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Northwestern Music in February

Guitarist Alvaro Pierri and saxophonist Sherman Irby among guests

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January 30, 2013 | by Judy Moore
In his Chicago-area debut, Alvaro Pierri offers interpretations of works by Paganini, Ponce, and Ginastera. 

EVANSTON, ILL. --- The 2013 Segovia Classical Guitar Series opens with a Feb. 10 Bach recital by Hopkinson Smith followed by a Feb. 24 recital by world-renowned Uruguayan guitarist Alvaro Pierri.

Other program highlights presented by Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music include a Feb. 10 Alice Millar Birthday Concert; four performances of the Chicago-area premiere of the opera, “The Grapes of Wrath,” Feb. 22, Feb. 24, Feb. 28 and March 2; and a Feb. 26 concert featuring Jazz at Lincoln Center alto saxophone virtuoso Sherman Irby.

In addition, a Feb. 16 Kids Fare program devoted to wind-generated sounds and music, and a Feb. 23 master class for Bienen School chamber music students led by former Vermeer Quartet violinist Shmuel Ashkenazi, are scheduled.

All February programs listed below are open to the public. They take place on Northwestern’s Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place; Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road; or Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., as noted.

Construction alert

Due to construction on the south end of campus, Arts Circle Drive is currently closed to traffic. Free parking is still available on weekends and after 4 p.m. weekdays in the two-level lakefront structure located on Campus Drive. After turning onto Campus Drive from Sheridan Road, enter the parking structure on the right by way of ramps leading to the upper and lower levels. For vehicles with handicap placards, reserved spaces are available on weekends and after 4 p.m. weekdays in the lot directly west of Louis Hall. For more construction and parking information, visit www.pickstaiger.org/construction

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.

FEBRUARY 2013 EVENTS 

Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Mallory Thompson directs the Symphonic Wind Ensemble in a program featuring Henri Tomasi’s “Fanfares Liturgiques,” Joel Puckett’s “The Shadow of Sirius” featuring soloist and new Bienen School flute faculty member John Thorne, Wenzel Sedlak’s arrangement of Beethoven’s Overture to “Fidelio” and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s “Music for Winds.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, “Munich and Vienna,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Victor Yampolsky and graduate students Christopher Ramaekers and Chia-Hsuan Lin will conduct the orchestra in a program that features Wagner’s Prelude to “Die Meistersinger,” Zemlinsky’s Prelude to “Es War Einmal,” Strauss’ Symphonic Fantasy on “Die Frau ohne Schatten,” and Schoenberg’s arrangement of Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G Minor. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Directed by Donald Nally, the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble considers the seasons of our lives in a concert focused around Kaija Saariaho’s “Tag des Jahrs” (“Day of Years”). The program also features music of Pulitzer laureate David Lang and high-Renaissance French song master Claude Le Jeune. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs. 

Northwestern University Guitar Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, Lutkin Hall. Anne Waller directs the Northwestern University Guitar Ensemble in a program of works by Brouwer, Roux, Frescobaldi and Pujol. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Contemporary Music Ensemble, “Bang! A Tribute to Bang on a Can,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Directed by Timothy J. Robblee, the Contemporary Music Ensemble pays tribute to New York–based new music collective Bang on a Can with music by its founders David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Symphonic Band, “Reflections,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Directed by Timothy J. Robblee, Northwestern’s Symphonic Band opens the program with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky’s imagining of Henry Purcell’s “Funeral Music for Queen Mary.” Also featured are Dana Wilson’s “Day Dreams” and Ryan George’s “Firefly,” inspired by the workings of a child’s imagination. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Robert G. Hasty directs the orchestra in a program including Hugo Wolf’s “Kennst du das Land” and Brahms’ Serenade No. 1 in D Major. The program features soprano soloist Alison Wahl. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Segovia Classical Guitar Series/Hopkinson Smith, “A Bach Recital,” 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, Lutkin Hall. Acclaimed baroque and early music specialist Hopkinson Smith explores works by Bach, including his cello suites, through the voice of a German bass lute called a theorbo. Tickets are $18 for the general public and $12 for students with IDs.

Alice Millar Birthday Concert, 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, Alice Millar Chapel. Stephen Alltop directs a performance featuring Joseph Jongen’s “Symphonie Concertante” and Mozart’s “Coronation Mass.” Rounding out the program is Mozart’s aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te,” sung by soprano Alison Wahl with Stephen Alltop performing the solo piano part that Mozart originally played himself. Performers include organist Eric Budzynski, the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and soloists, and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. A freewill offering will be accepted.

Kids Fare, “Air Raid,” 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Experience the exciting and sometimes unexpected possibilities of adding air to a blade of grass, kazoo, harmonica, slide whistle, trombone, garden hose, flute, seashell, oboe reed, bassoon, horn, pan pipe, puckered lips, clarinet, tuba, and more. This musical tour of virtuosic wind-generated sounds and music is geared for children aged 3 to 8 and their families and friends. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for children.

Small Jazz Ensembles, “Music from ‘Round Midnight,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Conducted by Victor Goines, Northwestern jazz students perform their interpretations of music from the iconic 1986 film, starring tenor saxophone legend Dexter Gordon. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Gail Williams, horn, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, Lutkin Hall. Gail Williams is principal horn of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra and a faculty member of Swiss Brass Week in Leukerbad, Switzerland. A Charles Deering McCormick Professor at Northwestern, she holds an honor­ary doctorate from Ithaca College. Composer David Sampson will attend this recital, featuring the world premiere of his horn-violin-piano trio “What the Living Do,” writ­ten for Williams. Also on the program is Sampson’s quartet “Just Keep Moving” for horn, bass trombone, marimba and piano featuring violinist Joseph Genualdi, pianists Alan Chow and Rachael Kerr, bass trombonist Randall Hawes and percussionist She-e Wu. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Evening of Brass, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Directed by Gail Williams, this concert features Part II of “Ring for Brass,” a new arrange­ment of selections from Wagner’s “Ring” cycle by Bienen School faculty member, San Francisco Symphony principal trombonist Timothy Higgins and music by David Sampson. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Winter Opera, “The Grapes of Wrath,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28; and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2, Cahn Auditorium. Based on John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel, with a libretto by Tony Award nominee Michael Korie, the opera follows the Joad family from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to California in search of a better life. Gordon’s score evokes American popular music of the 1920s and 1930s, bringing new depth to this tale of hope in the face of despair. Guest baritone Robert Orth, who played Uncle John in the opera’s 2007 premiere, reprises his role in this production. The opera is directed by Michael M. Ehrman, conducted by Hal France and features the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for students with IDs.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Directed by Mallory Thompson, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble will perform Jacob Druckman’s “With Bells On”; Messiaen’s “Oiseaux exotiques” featuring piano soloist Rachael Kerr; Grundman’s arrangement of Bernstein’s “Candide” Suite; and Copland’s “Emblems.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Shmuel Ashkenasi Master Class, 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, Regenstein Recital Hall. Violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi has toured the former Soviet Union and performed throughout Europe, Israel, Asia and the United States. He has collaborated with Rudolf Serkin, Thomas Hampson, Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin and Menahem Pressler. As first violinist of the Vermeer Quartet, he earned a reputation as one of the world’s outstanding chamber musicians. Ashkenasi has been a faculty member at the Curtis Institute of Music since 2007. In this master class he coaches Bienen School of Music chamber music students. Admission is free.

Percussion Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. She-e Wu conducts the Percussion Ensemble in an evening of eclectic rhythms. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Segovia Classical Guitar Series, Alvaro Pierri, 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, Lutkin Hall. Pierri’s electrifying approach to the guitar has inspired commissions from world-renowned composers and collaborations with Astor Piazzolla, the Turtle Island String Quartet and others. In his Chicago-area debut, Pierri offers interpretations of works by Paganini, Ponce, Ginastera and more. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $12 for students with IDs.

University Singers, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Emily Ellsworth conducts the University Singers in a performance of diverse choral styles, with particular attention to French repertoire, featuring chansons (songs) and motets. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Sherman Irby, alto saxophone virtuoso and member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, brings his warm, soulful sound to the bandstand as he joins the Jazz Orchestra for a concert of his original music and arrangements of jazz classics. Irby will conduct the program as well as perform. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Women’s Chorus, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, Alice Millar Chapel. Jennifer Budziak conducts a Lenten concert featuring Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater” for women’s voices and string orchestra. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.