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Bienen School of Music 2008-09 Winter Chamber Music Festival Begins Dec. 7

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October 20, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Northwestern University Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music will present the 2008-09 Winter Chamber Music Festival, featuring internationally renowned musicians and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as Bienen School of Music faculty.

Directed by Bienen School of Music faculty member Blair Milton, a Chicago Symphony Orchestra member, the seven-concert series and accompanying special events begin Dec. 7 and conclude Jan. 25. All of the events are open to the public.

The 13th annual festival's highlights include the Guarneri String Quartet's final Chicago-area performance as well as performances by the Lincoln String Quartet, guest pianist Robert McDonald, the Cassatt Quartet with guest cellist Marc Johnson, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with guest sitarist Anoushka Shankar.

All of the festival's concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and take place in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, on the University's Evanston campus.

In addition to the concerts, there will be five free events during the festival that will be held at Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive, including two featuring the Guarneri String Quartet and three pre-concert discussions with festival artists called "The Performer's Perspective," each highlighting one of the pieces from the evening's repertoire.

The Guarneri String Quartet will retire from the concert stage at the end of the 2008-09 season, after 45 years of public performances. In their final Chicago-area appearance they will launch the Winter Chamber Music Festival Sunday, Dec. 7. The first concert of this year's series will feature Haydn's String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 74, No. 3, "The Rider"; Dvorak's String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 77 and Ravel's String Quartet in F Major. The Guarneri String Quartet is comprised of violinists Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley, violist Michael Tree and cellist Peter Wiley. Bienen School of Music faculty member and bassist Peter Lloyd will join the Guarneri Quartet for the performance of the Dvorak String Quintet. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $12 for full-time students with IDs.

The Evanston Chamber Ensemble and guest artists will perform Friday, Jan. 9. The program will include Bach's Sonata No. 2 for Viola da Gamba (Cello) and Harpsichord in D Major, Busoni's Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in E Minor and Brahms's Piano Quartet in G Minor. The ensemble is comprised of violinist Blair Milton, cellist Stephen Balderston and pianist Andrea Swan. Special guests this evening include Bienen School of Music faculty member and harpsichordist Stephen Alltop and violist Lawrence Neuman. Tickets are $22 for the general public; $20 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for full-time students with IDs.

The Lincoln String Quartet will perform Sunday, Jan. 11, in a program that will feature Schubert's String Quartet No. 13 in A Minor, Bartok's String Quartet No. 2 and Brahms' Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B Minor. The members of the Lincoln String Quartet are violinists Qing Hou and Akiko Tarumoto, violist Lawrence Neuman and cellist Brant Taylor. Bienen School of Music faculty member and clarinetist Steven Cohen will join the Lincoln Quartet for the Brahms Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B Minor. Tickets are $22 for the general public; $20 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for full-time students with IDs.

The Cassatt Quartet and cellist Marc Johnson will perform Friday, Jan. 16. Selections will include Dvorak's String Quartet No. 14 in A-flat Major and Schubert's String Quintet in C Major. The Cassatt Quartet includes violinists Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violist Michiko Oshima and cellist Nicole Johnson. Marc Johnson joins the Cassatt Quartet in the Schubert String Quintet. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $12 for full-time students with IDs.

Violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, cellist Marc Johnson and pianist Andrea Swan will perform Sunday, Jan. 18. The program will include Martinu's Duo for Violin and Cello, Rachmaninoff's Sonata in G Minor and Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor. Tickets are $22 for the general public; $20 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for full-time students with IDs.

A variety of artists will perform Friday, Jan. 23. They include pianists James Giles and Juilliard Professor Robert McDonald, violinists Joseph Genualdi and Gerardo Ribeiro, violist Catherine Brubaker, cellist Stephen Balderston, bassist Michael Hovnanian, clarinetist Steven Cohen, bassoonist Christopher Millard and hornist Gail Williams. The program will feature Brahms' Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano in E-flat Major, Bartok's Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano and Beethoven's Septet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon in E-flat Major. Tickets are $22 for the general public; $20 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for full-time students with IDs.

The final concert of the 2008-09 Winter Chamber Music Festival takes place Sunday, Jan. 25. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will perform Mozart's Zwischenakt Musik from "Thamos,"
Kodaly's "Summer Evening" and Haydn's Symphony No. 99 in E-flat Major. Guest sitarist Anoushka Shankar will join the ensemble for the performance of her father, Ravi Shankar's composition, Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra. Tickets are $30 for the general public; $26 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $14 for full-time students with IDs.

All of the five special events listed below will be held at Regenstein Recital Hall. They are free and open to the public.

• The Guarneri String Quartet will give a two-hour master class to pre-selected Bienen School of Music string students at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 7.

• "A Conversation with the Guarneri String Quartet" will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7. The Guarneri String Quartet will retire from the concert stage at the end of the 2008-09 season, after 45 years of public performances. This event provides a unique opportunity for conversation and reminiscences with this esteemed ensemble in an intimate setting.

• Cellist Stephen Balderston will present the first of three, 45-minute pre-concert discussions at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9. The topic of his talk will be Bach's Cello-Harpsichord Sonatas, which will be on that evening's program.

• Cellist Marc Johnson will speak on the Schubert String Quintet in C Major at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, which will be featured on that evening's program.

• Hornist Gail Williams will speak on the Brahms Horn Trio at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, which will be featured on that evening's program.

Subscription prices for this year's seven-concert series, which includes prime reserved seating and a savings of up to 15 percent off single-ticket prices, are $140 for the general public; $130 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $64 for full-time students with IDs. The new subscriber deadline is Nov. 6, and single tickets go on sale Nov. 10.

To order tickets or for more information, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000 or visit http://www.pickstaiger.org.