Posted inArts & Culture

American Women Composers–Midwest

All of the compositions on this program sponsored by the midwest chapter of American Women Composers are by women, but that in itself would mean very little if it weren’t for the extraordinary creativity that each of these composers displays. Janice Misurell Mitchell’s Transfusions is a brassy bebop romp emphasizing canon and musical gesture, while […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Thanks largely to the efforts of CSO composer in residence John Corigliano, the annual New Music Chicago spring festival features a concert of new orchestral scores for the first time. The Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in recent years (again, thanks largely to Corigliano) has taken a committed […]

Posted inMusic

Stoltzman/Goode/Stoltzman Trio

When husband and wife clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and violinist Lucy Chapman Stoltzman performed on a Chamber Music Chicago program of frivolous Keith Jarrett chamber music in 1987 (that turned out to be largely an ego trip for Jarrett), an otherwise unbearable evening was made tolerable by the couple’s musical sensitivity. The extraordinary team has been […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robert Dick

It’s a guitar! It’s a violin! It’s a synthesizer! Or maybe it’s flutist extraordinaire Robert Dick. Dick has developed such technical mastery on the instrument that to hear him play is to marvel at how he manipulates the familiar timbre of the flute. In the tradition of past New Music Chicago concerts introducing performers who […]

Posted inMusic

Abstract Passsion

HILLIARD ENSEMBLE at Orchestra Hall April 2 THE CITY MUSICK at Saint Thomas the Apostle April 6 Ancient Gnosticism was full of redeemer figures who would descend from the Father, reveal secret gnosis (knowledge), and then ascend again. Jesus quickly became identified as such a figure, until mainline Christians grew so powerful and intolerant that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Impressive Progress

THE RAKE’S PROGRESS The City Musick at Mandel Hall March 19 The Rake’s Progress, Igor Stravinsky’s only full-length opera, is one of those pieces that virtually everybody knows about, but that very few actually know. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that it is the product of the so-called […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hilliard Ensemble

Although musical settings of the passion of Jesus date back to the early Middle Ages and were extraordinarily common up until the 18th-century culmination of the genre in Bach’s magnificent settings, one can count on one hand the important passions of the 20th century. The eight-year-old Latin Saint John Passion by Estonian composer Arvo Part […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Opera of the Phantoms

THE LIGHTHOUSE Chicago Opera Theater March 21, 24, 25, and 30 and April 1, 4, and 7 Twenty-two years ago Peter Maxwell Davies first came to international prominence with his legendary Fires of London ensemble, created primarily to perform his own unusual vocal and chamber music. Those early pieces incorporated older musical forms–from late medieval […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Opera Theater

Psychological ambiguity has always been a feature of the unusual music of Peter Maxwell Davies, who today arguably stands as Britain’s greatest living composer. With his famous Eight Songs for a Mad King, Maxwell Davies left his audiences wondering whether the king was mad or a madman was imagining himself to be king. With the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The City Musick

Who would have guessed that Igor Stravinsky’s only full-scale opera would have to wait nearly 40 years to be heard professionally in the city of its conception? Who would have guessed that it would be not Lyric Opera or Chicago Opera Theater that would mount it, but Chicago’s 18th-century orchestra, the City Musick? If this […]

Posted inMusic

The Barenboim Variations

DANIEL BARENBOIM at Orchestra Hall February 26 CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at Orchestra Hall March 2 Within a week of Daniel Barenboim’s first series of concerts as Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director designate last fall, he conducted two Brahms symphonies, the Brahms First Piano Concerto (with Radu Lupu), an orchestral arrangement of a Brahms clarinet sonata […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

When John Corigliano accepted the position of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first ever composer-in-residence three years ago, he expected to produce a large orchestral work here, although what form such a work might take was unclear to him. That was before Corigliano lost some of his dearest friends to AlDS, and before he saw the […]

Posted inMusic

Mozart Variations

THE CITY MUSICK at Saint Thomas the Apostle January 27 MUSIC OF THE BAROQUE at Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest February 23 It seems odd that only a few years ago Mozart was as far removed from the early-music movement as Stravinsky. Then period-instrument ensembles brought the old master to life, and suddenly the music […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Ensemble

George Crumb’s Powerful Vox Balaenae (“Voice of the Whale”), an unusual work inspired by the singing of the humpback whale, traces the evolution of the giant mammal–and mankind itself–through various geological ages. The players are required to wear black masks, and the setting is bathed in blue light. Among the work’s more interesting features are […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Samuel Ramey

Currently the ne plus ultra bass of the Western world, Samuel Ramey is best known to Chicago audiences for his many Lyric Opera portrayals; what recital singing he has done has been mostly at big-bucks Lyric Opera parties. Now the true diversity and musicianship of this extraordinary artist can be heard in a single afternoon […]