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Bienen School to Present a Variety of New Music Programs

Music to range from Led Zeppelin and Nirvana to works by Esa-Pekka Salonen

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Performances by acoustic and electric cellist Maya Beiser, Wilco percussionist Glenn Kotche; flutist Claire Chase, pianist James Giles and two of the Bienen School’s new music ensembles will be among the artists who will push the boundaries of contemporary instrumental and vocal sounds at Northwestern University this spring.

Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, upcoming events will include the Chicago-area premiere of two works, a premiere written especially for Chase’s concert, and a new piece by Northwestern music student Carlo Diaz which will be performed during a program celebrating world-renowned composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Bienen School’s 2014 Michael Ludwig Nemmers prizewinner.

The upcoming events listed below will be held at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road in Evanston; and Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion in downtown Chicago, as noted:

• Maya Beiser, founding cellist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, will be the featured artist in the “All Vows” concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. In this new program, Beiser plays acoustic and electric cello, combining classical forms with rock, blues and electronics. Joining Beiser on stage are bassist Gyan Riley and percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche, best known for his work with the Chicago-based band Wilco. Music by Kotche, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and the Chicago-area premieres of Michael Gordon’s “All Vows” and Michael Harrison’s “Just Ancient Loops” will be performed. Tickets are $24 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.

• Flutist Claire Chase will perform with students from the Bienen School flute studio at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at Alice Millar Chapel. Presented by the Institute for New Music and made possible by a grant from the Davee Foundation, the program features contemporary works for flute, including a premiere composed for this concert. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

• The Midwest premiere of “Lost Objects” will be performed by the Bienen Contemporary/ Early Vocal Ensemble and the Contemporary Music Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 1 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and during Memorial Day weekend at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 24, at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago. The new work is a musical exploration of the meaning of memory by Bang on a Can composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. It is written for voices, electric guitar, baroque orchestra and keyboards. Both concerts, which will be conducted by Donald Nally, are free and open to the general public.

• The Contemporary Music Ensemble and Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble will celebrate the music of the Bienen School’s 2014 Michael Ludwig Nemmers prizewinner, Esa-Pekka Salonen at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 18 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The performance will celebrate the music of Esa-Pekka Salonen and will be conducted by Bienen School faculty members Alan PiersonBenjamin Bolter and Donald Nally. Salonen is principal conductor and artistic adviser for London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he served as music director from 1992 until 2009. His current season engagements have included appearances with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The program will include Salonen’s “Sisar” for piano, a work that the former Los Angeles Philharmonic director dedicated to internationally renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman in January 2013, which will be performed by James Giles, associate professor of piano. (Editor’s note: Bronfman is the 2010 recipient of the Bienen School’s $50,000 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance.) Other works on the program include Salonen’s Concert Etude for Solo Horn, featuring horn student soloist Russell Rybicki, “Iri da iri” and “Five Images after Sappho.” Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto and a new work by Bienen School music student Carlo Diaz also will be performed. Bienen School voice student Rachel Sparrow will be the soprano soloist. The concert concludes the first portion of Salonen’s Nemmers Prize campus residency. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 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

Arts Circle Drive

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