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Choral/Collaborative Programs Celebrate Spring With Song

Bienen School concerts include U.S. and local premieres of works by top composers

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April 17, 2013 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The American premiere of a composition by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang is one of the many choral and collaborative performances taking place on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus this spring. The season features compositions by classical music visionary Benjamin Britten, Grammy Award winner Jennifer Higdon and Estonian new-music composer Toivo Tulev.

Presented by the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and open to the public, the events take place on the University’s Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive or Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, as noted.

Donald Nally conducts the University Chorale in “The ‘I’ of Love, Yesterday and Today” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 12, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. This Mother’s Day concert juxtaposes English Renaissance and contemporary views on love, as expressed in classic Elizabethan madrigals by John Wilbye, Thomas Morley, John Bennet and John Farmer. The program includes minimalist works by Pulitzer laure­ate David Lang. Lang’s work “I never” will receive its American premiere at this concert. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

Stephen Alltop will conduct Bach’s “Easter Oratorio” at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 19, in the Alice Millar Spring Festival concert at Alice Millar Chapel. This work showcases the energy of combined voices, trumpets, oboes, timpani and strings. Also featured are Eric Whitacre’s new “Alleluia” and music for solo organ and baroque orchestra. A freewill offering will be collected.

Emily Ellsworth will conduct the University Singers in works by two 20th-century luminaries. “Britten and Bernstein” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 20, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Benjamin Britten was central to British classical music and composed in multiple genres, from film scores to opera. Leonard Bernstein, long-time music director of the New York Philharmonic, was one of the first American conductors to receive international renown. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

• Donald Nally and Timothy J. Robblee will conduct the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Contemporary Music Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 31, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. This collaboration of Northwestern’s two new-music ensembles introduces Estonian composer Toivo Tulev’s works to our community through his “Songs,” a nine-movement work based on the “Song of Solomon.” At once lush and sparse, rich and languid, the “Songs” are a virtuo­sic journey for choir and three small orchestras. The program includes two works by British liturgical composer Gabriel Jackson, which reach eastward through texts by a 10th-century Sufi mystic (“Now I have known, O Lord”) and a 21st-century Estonian poet (“A ship with unfurled sails”). Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

Victor Yampolsky will conduct the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra and University Chorale in a program titled “American Explorer” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Repertoire includes Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Serenade to Music,” Howard Hanson’s “Song of Democracy” and Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon’s “Singing Rooms,” featuring violinist Charlotte Malin. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students.

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

Topics: Campus Life