Three composers from around the United States will create new symphonic works under a partnership between the Berkeley Symphony and EarShot, the National Orchestral Composition Discovery Network.

The symphony is working with EarShot's Under Construction Program, "designed as an opportunity for emerging composers to develop their works with a professional orchestra."

The program has been an incubator for emerging composers for more than 20 years and Berkeley Symphony was chosen as a partner because of its reputation for presenting new works.

Composers Sivan Eldar of San Francisco; B.P. Herrington of Conroe, Texas; Ruben Naeff of Brooklyn, NY; and Nicholas S. Omiccioli of Kansas City, Mo., were selected from a national pool of candidates for this year's program. Each compose an original symphonic work that will be the subject of workshops at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 (the first public unveiling of the composers' works in process), and May 4 (a run-through of the completed pieces), at the Osher Studio, 2055 Center St. in Berkeley.

Tickets for the workshops are $10 each, available along with more details at 510-841-2800, ext. 1 or www.berkeleysymphony.org.

To learn more about the composers program visit www.earshotnetwork.org.


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WEST COUNTY NOTES: The Culinary School at Contra Costa College, which operates the Three Seasons restaurant on the San Pablo campus, has been given $500 by the El Cerrito Garden Club toward the continued development and maintenance of the program's herb garden.

The garden club's Herb Study Group presented a check to chef Nader Sharkes on Nov. 11.

"The restaurant features outstanding lunch menus which have been prepared by the students working under Chef Nader's direction, and it is open to the general public," the club notes, and has been a preferred location for many of the Herb Study Group's special lunch meetings. "The El Cerrito Garden Club selects projects that stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening among amateurs and encourages civic planting. The herb garden at Contra Costa College is a perfect example of the kind of projects we want to encourage and reward."

  • A great film from the master of suspense is up next in the Cerrito Classics series at the Rialto Cinemas Cerrito, 10070 San Pablo Ave.

    "Suspicion" (1941) brings together Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock. It shows on the big screen at 7 p.m. Jan. 9.

    Fontaine, who died Dec. 15 at age 96, was 24 when she played Lina in the film, winning the Oscar for Best Actress.

    "Only Cary Grant could play Johnny, the main character in 'Suspicion,' a charming rogue -- or is he much, much more," writes Linda Moss of Friends of the Cerrito Theatre, which sponsors the classics series. "Johnny meets the shy, sheltered -- and financially well-off -- Lina (played by Joan Fontaine). The marriage of opposites follows soon after. The story starts off light and charming, but as only Hitchcock can do, shades gradually and skillfully into tension, and riveting suspense."

    Details: 510-273-9102.

  • The East Bay Regional Park District has created an 80th anniversary calendar that is available to download for free. It includes historic and current photos of district area, along with facts about various regional parks. To download, visit the district website at www.ebparks.org and click the calendar button on the right of the page.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com.