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Institute for New Music Pays Tribute to Ned Rorem

Oct. 10-11 festival offers concerts, lectures and readings

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September 24, 2013 | by Judy Moore
The Institute for New Music at Northwestern University’s season opens with “Ned@90,” a two-day 90th birthday tribute to composer and alumnus Ned Rorem.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A two-day celebration of composer Ned Rorem’s 90th birthday, a guest conducting appearance by Alarm Will Sound co-founder Alan Pierson and performances by Ensemble Recherche are among the Institute for New Music’s fall season offerings. All will be presented by Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

The Institute for New Music was established at Northwestern in 2012 to serve as a physical, intellectual and performance hub for 20th- and 21st-century art and popular music. It is co-directed by Bienen School faculty members Hans Thomalla and Timothy McAllister.

The Institute’s season opens with “Ned@90,” a 90th birthday tribute to composer and Northwestern alumnus Ned Rorem. Hailed by Time magazine as “the world’s best composer of art songs,” Rorem also composed three symphonies, four piano concertos and numerous orchestral, chamber and choral works. He is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and an ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award.

Institute for New Music Fall 2013 events

Events below take place on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive and Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place, as noted.

  • Ned@90” celebration opening concert, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The performance features the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, conducted by Donald Nally; pianists James Giles, Sylvia Wang and Elizabeth Buccheri; clarinetist Steven Cohen; soprano Amanda DeBoer; baritone W. Stephen Smith; violinist Gerardo Ribeiro; and cellist Nicholas Photinos. The program highlights Rorem works and includes three movements from “Letters from Paris,” “Recalling,” “Ariel: Five Poems of Sylvia Plath” and “Aftermath.” Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for full-time students with valid IDs.
  • “Ned@90” Composer Roundtable, “Reflections on the Artist, Responses to the Teacher,” 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in Lutkin Hall. This roundtable discussion of Rorem’s legacy features Bienen School faculty and special guest composers, including Roshanne Etezady, University of Illinois-Chicago; David Ludwig, Curtis Institute of Music; and Marcus Maroney, Moores School of Music, University of Houston. Admission is free.
  • “Ned@90” celebration closing concert, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Performers include the brass members of the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mallory Thompson; flutist John Thorne; pianists James Giles and Kathryn Goodson; trumpeter Robert Sullivan; saxophonist Timothy McAllister; and the Civitas Ensemble, a chamber group comprised of Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist Yuan-Qing Yu, clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom, cellist Kenneth Olsen and pianist Winston Choi. The program features Rorem’s “Solemn Prelude,” “Four Prayers,” “Cries and Whispers,” “Picnic on the Marne” and “Nine Episodes for Four Players.” Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for full-time students with IDs.
  • Alan Pierson guest conducts Northwestern’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The program features Schoenberg’s “Kammersimphonie,” John Adams’ “Chamber Symphony” and more. Pierson, artistic director and cofounder of the contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, regularly collaborates with artists Yo-Yo Ma, Steve Reich, Dawn Upshaw, Osvaldo Golijov and John Adams. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for full-time students with IDs.
  • Freiburg, Germany-based Ensemble Recherche begins its Institute for New Music residency with a 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 concert in Lutkin Hall. Founded in 1985, the nine-member ensemble has premiered more than 500 works by composers, including Wolfgang Rihm, Hector Parra, Brice Pauset and Gerard Pesson. Their program includes “Allegro sostenuto” by Helmut Lachenmann, “Nach-Ruf … ent-gleitend” by Georg Friedrich Haas and the U.S. premiere of “Liber Scintillarum” by Brian Ferneyhough. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for full-time students with IDs.
  • Ensemble Recherche concludes its residency with a performance of world premieres by Bienen School graduate student composers at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Lutkin Hall. Admission is free.

Tickets for the above events may be purchased by phone at (847) 467-4000 or online. For more information, visit the Institute for New Music or Pick Staiger.

Topics: Campus Life