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Memorial Concert for Music Professor Lee Hyla

Oct. 16 program at Lutkin Hall on Northwestern's Evanston campus

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A memorial concert for Lee Hyla, an American contemporary composer and Northwestern University music professor, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 on the University’s Evanston campus at Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place.

Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, the concert is free and open to the public.

Hyla, who passed away on June 6 in Chicago at the age of 61, was the Bienen School’s Harry N. and Ruth F. Wyatt Professor of Music Theory and Composition.

He had “unassailable credentials within both avant-garde and academic circles,” wrote chief music critic Anthony Tommasini in a 2013 article in The New York Times.

Hyla often combined complex atonal idioms with avant-garde jazz, rock and even punk themes in his compositions for some of the country’s top artists and ensembles. Six of those works will be performed during the memorial concert in Hyla’s honor.

The Oct. 16 program will feature Hyla’s “We Speak Etruscan,” “Passeggiata,” “Winter/Fall,” “Pre-Amnesia,” “Basic Training” and String Quartet No. 4. Guest performers will include bass clarinetist Joshua Rubin, saxophonists Ryan Muncy and Thomas Snydacker, violinist J. Austin Wulliman, cellist Christopher Wild, pianist Nolan Pearson and the Spektral Quartet.

In his earlier years, Hyla played keyboard and guitar in a touring funk band, later becoming involved in “free jazz” studies at Indiana University. Hyla earned a bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory and a master’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. (EDITOR’S NOTE: “free jazz” is an improvised style of jazz characterized by the absence of set chord patterns or time patterns.) 

Hyla composed works for leading ensembles, including the Kronos Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. 

His honors included the Stoeger Prize from The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the St. Botolph Club Award and the Rome Prize. His music has been recorded on the Nonesuch, New World, Avant, Tzadik and CRI labels.

For more information, contact the Bienen School of Music Concert Management Office at 847-491-5441 or visit Pick-Staiger

Topics: Music

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