Upcoming Events

Fri 8/14

Image - Paul Solman: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security

Paul Solman: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security

Date: Fri, August 14, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Paul Solman, Business and Economics Correspondent, “PBS NewsHour”; Co-Author, Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security; Twitter @paulsolman
Michael Finney, Consumer Reporter, “7 On Your Side”, KGO San Francisco - Moderator

Want to know how to navigate the forbidding maze of Social Security and emerge with the highest possible benefits? You could try reading all 2,728 rules of the Social Security system (and the thousands of explanations of these rules), but Solman explains Social Security benefits in an easy-to-understand and user-friendly style. What you don’t know can seriously hurt you: wrong decisions about which Social Security benefits to apply for cost some individual retirees tens of thousands of dollars in lost income every year. Learn the secrets to maximizing your Social Security benefits and earn up to thousands of dollars more each year with expert advice that you can’t get anywhere else. You’ve paid all your working life for these benefits. Now, get what’s yours.

Image - Nicholas McGegan: Baroque Music Matters

Nicholas McGegan: Baroque Music Matters

Date: Fri, August 14, 2015
Time: 1:00 PM
In conversation with professor Kate van Orden

Nicholas McGegan, Music Director, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; Conductor
In conversation with Kate van Orden, Professor of Music, Harvard University

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

Kate van Orden, professor of music at Harvard University, sits down with Nicholas McGegan, who is increasingly recognized for his probing and revelatory explorations of music of all periods. Listeners will gain insight into McGegan’s career as a conductor and leader of a world-class orchestra, and his views on baroque music’s continuing appeal as an art form – and why that matters. 

Mon 8/17

Image - The Music of Cinema

The Music of Cinema

Date: Mon, August 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A rich multimedia presentation.

Scott Foglesong, Chair, Department of Musicianship and Music Theory, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

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

Music for the movies has its own language, idioms and styles. It originated, paradoxically enough, in the silent cinema where music served to mask projection noises in addition to providing helpful cues to the onscreen action, then came into its own with the advent of talkies. We’ll be covering that film music in a rich multimedia presentation that starts with a close look at Max Steiner’s breakthrough score for the 1933 King Kong and the late-Romantic language of Hollywood, including composers such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Franz Waxman. Then came the inevitable reaction by a younger generation of composers such as Bernard Herrmann and Alex North, who approached film music with a distinctly eclectic and experimental sensibility. We’ll end with today’s leading film music composers, and examine the music for one extended sequence in a major film.

Music Matters

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, August 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 8/17/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 8/17/15

Date: Mon, August 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Informative and engaging commentary on political news.

Panelists TBA

The summer's almost over, and it's already had a lot going on in the political sphere. New candidates launching their campaigns. Politicians getting into trouble. Proposals floated to deal with major problems.

Join us as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come 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).

Tue 8/18

Image - Music Matters: Full Body Forward!

Music Matters: Full Body Forward!

Date: Tue, August 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With singer and activist Melanie DeMore

Melanie DeMore, Singer/Songwriter; Composer; Conductor; Vocal Activist

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

“A song can hold you up when there seems to be no ground beneath you,” says Melanie DeMore. With an established career of 30 years in music, Melanie has used her voice to inspire social and political change as well as preserving the African American folk tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding. Now Melanie brings her musical talent and Full Body Forward to The Commonwealth Club to show how one raises one’s voice with power, determination and energy. Participants do not need singing experience to attend.

For more information on Melanie please visit her website here.Music Matters

Image - Counting from Infinity: A Special Film Screening with Keith Devlin

Counting from Infinity: A Special Film Screening with Keith Devlin

Date: Tue, August 18, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With mathematician Keith Devlin

Keith Devlin, Mathematician, Stanford University

In April 2013, a little-known lecturer — working in isolation — proved something that rocked the mathematical world. Yitang Zhang’s insight into one of the great challenges of number theory, the Twin Prime Conjecture, is beautifully portrayed in the new film Counting From Infinity.

Join us as we view a special screening of the film with NPR’s “Math Guy” and Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin alongside for expert commentary.

Wed 8/19

Image - Senator Claire McCaskill

Senator Claire McCaskill

Date: Wed, August 19, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Discussing her new memoir

Claire McCaskill, United States Senator (D-MO); Author, Plenty Ladylike: A Memoir

In conversation with Dick Costolo, Former CEO, Twitter

This program is part of the Good Lit series underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

The female senator from Missouri shares her inspiring story of embracing her ambition, surviving sexist slings, losing a husband and making a family, outsmarting her enemies—and finding joy along the way. McCaskill grew up in a political family, but not at a time that welcomed women with big plans. In her candid, lively, and forthright memoir, Senator McCaskill describes her uphill battle to become who she is today, from her failed first marriage to a Kansas City car dealer—the father of her three children—to her current relationship with a Missouri businessman, who she describes as “a life partner.”

In 2006, McCaskill became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri, winning the seat once held by Harry Truman. As a senator, McCaskill has earned a reputation as a plain-spoken, independent voice for Missouri's families and businesses—willing to buck her own party to do what she thinks is right, and fighting to expand opportunities for Missouri's kids and grandkids.

Image - Cole Porter: The Music and the Man

Cole Porter: The Music and the Man

Date: Wed, August 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Sophisticated, worldly, witty, passionate, romantic, irreverent and downright bawdy

Noah Griffin, Founder and Artistic Director, Cole Porter Society

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

Sophisticated, worldly, witty, passionate, romantic, irreverent and downright bawdy are all apt descriptors of Cole Porter. The uninitiated and those who thought they knew all there was to know about this elfin genius are constantly rediscovering America’s foremost musical poet, who is never out of style for the cognoscenti. Come experience the music of Cole you know and music of the Cole you thought you knew.

Music Matters

Image - U.C. President Janet Napolitano Interviews Charlotte Jacobs, M.D.

U.C. President Janet Napolitano Interviews Charlotte Jacobs, M.D.

Date: Wed, August 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The Legacy of Jonas Salk

The Legacy of Jonas Salk

Janet Napolitano, President of University of California; Former Secretary of Homeland Security; Former Governor of Arizona
Charlotte Jacobs, M.D. Professor of Medicine (Emerita), Stanford University; Author, Jonas Salk: A Life

Part of The Club’s Good Lit Series, Underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Sixty years ago, physician-researcher Jonas Salk changed human history by inventing the polio vaccine. His work has saved countless lives and helped shaped the medical field as we know it today. Recently, Dr. Charlotte Jacobs has published the first comprehensive biography, Jonas Salk: A Life. She and Janet Napolitano will sit down and discuss her book that explores Jonas Salk’s life and legacy. The first in a limited series of interviews, Napolitano talks with Jacobs and uses the biography as the centerpiece for discussion about the best practices of vaccinations, preventing pandemics and saving lives.

Thu 8/20

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, August 20, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans.

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable midday walk and discover the history and mysteries of Chinatown. Explore colorful alleys and side streets. Visit a Taoist temple, an herbal store, the site of the first public school in the state, and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory.

Music as a Vehicle for Social Justice

Date: Thu, August 20, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With Country Joe McDonald

Country Joe McDonald, Lead Vocals, Country Joe and the Fish

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

In the late 1960’s to early ’70’s, music was one of largest tools used in the protest against the Vietnam War. The “music as a weapon” mentality is still very much alive today, and one of the artists from the Vietnam Era will show us how. Country Joe McDonald has been a lifelong advocate for peaceful social change. Equipped only with a guitar, Country Joe will delight and entertain The Commonwealth Club with song and story to inspire everyone to make a positive difference in this world. Fair warning, there may be a sing-along or two.

Come watch this world-famous entertainer bring an audience together and make them think.

Fri 8/21

Image - Vox Mundi: Sound and Voice

Vox Mundi: Sound and Voice

Date: Fri, August 21, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Silvia Nakkach, Award-Winning Composer; Former Psychotherapist; Faculty Member, California Institute of Integral Studies; Founder and Artistic Director, Vox Mundi
Val Serrant, Traditional Drum and Steel Drum Performer; Vocalist; Caribbean Arts Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley

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

Silvia Nakkach, classical Indian musician, and Val Serrant, drum/steel drum percussionist, will display the richness of their indigenous musical traditions from their different backgrounds, through performance and dialogue. They will also engage the audience’s participation in the healing power of music, so prepare yourself to personally embrace why music matters around the world. Music Matters

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.

Music Matters

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

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

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. 

Image - Why Music Education Didn’t Disappear

Why Music Education Didn’t Disappear

Date: Mon, August 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Michael Hammond, Music Teacher, Berkeley Public Schools

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

Under Proposition 13, music education in California elementary schools could have easily disappeared due to the lack of state funding. Fortunately, private funding has stepped up in many communities — for example, Berkeley’s 1986 local tax, the Berkeley Schools Excellence Project (BSEP). Almost $2 million of Berkeley’s funds for music and the visual performing arts came from the BESP this past year. Join us as Michael Hammond, a native of Berkeley’s public schools and current music teacher for the community, tells his stories of teaching music to Berkeley’s newest generation and making music matter in their lives.

Music Matters

Tue 8/25

Image - Orchestra Music Grown Locally

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

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

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. 

Image - How We Listen to Music

How We Listen to Music

Date: Tue, August 25, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Joel Selvin, Music Critic, SF Chronicle; Author, Here Comes the Night
Davey D, Hip Hop Journalist; Founder, Hard Knock Radio, KPFA
Emma Silvers, Interactive Producer, KQED
Gabe Meline, Music Editor and Curator, KQED Arts - Moderator

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

Streaming has given everyone instant, and mostly free, access to any type of music they wish. This music revolution seems like a giant leap forward for listeners and aspiring artists alike. However, Gabe Meline sees this as potentially harmful to both the art and the industry. How can the industry make any money when listeners can stream a song free? How does a musician get the time their song deserves when the average listener has an increasingly diminishing attention span? Award-winning music writer and editor Gabe Meline considers the implications of our listening habits for the near future in which an elevated form of art is becoming increasingly disposable.

Music Matters

Image - Congressman Mark DeSaulnier: Representing California’s 11th District

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier: Representing California’s 11th District

Date: Tue, August 25, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Mark DeSaulnier, Member of U.S. House of Representatives (D-CA)
In conversation with Josh Richman, Political Reporter, Bay Area News Group; Twitter: @Josh_Richman

This past January, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier was sworn in as a member of the 114th Congress, representing California’s 11th District and a majority of Contra Costa County. Since taking office, he has already voted on a number of significant bills, including fast-track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership and approving the Keystone XL pipeline. Prior to moving to Capitol Hill, congressman DeSaulnier served the public in a variety of roles, including as Concord city councilmember, mayor, Contra Costa county supervisor, California state assemblyman and California state senator.

Join your new local congressman as he discusses his freshman year on the Hill, upcoming legislation, and important issues such as gun violence prevention, retirement security and climate change.

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. 

Music Matters