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Biography
Berkeley Symphony was founded in 1969 as the Berkeley Promenade Orchestra by Thomas Rarick, a protégé of the great English Maestro Sir Adrian Boult. The Orchestra, reflecting the spirit of the times, performed in street dress and at unusual locations such as the University Art Museum.

The orchestra evolved under the leadership of Maestro Kent Nagano, who served as Berkeley Symphony's music director from 1978 to 2009. The 30-year partnership between Nagano and Berkeley Symphony is unlike that of any orchestra, anywhere. Nagano and Berkeley Symphony have developed a distinctive brand of programming that includes 20th century scores by composers ranging from Olivier Messiaen to Frank Zappa, to revealing performances of the standard orchestral repertoire, to the most intriguing young composers of our time.

Berkeley Symphony began a new era as symphonic music's leading edge in 2009, as Joana Carneiro began her tenure as Berkeley Symphony’s only third Music Director in its 40-year history. Staying true to the orchestra’s tradition of presenting the cutting edge of classical music, her inaugural season featured works by several prominent contemporary Bay Area composers, including John Adams, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Paul Dresher. Under Carneiro, the orchestra has begun to forge new relationships with living composers. The 2010-11 season will feature two orchestra-commissioned works, a return appearance by Adams, along with lesser-known works by composers old and new.
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