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Northwestern Music in April

Dublin Guitar Quartet, Howard Levy, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Prism Quartet to perform

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music’s 10th annual Spring Festival, “Revelation -- From China to Spanish Harlem,” opens March 30 and continues in April. The festival will feature world music and dance, a celebration of the harmonica and a night of fresh arrangements of songs by The Beatles.

The Midwest premiere of composer James MacMillan’s “St. John Passion” and a free concert by the United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants are scheduled. Master classes by the Arianna String Quartet, violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, the Pacifica Quartet and flutist Karen Moratz also will take place.

Concert 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 receive a 15 percent discount off the general public ticket price.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall office at (847) 491-5441 or visit Pick-Staiger. To order single or group tickets, call (847) 467-4000 or Pick-Staiger.

For series brochures, call (847) 491-5441 or email Visit Pick-Staiger for video and audio clips, photos and information on upcoming events. To receive a monthly events newsletter and special discount offers, email For updates on parking and directions, visit

All April events listed below are open to the public. They take place on the University’s Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive; Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place; or Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., as noted.

APRIL 2014

Revelation Spring Festival, Dublin Guitar Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Dubbed a “quartet with a difference” by the Irish Times, the trailblazing Dublin Guitar Quartet is devoted exclusively to contemporary music. The group has transported the classical guitar canon into the future with ingenious arrangements of modern masterpieces by Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Arvo Part. The program includes Brouwer’s “Cuban Landscapes with Rain,” Glass’ String Quartet No. 4, “Buczak” (Movements I and III) and String Quartet No. 2, “Company” (Movements I and IV), Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint,” Part’s “Summa” and “Cantate Domino Canticum Novum” and Ligeti’s “Musica Ricerata” as you’ve never heard them before. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $10 for students with IDs.

Revelation Spring Festival, Harmonica Convergence III, 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Harmonica Convergence returns by popular demand with a celebration of the beauty, versatility and range of the harmonica. Virtuosos, including Howard Levy, Corky Siegel, the Windy City Trio (comprised of Bud Boblink, Ron Agnew and Bill Morris), James Conway and Pablo Fagundes plus guitarist Marcus Moraes will showcase musical styles from blues and classical to Brazilian and Celtic. Tickets are $18 for the general public and $10 for students with IDs.

Arianna String Quartet Master Class, noon Saturday, April 5, Regenstein Recital Hall. Formed in 1992, the Arianna String Quartet won the grand prize in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and first prize in the Coleman and Carmel Chamber Music competitions. The group has performed around the world and collaborated with members of the Vermeer, Tokyo, Cleveland and Juilliard quartets. They are noted for their highly effective approach to coaching and teaching as a quartet. Admission is free.

Tenor Kurt R. Hansen with the Chicago Piano Vocal Score, “Shall We… Brahms?!” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5, Lutkin Hall. Soprano Michelle Areyziga, mezzo-soprano Tracy Watson, tenor Kurt R. Hansen, baritone Douglas Anderson and pianists Karina Kontorovitch and Ruth Lin will perform Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Walzer,” Op. 52 and 65, and four solo piano intermezzos. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Revelation Spring Festival, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The celebrated double Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra is hot salsa at its best. “Watching these crack musicians rev up their complex, precision polyrhythms and fire off five-part horn harmonies is as thrilling as riding a horse that suddenly breaks into a gallop,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. The 10-year-old orchestra is one of the most decorated authentic Latin jazz bands today. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for students with IDs.

United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants, 3 p.m. Sunday, April 6, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The largest musical ensemble of the United States Air Force Band, the Concert Band presents more than 100 concerts annually and performs a wide repertoire, from light classics, popular movie songs and instrumental features to classical transcriptions and original band works. The group will be joined by the 18-member Singing Sergeants, the official chorus of the U.S. Air Force, which has appeared before every U.S. president since Harry Truman and regularly performs at the White House, State Department and U.S. Department of Defense. Free general admission tickets may be obtained by calling the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 491-5441 for reservations; four-ticket limit per customer. All ticket holders must be seated by 2:45 p.m.

Shmuel Ashkenasi Chamber Music Master Class, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, Regenstein Recital Hall. A student of Ilona Feher and Efrem Zimbalist, Ashkenasi won the Merriweather Post Competition, was a finalist in Belgium’s Queen Elisabeth Competition and placed second in Moscow’s International Tchaikovsky Competition. He has performed throughout the former Soviet Republic and in Europe, Israel, the Far East and U.S. He has collaborated with Rudolf Serkin, Thomas Hampson, Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin and Menahem Pressler. Ashkenasi is on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music. Admission is free.

Revelation Spring Festival, Wu Man, pipa with Robert Schulz, percussion, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Grammy-nominated Chinese pipa prodigy Wu Man has been hailed as a “one-woman force of nature” and was named 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year by “Musical America.” In collaborations with the Kronos Quartet and the Silk Road Project and through commissions from Tan Dun and Philip Glass, Man has renewed interest in an ancient instrument. Her eclectic program features traditional Chinese music, new works from today’s leading composers, and her own compositions, including the Chicago-area premiere of her multimedia work “Ancient Dances,” performed with percussionist Robert Schulz. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $10 for students with IDs.

Pacifica Quartet Master Class, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, Regenstein Recital Hall. Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style and daring repertoire, the Pacifica Quartet performs regularly in the world’s major concert halls. The quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, the Pacifica was formerly quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The group received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance and was named 2009 Ensemble of the Year by “Musical America.” Admission is free.

Revelation Spring Festival, “A Beatles Songbook,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The closing Spring Festival concert will dip into the rich catalog of songs by The Beatles. Fresh arrangements, new interpretations and stellar musicianship will celebrate both familiar and lesser-known Beatles gems. Guest artists will include the Chris Siebold All-Stars, harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy, pianist Anthony Molinaro, DanceWorks Chicago and the Northwestern Silver Hammers vocal ensemble. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for students with IDs.

Segovia Classical Guitar Series, Rovshan Mamedkuliev, 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13, Lutkin Hall. Winner of 23 international competitions, including the 2012 Guitar Foundation of America prize, Azerbaijani virtuoso Rovshan Mamedkuliev has stunned the guitar world with his exceptional technique and interpretations of the classics. A passionate advocate for contemporary music, he has commissioned works from Philippe Lemaigre and other prominent composers. Mamedkuliev’s program will include works by Leo Brouwer, Joaquin Turina, Francisco Tarrega and others. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for students with IDs.

Trombone Faculty Recital, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, Regenstein Recital Hall. Michael Mulcahy, Timothy Higgins, Douglas Wright, Randall Hawes and Christopher Davis will come together to showcase the talents of Northwestern’s trombone faculty in a program including Higgins’ arrangements of Bach’s “Toccata, Adagio and Fugue” and “French Renaissance Dance Suite,” Gabrieli’s Sonata XX, Bruckner’s “Three Motets,” Walter Ross’ Quartet and David Stanhope’s “Four Concert Studies.” Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and University Chorale with Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra and University of Chicago Rockefeller Chapel Choir and Motet Choir: James MacMillan’s “St. John Passion,“ 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 18, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Directed by Donald Nally, this Midwest premiere of acclaimed composer James MacMillan’s “St. John Passion” brings together 220 musicians from two great Chicago institutions. In this contemporary Passion setting, a chamber choir portrays the Evangelist; Northwestern alumnus Evan Bravos plays the role of Christ. The universality and compassion of liberation theology pervade this 21st-century magnum opus. The work will also be performed Sunday, April 13 at 3 p.m. at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel (for more information, visit Tickets are $12 for the general public and $6 for students with IDs.

Northwestern Concerto/Aria Competition, 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. With a reputation for producing some of the world’s finest young instrumentalists and vocalists, the Bienen School of Music will showcase top students in the final rounds of this year’s solo competition. Admission is free.

Karen Moratz Flute Master Class, 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Principal flute of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Karen Moratz is also associate professor of flute and artist-in-residence at Butler University. She previously taught at Indiana University, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Grand Teton Festival Orchestral Seminar. She is a founding member of the Greater Indianapolis Flute Club and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. Admission is free.

Pianist Steven Spooner, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, Lutkin Hall. In this unusual recital, audience members will vote at the beginning of the evening to choose which program Spooner performs. Spooner has established an international career that regularly brings him to major venues on four continents, including Paris’ Salle Cortot, Holland’s Vredenburg Centre, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Rome’s Santa Cecilia. His performances and recordings of Liszt have garnered attention worldwide. Spooner has collaborated with the Borromeo Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble bassist Daxun Zhang and baritone Chris Thompson. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students.

***NOTE; The Prism Quartet concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, in Lutkin Hall, has ben cancelled.***

Williams and Woodwinds, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Gail Williams, horn professor at the Bienen School of Music and principal horn of the Grand Teton Music Festival orchestra, will present a recital with woodwind students and Bienen School faculty. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 25, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The Northwestern Symphonic Wind Ensemble, directed by Mallory Thompson, will perform Vaughan Williams’ “Scherzo alla Marcia,” Alfred Reed’s arrangement of Edward Elgar’s “Nimrod” from “Enigma Variations,” Holst’s “Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo” and Meyerowitz’s “Three Comments on War.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Pianist Nicolas Hodges and Mivos Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The Mivos Quartet is devoted to performing the music of contemporary composers. Its international schedule has included appearances at the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, Wien Modern, Edgefest and Aldeburgh Music. Pianist Nicolas Hodges has performed with many of the world’s major orchestras and has given recitals at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall and Paris’ IRCAM. Hodges will perform Brice Pauset’s “Sept Canons” and “Neuf Canons” as well as the U.S. premieres of Beat Furrer’s “Studie,” Brian Ferneyhough’s “Quirl -- Study in Self-Similar Rhythms” and Rebecca Saunders’s “shadow -- study for solo piano.” The quartet also will perform Alex Mincek’s String Quartet No. 3 and music submitted by NUNC participants. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Ensemble Dal Niente, Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Quince Vocal Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. In 2012, this Chicago-based contemporary music collective became the first-ever ensemble recipient of the Kranichstein Music Prize at the International Summer Courses for New Music in Germany. The contemporary female a cappella quartet Quince regularly commissions new works and has appeared on New York’s Contagious Sounds series,’s John Cage Festival in Chicago and Brooklyn’s ISSUE Project Room. Also featuring the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, the program includes Brian Ferneyhough’s “Flurries” and music submitted by Northwestern University New Music Conference (NUNC) participants. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

Small Jazz Ensembles, “The Music of Cachao,” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, Regenstein Recital Hall. Combos of Bienen School jazz performance students directed by Victor Goines, Christopher Madsen and Marlene Rosenberg will present music by the late Grammy Award-winning Cuban composer Israel “Cachao” Lopez. Interpretations of some of his most famous tunes will pay tribute to the man known as the “inventor of mambo.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

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