Stay tuned for our 2023–24 season—our 10th anniversary!
Since 2014, we have brought world-class performances to the East Bay! From classical music to jazz and everything in between, savor our historic Sanctuary's inimitable acoustics.
Thank you for joining us this past season, as we brought our "characteristic vitality" to a series of exciting performances (Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle).
If you've been joining us online and can't join us in person, fear not! We'll continue to post occasional content on the First Church Berkeley YouTube channel—don't forget to subscribe.
Please consider a donation to support great music beyond ticket sales. Your generosity will support the First Church Berkeley Music Fund!
We are striving to consistently make informed decisions regarding COVID-19 and its impact on live performances
- Masks are recommended, though not required. We encourage use of N95, KN95, or KF94 masks, worn appropriately.
- Up-to-date vaccinations are recommended, though not required.
- When you arrive, we encourage you to choose seats, if possible, with some distance between other groups of patrons—it is a large space!
Past 2022–23 Concerts
Women of Majesty
Friday, October 14 • 7:30 pm
Bethany Hill, soprano; Erik Andersen, viola da gamba and cello; Derek Tam, harpsichord
Celebrate powerful women in this unique program of Baroque music!
Male composers such as Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel crafted some of their most powerful music to bring famous women of myth and history to life, including such figures as Dido and Mary, Queen of Scots. And of course, their contemporaries Barbara Strozzi and Élizabeth Jacquet de La Guerre were writing iconic works of their own as well.
"Breathtaking" Australian soprano Bethany Hill joins forces with Erik Andersen and Derek Tam in this special concert.
First Church Festival Chorus: Schubert & Pergolesi
Saturday, January 14 • 7:30 pm
First Church Festival Chorus and Orchestra; Derek Tam, conductor
If those whom the gods love die young, then both Franz Schubert (1797–1828) and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710–1736) must have been especially beloved. In a joyful return to live singing, the First Church Festival Chorus will sing two gems accompanied by a professional period orchestra: Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G major, composed when the composer was 18; and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, written during the composer’s final illness. Extending a historical tradition of rearranging the Stabat Mater, the Festival Chorus will sing a new four-part edition of the work by Derek Tam, expanded from its original setting for two soloists.
Around the World in Eighty Minutes
Friday, February 17 • 7:30 pm
Elizabeth Forsyth, organ
Explore the world with a joyful variety of organ works! From the United States to France, Holland to Russia, and Korea to Germany, traverse the globe from the comfort of the First Church Sanctuary.
Enjoy music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Denis Bédard, Michael Burkhardt, Aaron Copland, Angela Kraft Cross, Edward Elgar, John Karl Hirten, Jean Langlais, Georgi Mushel, Ramón Noble, and Ad Wammes.
Sunday, May 21 • 4:00 pm
Derek Tam, piano
While the turn of the 20th century in Europe could be considered a period of splendor, it was also a period marked by great tension. The contradictions founded on a fragile peace shattered by the outbreak of World War I proved to be a fertile ground for artistic experimentation, as the bounds of harmony were pushed to their limit.
This virtuoso program of Albéniz, Debussy, Ravel, and Satie samples some of the divergent strains of musical thought from this period.
More About Resonance
In 2014, First Church Berkeley, a premier venue for music performance in the East Bay, created its own exciting series of chamber and orchestral music concerts. Now in its ninth season, Resonance @ First Church has become a mainstay of the East Bay artistic calendar.
Music has always been an important part of the life of First Church. It touches the soul and gives sound and voice to ineffable mystery. We sing together and share our musical gifts. We also delight in the special talents of artists from within our community and beyond.
Derek Tam, First Church's Director of Music, curates this exciting series.
$20 First Church members and students under 25 (with ID)
Our past seasons include:
2022–23 series: Women of Majesty • Bethany Hill | First Church Festival Chorus • Schubert and Pergolesi | Around the World in Eighty Minutes • Elizabeth Forsyth, organ | Belle Époque • Derek Tam, piano
2021–22 series: J.S. Bach: Gamba Sonatas • Erik Andersen and Derek Tam | Breanna Sinclairé (cancelled due to Covid-19) | First Church Festival Chorus • Schubert and Pergolesi (postponed) | Singing Hope (cancelled)
2020–21 online series: Darnell Ishmel & Andrew Jamieson | Thrive Choir | Music of Black Composers • Derek Tam, piano | Toccatas and Tunes • Elizabeth Forsyth,organ | Mozart Requiem: Lecture and Sing-Along | Singing Hope: Praise Through a Pandemic
2020–21 summer in-person series: Bach and Friends • Elizabeth Forsyth, organ | Stormy Beethoven • Derek Tam, fortepiano | A Saint-Saëns Celebration • Elizabeth Forsyth, organ
2019–20: Blessing of the Animals | Beethoven at 250 | First Church Festival Chorus · Duruflé Requiem and Quatre Motets | Singing Hope! | Bach's Goldberg Variations (cancelled due to Covid-19)
2018–19: Costanoan Trio | Carnival of the Animals | Ars Minerva · Ifigenia in Aulide | First Church Festival Chorus · Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem & Serenade to Music | Derek Tam, fortepiano | Elizabeth Forsyth, organ
2017–18: Mozart for Friends | Jason Chu | Mya Byrne | First Church Festival Chorus · Brahms Requiem | Peter and the Wolf | Sylvestris Quartet | MUSA · The Birth of the String Symphony
2016–17: First Church Festival Chorus · Carmina Burana | Salisbury Cathedral Choir | Ja Ronn & FLOW
2015–16: MUSA · Brandenburg Concertos | Kyle Stegall, tenor | Andrew Jamieson & Trouble Ensemble | First Church Festival Chorus · Fauré Requiem
2014–15: Derek Tam, harpsichord | Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time | French Baroque | First Church Festival Chorus · Vivaldi Gloria
First Church is on the south side of the UC Berkeley campus, just west of Telegraph Avenue. It is a few blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART and is accessible by several bus lines. Some paid parking is available in the church parking lot. Directions to the church and public transportation information...