Critic’s Choice

Wed Jan 09, 2019 at 11:00 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Thomas Hampson

As rare as the voice and piano recital has become in Chicago, rarer still is an appearance by a major artist performing songs with orchestra.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s only local program this month will fill that void nicely with Thomas Hampson as the soloist. The celebrated baritone performs a wide-ranging array of American songs, from Copland and Walter Damrosch to Michael Daugherty and John Corigliano. Conductor Bramwell Tovey will frame this week’s program with William Schuman’s orchestration of Charles Ives’ Variations on “America” and Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Friday, and 8 p.m. Saturday.; 312-294-3000.


The annual Winter Chamber Music Festival opens this weekend at Northwestern University and will offer six concerts through January 27, presented by the Bienen School of Music. 

Kicking off this year’s festival will be the superb Dover Quartet, the Bienen quartet in residence. Their program will offer Tchaikovsky’s Quartet No. 3, Mason Bates’s From Amber Frozen and Schubert’s Quartet in G major, D.887. Performance time is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pick Staiger Hall in Evanston.

The festival continues with violinist James Ehnes and pianist Andrew Armstrong (Jan. 13), the Gryphon Trio (Jan. 18), the Catalyst Quartet (Jan. 20), the Jupiter Quartet (Jan. 25), and a closing concert by Bienen faculty and guests (Jan. 27).; 847-467-4000.

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