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Northwestern Greets Spring With Music Festival March 31 to April 10

Celebration includes six concerts, a free discussion and free master classes led by top artists

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February 25, 2010 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The two-time Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet as well as pianist and National Public Radio host Christopher O’Riley are among the leading ensembles and artists who will perform at Northwestern University during the “Celebration! Stolen Moments – Hidden Gems” Spring Festival.

The Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music’s diverse March 31 to April 10 music festival also will feature Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings with guest vocalist Heather Masse, of the Juno Award-winning Canadian folk group The Wailin’ Jennys; Brazilian-born brother guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad and friends; steel drum masters Andy Narell and Liam Teague; and The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, directed by trumpeter Jon Faddis, performing a new musical tribute to Benny Goodman composed by Victor Goines, Northwestern’s director of jazz studies.

All of the events are open to the public and will take place on the Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, or Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive, as noted.

The festival will include jazz, chamber music, pop, rhythm and blues, bluegrass, folk, classical, Middle Eastern, Latin, Caribbean, rock, be-bop and swing.

In addition to six ticketed concerts, music lovers may attend a free discussion (March 31) presented by members of the Turtle Island string group and several free master classes led by Christopher O’Riley (April 1), members of the Republic of Strings (April 2) and Andy Narell (April 8).

“Celebration! Stolen Moments – Hidden Gems” is made possible in part with the generous support of Alex and Liz Rorke. The Spring Music Festival events include:

• Turtle Island Quartet concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The quartet, comprised of violinists David Balakrishnan and Mads Tolling, violist Jeremy Kittel and cellist Mark Summer, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a blend of traditional chamber music with influences from a wide variety of genres. Jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut and mandolinist Mike Marshall will join the group on stage. Tickets are $18 for the general public; $15 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $8 for students with valid IDs.

• Discussion with the Turtle Island Quartet from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Turtle Island members will share performance insights and reminiscences with Bienen School of Music students and the public during this admission-free event.

• “Out of My Hands” concert by pianist Christopher O’Riley at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 2, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. O’Riley, the host of National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” will perform and discuss his arrangements of music by Nirvana, Portishead, Pink Floyd, R.E.M., Tears for Fears, Radiohead and other groups from his new recording, “Out of My Hands.”  This concert is made possible in part by the Allan R. and Ellen Drebin Opportunities Fund. Tickets are $18 for the general public; $15 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $8 for students with valid IDs.

• Piano master class by Christopher O’Riley from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 1, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall’s Rehearsal Room. O’Riley will coach pre-selected piano students from the Bienen School of Music during this two-hour admission-free event.

• Concert by Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings featuring special guest vocalist Heather Masse at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 3, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The Republic of Strings is comprised of violin and viola virtuoso Darol Anger, cellist Mike Block, guitarist Scott Law and violinist/violist Lauren Rioux. The group’s arrangements embrace pop, jazz, rhythm and blues, bluegrass and classical music. Vocalist Heather Masse is a member of the Juno Award-winning Canadian folk group The Wailin’ Jennys. Tickets are $18 for the general public; $15 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $8 for students with valid IDs.

• Master class by the Republic of Strings from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Friday, April 2, in Regenstein Recital Hall. Members of the ensemble will coach pre-selected string students from the Bienen School of Music during this two-hour admission-free event.

• The Assads and Friends: “De Volta As Raizes” (“Back to Our Roots”) concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The program will celebrate the musical legacy of the Assads’ Lebanese ancestry. Percussionist Jamey Haddad, Lebanese superstar vocalist Christiane Karam and pianist and vocalist Clarice Assad will join Brazilian-born guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad on stage. Together they will explore the rhythmic connections between Brazilian and Middle Eastern music. The concert is part of the Segovia Classical Guitar Series, supported in part by the Chicago Classical Guitar Society. Tickets are $26 for the general public; $22 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for students with valid IDs.

• “Steeling Music” concert featuring Andy Narell, She-e Wu and Liam Teague with the Northwestern University Percussion Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 9, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Andy Narell, a Paris-based steelpan artist, has performed worldwide with the Kronos Quartet, Aretha Franklin, Paquito D’Rivera, Bela Fleck, Tito Puente and the Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra. Narell will be joined on stage by Northwestern percussion professor She-e Wu, steel drum master Liam Teague and the award-winning Northwestern Percussion Ensemble. Teague, a winner of the National Steelband Festival Solo Championship of Trinidad and Tobago, is assistant professor of steelpan studies at Northern Illinois University. Tickets are $14 for the general public; $10 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $6 for students with valid IDs.

• Master class led by steelpan artist Andy Narell from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in Regenstein Recital Hall. Narell will share his insights on performance techniques with pre-selected percussion students from the Bienen School of Music. “Steel drums” or “steelpans” were originally fashioned from 55-gallon oil drums in Trinidad in the 1940s. Today these steel or chrome percussion instruments are dented and bent to produce different pitches and provide rhythmic accompaniment for calypso and other popular music. Admission is free.

• Concert by The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, featuring Jon Faddis and Victor Goines at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The Bienen School’s “Celebration!” festival concludes with a performance by The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, led by trumpeter Jon Faddis. The ensemble will perform Duke Ellington’s jazz symphony “Black, Brown and Beige.” The program will feature “Benny: Then, Now, Forever!” a new work by Victor Goines, Northwestern’s director of jazz studies, that honors the legendary jazz clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman. Goines, a clarinetist and saxophonist, will play his new composition. Tickets are $18 for the general public; $15 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $8 for students with valid IDs.

Patrons who purchase tickets for three or more festival concerts will receive a 15 percent discount. For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit www.pickstaiger.org. To order tickets by phone, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000.
Topics: Campus Life