Director Selects Highlight

Director Selects Highlight

The Soraya's weekly "Director Selects" were published every Friday from April through June, these selections represent the full breadth and diversity of our usual in-venue programming. We saw great engagement from patrons like you and we take that as a strong endorsement that our audience was eager to retain the arts as part of their lives in these challenging times. In case you missed these or want to be inspired anew,  you will find highlights of my favorite selections below.

A New Director Select featuring Joshua Bell and an Ensemble of Healthcare Workers. 

A favorite at The Soraya, Joshua Bell leads an ensemble of healthcare workers in an astounding rendition of Bach's Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor. With a career spanning more than 30 years, Bell has performed with every major orchestra on six continents. In this online performance, Bell shares the virtual stage with ten violinists, who spend their days fighting the pandemic as doctors, nurses, and EMTs.

The Aeolians Oakwood University Alumni 2020 "We Shall Overcome"

It's a single link with a powerful and moving musical performance by a very talented college choir. Like me, you may find yourself wanting to listen over and over again. As someone who sang in choir starting at an early age and right up through my years at Indiana University, I salute the power of young voices joining together in song, and share it with you.

Betto Arcos Interviews Soraya alums Lila Downs, Arturo O'Farrill, and Eugenia León

In this series of exclusive interviews for The Soraya, Music Journalist Betto Arcos (NPR, KPCC) connects with Lila Downs, Arturo O'Farrill, and Eugenia León to reminisce about their experiences at The Soraya and to reflect on this time of self-isolation.

#SupportArtists by purchasing their music online: Lila Downs, Arturo O'Farrill, and Eugenia León.

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Astor Piazzolla "Oblivion" (Art by Ryan Woodward)

The Astor Piazzolla Quintet is a treasure and single-handedly introduced two generations to the complex rhythms and riffs of tango music. The authentic and original ensemble from Argentina made a rare U.S. appearance at The Soraya this past fall. Few pieces are as widely recognized as Piazzolla’s own "Oblivion," and here it is in a fresh reimagining by animator Ryan Woodward.

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Silkroad Home Sessions: "Arjuna's Revelation" from Heroes Take Their Stands

Silkroad, the ensemble formed by Yo-Yo Ma, is considered by many to be the most influential cross-cultural international ensembles. Please consider purchasing one of their many CDs available online, and consider pairing it with the DVD documentary about them called The Music of Strangers. With our travel plans shelved for this summer, you will feel be refreshed by the virtual trip around the globe. Their performance at The Soraya in 2019 was exquisitely mesmerizing. Filmed from our stage, enjoy this video of Silkroad's "Arjuna's Revelation" with special guest Aparna Ramaswamy of Ragamala.

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OK Go provides tools for playful learning

OK Go | Sandbox

Dynamic homeschool science lessons found here! OK Go, who performed on our stage in October, has interactive and educational tools for at-home learning. Discover the science behind their wildly creative videos with curated lesson plans for all grade levels. 

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En Casa con Sonia (At Home with Sonia)


Sonia De Los Santos, who appeared as part of our Family Fun series in 2019, reminds us to feel JOY through music and movement. Sonia leads us through sing-alongs while sharing stories of inspiration. 

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A personal message to The Soraya patrons comes to us directly from Israel

Message from Ori Kam

In lieu of their April 5 Violins of Hope concert here, The Jerusalem Quartet has curated a digital concert for us, and violist Ori Kam elevates your listening experience by sharing his thoughts about the compositions they’ve put together. Ori provides us a virtual master class about Mozart, Shostakovich, Brahms, and Debussy.

Mozart – String Quartet in D Minor, K. 421  
Shostakovich – String Quartet in F Major, Op. 73
Brahms – String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 51, No. 2
Debussy – String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10

III. Adantino, dociment expressif

The Cast of Hamilton surprises a fan with a special performance

Leslie Odom Jr.

Tony Award-winner Leslie Odom Jr., from the cast of Hamilton, made his first solo appearance here at The Soraya in 2016. In this video, Leslie surprises a young fan on John Krasinski's web series Some Good News

Also appearing in the video is Javier Muñoz, who co-starred with Mandy Gonzalez last fall at The Soraya.

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Randy Newman Sings About Social Distancing

Randy Newman is at it again, this time, with an anthem about social distancing. However, we hope that you don't "Stay Away" when we bring his masterpiece Faust, reimagined as a stage concert, to The Soraya in the upcoming season. For the time being, enjoy Newman's public service announcement.

The Singer and The Songwriter Present #Songmobile

The Singer and The Songwriter

The Singer and The Songwriter, made up of former Soraya Rentals Manager Thu Tran and his partner Rachel Garcia, are bringing Bay area residents #Songmobile. Read more about this project and enjoy their recap video.

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Berklee College Celebrates Love

I leave you with an uplifting video from the students at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Having become one of the most respected music schools in the world, especially for jazz musicians, The Soraya has hosted countless of their alums, most recently vocalist Luciana Souza. The current batch of Berklee students created this online performance of “What the World Needs Now” in response to the COVID crisis. They got it just right!

Piano Duets with Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald

In keeping with our Ella Fitzgerald theme, don’t miss the new double CD set called The Complete Piano Duets.  Covering 21 years of Ella’s recordings, from 1954 to 1975, these 43 tracks are sequenced in chronological order. I was struck by the evolution of her voice and artistry over those years. The set includes iconic tracks, such as her “Miss Otis Regrets” and “Black Coffee.” Some other tracks were new to me, but taken as a whole, it’s a master class in the American Songbook, replete with Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, and George Gershwin. When you think of Ella, you may think of her vocal pyrotechnics, swinging with a big band. This compilation, just Ella with her favorite pianists, shows her to be a sensitive artist with a knack for interpreting lyrics with clarity and poignancy. You can listen to The Complete Piano Duets on Spotify, but if you are able to purchase the album (hard copy or digital), you’ll be supporting the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

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Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra performs Beethoven's 9th

Rotterdam Philharmonic was just one day short of getting on a plane to start their American tour. They would have been at The Soraya on March 25. Rest assured, the talented ensemble has used their time at home to create this powerful version of Beethoven’s Ode To Joy from their living rooms. You can watch this one over and over again.