Sonic Harvest celebrates this October 14 in Berkeley

On October 14, Sonic Harvest will host its 18th annual concert of music, poetry, original compositions, and more. The concert, From Troubador to Tango, brings together the premiere of guest composer D’Arcy Reynolds’ Tangria, songs by Ann Callaway, the premiere of a work by Peter Josheff for spoken voice and piano as well as his violin solo September. It will also include a song cycle by Allen Shearer and Claudia Stevens’ solo performance referencing Beethoven’s politics.

The concept of Sonic Harvest was born out of a desire to celebrate the “harvest” of artistic expression from some of the best composers, poets, and musicians in the Bay Area, which can parallel the seasonal growing and harvesting, says Ann Callaway, a composer whose work will be featured in this upcoming Sonic Harvest concert.

Composer Ann Callaway.

Callaway’s work revolves around the forces we encounter in nature, from the life cycles of butterflies to the structure of crystals. Callaway, now one of the Contributing Directors at Sonic Harvest, originally became acquainted with the organization as a regular attendee. After working with Allen Shearer, one of the founding Contributing Directors, on a piece around ten years ago, Callaway was asked to join the group. Her work at this year’s concert, in line with her other work, will revolve around nature.

“I’m kind of a nature lover,” Callaway said in an interview conducted via email. “My involvement with nature has many outlets, including hiking, bird-watching (I keep a Life List) … Once on a walk along a trail in Wildcat Canyon, I happened upon a little colony of Silvery Blue butterflies with their shining blue iridescence; the sight is engraved in my memory, and l later wrote a choral piece based on this, shall I say, peak experience of beauty … On the other hand, a butterfly’s life can be pitifully brief, because nature has designed it that way, or cut short capriciously, due to human destruction.”

Callaway’s interest in the fragility and balance of nature is even more relevant today. “All wildlife are under threat of extinction,” she says, “ and us along with them, because of climate change and habitat destruction … The beauty of nature (among its many attributes) combined with its fragility and ability to be destroyed by humans, both exalts and grieves me.”

Her piece, Vogelweid the Minnesinger, which is based on the legend of a medieval poet and singer who believed in the feeding of birds because they had taught him the art of song, will premiere at this year’s concert.

The Sonic Harvest annual concert will be at 8 p.m. on October 14 at the Berkeley Piano Club, 2724 Haste Street, Berkeley. Tickets will be sold at the door for $20 for general admission, and $15 for students/seniors/disabled persons. For more information, please call (510) 654-8651 or email

– Alysia Gonzales