Britten Festival to highlight 70th anniversary season of UC Presents

Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten will be feted in style next season in Hyde Park with the University of Chicago Presents series marking the British composer’s centennial with a six-concert festival spread over five weeks. All three of his string quartets will be performed, along with other vocal and instrumental works featuring an array of local and guest artists.

The University of Chicago series will open its 70th anniversary season October 4 with the Jupiter Quartet performing Britten’s First and Third String Quartets and Brahms’ String Quintet No. 2 with violist James Dunham. Other concerts in the Britten series will take place October 6, 15 and 18 and November 8 and 10, with participating artists including the Pacifica Quartet, the Spektral Quartet, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, tenor Nicholas Phan, lutenist Elizabeth Kenny and the Fretwork ensemble. There will also be an array of lectures, poetry readings and film screenings relevant to Britten and his music.

Other guest artists in the 24-event 2013-14 UCP season, which will split programs once again between Mandel Hall and the Logan Center, include Anonymous 4 (April 4); the Venice Baroque Orchestra led by Andrea Marcon with countertenor Philippe Jaroussky (February 28); Cuarteto Casals with guitarist Denis Azabajic (Nov. 1); and the Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio (Jan. 31).

Polish pianist Rafel Blechacz will make his Chicago debut April 25. The Shanghai Quartet marks its 30th anniversary with a performance May 2. And the acclaimed Seraphic Fire choir from Miami will make its series debut performing Haydn’s Seven Last Words with the Spektral Quartet April 16 at Rockefeller Chapel.

Artist-in-residence the Pacifica Quartet will present three programs including a concert featuring the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets with guest Anthony McGill (April 13) As in past years the Pacifica will also participate in one of the series’ three Contempo programs spotlighting 20th and 21st-century works, which will also feature violinist Miranda Cuckson and jazz singer-pianist Patricia Barber.

UC Presents is launching a new jazz series next season. Artists include The Bad Plus (Oct. 18), saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa (Dec. 6), and the Dick Hyman/Bill Charlap Trio (May 30).

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