Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Contact: Nancy Bertossa
(415) 677-0328 or

San Francisco Performances Presents
Maya Beiser + Wendy Whelan + Lucinda Childs + David Lang
The Day

Creative Producer, Maya Beiser
Performers Maya Beiser and Wendy Whelan
Choreography Lucinda Childs
Words and Music David Lang

Thursday, February 27, 2020 | 7:30pm
Friday, February 28 2020 | 7:30pm
$65/$55/$45 Herbst Theatre

Watch the trailer: :

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Wednesday, January 8, 2020—San Francisco Performances (SFP) presents world-renowned cellist Maya Beiser, legendary dancer Wendy Whelan, and seminal choreographer Lucinda Childs in the new music/dance work THE DAY, with music and words by composer David Lang on Thursday, February 27, 2020, 7:30pm and Friday, February 28, 2020, 7:30pm at Herbst Theatre. Wendy Whelan returns for her third appearance since her SFP debut in 2015. This will be Maya Beiser’s SFP debut.

“You know from the start that Beiser, who is a magnificent cellist, is going to fill not just your ears but also take over your senses…this searching, haunting and very, very beautiful work is surprisingly lacking in melancholy. It is souls journeying, seen neither from the nostalgic past nor unknowable future.” —Los Angeles Times

This evening-long multimedia work is an exploration of two journeys—life and the eternal, post-mortal voyage of the soul. With music and words by Pulitzer Prize and Grammy-winning composer David Lang, and choreography by Lucinda Childs, the piece premiered last summer at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts and is in the process of being performed across the country.

“We are excited to present this new, highly collaborative work. Springing from two works, THE DAY was commissioned in 2016 by Beiser as a “prequel” to World to Come of 2003, which David Lang also wrote for her in response to the tragic events of 9/11. Both pieces are meditations on life, but from very different perspectives. The result is an emotionally direct piece that will be long remembered by audiences.” —Melanie Smith, SFP President

“During the time I recorded these two pieces for an album, I kept seeing images of a woman, a dancer, emerging from the notes of the cello—embodying the voices, recounting these stories, inhabiting these memories, possessing those lives,” says Beiser. The work’s first part begins with numerous phrases written by Lang completing the sentence “I remember the day I…” spoken over Beiser’s cello, which gradually builds in multi-tracked layers to emulate a small string ensemble. As she plays, Whelan dances across the stage. “The Day looks at ways we review our lives, exploring remembered moments as a chronicle of a life,” explains Lang.

Describing renowned cellist, producer, and multifaceted artist Maya Beiser, The New York Times writes, “The adventurous Ms. Beiser has been called the ‘cello goddess,’ which is not hyperbole: She summons from her instrument an emotional power so stirring that even the most stoic audience members risk turning into sobbing sacks of flesh.” Maya Beiser has been captivating audiences worldwide, bringing a bold and unorthodox presence to contemporary classical music, experimenting with various musical styles, and defying conventional norms with her boundary-crossing performances.

Raised in the Galilee Mountains in Israel, by her Argentinean father and French mother, Maya spent her early life surrounded by the music and rituals of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, while studying classical cello repertoire. At the age of 12, she was discovered by the late violinist Isaac Stern who became her mentor throughout her early career. She is a featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM, The Kennedy Center, BBC Proms and many others. Maya’s critically acclaimed multimedia productions World To Come, Almost Human, Provenance, Elsewhere: A Cello Opera, All Vows and Spinning have consistently been chosen for top critics’ “Best Of The Year” lists. Among the wide range of artists she has collaborated with are Louis Andriessen, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Tan Dun, Steve Reich, Shirin Neshat, Bill Morrison, Robert Woodruff, and Lucinda Childs.

Maya is a graduate of Yale University and was a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

Wendy Whelan, widely considered one of the world’s leading dancers of her generation, began dance lessons at the age of three in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Whelan began intense professional training at the Louisville Ballet Academy. She was accepted to the summer program of the School of American Ballet at age 14; a year later, she moved to New York to continue her studies as a full-time student. In 1984, she was named an apprentice with New York City Ballet and joined the corps de ballet a year later.

Wendy Whelan went on to spend 30 years at New York City Ballet, dancing virtually all the major Balanchine roles, and working closely with Jerome Robbins on many of his ballets and originating roles in ballets by such notable choreographers as William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Jorma Elo, Shen Wei, and Wayne MacGregor. She was promoted to soloist in 1989 and to principal dancer in 1991. Her most notable choreographic collaboration at NYCB was with Christopher Wheeldon, who created roles for Whelan in thirteen of his ballets, including Polyphonia, Liturgy, and After the Rain. At his own company, Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, he again chose Whelan for several new works, and in 2007, she was nominated in London for both an Olivier Award and a Critics Circle Award for her performances.

Since 2013, Wendy Whelan has been developing her own independent projects. Her inaugural project, Restless Creature with four dancer/choreographers—Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo—was co-produced by The Joyce Theater Productions and premiered at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2013, later touring the U.S. She followed up with the development of two more projects in 2015, Whelan/Watson Other Stories, co-produced by the Royal Opera House in London and Hagoromo which was self-produced with American Opera Projects for the BAM Next Wave Festival. In 2016–17, she premiered Some of a Thousand Words with Brian Brooks and Brooklyn Rider at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, which was co-produced by The Joyce Theater Productions and toured throughout the U.S.

In February 2019, Wendy Whelan marked a return to New York City Ballet when she was appointed Associate Artistic Director of the Company. A documentary, entitled Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan, was released in movie theaters across the country beginning in summer 2017 and is now available on iTunes and Amazon. The film recently won the Chita Rivera Award for Best Dance Documentary.

Lucinda Childs began her career at the Judson Dance Theater In New York in 1963. Since forming her dance company ten years later, she has created over fifty works, both solo and ensemble. In 1976 she was featured in the landmark avant-garde opera Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson, for which she won an Obie Award. She subsequently appeared in a number of Wilson’s productions, including I Was Sitting on My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating, Quartett, by Heiner Muller, Wilson and Glass’s opera White Raven, Wilson’s video project Video 50, and Maladie de la Mort by Marguerite Duras (opposite Michel Piccoli). Most recently, she appeared in Wilson’s production of Arvo Part’s Adam’s Passion and also recorded spoken text and collaborated on the choreography for Letter to a Man, which was based on Nijinsky’s diaries and performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov.

In 1979 Childs choreographed one of her most enduring works,Dance, with music by Philip Glass and film décor by Sol LeWitt, which continues to tour internationally and has been added to the repertory of the Lyon Opera Ballet, for which she has choreographed Beethoven’s Grande Fugue. In 2015 she revived Available Light, created in 1983 with music by John Adams and a split-level set by Frank Gehry. It was presented at the Festival d’Automne in Paris and the Manchester International Festival. In 2016, in an exhibit titled “Nothing Personal,” her choreographic scores were shown at the Thaddeus Ropac Gallery in collaboration with the Centre Nationale de la Danse, to which she has donated her archive.

Since 1981 Childs has choreographed over thirty works for major ballet companies, including the Paris Opera Ballet and Les Ballet de Monte Carlo. She has also directed and choreographed a number of contemporary and eighteenth-century operas, including Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for the Los Angeles Opera, Mozart’s Zaide for La Monnaie in Brussels, Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol and Oedipe, Vivaldi’s Farnace, Handel’s Alessandro, and John Adams’s Dr. Atomic for the Opera du Rhin. Her production of Jean Baptiste Lully’s Atys premiered at Oper Kiel in 2014 and her production of Jean-Marie Leclaire’s Scylla and Glaucus premiered there in 2017.

Childs is the recipient of numerous awards. She holds the rank of Commandeur in France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2017 she received the Golden Lion award from the Venice Biennale and the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival award for lifetime achievement. In 2018, Childs was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance.

David Lang is one of the most highly esteemed and performed American composers writing today. The New Yorker wrote: “With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a postminimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master.” His works have been performed around the world in most of the great concert halls.

Lang's simple song #3, written as part of his score for Paolo Sorrentino's acclaimed film YOUTH, received many awards nominations in 2016, including the Academy Award and Golden Globe. Recent works include his opera prisoner of the state, which premiered in June 2019 with the New York Philharmonic; his opera the loser, which opened the 2016 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and received a West Coast premiere in April 2019 with LA Opera; the public domain for 1000 singers, which premiered at Lincoln Center’s 2016 Mostly Mozart Festival; his chamber opera anatomy theater premiered at the Prototype Festival in New York and then at LA Opera; the concerto man made for the ensemble Sō Percussion and a consortium of orchestras, including the BBC Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; mountain, commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony, death speaks, a song cycle based on Schubert, but performed by rock musicians, including Bryce Dessner from The National and Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond; the whisper opera, for the International Contemporary Ensemble and soprano Tony Arnold; and love fail, an evening-length work for the early music vocal ensemble Anonymous 4.

Lang is a Professor of Music Composition at the Yale School of Music and is Artist in Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York's legendary music collective Bang on a Can. His music is published by Red Poppy Music (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc.

The evening’s program will be as follows:

Tickets are $65/$55/$45 and can be purchased at or by calling 415.392.2545. Tickets can also be purchased at the door as available including 50% off student rush tickets.

About San Francisco Performances

San Francisco Performances has been a leader in the Bay Area cultural scene since our founding in 1979. With a strong curatorial vision and adventurous programming, we are the city’s premier presenter of intimate concerts and solo performances.

We have introduced hundreds of established and emerging classical music, jazz and dance artists to audiences, including Yo-Yo Ma, the Juilliard String Quartet, Philip Glass, Wendy Whelan, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. We also champion a new generation, committed to building a contemporary and equitable repertoire. Performers like violinist Jennifer Koh, tenor Lawrence Brownlee and pianist/composer Vijay Iyer are moving their art into the present and future, making it accessible to younger audiences while converting many traditionalists to new possibilities. They represent the path forward.

Quality, intimacy and connection are the hallmarks of San Francisco Performances. We nurture unique relationships with today’s best artists to create an accessible, warm, and engaging arts experience.

Calendar Editors, Please Note:

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Maya Beiser
, cello<
Wendy Whelan, dancer
WHEN: Thurs, Feb 27, 2020, 7:30pm and Fri Feb 28, 2020, 7:30pm
WHERE: Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister), San Francisco
CONCERT TICKETS: $70/$55/$45
CONTACT: (415) 392.2545;

For high-resolution images, contact Nancy Bertossa at or go to

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