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Northwestern University Music in February

ICE, bass-baritone Eric Owens, St. Olaf Choir, guitarist Anton Baranov to perform

  • Northwestern presents Chicago-area premiere of opera “Dead Man Walking”
  • Alice Millar Birthday Concert to feature choral works by Eric Whitacre and Mischa Zupko
  • Eric Owens to participate in Robert M. and Maya L. Tichio Vocal Master Class Series 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University continues to welcome artists from around the world to the Evanston campus.

Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, February highlights include three concerts featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and Segovia Classical Guitar Series events that include a Feb. 1 master class by Ana Vidović, a Feb. 14 recital by Russian guitarist Anton Baranov and a Feb. 17 Samba-themed program by brothers Sergio and Odair Assad and Brazilian jazz guitarist Romero Lubambo.

Other master classes will be led by bass-baritone Eric Owens (Feb. 2), oboist James Austin Smith (Feb. 2) and flutist Alyce Johnson (Feb. 12). All four are open to the public.

Collect/Project, “The Future of Song” (Feb. 9), will feature a performance of recent and new music composed by a pool of today’s best contemporary music interpreters, versed in classical and experimental performance techniques, as well as popular and folkloric music traditions.

Northwestern also will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early by hosting Danú, a leading Irish ensemble comprised of members who hail from counties Waterford, Kerry, Dublin and Donegal. The group will present a lively performance of traditional and contemporary Celtic music on Feb. 23.

Tribute concerts to jazz greats George Shearing (Feb. 2) and Duke Ellington and Count Basie  (Feb. 24) also are planned.

All February 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; Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place; Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive; Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road; and Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., as noted.

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


• Segovia Classical Guitar Series, Ana Vidović, Guitar Master Class, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, Lutkin Hall. In addition to her Jan. 31 sold-out Segovia Classical Guitar Series performance, Vidović will give a master class for pre-selected Bienen School guitar students. Vidović’s competition wins have included New York’s Young Concert Artists International Auditions and Rome’s Fernando Sor Competition. Boasting a recorded repertoire ranging from Bach violin sonatas to Piazzola tangos, she has performed for audiences across Europe and the United States. Admission is free and open to the public.

• International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, Lutkin Hall. Since its founding in 2001, ICE has premiered more than 500 compositions, the majority of them new works by emerging composers. The ensemble has received the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award, the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming and Musical America Worldwide’s Ensemble of the Year award in 2013.

The group is comprised of violinist David Bowlin, cellist Kivie Cahn-Lipman, pianist Jacob Greenberg, oboist James Austin Smith and bassoonist Rebekah Heller. The ICE program will include György Kurtág, “Ligatura for Bálint Varg,” Dai Fujikura’s “Calling,” Kaija Saariaho’s “Tocar,” Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s “An Interrupted Endless Melody” and the Chicago premiere of Elliott Carter’s “Epigrams.” The concert is presented by the Bienen School’s Institute for New Music. This event is presented by the Bienen School’s Institute for New Music and is part of visiting artist and flutist Claire Chase’s residency. Chase is co-founder of ICE. Admission is free.

• Bass-baritone Eric Owens, Vocal Master Class, 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Owens will lead a vocal master class as part of the Robert M. and Maya L. Tichio Vocal Master Class Series. He is currently serving as community ambassador at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Owens’ season engagements include Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” at the Lucerne Festival, “Porgy and Bess” at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and his debut in the title role of “Der fliegende Holländer” with the Washington National Opera. Owens’ master class is $10 for the general public and $5 for students with IDs.

• Jazz Small Ensembles, “The Elegance of George Shearing,” 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2, Regenstein Recital Hall. Victor Goines and Marlene Rosenberg will direct a program honoring jazz great Sir George Shearing. Shearing and his ensembles produced some of the most beautiful and intricate musical textures the jazz world has ever known. Join Northwestern jazz students as they interpret and perform selections from Shearing’s canon. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

• James Austin Smith, Oboe Recital and Master Class, 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2, at Lutkin Hall. Smith, a Bienen School alumnus, performs both classical and contemporary music nationally and around the world. A regular guest of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Smith is an artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Cygnus Ensemble, Decoda, and the Talea Ensemble. In fall 2014, he joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. His recital and master class are admission free and open to the general public.       

• The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, Lutkin Hall. Dedicated to reshaping how music is created and experienced, the International Contemporary Ensemble has been hailed by the New Yorker as “the new gold standard for music.” With a modular makeup of 33 leading instrumentalists, ICE functions as performer, presenter and educator. This concert showcases works by Bienen School composition students. Free and open to the public, the concert is presented by the Bienen School’s Institute for New Music.

• Contemporary Music Ensemble with International Contemporary Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Presented by the Institute for New Music, the two groups will perform Iannis Xenakis’ “Échange,” Harrison Birtwistle’s “Cortège” and guest composer Jeremy Podgursky’s “MindJob” and a new work by Wilson Smith. Benjamin Bolter will conduct. Erin Cameron, a Bienen School student, will be the featured bass clarinetist. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.     

• Symphonic Band, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Shawn Vondran will conduct an evening of traditional and contemporary music for winds and percussion. The program includes Dello Joio’s “Scenes from the Louvre” and Viet Cuong’s “Sound and Smoke.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

• Alice Millar Birthday Concert, 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, Alice Millar Chapel. Stephen Alltop will conduct the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra in a program featuring chapel organist Eric Budzynski. Two contrasting works are paired for this year’s Alice Millar Chapel birthday celebration. The “Grand Concerto” for organ and orchestra by Stephen Paulus combines the chapel’s 100-rank Aeolian Skinner pipe organ with a full palette of colorful instrumental timbres. Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” Mass in D Minor offers sublime vocal lines and dramatic orchestral climaxes. Choral works by Eric Whitacre and Mischa Zupko round out this eclectic program. Admission is free; an offering will be accepted.

• Collect/Project, “The Future of Song,” 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, Lutkin Hall. Collect/Project is a collaborative enterprise involving a pool of today’s best contemporary music interpreters, versed not only in classical and experimental performance techniques, but also in popular and folkloric music traditions. Performances push the artists’ creativity beyond what might be considered normal boundaries and often recreate or rearrange a work in new ways, while still serving the original creative intent of the composer. “The Future of Song” explores what the ancient tradition of song means today. Flutist Shanna Gutierrez and soprano Frauke Aulbert’s program includes the haunting and beautiful melodies of Japanese folk tunes, the subtle and powerful gestures of breath and surreal vocal effects. The program includes the world premiere of Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf’s “Finite Jest,” Matthias Kaul’s “Silence Is My Voice,” the world premiere of Morgan Krauss’ new and untitled work for voice and flute, and Toshio Hosokawa’s “Atem Lied” and “Kuroda-Bushi.” The program is made possible in part by the Goethe-Institut. Admission is free.

• Northwestern University Percussion Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Bienen School percussion faculty member She-e Wu will direct the ensemble in an evening of eclectic rhythms. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

• Alyce Johnson, Flute Master Class, 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, Lutkin Hall. Piccoloist and acting assistant principal flute of the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Alyce Johnson also performs with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and is on the faculty of the DePaul University School of Music. Previously principal flutist of the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra for four years, she has appeared as soloist with the New World Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic and Bach Week Festival. Admission is free.

• Jeffrey Siegel, Keyboard Conversations, “Grieg and Chopin -- A Musical Friendship,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Pianist Jeffrey Siegel’s “concert with commentary” will focus on Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, who is known as "the Chopin of the North. Music by Grieg will include his Norwegian Dance, Op. 71, No. 5; Ballade in G Minor, Op. 24; “The Butterfly,” Op. 43, No. 1; “The Little Bird,” Op. 43, No. 4 and “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen” Op. 65, No. 6. Also featured will be Chopin’s Mazurka in C Major, Op. 56, No. 2; Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23 and Grande Polonaise in E-flat Major, Op. 22. The program will include a question-and-answer session. Single tickets are $22 for the general public and $16 for students with valid IDs.    

• Segovia Classical Guitar SeriesAnton Baranov7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at Lutkin Hall. Known for his daring interpretations and innovative programming, Baranov performs works by Legnani, Barrios and Anton Abril. Baranov has won more than 15 prestigious international guitar competitions, including the Andres Segovia, Agustin Barrios and Michele Pittaluga competitions. He has performed throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and Brazil and recently completed his first recording on the Naxos label. Baranov also teaches at his alma mater, the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.   

• Assad Brothers and Romero Lubambo“Samba Exotico,” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Sergio and Odair Assad have played a major role in creating and introducing new music for two guitars, winning Latin Grammy awards both for performance and composition. Their repertoire includes Sergio Assad’s original compositions and arrangements, transcriptions of baroque keyboard literature and adaptations of works by Gershwin, Ginastera and Debussy. Romero Lubambo brings his improvisatory skills to music drawn from his Brazilian roots and American jazz influences. He also has established himself as a composer and performer on his own projects as well as those of Trio Da Paz, a Brazilian jazz group. The Assads and Lubambo have worked with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Cuban saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, American jazz singer Dianne Reeves, violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Argentina’s Fernando Suarez Paz, and American soprano Dawn Upshaw. Tickets are $26 for the general public and $10 for students with IDs.

• Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Mallory Thompson will conduct the ensemble in a performance of Jennifer Higdon’s “Fanfare Ritmico,” Joel Puckett’s “Short Stories” for string quartet and wind ensemble, Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s “A Soldier’s Mass” (“Sotilasmessu”) and John Corigliano’s “Tournaments.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

• Winter Opera, Northwestern University Opera Theater presents the fully-staged Chicago area premiere of “Dead Man Walking” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20; 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at Cahn Auditorium. Since its San Francisco Opera premiere in 2000, “Dead Man Walking” has received more than 40 productions worldwide. With music by Jake Heggie and a libretto by Terrence McNally, and based on the book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, the opera tells the story of a nun’s journey as spiritual advisor to Joseph De Rocher, a convicted murderer on death row at Louisiana’s Angola State Prison. This powerful tale of suffering and redemption, from its wrenching beginning to its emotionally charged conclusion, leaves a lasting impression on all who encounter it. Michael M. Ehrman will direct the production and Michael Sakir and graduate student Robert McConnell will conduct the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. Chorus master Donald Nally will lead the University Chorale. (Parental advisory: This performance contains adult situations, graphic violence and explicit language.) Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for students with IDs.

• Northwestern University Guitar Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, Lutkin Hall. 

Anne Waller will direct the ensemble in a performance of works by de Falla, Štĕpán Rak, Moreno-Torroba and Albéniz. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

• Danú, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The Irish Times calls the County Waterford-based ensemble Danú “a spirit-raising concoction.” One of today’s leading traditional Irish groups, Danú is known for high-energy performances featuring centuries-old music and new repertoire. The group’s flute, tin whistle, fiddle, accordion, bouzouki and vocal virtuosos have performed worldwide for two decades and recorded seven critically acclaimed albums. Tickets are $24 for the general public and $10 for students with IDs.

• Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra, “Two Men of the Royal Court of Jazz -- The Duke and the Count,” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Ellington and Basie produced some of the most sophisticated and swinging music in the history of jazz. Victor Goines will conduct the orchestra in a concert celebrating Duke Ellington and Count Basie’s soul- and blues-drenched genius by featuring music of their respective bands. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.

• Northwestern University Trombone Choir, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Terry Leahy will direct a program of music written and arranged for trombones, including Strauss’ “Alpine Fantasy,” Jacob’s Octet, Premru’s “In Memoriam” and selections from popular movie soundtracks. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students.

• Evening of Brass, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Gail Williams will direct an evening of music written and arranged for brass ensemble. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.


Northwestern’s Arts Circle Drive has reopened for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The road, drive-up handicap access to Arts Circle Drive venues, the pedestrian path at the lakefront and all sidewalks are now open for public use. New improvements to the South Beach Garage have also eliminated the stairways, and both levels of the two-story parking structure are now accessible to persons with disabilities for easy access to Bienen School of Music venues. Additional parking on the Evanston campus also is available in the new Segal Visitors Center at 1841 Sheridan Road. For more information, call (847) 491-5441 or visit

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