Critic’s Choice

Wed Mar 02, 2016 at 10:51 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The American Music Project was launched in 2014 by a disgruntled music critic frustrated by the lack of American music being performed locally and around the country. (In the spirit of full disclosure, that critic is me.)

The mission of the 501(c)(3) foundation is to encourage and facilitate performances of existing American classical works and selectively commission new music from American composers, which will be presented by AMP in concerts. The first commission, Amy Wurtz’s Piano Quintet, was premiered in Chicago in October of 2014. 

Sunday at Ganz Hall, the American Music Project will present the Chicago premiere of Geoffrey Gordon’s Clarinet Quintet, the foundation’s second commission. The performers will be Anthony McGill, the Chicago-born principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, and JACK Quartet, New York’s leading exponent of new music for string quartet. At the world premiere last November by the same artists, the New York Times called Gordon’s quintet “darkly seductive” and “a colorful and atmospheric journey.”

The home-brewed program will also include John Cage’s Quartet in Four Parts, Earle Brown’s 1965 String Quartet, and The Wind in High Places by John Luther Adams.

The concert takes place 2 p.m. Sunday at Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall, 430 S. Michigan Avenue. Tickets are $25, $15 for students with ID. Go to for information and a link to buy tickets.


Sir Mark Elder’s appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have been consistently inspired and never more so than in music of his compatriot Sir Edward Elgar.

Elder returns this weekend to lead the CSO in an all-British program featuring Elgar’s epic Symphony No. 1 as well as Vaughan Williams’ Overture to The Wasps and Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday.; 312-294-3000.

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