For more than a year now Wicker Park’s HotHouse has turned into a freewheeling hotbed of avant-garde music making every second Sunday of the month. “Face the Music,” a series organized by local composer and clarinetist Gene Coleman, is intended to be a democratic forum for all the diverse trends and aesthetic bents in the contemporary music scene. In a typical offering, such as this one, works from established trailblazers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen jostle for attention alongside pieces by audio-art mavens like Lou Mallozzi and newcomers like Northwestern’s Jeff Kowalkowski. Also getting a hearing are some of the hottest and most personable young performers from Chicago and Urbana. All the pieces on the program are enticing in one way or another. For Stockhausen fans there’s the master’s 1963 Plus Minus, “realized” by Coleman and Jim O’Rourke and to be performed by the anarchistic Ensemble Noamnesia. For devotees of the 60s fad of prerecorded music assemblage there’s Project for Bassoon and Tape, written in 1979 by Polish composer Boguslaw Schaffer. For followers of performance art and Mallozzi there’s his latest opus, Prophecy, a sonic adaptation of a “sound play” by German playwright Peter Handke. For fanciers of instruments local instrument makers Julie Smith and Hal Rammel will debut a piece custom-made for their latest sound-generating contraptions. As for me, I’m looking forward to Iannis Xenakis’s XAS, to be performed by the Vision Saxophone Quartet, a likable new group whose mastery one hopes will encourage composers to add to the very slim contemporary repertoire. Sunday, 7.30 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Debra E. Levie.