, saxophones
Tim Perkis, electronics
Scott Walton, contrabass and piano
Lisa Mezzacappa, contrabass

SoCal trombonist, improviser and composer Michael Dessen visits Berkeley for a rare Bay Area performance, collaborating in a series of mixed ensembles, from duo to sextet, in new improvised collaborations with Bay Area stalwarts Tim Perkis, Kyle Bruckmann, Steve Adams and Lisa Mezzacappa, plus a jog down memory lane with longtime musical associate Scott Walton.

Michael Dessen is a composer and trombonist who creates music for improvisers, and explores the artistic potential of technologies including live electronics, telepresence and networked scores. Working with his own electro-acoustic trio and many collective projects, Dessen's composing includes networked "scorestreams" that are displayed dynamically on screens for performers to interpret. As an improviser, he collaborates with diverse bands in addition to performing solo on digibone, an animistic world of slide trombone and live electronics. Dessen's music has been supported by commissions from organizations including Chamber Music America and the Fromm Foundation. He has published writings on the role of African American traditions within late-twentieth century experimental music worlds, and he is a music faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, where he co-founded a new PhD program in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology (ICIT). Dessen's teachers include Yusef Lateef, George Lewis, and Anthony Davis, and he is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (BM), the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (MM), and the University of California, San Diego (PhD).

8pm to 10pm, 2133 University Ave.

Thursday, June 18th 2015

Free World ~ 3rd Thursdays

Curated by India Cooke, violin and Lewis Jordan, saxophone
June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17
A new forum for great black art and beyond: Innovative explorations from the roots to the branches of music, dance, visual art, and word. Bringing local, national and international performers, scholars, students and interested public together in a forum designed to enhance and broaden understanding and awareness of the dynamic cultural impact of African American music and art, in all its diverse expressions. Performers TBA.
Suggested donation $20. No one turned away for lack of funds.

India Cooke, violinist, recorded and released, to critical acclaim, her Grammy nominated debut CD as a leader, IndiaCooke~Redhanded (Music and Arts 1996).

Her continuing jazz and improvisational experiences include performances and recordings with Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, George Lewis, Pharoah Sanders, Julius Hemphill, Reggie Workman, George Sams, Abdul Wadud,Charles "Bobo" Shaw, Peter Kowald, John Lindberg, James Emery, Eddie Marshall, E.W. Wainwright, John Tchicai, Michael White, Pauline Oliveros, Donald Robinson, Lewis Jordan, and Bill Crossman, among many others.

Lewis Jordan, alto and baritone saxophones
Born in San Francisco, he grew up in Chicago, with the blues, while learning to associate creative musicians with the advancement of society as we know it. He is an international touring and recording musician, poet, actor and playwright. He was a founding member of United Front, a seminal San Francisco Bay Area ensemble known for its originality, aggressive imagination and cultural synthesis. Presenting his music and words in performance, he continues to carry the torch.
He has focused on creative structures for improvisation, which has led to working with artists from a range of practice: dance, poetry, theater and music, presented in his Music At-Large series. He continues to seek out performers who strive for modes of expression that honor their traditions while speaking to the urgency of the present. If that's in B-flat, fine. If it's in time, that could work too. If it's outside, it must be honest.

7:30pm to 9:30pm, 2133 University Avenue

Friday, June 19th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

Wednesday, June 24th 2015

14 Piece Band Plays Works of Simon Hanes

23 year-old Berkeley-born Simon Hanes, writes, arranges, conducts and plays guitar in a 13-piece Boston-based ensemble called Tredici Bacci (bad Italian for 13 kisses). They play music inspired by 70's Italian sex romps and slasher movies. Siimon is the son of John Hanes (you may know him from his drumming with John Schott's Actual Trio, Myles Boisen's Past Present Future, Ornettology, Orchestra Nostalgico, or any number of other Bay Area ensembles). Simon will lead a west-coast version of the band comprised of his dad plus local hotshots culled from Rova, Dan Plonsey's ensembles, Orchestra Nostalgico, Ornettology, etc. a fun filled evening of action-packed cinematic sounds is guaranteed!

8pm to 10pm, 2133 University

Thursday, June 25th 2015

whrthsdwlknds jazz trio plus Karl 2000

Eli Wallace, piano
Giulio Cetto, bass
Jacob Richards, drums

Jacob Richards is a drummer, composer, and educator from Los Angeles who has lived in the Bay Area since 2010, studying math and music. The project whrthsdwlknds, a name taken from the poem title "Where The Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein, aims to explore the concept of transition from childhood to adulthood through improvisation and composed materials.

Karl 2000
is a trio based out of New York City that has been described as "a melding of saxophonist Albert Ayler's frenetic pacing and saxophonist Peter Brötzmann's raw power". It Daniel Rovin plays saxophone and jonaphone, Austin White on bass, and Dave Miller on drums. They have toured the U.S. and Japan but this will be their first California date.

8pm to 10pm, 2133 University Ave

Friday, June 26th 2015

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

Sunday, June 28th 2015

Golden Path CD release concert

8 pm
Sangita Moskow: electric sarod

Richard Phillips: lead guitar/vocals
Barbara Golden: kayboard/vocals
Carla Fabrizio: bass
Prairie Prince: drums

8pm to 11pm, 2133 University

Today's Events - May 29

Jerry Kuderna Lunch Concert

Pianist Jerry Kuderna plays from classics to the newest compositions.

12 noon to 1:30pm, 2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

Karen Ripley at the Marsh

through May 30
Fridays at 8pm | Saturdays at 5pm

My generation starting kicking butt in so many social, political and sexual ways. I caught the train and hung on!! Oh ya the train car was full of Lesbians. So why did I agree to play drums in a leopard skin dress slit up one side with no underwear? Was is because of Jane Dornacker? Why did I yell at Bill Graham? Why did I think hard core lesbian separatists would like my dick jokes? Wasn’t I cute? But it was Berkeley. What is a collective anyway?

Karen Ripley has been performing for over 35 years as a comic and improviser. She came on to the gay comedy scene in 1977 in San Francisco. From the cover of the East Bay Express (Berkeley, Ca) with Whoopi Goldberg to Ms. Magazines top 100 Lesbian Comic 2009. 2005 SF Fringe Best Musical Comedy with Annie Larson in the original play “Show Me where it Hurts,” and 2006 Diva Fest. with “waiting for FEMA.” Ripley has traveled all over the USA and the Caribbean. Featured in Logo’s Wisecracks episode 2. And from coast to coast making the LGBT community laugh.

May 1 – May 30, 2015
Tickets: $15-$35 sliding scale | Reserved Seats: $55 and $100
70 minutes | No Intermission | 14 and up

(415) 641-0235

8pm to 9:30pm, 2120 Allston Way

Eilen Jewell

$22 advance / $24 door. 644-2020.

8pm, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street

Ongoing Events

Mike's Out of Doors Sculpture Wall

Location: South side of Ashby Avenue between Pine Street and Elmwood Court.

Open: 10 am to 10 pm,  Monday through Saturday.