Chicago’s rich vein of ensembles to provide musical adventure in 2012-13

Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 3:45 pm

By Wynne Delacoma

Anna Netrebko will make her belated Chicago debut in March performances of Puccini’s “La Boheme” at Lyric Opera.

Chicago’s classical music season starts out a bit oddly this year. Lyric Opera of Chicago’s annual free concert in Millennium Park is Sept. 8, but the subscription season at the Civic Opera House doesn’t open until Oct. 6. Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra launch their 2012-13 Symphony Center season with a set of subscription concerts and a gala concert Sept. 20-28. Then they promptly jet off to open Carnegie Hall’s new season Oct. 4-5 and play their debut performances in Mexico Oct. 8-10.

Chicago Opera Theater’s new, English-language production of The Magic Flute Sept. 15-23 at the Harris Theater is actually the final concert of their 2012 season. Now headed by Andreas Mitisek who succeeded Brian Dickie as general director in July, the company will return in February 2013 to begin a full season of three operas running through September.

Oddities of scheduling aside, the coming season has several enticing possibilities. Neither Lyric nor the CSO is breaking new ground in terms of repertoire during their subscription seasons. (Lyric’s production of Oklahoma! next May is a single, post-season offering.) But opera fans will appreciate the star power of such singers as Christine Goerke, making her company debut in Richard Strauss’s Elektra, and longtime Lyric favorite Thomas Hampson in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.

The CSO has some big events on tap, beginning with a free performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana Sept. 21 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in downtown’s Millennium Park. (In September 2010, 25,000 people crowded the park to hear Muti’s first concert as CSO music director.) Other CSO blockbusters at Symphony Center include Bernard Haitink conducting Beethoven’s Missa solemnis Oct. 25-27, Esa-Pekka Salonen leading Act 2 of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde Feb. 21-23 and Muti and the CSO in the Bach Mass in B minor April 11-16.

Ensembles are celebrating all kinds of anniversaries. The Dame Myra Hess Concerts, a free, noontime chamber music series held each Wednesday in the Cultural Center downtown, turns 35. Bella Voce, one of Chicago’s finest a cappella groups, came close to losing its voice permanently in spring 2005 due to financial difficulties. But the ensemble quickly regrouped and will observe its 30th anniversary this year. Chicago Sinfonietta and the steadfast new music group, CUBE, both hit 25 this season. Chicago a cappella and the Orion Ensemble move into their 20th seasons, and Jane Glover, Music of the Baroque’s high-energy music director, celebrates 10 years with the ensemble. Chicago Chamber Musicians will offer a Debussy immersion in honor of the composer’s 150 birthday year. And imaginative programs from the city’s burgeoning number of small contemporary groups such as Fifth House Ensemble and Ensemble dal niente are adding spice and edge to the musical mix.

Following is a sampling of the upcoming music season.

At the CSO (, Riccardo Muti will be in Chicago for 10 weeks, leading concerts Jan. 10-19, April 25-27 and June 6-23 in addition to the season openers in September and the B-minor mass in mid-April. His repertoire is mainstream, heavy on Beethoven with Dvorak, Respighi, Wagner and Verdi on the schedule along with Mozart and Vivaldi.

Bernard Haitink will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” October 25-27.

Haitink, the CSO’s beloved former principal conductor, leads an all-Brahms program Oct. 18-20 in addition to the Missa solemnis the following week. If all goes well, Pierre Boulez, conductor emeritus, will be on the podium Mar. 7-16 with two sets of programs including works by Debussy, Wagner, Mahler and Messiaen. (Now 87, he had to cancel appearances last season due to illness.) Michael Barenboim, son of former CSO music director Daniel Barenboim, will be soloist in the Schoenberg Violin Concerto with Boulez and the CSO Mar. 14-16.

Among the CSO’s other guest conductors are Sir Mark Elder Nov. 29-Dec. 2 and Feb. 15-19, Charles Dutoit Nov. 8-17 and Jaap van Zweden May 30-June 4. Yo-Yo Ma will be soloist with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the CSO Feb. 28-Mar. 2 in Witold Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto.

At Lyric Opera (, in addition to Elektra Oct. 6-30, audiences will see new productions of Massenet’s Werther Nov. 11-26, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg Feb. 8-Mar. 3 and a production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale Nov. 25-Dec. 15 owned by the Dallas Opera. In place of Lyric’s lovely but well-worn Hemphill production of La Boheme, the company is borrowing a staging from the San Francisco Opera for performances Jan. 21-Mar. 28.

In addition to Boccanegra Oct. 15-Nov. 9, revivals include Hansel and Gretel Dec. 7-Jan. 19 and Verdi’s Rigoletto Feb. 25-Mar. 30.

Superstar Anna Netrebko makes her much-belated Lyric debut as Mimi in the five March performances of La Boheme. Other stars include Matthew Polenzani as Werther and James Morris as Hans Sachs and Johan Botha as Walther von Stolzing in Meistersinger. Lyric’s music director, Sir Anthony Davis, conducts Elektra, Boccanegra, Werther and Meistersinger. Following the success of last season’s sparkling production of Jerome Kern’s Show Boat, Lyric will present 12 non-subscription performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! directed by Gary Griffin May 4-19.

For his second season as Lyric’s general director, Anthony Freud is luring subscribers with special offers. Subscribers will have first dibs on Netrebko’s La Boheme performances. They also have exclusive access to four semi-staged performances of Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire Mar. 26-Apr. 6. Renee Fleming, Lyric’s creative consultant, will reprise her role as Blanche DuBois in this Chicago premiere. Fleming also will team up with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham for a recital Jan. 24 at the Civic Opera House.

Jane Glover will mark her tenth anniversary as music director of Music of the Baroque this season.

Music of the Baroque ( is celebrating Glover’s 10th anniversary with two major choral works: Handel’s Israel in Egypt Apr. 7-8 and Bach’s St. John Passion May 19-20. The rest of the ensemble’s 42nd season includes Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass Oct. 5 and 7 and an all-Mozart program with soprano Arianna Zukerman and pianist Vladimir Feltsman Jan. 25 and 27, both programs conducted by Glover. MOB’s Principal Guest Conductor Nicholas Kraemer leads two orchestral programs, one devoted to Bach Nov. 18-19, the other including suites from Handel’s Water Music Feb. 22 and 24.

After a policy change at Evanston’s First United Methodist Church, Music of the Baroque will be moving to other North Shore locales after 30 years at the church. MOB will divide its North Shore concerts between the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie and First Presbyterian Church in Evanston. All programs except the annual Holiday Brass & Choral Concerts Dec. 13-16 will also be given at the Harris Theater in Chicago.

Sir Georg Solti, charismatic music director of the CSO from 1969 to 1991, was born in Budapest on Oct. 21, 1912. To honor what would have been his 100th birthday, the Symphony Center Presents series ( has scheduled an Oct. 21 performance of the World Orchestra for Peace, which Solti founded in 1995. Big-name stars top the orchestra’s bill: Valery Gergiev conducts the ensemble drawn from orchestras around the world, and soloists include soprano Angela Gheorghiu and bass Rene Pape. Alumni from the Solti Accademia di Bel Canto in Italy and the Solti Foundation US will also perform. Lady Valerie Solti, the conductor’s widow, will be master of ceremonies.

Symphony Center Presents’ Piano Series offers several opportunities for complete immersion this season. Among the 10 pianists on the schedule, Andras Schiff will perform Book 1 of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Nov. 4, Paul Lewis completes his three-season overview of Schubert with the Sonatas D. 958-960 Mar. 3 and Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays Books 1 and 2 of Debussy’s Preludes Apr. 7. In honor of Wagner’s 200th birthday in 2013, Louis Lortie performs transcriptions from Wagner operas by Liszt and others Jan. 20. The Sunday afternoon series also includes Murray Perahia Oct. 14, Angela Hewitt Feb. 10, Evgeny Kissin Apr. 28, Jorge Federico Osorio May 5 and Marc-Andre Hamelin May 19. The 23-year-old German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Off makes her Symphony Center debut June 2.

On the Symphony Center Presents chamber series, the Emerson String Quartet explores Wagner’s influence in a program including Berg’s Lyric Suite and Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht Apr. 10. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein gives her first Symphony Center recital Oct. 28 and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter gives a solo recital with pianist Lambert Orkis Mar. 10.

While contemporary music is conspicuously missing on the CSO’s 2012-13 schedule, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra brings works by John Cage, Toru Takemitsu and John Luther Adams as well as Aaron Copland to its Symphony Center Presents concert Apr. 21. Other Symphony Center Presents concerts include Esa-Pekka Salonen and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra Nov. 7, the Staatskapelle Dresden Apr. 14 and chamber music with Yo-Yo Ma and CSO members May 15.

Pianist Alice Sara Ott will make her Chicago debut June 2 at Symphony Center.

Since its founding in 1995, Alan Heatherington’s Ars Viva chamber orchestra ( has been the go-to orchestra for audiences looking for imaginative programming and first-class technical polish. Working with a core group that includes current and former CSO members, Heatherington has a knack for mixing standard repertoire with rarely heard, but attractive 19th and 20th pieces. This season includes several works by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose 140th birthday is Oct. 12. Concerts are Sept. 23, Nov. 4, Jan. 13, Mar. 3 and Apr. 28 in the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.

Now under the ebullient command of its new music director, Mei-Ann Chen, the Chicago Sinfonietta ( celebrates its 25th season with five sets of concerts in Naperville’s Wentz Concert Hall and, in Chicago, at the Harris Theater or Symphony Center. As usual with the Sinfonietta, the repertoire will blend genres, bringing pop-influenced young players and world musicians to perform alongside Sinfonietta members. Brooklyn’s Project Trio, composed of flute, cello and bass, will be the guests Sept. 29-Oct. 1 while bandoneon artist Raul Jaurena will be featured on Day of the Dead concerts Nov. 1-2. The annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will include The Oak by African-American composer Florence Price and Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with former Chicagoan Anthony McGill Jan. 20-21. Concerts devoted to the Arab Spring Apr. 19-20 feature the Overture to Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio and a concerto for the oud, a kind of Middle Eastern lute, by Simon Shaheen. The season closes June 8-9 with a look at city life. Repertoire includes a world premiere, ChiScape, with each of its four movements written by a different composer. Jennifer Higdon’s City Scape: river sings a song to trees, an arrangement of Duke Ellington’s Harlem and an excerpt from Michael Daugherty’s Metropolis Symphony are also on the bill.

Guest conductors are the big news this season for the Chicago Philharmonic (, founded in 1988 by a core of Lyric Opera orchestra players. Alex Klein, the CSO’s distinguished former principal oboe who resigned in 2004 because of focal dystonia affecting his left hand, returns to Chicago to open the Philharmonic’s four-concert season Sept. 30. The repertoire will feature works from Brazil, Klein’s native land and current home base. Brazilian pianist Arnaldo Cohen will be soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Joel Smirnoff, former first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, will conduct a program of Mozart and Beethoven Nov. 4. David Perry, the Philharmonic’s concertmaster, conducts music of Sibelius, Grieg and 19th century Norwegian composer Johan Svendsen Apr. 21. The season closes May 24 with Larry Rachleff leading symphonies by Leonard Bernstein and Schubert.  All performances are in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

The Civic Orchestra (, the Chicago Symphony’s training ensemble, opens its six-concert season Oct. 8 with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and works by Respighi conducted by Cliff Colnot, the Civic’s principal conductor. Other conductors working with the orchestra will be Baroque specialist Harry Bicket Dec. 17, Carlos Miguel Prieto Feb. 4 and Jaap van Zweden June 3. Yo-Yo Ma will curate a program May 13 focusing on rivers, a theme of the CSO 2012-13 subscription season. All concerts are in Symphony Center. Admission is free, though tickets must be ordered in advance.

The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra ( begins this season with a new music director, David Danzmayr, whose programming shows a venturesome spirit with music of Walter Piston and contemporary composer Lee Actor among the chestnuts.

Chicago Opera Theater will present the local premiere of Philip Glass’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” in February.

During his 13 years at Chicago Opera Theater (, General Director Brian Dickie established the company as an oasis for zesty, thoughtful, superbly cast Baroque and modern opera. With the arrival this season of his successor, the Austria-born Andreas Mitisek who also heads California’s Long Beach Opera, the zest will clearly continue for the 38-year-old COT.

After this month’s performances of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, COT’s 2013 season opens Feb. 23-Mar. 1 with Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher. It continues Apr. 20-28 with a “tango operetta,” Maria de Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla, and closes Sept. 14-22, 2013, with Verdi’s rarely performed 1845 opera, Joan of Arc (Giovanna d’Arco). All performances are in the Harris Theater.

Without Chicago’s Haymarket Opera (, professionally staged Baroque opera would be entirely missing from the city this season. But on Feb. 15-16, Haymarket, the inspired young troupe founded last season by cellist Craig Trompeter, will present Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Staged by distinguished Baroque specialist soprano Ellen Hargis, productions are based on actual Baroque-era acting conventions. Haymarket’s young singers and period-instrument specialists strive to present Baroque opera as 17th and 18th century audiences would have seen and heard it. Haymarket’s home theater is distinctly up-to-date, however. Performances are in the intimate Mayne Stage on West Morse Avenue, a sophisticated nightspot with good acoustics. Listeners sit at small tables, and beverage service is available.

As for smaller-scaled pieces from the Baroque era and before, local music lovers have more choices. The long-established Newberry Consort (, co-directed by Hargis and violinist David Douglass, has announced three Chicago-area programs. Medieval music is on tap Oct. 26-28, and Renaissance-era music from Poland is scheduled May 3-5. Hargis will be featured along with actor Paul Hecht in late 18th century music from poet Robert Burns’ Scotland Jan. 25-27.  Performances are at various locations in Chicago and on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

Baroque Band (, a period instrument group founded six years ago by artistic director Garry Clarke, will offer four sets of concerts this season. Choral music will be part of the mix Oct. 19-24 in a program titled Music from the English Chapel Royal featuring works by Handel, Purcell and Blow. Arcangelo Corelli will be the focus of concerts marking the 300th anniversary of his death Mar. 8-13. Guest soloists for the Baroque Band’s season include recorder artist Piers Adams Jan. 16-19 and harpsichordist David Schrader June 7-12. Performances are at Symphony Center, Evanston’s Music Institute of Chicago and Augustana Lutheran Church in Hyde Park. Baroque Band also appears at the Museum of Contemporary Art Feb. 21, 23 and 24 in series titled the 21st Century Brandenburg Project. Over the course of three concerts, they will play Bach’s six Brandenburg concertos as well as works by six contemporary composers using Bach’s instrumentation.

Named as Loyola University artists-in-residence in 2010, The William Ferris Chorale ( will perform three sets of concerts this season at Madonna della Strada Chapel, a glittering Art Deco gem on Loyola’s North Side campus. Programs will be repeated in LaGrange. Overseen by music director Paul French, the season opens Dec. 8-9 with a holiday concert and continues Feb. 23 and 24 with a program focusing on British composer Grayston Ives, who will attend. The season closes Apr. 27-28 with opera-inspired repertoire.

Marking its 30th anniversary season, Bella Voce will revive Frank Ferko’s “Stabat Mater” in October.

The repertoire of Bella Voce ( stretches from the Renaissance to pieces composed yesterday.  For its 30th anniversary season, artistic director Andrew Lewis deploys his 16 singers across that entire musical spectrum. The opening concerts Oct. 13-20 will reprise one of Bella Voce’s most memorable commissions, Frank Ferko’s moving Stabat Mater. Patrice Michaels will be the soprano soloist. The chorus gets a jump on Christmas Nov. 16-18, presenting Handel’s Messiah in period style with the Callipygian Players. After holiday concerts Dec. 8-9, Bella Voce will focus on English composers Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and Herbert Howells in concerts Apr. 27-May 4. The spring concerts also include a world premiere by contemporary British composer Gabriel Jackson inspired by those three composers’ pastoral visions. Performances are in Chicago, River Forest and Evanston.

Since 1993, Chicago a cappella ( has been one of the city’s most lively smaller ensembles, presenting concerts that ranged from high-church solemnity to witty settings of Beatles’ tunes. With Patrick Sinozich moving into emeritus status after five years as music director, the group has invited guest conductors to lead its 20th anniversary season. The season opens Oct. 13-21 with “Genius in the Synagogue: A Musical Portrait of Max Janowski” conducted by Jonathan Miller, Chicago a cappella’s founder and artistic director. Dec. 1-9 the focus will be Mexico. In addition to music from Mexico’s Renaissance and Baroque traditions, the program includes a world premiere by Jorge Cordoba Valencia, who also conducts.

William Chin, assistant director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, will lead performances Feb. 9-17. Repertoire will include a Renaissance mass as well as music of the American Shakers and a recent work by American contemporary composer Gwyneth Walker. The season closes Apr. 20-28 with a survey of the American Songbook conducted by John William Trotter, associate conductor of the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Performances are in Naperville, Evanston and Oak Park as well as several locations in Chicago including the University of Chicago’s new Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

The upcoming chamber music season will be busy, thanks to well-established local ensembles like the Chicago Chamber Musicians and two presenters: the University of Chicago Presents series and Harris Theater, which formed an alliance with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center last season.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will present four concerts at the Harris Theater (  The first, Jan. 24, features young artists while the second on Feb. 8 offers some of the ensemble’s best-known musicians—pianists Gil Kalish and Anne-Marie McDermott and violinists Ani and Ida Kavafian—in works by Strauss, Ned Rorem and Franck. Baritone Randall Scarlatta will be the vocal soloist. The series continues Apr. 5 and closes May 8 with an all-Britten concert in honor of the composer’s 100th birthday year. Harris Theater also presents young instrumentalists from the Sphinx Virtuosi with singers from Sweet Honey in the Rock and the Chicago Children’s Choir on Oct. 4 as well as flutist Emmanuel Pahud and Les Violons du Roy Oct. 24.

The Takacs Quartet will open the University of Chicago Presents Series October 5 at Mandel Hall.

University of Chicago Presents ([email protected]) has scheduled 21 concerts in an expanded season that will include performances in U of C’s newly opened Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Season highlights include the Pacifica Quartet Nov. 4, Feb. 17 and May 12 plus joint concerts by the Pacifica and eighth blackbird devoted to music by U of C faculty and students Jan. 12, May 10 and 17.  The season opens Oct. 5 with the Takacs Quartet and continues with ensembles including Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante Oct. 30, Cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Kirill Gerstein Feb. 1, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio Feb. 22 and ensemble nunc in a tribute to Chicago composer Ralph Shapey Mar. 1.

For its 26th season, Chicago Chamber Musicians ( continues some of its most innovative programming ideas from past seasons. Its popular Sounds and Spaces series will move to the new Poetry Foundation building in downtown Chicago Oct. 21 and to the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii on the near Southwest Side May 19. CCM’s annual Composer Perspectives will focus on Esa-Pekka Salonen Feb. 25 and John Corigliano Apr. 24. In honor of Debussy’s 150th birthday year, the ensemble will perform the composer’s complete chamber music Oct. 12-14 and 21. The celebration includes lectures and a gallery walk at the Art Institute of Chicago. CCM’s season also includes concerts Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Nov. 11-12, Dec. 2-3, March 17-18 and May 5-6. Performances are in Evanston and Chicago.

After a highly successful, free-wheeling Beethoven marathon last season, pianist George Lepauw and his International Beethoven Project return with a Beethoven Festival: “REVOLUTION 2012” Sept. 8-16. ( Home base will be the National Pastime Theatre in Uptown. Concerts will run from afternoon to late evening. On the schedule are an art exhibit, world premieres and concerts devoted to John Cage and Conlon Nancarrow as well as a good helping of Beethoven. Among the dozens of performers are pianist Charles Rosen, violinist James Ehnes, the Lincoln Trio and Rachel Barton Pine.

Last season the Avalon String Quartet (, resident ensemble at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, offered a complete Beethoven string quartet cycle at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Fullerton Hall. The young gifted players return to the museum for concerts Sept. 23, Oct. 21 and Nov. 18. They also will appear at the Beethoven Festival Sept. 15.

Dempster Street Pro Musica (, founded by Michael Henoch, CSO assistant principal oboe, has found a congenial home in the relaxed, cabaret-like atmosphere of S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston. Concerts, which reflect Henoch’s interest in traditional as well as more contemporary repertoire for diverse instruments, are Nov. 4, Mar. 3 and April 28.

The 20th season of the Orion Ensemble ( will include guest violinist Stephen Boe for three of its four sets of concerts in Chicago, Evanston and Geneva. Performances are Oct. 10-21, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2and 5, Mar. 10-17 and May 5-12. Repertoire ranges from Schumann and Liszt to Bartok, works by Mexican composers and Sebastian Huydts’ Quintet, which Orion commissioned in 2002. Soprano Patrice Michaels will be soloist in March in works by Schubert and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

In addition to its regular weekly Wednesday concerts, the Dame Myra Hess series ( will celebrate its anniversary Sept. 26 with a concert featuring Alex Klein, violinist Richard Young and pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. On Jan. 17 actress Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs. Patmore, the cook, on the popular TV series Downton Abbey, will present a performance about Hess and her series of concerts in World War II London.

Chicago’s contemporary music scene has blossomed in recent years. At one time, CUBE, the University of Chicago’s Contemporary Chamber Players (currently known as Contempo) and the CSO’s MusicNOW series had the field almost exclusively to themselves. But those days are, happily, long gone. Following is a sample of some of Chicago’s myriad groups with a strong commitment to modern and contemporary music.

Ensemble Dal Niente will perform several concerts of new music throughout Chicago this season.

The Museum of Contemporary Art ( presents the International Contemporary Ensemble Oct. 16, Feb. 16 and May 31-June 2. The October concert focuses on John Cage in his centennial year and Pierre Boulez. The May-June program is a world premiere chamber opera commissioned by ICE from David Lang titled The Whisper Opera.

In addition to Baroque Band’s February concerts, the museum will present two other Chicago-based groups. On Mar. 9 the Fifth House Ensemble performs a new multimedia song cycle by Caleb Burhans and new piece by John Zorn. On Apr. 30 and May 1 eighth blackbird performs new works by Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner. Eighth blackbird also will be in residence at the MCA in December developing a musical theater/chamber opera with director Martha Clarke and composer Amy Beth Kirsten. MCA will present the piece, titled never my heart, during its 2013-14 season.

Ensemble Dal Niente (, which has won acclaim for its work at the International Summer Courses in Darmstadt, Germany, performs this season in venues ranging from the Music Institute of Chicago in Evanston to the Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village. The group’s first concert of the season is Sept. 11 during the Beethoven Festival, and their local season continues Sept. 16, Nov. 16, Dec. 14, Jan. 31, Feb. 23 and 28, Apr. 25 and May 22.

Access Contemporary Music ( will give some of its concerts this season in the atrium of Architectural Artifacts on North Ravenswood Avenue. Performance dates are Sept. 18, Oct. 16, Jan. 22, Mar. 19 and May 21.

CUBE’s season ( opens with a silver anniversary concert Sept. 20 featuring the music of Jimmy Lopez and Brandon Bruscato. It continues with admission-free concerts Oct. 21, Nov. 11 and Feb. 3.

Fifth House Ensemble ( has a full roster of standard chamber music performances scheduled in 2012-13. But the group is also continuing its trademark mix of live chamber music with multi-media and storytelling in a new project titled “Caught.” A collaboration with playwright Stan Richardson, the three-part series will be based on stories gathered during workshops with children and adults throughout Chicago. Music in the series will range from Britten and Shostakovich to Jan Bach, Edgar Meyer and John Zorn. Fifth House will perform the first section of Caught Nov. 8-11 and the final section May 5-16 at three Chicago Park District field houses and the Cultural Center downtown. Admission is free.

Fulcrum Point New Music Project (, led by trumpeter Stephen Burns, kicks off a new season with its annual Concert for Peace Sept. 11 in the Chase Bank auditorium downtown. The group performs Sept. 14 at the Beethoven Festival and holds its annual benefit concert Oct. 23.

MusicNOW (, the CSO’s contemporary chamber series at the Harris Theater, opens Oct. 29 with music of Anna Clyne, CSO composer-in-residence; Magnus Lindberg and Chicago composer Edmund Finnis. The series continues Dec. 3, Feb. 25 and June 3. Clyne has written a new work for the Feb. 25 concert, and the June 3 concert will include a new piece by Mason Bates, who shares the composer-in-residence post with Clyne.

The Spektral Quartet ( has concerts all over the map, geographically and musically, this season. They collaborate with Roosevelt University faculty Oct. 13 and the Avalon Quartet next May for concerts in Ganz Hall. On Nov. 14 Spektral plays a concert ranging from Mozart to Elliott Carter in the National Pastime Theatre in Uptown.

The quartet’s violist Doyle Armbrust is also curating a new series titled “Unfamiliar Music” at the Empty Bottle. The Chicago Q Ensemble string quartet performs on that series Feb. 13 and Dal Niente appears May 22.

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response to “Chicago’s rich vein of ensembles to provide musical adventure in 2012-13”

  1. Posted Sep 09, 2012 at 3:57 pm by Roland Buck

    “Neither Lyric nor the CSO is breaking new ground in terms of repertoire during their subscription seasons.”

    Nor will they be covering any old ground. Not only does neither include a Baroque opera, but they do not even include any work from the 18th century. No Mozart (Magic Flute being from the last season), no Glueck. The first opera that has survived was first staged in 1600. Therefore both companies are totally ignoring two centuries of opera repetoire. PATHETIC!

Leave a Comment