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Northwestern Music in May

U.S. premiere of Blackford’s 9/11 oratorio highlight of May 27 Millennium Park Concert

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April 19, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- May is a busy month for music at Northwestern University.

The highlight of the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music’s May 27 Millennium Park Concert will be the national premiere of Richard Blackford’s oratorio “Not in Our Time,” a work that commemorates 9/11.

The free, outdoor performance will take place on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in downtown Chicago. The program will feature Northwestern’s Symphony Orchestra and University Chorus, Britain’s Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and alumni soloists, including tenor Harold Brock and bass-baritone David Govertsen.

Other music events will include a May 7 concert by the JACK Quartet, a young string ensemble that commissions and performs new works; Alice Millar Chapel’s May 13 Spring Festival Concert; and Northwestern University Opera Theatre’s May 17 to 20 production of Benjamin Britten’s light-hearted chamber opera “Albert Herring.”

All programs listed below are open to the public. They take place on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive; Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place; Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road; Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St.; or in Chicago at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E. Randolph St., as noted.

Ticket prices are indicated in two ranges: the first for the general public and the second for full-time students with IDs. Northwestern faculty and staff with a valid WildCARD ID receive a 15 percent discount off the general public ticket price.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit the Pick-Staiger website at www.pickstaiger.org. To order tickets, call the Pick-Staiger ticket office at (847) 467-4000 or visit www.pickstaiger.org.

MAY 2012

Student Advisory Board Movie Music Concert, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 3, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Deanna Tham, Tong Chen and Guillermo Munoz Kuster will direct an evening of music from popular film scores, performed by students from Northwestern and other Chicago-area music outreach programs. Admission is free.

Baroque Music Ensemble, Handel’s “Alexander’s Feast,” 7 p.m. Friday, May 4, Alice Millar Chapel. Directed by Stephen Alltop, the Baroque Music Ensemble will present one of Handel’s most festive oratorios. Based on John Dryden’s ode “Alexander’s Feast, or The Power of Music,” Handel’s setting soars with arias, choruses and instrumental concertos. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Keyboard Conversations, “A Musical Love Triangle -- Robert, Clara and Johannes,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Pianist Jeffery Siegel will perform music of Clara Wieck Schumann, inspired by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, and music of Brahms and Schumann inspired by Clara. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $16 for students with valid IDs. 

Shmuel Ashkenasi Chamber Music Master Class, 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Rehearsal Room. Award-winning violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston, Chicago and National symphonies and the Berlin, Hamburg and Rotterdam orchestras. As a member of the Vermeer Quartet, Ashkenasi was nominated three times for a Grammy Award. He is on the faculties of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. May 5, he will coach Bienen School chamber music students. Admission is free.  Patrons should use the Pick-Staiger ticket office entrance on the south side of the building.

Symphonic Band, “Let’s Dance,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Directed by Timothy J. Robblee, the performance will feature Bjork’s “Dancer in the Dark,” Mason Bates’ “Rusty Air in Carolina,” Cindy McTee’s “Ballet” and Warren Benson’s “Solitary Dancer.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Miriam Fried Violin Master Class, 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, Lutkin Hall. A recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician as well as artistic director of Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Fried has performed with the Boston and Chicago symphonies, the Berlin, BBC, St. Petersburg and Czech philharmonics, and the Orchestre de Paris. She will coach violin students from the Bienen School of Music. Admission is free.

Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra, “Swingin’ in Spring,” 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Under the direction of Victor Goines, faculty and students from the Bienen School’s jazz studies program will perform their own arrangements and original compositions. The concert will feature familiar classics re-imagined and future standards performed for the first time. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

JACK Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, Regenstein Recital Hall. Named for the first initials of its member’s first names -- violist John Pickford Richards, violinists Ari Streisfeld and Christopher Otto and cellist Kevin McFarland -- the JACK Quartet will perform Georg Friedrich Haas’ String Quartet No. 5, Allain Gaussin’s “Chakra,” the U.S. premiere of a new work by Simon Steen-Andersen and Helmut Lachenmann’s “Gran Torso.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Honors Chamber Recital, 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, Lutkin Hall. Northwestern’s second annual Honors Chamber Recital will feature the next generation of chamber musicians. Students from the Bienen School’s diverse programs of study will perform the music of a wide range of composers. Admission is free. 

Korey Konkol Viola Master Class, 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, Regenstein Recital Hall. Violist Korey Konkol has performed throughout the world and is a frequent guest of the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Konkol has also served as principal violist with the Ann Arbor, Peoria and Knox-Galesburg Symphony orchestras. He will coach Bienen School of Music viola students. Admission is free.

Northwestern University Flute Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, Regenstein Recital Hall. Walfrid Kujala will conduct an evening of popular music from around the world plus recent works by Catherine McMichael and Lawrence Ink. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Percussion Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The Bienen School of Music’s She-e Wu, associate professor of percussion, will conduct an evening of eclectic rhythms. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, “American Explorer,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 11, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Victor Yampolsky will conduct a program that includes Jennifer Higdon’s “blue cathedral,” Kenneth Fuchs’  “Canticle to the Sun” featuring horn soloist Gail Williams, and Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

Thaviu-Isaak Endowed Piano Scholarship Competition, 3 p.m. Saturday, May 12, Lutkin Hall. This annual competition features piano students nominated by Bienen School of Music piano faculty. Honoring the school’s late professors Samuel Thaviu and Donald Isaak, the scholarship is the Northwestern piano program’s most prestigious honor. Admission is free.

Samuel and Elinor Thaviu Endowed Scholarship Competition in String Performance, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 13, Lutkin Hall. Top Northwestern string students will perform in this prestigious competition honoring the late Samuel Thaviu, a longtime Bienen School of Music violin professor. Admission is free.

Alice Millar Spring Festival Concert, 7 p.m. Sunday, May 13, Alice Millar Chapel. This year’s Spring Festival Concert, conducted by Stephen Alltop, will contrast two choral masterworks -- Faure’s “Requiem” and Handel’s “Utrecht Te Deum.” “Requiem,” for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus and small orchestra, is considered among the loveliest and most tender settings of ancient texts. “Te Deum,” Handel’s first royal commission in England, celebrates the Peace of Utrecht in 1713. The program will feature organ soloist Eric Budzynski and the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and soloists. Admission is a freewill offering.

Tong Weidong Violin Master Class, 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 14, Regenstein Recital Hall. Tong Weidong is associate professor and chief executive of the Violin and Viola Teaching and Research Office at the Beijing Central Conservatory. The 1984 winner of China’s second National Youth Violin Competition, today many of his students win awards in national and international violin competitions. He performs throughout the world as a soloist and chamber musician. In this master class, he will coach Bienen School violinists. Admission is free.

Spring Opera, Benjamin Britten’s “Albert Herring,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17; Friday, May 18; Saturday, May 19; 3 p.m. Sunday, May 20. Cahn Auditorium. Britten’s inventive setting of Eric Crozier’s libretto highlights this lighthearted satire of English country life in 1900. When none of the local girls are considered pure enough to be elected Queen of the May, a reticent young grocery clerk, Albert Herring, is chosen May King, with riotous results. Michael M. Ehrman will stage the production, with music direction by Christopher Zemliauskas and assistant music director Chris Ramaekers. Sung in English, it will be performed by Bienen School undergraduate and graduate voice students and feature members of the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for students with valid IDs.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Mallory Thompson will conduct a performance that includes Lawrence T. Odom’s arrangement of John Adams’ “A Short Ride in a Fast Machine”; Erik Sarras’ arrangement of Carl Nielsen’s “Andante Pastorale” from Symphony No. 3, “Sinfonia Espansiva”; Kevin Puts’ “Millennium Canons”; and Karel Husa’s “Music for Prague.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Concert Band, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 20, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Daniel J. Farris will conduct a program of band standards performed by students from across the Northwestern campus. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Northwestern University Guitar Ensemble, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 20, Lutkin Hall. Anne Waller will conduct a program of guitar works by Bach, Mertz, Henze and Turina for solo and duo guitar, quartet and guitar ensemble. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Evening of Brass, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Gail Williams will conduct a program of works composed, transcribed and arranged for brass ensemble. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

University Singers, “A Jubilant Song,” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, Alice Millar Chapel. Robert A. Boyd will conduct a program featuring Norman Dello Joio’s “A Jubliant Song” as well as choral works by John Rutter, Franz Biebl and Benjamin Britten. Pianist Jerad Mosbey will accompany the ensemble. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Contemporary Music Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Timothy J. Robblee will conduct a concert highlighting the work of John Luther Adams, the 2010 winner of the Bienen School of Music’s $100,000 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Small Jazz Ensembles, “We Must Protect the Groove,“ 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, Regenstein Recital Hall. Victor Goines will conduct an evening of combo jazz featuring original compositions by Bienen School students that highlight top jazz musicians’ commitment to keeping the groove alive and steady. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Philharmonia, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Robert G. Hasty will conduct a performance that includes Wagner’s Overture to “The Flying Dutchman,” Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat Major featuring horn soloist Matthew Oliphant and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 in D Minor. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Millennium Park Concert, U.S. Premiere of Richard Blackford’s “Not in Our Time,” 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 27, Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Blackford’s oratorio “Not in Our Time” commemorates 9/11, with a libretto including speeches and poems on holy war and divinely sanctioned violence, from the First Crusade to Sept. 11. Opening and closing with words by the two most recent American presidents, this powerful work presents a message of hope for peace between cultures and faiths. This performance also features selections from “Gloria,” a work for soprano solo, chorus, and orchestra by retiring Bienen School faculty member Robert A. Harris, who will conduct the concert. The program features on- and off-campus musical groups, including the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra and University Chorus, Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and alumni soloists, including tenor Harold Brock and bass-baritone David Govertsen. Admission is free.

Lars Mlekusch Lecture, 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 29, Regenstein Recital Hall. A graduate of Switzerland’s Basel Conservatory and Northwestern University, saxophonist Mlekusch specializes in contemporary music. Admission is free.

Lars Mlekusch Saxophone Master Class, 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, Regenstein Recital Hall. Mlekusch will coach saxophone students from the Bienen School of Music.

Lars Mlekusch Saxophone Recital, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, Regenstein Recital Hall. Lars Mlekusch is a graduate of Switzerland’s Basel Conservatory, where he studied with saxophonist Marcus Weiss, and Northwestern University, where he studied with Frederick L. Hemke. A contemporary music specialist, he has performed numerous world premieres and, since 2005, has served as professor of saxophone and chamber music at the City of Vienna University. Admission is free.

Jeremy Denk Piano Master Class, 1 p.m. Thursday, May 31, Lutkin Hall. Pianist Jeremy Denk has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and London Philharmonia. This season he made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He will soon perform at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and return to the San Francisco Symphony for the American Mavericks Festival. In this master class, he will coach Bienen School piano students. Admission is free.

Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Robert G. Hasty will conduct a program that includes Walter Piston’s  “Serenata”; Alex Temple’s “Liebeslied”; Jonah Blum’s arrangements of selections from Gershwin’s  “Porgy and Bess” featuring saxophone soloist and faculty member Frederick L. Hemke; and Copland’s “Music for the Theatre.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.