Upcoming Events

Mon 8/24

Image - Why Music Therapy Matters for the Special-Needs Student

Why Music Therapy Matters for the Special-Needs Student

Date: Mon, August 24, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
The opportunity to realize musical gifts.

Susan Rancer, Registered Music Therapist

Henny Kupferstein, Graduate Student; Musical Savant; Autism researcher

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Many parents dream of their children studying piano. For parents of special-needs children, this dream can be realized through channels that honor children's individual strengths and needs. Non-verbal and special-needs students often do not have the opportunity to realize their musical gifts. Rancer is a registered music therapist who works with clients one-on-one, teaching students in a highly specialized manner. Kupferstein is a musical savant who says she lives inside the sensory experience of her music students. In collaboration, they have developed a methodology and evidence-based practice for successful musical and educational outcomes.

Image - Singing for Our Lives: Music in the Time of AIDS

Singing for Our Lives: Music in the Time of AIDS

Date: Mon, August 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With conductor Jon Bailey

Jon Bailey, Conductor; Composer; Professor Emeritus, Pomona College

More than 1.2 million people are living with HIV infections in the United States, and gay and bisexual men are the ones more severely affected by HIV. Jon Bailey, artistic director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles for 13 years, uses his past experience and knowledge during the dark time of the AIDS crisis to speak about how the power of music can create a community and heal spirits. 

Tue 8/25

Orchestra Music Grown Locally

Date: Tue, August 25, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A panel discussion

Michael Morgan, Music Director, East Bay Symphony Orchestra and Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra; Artistic Director, Festival Opera, Walnut Creek
Additional panelists TBA

Music can be a catalyst for pulling together communities. The Bay Area, specifically, has benefitted from orchestras and the wide variety of music being written by local composers. Michael Morgan, music director of the East Bay Symphony Orchestra, has helped bring in awards for adventurous programming and excellence in community engagement. Join us for a conversation with Morgan and several other composers and conductors discussing the significance of locally grown music. 

Wed 8/26

Image - Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Date: Wed, August 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Mozart scholar Steven Machtinger

Steven Machtinger, Attorney; Violist; Independent Mozart Scholar

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Steven Machtinger and the London Quintet return to The Commonwealth Club for the Music Matters series, this time exploring how Mozart expressed Masonic attitudes toward death and immortality in the third movement of his G minor String Quintet of 1787. 

Thu 8/27

Image - Changing Times and Indian Classical Music

Changing Times and Indian Classical Music

Date: Thu, August 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Mahesh Kale, Indian Classical Music Performer and Theoretician

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Since the time of its evolution, a few thousand years ago, Indian classical music has undergone several changes in its form. Every time there was a social impact on Indian civilization, its classical music morphed beautifully, lending itself to the changing times. Kale's talk will touch upon how the music adapted itself to major social impacts right up to the recent times of globalization, which poses a new challenge to the music and its followers, yet continues to demonstrate how much music matters.

Image - The Gift of Music: Building Sanctuaries of Learning and Hope

The Gift of Music: Building Sanctuaries of Learning and Hope

Date: Thu, August 27, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
With SF Conservatory President David Stull

Owsley Brown III, Producer; Director
Sandy Tolan, Journalist; Author
Eugene Rodriguez, Executive Director, Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy
David Stull, President, San Francisco Conservatory of Music – Moderator

Stull leads a discussion on how music can rebuild and uplift communities through hardship and conflict. Join us as we hear how Brown, Tolan and Rodriguez use their work to positively influence the community. Music Matters

Fri 8/28

Image - Death With Interruptions

Death With Interruptions

Date: Fri, August 28, 2015
Time: 12:00 AM
An opera about when death sends victims a week’s notice

Thomas Laqueur, Librettist; Helen Fawcett History Professor, UC Berkeley
Nikki Einfeld, Soprano
Leigheton Fong, Cellist

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

"Death with Interruptions" is an opera about what happens when death, after taking a break, agrees to come back to work on the condition that she gets to send victims a week’s notice. One letter inexplicably keeps being returned. She becomes human to investigate and discovers that the would-be recipient is a cellist. His music beguiles her and she falls in love. Thomas Laqueur will introduce the program and speak about Nobel Prize winner Jose Sarramago’s novel Death with Interruptions on which the opera is based. Opera excerpts are by Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.

Mon 8/31

Image - Body Music: An Interactive Lecture and Demonstration by Keith Terry

Body Music: An Interactive Lecture and Demonstration by Keith Terry

Date: Mon, August 31, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Keith Terry, Percussionist; Rhythm Dancer; Educator

The oldest musical instrument in the world is the human body, on which any surface can be used for rhythmic possibilities. Terry has mastered the art of using just his body to create a variety of sounds and rhythms. Clapping his hands, stamping his feet, slapping his chest and popping his cheeks are just few ways Terry plays his body as an instrument and creates “body music.”

Body music, also known as body percussion and body drumming, is the oldest type of music on this planet. Traditional body music around the world ranges from African-American hambone and Flamenco Palmas from Spain, to Sumatran Saman and Ethiopian Armpit music. However, since 1978, Terry has developed a contemporary style of body music based on his training as a jazz drummer, as well as his years of intensive study and collaboration with world rhythmic systems.

Experience Terry’s electric performance, which is both music and dance, that inspires audiences of all ages to join in on the fun. Music Matters

Tue 9/1

Image - Human Need not Apply: The Age of Artificial Intelligence

Human Need not Apply: The Age of Artificial Intelligence

Date: Tue, September 01, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Jerry Kaplan

Jerry Kaplan, Entrepreneur; Technical Innovator; Author; Futurist

Computers with artificial intelligence, or AI, date back to the 1950s, and since then, the technology has advanced to all sorts of new levels. It seems that the average American now depends on AI several times throughout the day. Computers aren’t just computers anymore. They are becoming much more than that, and the advancement of this technology has many people discussing the dangers of “synthetic intellects.”

Jerry Kaplan, serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, best-selling author and futurist, is one of the many who questions the impact of AIs in our society. Join us as Kaplan informs us of the several eye-opening possibilities, such as robots transcending the factory floor, working alongside human laborers of all kinds, and how the law is likely to recognize AIs as “artificial persons” for many purposes.

Image - Bill McDermott: CEO of SAP

Bill McDermott: CEO of SAP

Date: Tue, September 01, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP; Twitter @BillRMCDermott

This program is underwritten by Accenture.

SAP is the world’s market leader in business software, with more than 291,000 customers in 190 different countries. Bill McDermott, as the CEO, leads millions in executing SAP’s vision and strategy to make the world run better and improve people’s lives. Learn helpful tips from McDermott about leading with purpose as he discusses his unique start as a young entrepreneur. Also, hear his thoughts on leadership and innovation in today’s competitive global market. Accenture Logo

Wed 9/2

Image - SCOBLE on Startups 2015: Context, Cloud and Bleeding Edge Tech

SCOBLE on Startups 2015: Context, Cloud and Bleeding Edge Tech

Date: Wed, September 02, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Tech evangelist and author

Robert Scoble, Chief Startup Liaison, Rackspace; Author, Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
In conversation with Kevin O’Malley, President TechTalk / Studio

Top tech evangelist Robert Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology. He's interviewed thousands of executives and innovators, and continues to report on what he learns in books like The Age of Context and through social media, where he has a huge following. Join Scoble to learn about the latest and greatest startups, trends and devices he’s uncovering for 2015 and beyond.

Thu 9/3

Image - North Beach Walking Tour

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, September 03, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans
Join another Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans during a two-hour walk through this neighborhood with a colorful past, where food, culture, history and unexpected views all intersect in an Italian “urban village.” In addition to learning about Beat generation hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops.

Thu 9/10

Image - Analyzing Police Encounters with the Public: Some Methods for Reducing t

Analyzing Police Encounters with the Public: Some Methods for Reducing the Use of Force

Date: Thu, September 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Examining research into techniques to diffuse explosive situations

Geoffrey Raymond, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara
Nikki Jones, Professor of African American Studies, UC Berkeley

Police encounters with suspects and protesters ripped straight from the headlines of 2015 give the impression of an unavoidable descent into violence and chaos. However, the timely research of Professors Raymond and Jones show a way forward. Their results make it clear that various methods have been developed and successfully implemented that both reduce police overreaction during dangerous situations and diminish the tendency for such situations to get out of hand to begin with.

Mon 9/14

Image - Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

Date: Mon, September 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author and former SFPD and FBI agent John Mindermann

John Mindermann, Author, In Pursuit

Monday Night Philosophy arrests your attention with John Mindermann’s insights from his book In Pursuit (co-authored with Brian Solon). Gathered from nearly a decade on the SFPD and his career as an FBI agent, the book details his riveting experiences, including June 17, 1972, when Mindermann just happened to be called in to investigate a burglary at the Watergate complex. You cannot get any closer to history than this.

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, September 14, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Growing older is a scary thought for many people. Many people do not know what to expect or how to live comfortably and happily as seniors. Join the discussion of new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older, with group facilitator Richard G. Caro, Ph.D. The discussion will dive into topics like brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. Results of the discussion will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in ways to improve their quality of life.

Tue 9/15

Image - Jeh Johnson: Security Challenges Confronting The Homeland

Jeh Johnson: Security Challenges Confronting the Homeland

Date: Tue, September 15, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security

Jeh Johnson, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club - Moderator

Jeh Charles Johnson was sworn in on December 23, 2013 as the fourth Secretary of Homeland Security. Prior to joining DHS, Secretary Johnson served as general counsel for the Department of Defense, where he was part of the senior management team and led the more than 10,000 military and civilian lawyers across the department.

As general counsel of the Defense Department, Johnson oversaw the development of the legal aspects of many of our nation’s counterterrorism policies, spearheaded reforms to the military commissions system at Guantanamo Bay in 2009, and co-authored the 250-page report that paved the way for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010. Secretary Johnson was general counsel of the Department of the Air Force from 1998 to 2001 and served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York from 1989 to 1991. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1979 and received his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1982.

In this era of ISIS and homegrown terrorism, hear this high-level official discuss the latest challenges and strategies for protecting Americans.

Image - Erica Jong in Conversation with Isabel Allende

Erica Jong in Conversation with Isabel Allende

Date: Tue, September 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Two game-changing authors discuss life, love and sex

Erica Jong, Novelist; Author, Fear of Flying and Fear of Dying
Isabel Allende, Novelist; Human Rights Activist

This program is part of the Club’s Good Lit Series, sponsored by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Before there was 50 Shades of Grey, there was Erica Jong. In 1973, Jong blew conventional thinking about women, marriage and sexuality out of the water with her first and most famous, novel Fear of Flying. She has written over 20 books since then — including her new novel, Fear of Dying — that articulate what many women think but may never voice, from sex to the broader issues facing American women today.

In Latin America’s male-dominated literary world of 1982, Chilean author Isabel Allende launched a feminist force with her bestselling first novel The House of the Spirits. Since then, Allende has written nearly 20 more works, all in her native Spanish, which have been translated into more then 35 languages and sold more than 65 million copies.

Join us as we engage in a dialogue with these game-changing women about life, love, sex and the power of women to change the world.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social Silicon Valley

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social Silicon Valley

Date: Tue, September 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Larry Gerston, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, San Jose State University; Political Analyst, NBC Bay Area; Author, Reviving Civic Engagement; Twitter @lgerston
John Zipperer, Vice President of Media & Editorial, The Commonwealth Club – Host
Additional panelists TBA

Week to Week is headed back to Silicon Valley! Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our news quiz!

Join us early before the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals, and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees). Bring a friend — or come and make new ones.

Thu 9/17

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, September 17, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - The Stress Shield: Three Ways to Upgrade Your Brain, DNA and Hormones As You Age

The Stress Shield: Three Ways to Upgrade Your Brain, DNA and Hormones As You Age

Date: Thu, September 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Sara Gottfried

Sara Gottfried, M.D., Author, The Hormone Cure and The Hormone Reset Diet

Groundbreaking science now theorizes that approximately 10 percent of disease is genetic, and 90 percent is due to the way you eat, move, think and supplement – collectively known as your "exposome." Dr. Gottfried, Harvard- and MIT-educated, practices functional medicine, a systems-based approach to address health from your DNA to your exposome. In this talk, you will learn to customize a plan meant to best serve your health goals and strengthen your “stress shield.”