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Happy Birthday Mozart, Stomper Goes Zorba

Stomper with Oakland's Nea Zoi dancers

The New Century Chamber Orchestra celebrates Mozart’s birthday next week with four special performances throughout the Bay Area in Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and San Rafael.

The “Mozart Birthday Celebration” performances feature renowned pianists Menahem Pressler and Sebastian Knauer as they mark their New Century debut with an all-Mozart program, including Concerto No. 23 and Symphony No. 29.

Menahem Pressler and Sebastian Knauer

Born on January 27, 1756 in Salzberg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died December 5, 1791. Two-hundred sixty-two years from the composer’s birthdate, New Century kicks off the new year with these extraordinary concerts. Pressler features as soloist for Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, KV 488 in San Francisco January 27, with Knauer appearing as soloist for the remaining three performances in Berkeley, Palo Alto, and San Rafael (January 25, 26, and 28). Also highlighted is Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, KV 216, showcasing New Century’s Artistic Partner and Concertmaster, Daniel Hope, as soloist, Adagio and Fugue in C minor, KV 546 and Symphony No. 29 in A Major, KV 201.

An open rehearsal is slated for January 24 at 10 a.m. at Kanbar Performing Arts Center, San Francisco, followed by performances Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. at Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, and Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. at Oscher Marin JCC in San Rafael.

For tickets and more information, call 415-392-4400 or visit or

STOMPER GOES ZORBA. Last weekend, over 2,500 Greek folk dancers and singers swarmed over the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco for its 42nd annual Folk Dance and Choral Festival (FDF). One-hundred eight dance troupes from ages five to over fifty, participated in the competition from January 12-14. Participants came from as far away as Honolulu, Southern California, Arizona, and Seattle. Sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, local Greek communities included Belmont, Castro Valley, Concord, Marin, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose, among others. A shout out to Marin’s Minoan Dancers who walked off with the Advance Senior Category first place trophy and its Minoan Dancers II received the coveted Sweepstakes Award for its Division (visit

Last Thursday evening, January 11, the over 5,000 attendees were treated to a surprise visit from the Oakland Athletics mascot, Stomper, who was donning an FDF T-shirt and carrying the Greek flag. Joining all of the five Ascension Oakland dance troupes (home of the annual Oakland Greek Festival), he joined them on stage, leading the groups in the parade. It didn’t end there, however. He danced, posed for selflies, and the kefi (spirit) he displayed would have even made Zorba proud. I suspect, it was already in his DNA though because unbeknownst to most baseball fans, is the fun fact that the song “Zorba the Greek” is played in baseball stadiums throughout the country on trumpet, igniting a chorus of clapping. I suspect it’s from the 1965 hit single of the same title by Herb Alpert on trumpet. Fun facts aside, local baseball fans can join in the Greek baseball hoopla on Thursday, June 7 at 7:05 p.m. at the A’s game against the Kansas City Royals when the first annual Greek Heritage Night kicks off. Greek dancers and singers and bouzoukis-on-the-field, oh my!

For more details, contact Mark Manos at 510-746-4441 or at Opa!

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