Critic’s Choice

Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:25 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

George Lewis

Chicago’s music scene is slowly stirring to life in the new year. Riccardo Muti returns next week but in the interim there are two free events by new-music ensembles worthy of interest.

The International Contemporary Ensemble will offer a performance 3 p.m. Sunday at the Chicago Cultural Center. In typical when-worlds-collide fashion, ICE will pair Schubert’s epic Octet with two experimental works by composer-trombonist George Lewis–Shadowgraph 5 and Artificial Life 2007—which highlight Lewis’s experimental hybrid of classical and jazz.

The Chicago Composers Orchestra presents an offbeat opportunity to enjoy music-making amid flora and fauna in the bleak midwinter. CSO bass clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom will perform Lawrence Axelrod’s Pos Metaphoros, and Matthew Kasper will also conduct the CCO in works by Byron Au Young, Brian Baxter, Chris Fischer-Lochhead and Bruce Saylor. Concert time is 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Avenue.

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