Cal Performances and Jimmy López

Franciel Braga

“Dreamer,” a composition on sanctuary cities and the U.S. immigrant experience

Cal Performances at UC Berkeley is commissioning Peruvian composer Jimmy López to create an oratorio for orchestra, chorus and soprano to be performed by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. López will work with Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz to create the piece exploring the U.S. immigrant experience, in particular that of Dreamers—undocumented individuals brought to this country as children—and what it means for cities to provide sanctuary. With the full participation of López and Cruz, the entire creative process from concept to premiere will be opened to immigrant communities and the audiences served by Cal Performances.

One goal of the project is to form a creative cohort of 10 to 12 Dreamers who, with Cal Performances’ guidance and support, will serve as members of the creative team and subsequently as ambassadors ensuring meaningful connections between the artists, Cal Performances, and the wider community. To inspire themes for the piece López and Cruz will discuss with the cohort of Dreamers their personal stories, struggles, and successes. Cal Performances will partner with Alameda County community organizations, UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student’s Program, and others that aid immigrants and refugees, and with presenting partner Stanford Live.

Collaborators in this project include playwright Nilo Cruz, left, and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. (Photo credit: Matt Pilsner and Clive Barda)
Philharmonia Orchestra of London. (Photo credit: Benjamin Ealovega)

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