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Bienen School of Music to Host Eclectic Lineup of Guest Artists

Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade to lead a vocal master class that is open to the public

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Canadian Guitar Quartet, Israeli-born acoustic and electric cellist Maya Beiser and the Norwegian Brass Ensemble are among the array of guest artists from around the globe who will appear on Northwestern University stages this spring.  

Their concerts and those by other nationally and internationally-known artists will be presented by Northwestern’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

Upcoming events include a program of tango music by pianists Christopher O’Riley and Argentine composer Pablo Ziegler and a recital by Russian-born pianist Alexander Kobrin, the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winner.

In addition, the public is invited to attend master classes featuring promising Bienen School flute, string and voice students that will be led by Dallas Symphony Orchestra flutist Deborah Baron, the Jasper String Quartet, a chamber group; and internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, respectively.

The Bienen School also will welcome the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, an Emmy Award-winning Chicago-based dance ensemble led by artistic director Billy Siegenfeld, a School of Communication faculty member. Members of the ensemble will present a lively hourlong Kids Fare program that fuses dancing and singing. The program is geared for children ages 3 to 8 and their families. 

The following spring events will be held on the University’s Evanston campus at Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place; Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive; and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, as noted.

•  The Canadian Guitar Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in the last installment of the 2014-15 Segovia Classical Guitar Series. The group has often been featured on national broadcasts in North and South America and Europe, on a “Classical Guitar Alive” webcast from the United States and with orchestras across the globe. The ensemble’s performance will include works by Lhoyer, Gnatti and Patrick Roux. Tickets are $24 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.

• Flutist Deborah Baron will host a master class at 7 p.m. Monday, April 6 at Lutkin Hall that will feature promising Bienen School flute students. Baron is the piccoloist and associate principal flute with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with the Springfield (Mass.) Symphony, New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Italy’s Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds. This class is free and open to the general public.

• Pianists Christopher O’Riley and Pablo Ziegler’s “Two to Tango” concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 7 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. O’Riley has stretched the piano beyond conventional boundaries, from his groundbreaking transcriptions of Radiohead, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake to his sublime interpretations of the classical canon. The Buenos Aires-born Ziegler has become one of the most important figures in Argentine Tango Nuevo by incorporating new elements into traditional Argentine tango. Together they will perform a program of new compositions and music by Piazzolla and Pablo Ziegler. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.

• Acoustic and electric cellist Maya Beiser will appear on stage with percussionist Glenn Kotche and bassist Gyan Riley during their “All Vows” program at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Beiser has collaborated with composers Tan Dun, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Mark O’Connor among others. In this new program she will combine classical forms with rock, blues and electronics. Kotche is known for his work with the Chicago-based band Wilco. The program will feature Kotche’s “Three Parts Wisdom” and Mohammed Fairouz’s “Kol Nidrei,” the Chicago-area premieres of Michael Gordon’s “All Vows” and Michael Harrison’s “Just Ancient Loops.” It also will include Evan Ziporyn’s arrangements of Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Janis Joplin and Howlin’ Wolf. Tickets are $24 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.

• Gail Williams will direct a collaborative performance featuring the Northwestern Brass Ensemble and the Norwegian Brass Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Bienen School trumpet faculty member Robert Sullivan will be the featured soloist. The program includes music by Hovland, Nystedt, Sibelius, Eric Ewazen and Anthony Plog. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

• Kids Fare, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 18, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Led by artistic director Billy Siegenfeld, the Chicago-based Jump Rhythm Jazz Project will leap onstage to share toe-tapping music and exuberant dance with young audience members. The concert is geared to children ages 3 to 8 and their families and friends. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

•  The Jasper String Quartet will host a chamber music master class at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 19 at Regenstein Recital Hall. The Philadelphia-based group recently issued two highly-acclaimed albums for the Sono Luminus label featuring music by Beethoven, Schubert and Aaron Jay Kernis, as well as a digital release of Beethoven’s Op. 131. The master class is free and open to the general public.

• Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade will lead a vocal master class as part of the Robert M. and Maya L. Tichio Vocal Master Class Series at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 2 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Von Stade’s current season highlights include the Dallas Opera world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s first full-length opera -- “Great Scott” -- since “Dead Man Walking” in 2000. Her more than 60 recordings for every major label, including complete operas, aria albums, symphonic works, solo recital programs and popular crossover albums, have garnered six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disque awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, and “Best of the Year” citations by Stereo Review and Opera News. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

• Pianist Alexander Kobrin will perform works by Haydn, Chopin, Schubert and Scriabin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5 at Lutkin Hall. Kobrin is the grand prizewinner of the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and has performed with celebrated orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic and Russian National Orchestra. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

• Pianist Jeffrey Siegel will present the final concert in the 2014-15 season of his Keyboard Conversations, “Music of Joyous Celebration” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Siegel’s “concert with commentary” will feature festive music by Schumann, Chopin, Poulenc, Falla and others to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Keyboard Conversations. Tickets are $22 for the general public or $16 for students with valid IDs.

•  The Northwestern University Women’s Chorus will perform with La Caccina, a Chicago-based women’s professional vocal ensemble, in a program titled “Sacred and Profane” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22 at Lutkin Hall. Mozart’s “Sparrow” Mass plus music of Britten, Mendelssohn and Toivo Tulev will be performed. This event is $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

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