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Northwestern Music in May

Line-up includes Bienen School’s annual Millennium Park Concert May 26

EVANSTON, ILL. --- Two performances of Monteverdi’s opera “L’incoronazione di Poppea” (“The Coronation of Poppea”) and the annual Memorial Day weekend Millennium Park Concert held outdoors at the Pritzker Pavilion in downtown Chicago are among the events Northwestern University audiences can attend in May.

Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, other spring highlights include a Mother’s Day choral concert of Elizabethan madrigals and minimalist works; a free new-music performance by electronica artist Robert Henke; and a program introducing a nine-movement work by Estonian composer Toivo Tulev to contemporary music fans.  

All May programs listed below are open to the public. They take place on Northwestern’s Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place; Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive; Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street; or Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., as noted.


Due to construction on the south end of campus, Arts Circle Drive is currently closed to traffic. Free parking is still available on weekends and after 4 p.m. weekdays in the two-level lakefront structure located on Campus Drive. After turning onto Campus Drive from Sheridan Road, enter the parking structure on the right by way of ramps leading to the upper and lower levels. For vehicles with handicap placards, reserved spaces are available on weekends and after 4 p.m. weekdays in the lot directly west of Louis Hall. For more construction and parking information, visit

Ticket prices are indicated in two ranges: the first for the general public and the second for full-time students with IDs. Northwestern faculty and staff with a valid WildCARD ID receive a 15 percent discount off the general public ticket price.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit the Pick-Staiger website at To order tickets, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000 or visit


Contemporary Music Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Timothy J. Robblee will direct the contemporary music ensemble in a performance featuring Luciano Berio’s “Folk Songs” and a premiere by a Bienen School student composer. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Symphonic Band, “Reflections,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Timothy J. Robblee will direct the symphonic band in a program of reflective and uplifting works, including David Maslanka’s “Tuning Piece,” Steven Bryant’s “Radiant Joy,” Adolphus Hailstork’s “American Guernica” and Donald Grantham’s “Alabama Songbook.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra, “Sounds of Spring,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Robert G. Hasty will direct the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra in a program that includes Respighi’s “Gli uccelli” (“The Birds”), Strauss’ Duet-Concertino for clarinet and bassoon, featuring clarinetist Steven Cohen and bassoonist Lewis Kirk, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F Major (“Pastoral”). Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Robert Henke, “Dust,” 9 p.m. Saturday, May 4, Lutkin Hall. Electronica artist Robert Henke holds a professorship in sound design at the Berlin University of the Arts, where he writes and lectures about sound and the creative use of computers. His “Dust,” composed for a 2011 performance at the ZKM Media Theater in Karlsruhe, Germany, explores dense and layered streams of sound, from digital noise to splashing waves, a massive storm, steam from a coffee machine and crackles from an old phonograph record. Admission is free.

Newberry Consort, “Gaude, Mater Polonia, “3 p.m. Sunday, May 5, Lutkin Hall. This performance of Renaissance music from Poland’s golden age features an array of wind, strings and vocal consort music performed by violinist David Douglass; soprano Ellen Hargis; alto Angela Young Smucker; tenor Matthew Dean; bass Eric Miranda; lutenist John Lenti; recorder and sackbut player, bagpiper and trombonist Tom Zajac; violinist and violist Brandi Berry; and cellist and violist Jeremy Ward. Tickets are $35 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Northwestern University Guitar Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5, Regenstein Recital Hall. Anne Waller directs a program of eclectic works written and arranged for guitar. Admission is free.

Mathieu Dufour, Flute Master Class, 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, Lutkin Hall. Dufour will coach Bienen School flute students. Principal flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dufour also appears frequently as a soloist in recitals and concerts around the world. He has led master classes in Canada, Japan, Europe and the United States. Admission is free.

“A Night at the Movies,” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The Student Advisory Board presents an evening of selections from popular film scores that are performed by students from Northwestern and Chicago-area music outreach programs. The concert will include music from “Les Miserables,” “Chicago” and “West Side Story.” Admission is free.

Tadayoshi Takeda, Clarinet Master Class, 6 p.m. Thursday, May 9, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. A Buffet-Crampon artist and Kunitachi College of Music professor, Takeda will coach Bienen School clarinet students and perform works by Debussy and Poulenc. Admission is free.

Kids Fare, “My Kingdom for an Orchestra!”, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 11, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra, led by Robert Hasty, will conclude the 2012-13 Kids Fare season in grand fashion with an orchestral program featuring brass, woodwinds, percussion and stringed instruments of all sizes. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Thaviu-Isaak Endowed Piano Scholarship Competition, 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11, Lutkin Hall. Honoring the school’s late professors Samuel Thaviu and Donald Isaak, this annual competition features Northwestern piano students nominated by Bienen School of Music piano faculty. Admission is free.

Percussion Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. She-e Wu directs an eclectic and exciting evening of rhythms. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Samuel and Elinor Thaviu Endowed Scholarship Competition in String Performance,

3 p.m. Sunday, May 12, Lutkin Hall. Northwestern’s top string students will perform in this prestigious competition honoring the late Samuel Thaviu, longtime Bienen School of Music violin professor. Admission is free.

University Chorale, “The ‘I’ of Love, Yesterday and Today,” 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 12, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. This Mother’s Day Concert, directed by Donald Nally, juxtaposes English Renaissance and contemporary views on love. The program includes classic Elizabethan madrigals by John Wilbye, Thomas Morley, John Bennet and John Farmer as well as minimalist works by Pulitzer laureate David Lang, including the American premiere of “I never,” and “I lie” and “I live in pain.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Evening of Brass, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Gail Williams directs an evening of arrangements and transcriptions for brass ensemble, including part three of Timothy Higgins’ “Ring without Words.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 17, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Mallory Thompson conducts a program that includes Adam Gorb’s “Awayday,” the world premiere of Kevin M. Walczyk’s “Talking Winds: Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble” featuring trombone soloist Peter Ellefson, and Michael Colgrass’ “Winds of Nagual.” Admission is free.

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Victor Yampolsky directs Massenet’s Overture to “Phedre,” Dutilleux’s “L’Arbre des Songes” Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, featuring violinist Janet Sung, and Walton’s Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Minor. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Concert Band, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 19, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Students from across the Northwestern campus will present a concert of band standards, directed by Daniel J. Farris. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs. 

Alice Millar Spring Festival Concert, Bach’s “Easter Oratorio,” 7 p.m. Sunday, May 19, Alice Millar Chapel. Bach’s joyful “Easter Oratorio,” conducted by Stephen Alltop, combines voices, trumpets, oboes, timpani and strings. Also featured are Eric Whitacre’s new “Alleluia” and music for solo organ and baroque orchestra. Admission is a freewill offering.

University Singers, “Britten and Bernstein,” 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 20, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Emily Ellsworth conducts a concert of choral works by 20th-century luminaries Benjamin Britten and Leonard Bernstein. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Jazz Orchestra, “Classroom to Stage -- Compositions by Jazz Students,” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Victor Goines directs a performance of compositions by current Northwestern University jazz students. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Spring Opera, Monteverdi’s “L’incoronazione di Poppea” (“The Coronation of Poppea”) 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 24, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25, Cahn Auditorium. Poppea, mistress of Rome’s Emperor Nerone, is determined to ascend the throne -- whatever the cost. Even in a world where gods influence mortal affairs, virtue doesn’t always triumph. This story of love, deception, murder and betrayal is as relevant today as in Monteverdi’s time. It will be performed in Italian with English supertitles. The production is directed by Michael Ehrman and the Baroque Music Ensemble is directed by Stephen Alltop. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $6 for students with IDs.

Millennium Park Concert, “Trombones and Brass Ensemble,” 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 26, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. A celebration of the Bienen School brass program, the concert features music for brass ensemble and trombone choir. Peter Ellefson, former member of the Seattle Symphony, who has performed, recorded and toured with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and New York Philharmonic, and Gail Williams, a former CSO member and principal horn of the Grand Teton Music Festival orchestra, will conduct. The program includes Gabrieli’s “Canzon Primi Toni,” Jeremy Dibb’s “Excalibur” and the Finale from Saint-Sains’ Symphony No. 3, as well as works by Strauss Brahms, Piazzolla, Rossini and Holst. Admission is free.

Small Jazz Ensembles, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, Regenstein Recital Hall. Victor Goines directs original small-group music from some of the most creative minds around. Spanning styles from traditional to contemporary, the concert features fresh, new sounds. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

Women’s Chorus, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, First United Methodist Church, 516 Church Street, Evanston. Jennifer Budziak will direct a concert of works for treble voices. Admission is free.

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Contemporary Music Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 31, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. This collaboration of Northwestern’s two new-music ensembles is conducted by Donald Nally and Timothy J. Robblee. It introduces the audience to Estonian composer Toivo Tulev’s music through Tulev’s “Songs,” a creative nine-movement work based on the “Song of Solomon.” At once lush and sparse, rich and languid, the “Songs” are a virtuosic journey for choir and three small orchestras. The program also includes works by British composer Gabriel Jackson, which reach eastward through texts by a 10th-century Sufi mystic (“Now I have known, O Lord”) and a 21st-century Estonian poet (“A ship with unfurled sails”). Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

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