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Northwestern Music in December

In the midst of the pre-holiday bustle, unwind with music by Tchaikovsky, Bach and Gabrieli

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A classical instrumental music performance and an ensemble of melodious voices have the power to relieve stress, especially during the hectic pre-holiday season.

This December, Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music offers relaxing concerts featuring contemplative works by some of history’s most famous composers as well as contemporary programs geared to help audiences unwind. 

Upcoming events include a Dec. 6 concert by the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra that features the score from the first act of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker.” “A Festival of Lessons and Carols” on Dec. 7 combines readings, carols and music that portray the Christmas story. A “Winter Wildness” choral program, also on Dec. 7, features the unaccompanied and combined voices of the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and the University Chorale.

On Dec. 12, pianist Jeffrey Siegel will present a Keyboard Conversations “concert with commentary” spotlighting the sonatas, preludes, dances and rondos of Bach, Beethoven and Bartok. 

All December programs 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, and Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, as noted.

Concert ticket prices are offered at three levels: 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, contact the Bienen School of Music Concert Management Office at 847-491-5441 or visit To order tickets, call 847-467-4000 or visit

For series brochures or further information, call 847-491-5441 or email requests to To join the Bienen School’s concerts and events list and receive a monthly events newsletter as well as special discount offers, send your email address to For updates on parking and directions, visit


Contemporary Music Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Alan Pierson and Ben Bolter will conduct a program featuring Gérard Grisey’s “Partiels,” John Adams’ “Son of Chamber Symphony” and a new work by José Arellano. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra, “For Vienna,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The chamber orchestra will perform Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6 in D Major. Robert G. Hasty will conduct. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Symphonic Band, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The concert will feature Gabrieli’s “Canzona per sonare” No. 2, Brian Balmages’ “Fanfare Canzonique,” Persichetti’s Serenade No. 1, Morten Lauridsen’s “Contre qui rose,” Schuman’s “George Washington Bridge,” Turina’s “La Procession du Rocio” and Milhaud’s “Suite française.” Shawn Vondran will conduct. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Victor Yampolsky will conduct the orchestra in a program that includes Glazunov’s “Valse de concert” No. 1 in D Major, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, featuring solo pianist Jialing Wu and Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” Act I. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

A Festival of Lessons and Carols, 10:40 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, Alice Millar Chapel. This popular annual Northwestern event portrays the Christmas story via readings, music and medieval and modern carols for brass, strings, organ and choir. Stephen Alltop will conduct the Alice Millar Chapel Choir, Philharmonia and Millar Brass Ensemble in a program that includes Barlow Bradford’s “Still, Still, Still” and “Coventry Carol” and Gabrieli’s “Magnificat à 14” and “O Jesu mi dulcissime.” Oboist Michael Henoch will be the featured soloist. Admission is free; an offering will be accepted.

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and University Chorale, “Winter Wildness,” 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Donald Nally will conduct two Bienen School choirs in a new take on the holiday concert tradition featuring unaccompanied music of winter, Christmas, the Solstice and more by Bach, Gabrieli, Dove, Tulev, Jennefelt and Ešenvalds. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

Keyboard Conversations, “Three Great Bs: Bach, Beethoven – and Bartok,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Pianist Jeffrey Siegel’s “concert with commentary and a Q-and-A session” will focus on three eminent composers. The program includes Bach’s Praeambulum: Prelude from Partita No. 5 in G Major, Prelude in C Major and Prelude in C Minor from “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Beethoven’s Sonata in F-sharp Major, Op. 78 and Variations on \"God Save the King.” Bartók’s Rondo in C and “Romanian Folk Dances” and Bach and Busoni’s Choral Prelude \"Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland\" also will be performed. Single tickets are $22 for the general public and $16 for full-time students with IDs. 

Topics: Music

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