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Bienen School Institute for New Music Hosts ICE

International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) to perform at Northwestern Feb. 5

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A concert combining the talents of the Contemporary Music Ensemble  (CME) with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and another program with flutist Claire Chase -- as well as a performance of works by two Latvian composers featuring the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble -- are among the diverse lineup of new music events at Northwestern University this winter.

Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and the Institute for New Music, the events will be held on the Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, at 7:30 p.m. as noted below. All three are open to the public.

The Feb. 5 program will conclude ICE’s weeklong residency at Northwestern. The group’s residency has included coaching sessions with the Bienen School’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, walk-in sessions for performance students and performances of student compositions.

Tickets for each of the three following events are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.


•  Thursday, Feb. 5 -- The Contemporary Music Ensemble will perform with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). With a flexible roster of more than 30 leading instrumentalists, ICE functions as performer, presenter and educator, developing innovative new works and new strategies for engaging audiences. Since its founding in 2001, ICE has premiered more than 500 compositions around the world. Under the direction of Benjamin Bolter, Bienen School faculty member and co-director of the Contemporary Music Ensemble, the program will feature “Échange” by Iannis Xenakis, “Cortège” by Harrison Birtwistle, “Mindjob” by Jeremy Podgursky and a new work by Bienen student Wilson Smith.  

• Thursday, March 5 -- The Contemporary Music Ensemble will perform with flutist Claire Chase, visiting artist with the Institute for New Music. Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist and activist for new music. During the past decade, she has premiered more than 100 new works for flute. She also has performed worldwide. A co-founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Chase serves as the organization’s artistic director and performs regularly as an ensemble member. Conducted by Benjamin Bolter, the ensemble will play Frederic Rzewski’s “Coming Together,” Kaija Saariaho’s “Terrestre” and Pierre Boulez’s “Mémoriale.”

• Friday, March 6 -- The Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble will present “Contemporary Latvia: Ešenvalds and Ratniece.” Conducted by Bienen School Professor Donald Nally, director of choral organizations, the ensemble will perform the Midwest premieres of Ēriks Ešenvalds’ “Seneca’s Zodiac” and Santa Ratniece’s “Horo horo hata hata.” They also will offer contrasting views of the choral colors and textures of these two contemporary Latvian composers. Ešenvalds marries voice to tuned water glasses, whistles, Tibetan singing bowls and prepared piano, while Ratniece’s distant animal calls and undulating harmonies imply the hidden depths beneath her soundscape.

For more information, call the Bienen School of Music Concert Management Office at 847-491-5441 or visit To order tickets, call the Bienen School Ticket Office at 847-467-4000 or visit


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 need to use the stairways since 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 is also available in the new Segal Visitors Center at 1841 Sheridan Road. For more information, call (847) 491-5441 or visit

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