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Northwestern University Music in September and October

Ryan Center for the Musical Arts to hold free opening concert on lawn Sept. 25-26

  • Midwest premiere of John Luther Adams’ “Sila: the Breath of the World,” Sept. 25-26
  • Dover Quartet begins its much-anticipated three-year residency with Bienen School Oct. 7
  • Lawrence Brownlee will lead vocal master class for promising Bienen students Oct. 29

EVANSTON, Ill. --- This fall is an exciting time on the Arts Circle at the south end of Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. Music lovers have been eagerly awaiting the official opening of the University’s new state-of-the-art music facility and the first of many celebratory programs and annual series events that have been scheduled throughout the 2015-16 academic year.

Good news: The building is officially open.

Among the first events will be the Midwest premiere of “Sila: the Breath of the World,” a work by John Luther Adams that was written to be performed outdoors. “Sila” will kick off a yearlong series of public programs to celebrate the Bienen School of Music’s new Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts.  

The architecturally-striking building, located on the shore of Lake Michigan on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, is home to the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and the theatre and performance studies departments and the School of Communication. Designed by Chicago-based Goettsch Partners, the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts includes performance and rehearsal spaces, teaching studios, classrooms, practice rooms and faculty offices. 

Adams’ “Sila: The Breath of the World” will be performed by 80 vocalists and musicians from the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, Contemporary Music Ensemble and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, on the south lawn of the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus.

The hourlong work, performed without a conductor, premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center last summer and is designed to gradually dissolve into the larger sonic landscape of its location. Each of the 80 musicians is a soloist with an individual “map” indicating the exact pitch and the approximate time to play. A smartphone application, developed specifically for this piece, generates the pitches and includes a stopwatch.

Winner of the 2010 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition from Northwestern University and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music, John Luther Adams has joined students for the first week of classes to prepare the piece.

Donald Nally, professor and director of choral organizations at the Bienen School, is music director of the project, and percussionist Doug Perkins of eighth blackbird, a multiple Grammy Award-winning contemporary music sextet based in Chicago, will serve as artistic director.

Of “Sila,” the composer writes: "In Inuit tradition, the spirit that animates all things is sila, the breath of the world. Sila is the wind and weather, the forces of nature.”

“The work is essentially a slowly evolving, rising, transparent cloud of sound generated by the breath of each performer,” explained Nally. “Audience members experience the work surrounded by the musicians -- they may sit, stand or wander -- creating their own evolving environment for the work, which is a beautiful meditation on the natural world and our place in it. It’s a different way of thinking about music, and I thought this was the perfect piece to consecrate the new music building.”

Upcoming fall events include a variety of outstanding guest artists, instrumental and choral ensembles, recitals, and master classes, including an Oct. 29 Tichio Vocal Master Class for Bienen School students led by Lawrence Brownlee, one of the world’s leading bel canto tenors.

This year, the Dover Quartet, the Banff International String Quartet Competition winners, begin a three-year Bienen School of music residency, including performances on Oct. 7, Jan. 10 and April 3. 

The 2015-16 inaugural season of the Skyline Piano Artists Series begins in mid-November in the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, a new recital venue with state-of-the-art acoustics and breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline. The series will feature internationally renowned pianists, including: Nov. 14, Ursula Oppens with Jerome Lowenthal; Dec. 3, Stephen Hough; Jan. 29, Garrick Ohlsson; March 8, James Giles; April 6, Andrew Tyson; and May 15, the Cheng-Chow Trio.

The annual Segovia Classical Guitar Series gets underway Nov. 21, with a program by Eduardo Fernandez. The Segovia Series also will feature: Jan. 23, Paul O’Dette; Feb. 14, Anne Waller and Mark Maxwell; March 12, Ekachai Jearakul; and April 24, Alvaro Pierri.

VENUES

All fall programs listed below are open to the public. They will take place on the University’s Evanston campus at the Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive; David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room, 70 Arts Circle Drive; Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater, 70 Arts Circle Drive; Alice Millar Chapel, 1670 Sheridan Road; Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; and Regenstein Recital Hall’s Master Class Room, 60 Arts Circle Drive, as noted. For more venue information, visit events.music.northwestern.edu.

TICKETS

The Bienen School Ticket Office is located at the southeast entrance of Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. 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 events.music.northwestern.edu. To order tickets, call 847-467-4000 or visit events.music.northwestern.edu.

SERIES BROCHURES/FURTHER INFORMATION

For series brochures or further information, call 847-491-5441 or email requests to events.music@northwestern.edu. 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 events.music@northwestern.edu.

SEPTEMBER 2015 MUSIC EVENTS 

The following events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.

  • Midwest premiere of John Luther Adams’ “Sila: The Breath of the World,” 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Both performances will take place on the south lawn of the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts (rain location: Ryan Center for the Musical Arts atrium, 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus). Shimmering harmonic clouds hover and gently transform in John Luther Adams’ “Sila” (2014) for 80 musicians, performed by members of the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, Contemporary Music Ensemble and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. Presented on the south lawn with Lake Michigan, the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts and the Chicago skyline as a backdrop, “Sila” explores the composer’s deep concern with the interactions between humans and the environment. In this mystical work, inspired by natural harmonic overtones, performers move to the rhythm of their own long, beautiful exhalations. Admission is free.
  • March with the Band, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Children ages 3 to 8 will have the opportunity to march with the Wildcat Marching Band during this popular annual fall event. Be sure to bring an instrument for playing along. Following the performance the band will march from Pick-Staiger Concert Hall to the south lawn of the new Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts (weather permitting), where kids can see each instrument up close. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children.
  • Linda Chesis: Flute Master Class, 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room. Founder and artistic director of Colorado's Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, flutist Linda Chesis has collaborated with Jessye Norman, Dawn Upshaw and James Levine. A top prizewinner at competitions in Paris and Barcelona as well as the National Flute Association Competition, Chesis has made guest appearances at the Salzburg Mozarteum, Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds and Tanglewood Music Festival. Admission is free.

OCTOBER 2015

  • Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: The Passionate Music of Robert Schumann, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. If ever a composer's music was inspired by love, that composer was Schumann. The first installment of pianist Jeffrey Siegel’s “concerts with commentary” series will feature a selection of Schumann’s works, including Novelettes, Romances and Variations on a melody of his beloved Clara Wieck. Season subscriptions are still available for $80 for the general public and $60 for students. Call 847-467-4000 to order. Single tickets are $22 for the general public and $16 for students with valid IDs.
  • Richard Boldrey and Guests, 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room. Pianist Richard Boldrey has served as assistant conductor at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Evanston’s Opera Midwest as well as maestro and assistant to Carlo Bergonzi at Italy’s Bel Canto Festival. With violinist Celina Boldrey Casado, he will perform works by Ysaÿe, Schubert, Bolcom, Rachmaninoff and Kreisler. Boldrey will join Bienen School vocalists in Beethoven’s settings of English and Irish folk songs for voice and piano trio. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students.
  • Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble: “Evensong,” 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, Alice Millar Chapel. The ensemble again explores this ancient liturgy through Renaissance and contemporary motets and anthems. The program includes music of James MacMillan, John Sheppard and Herbert Howells as well as chants and hymns. The program will be conducted by Donald Nally and feature organist Eric Budzynski. Admission is free.
  • Dover Quartet: Quartet-in-Residence, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. This fall marks the much-anticipated beginning of the Dover Quartet’s three-year residency with the Bienen School of Music. The quartet is comprised of violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt and cellist Camden Shaw. Since sweeping the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, claiming the grand prize and all three special prizes, the ensemble has catapulted to international stardom. The quartet won the hearts of audiences when it first appeared as part of the Bienen School’s 2014 Winter Chamber Music Festival, and its return for the following year’s festival was an even bigger success. The group’s 2014-15 performance schedule included more than 100 concerts throughout the United States, Canada, South America and Europe. The quartet’s 2015–16 schedule is no less busy, but thanks to the generous support of the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, three of this season’s performances will take place on the Northwestern campus. In addition to performing a concert each quarter, the quartet will coach student chamber music ensembles and present master classes and open rehearsals. The group’s first concert will feature Mozart’s Quartet in B-flat (“The Hunt”), Henri Dutilleux’s  “Ainsi la nuit” and Schumann’s Quartet No. 1 in A Minor. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.
  • Newberry Consort: Music of Johann Rosenmüller, 2 p.m. pre-concert lecture and 3 p.m. concert, Sunday, Oct. 11, Alice Millar Chapel. Rosenmüller’s life and music were full of drama. His career in Germany came to an abrupt halt in 1655 when he was imprisoned on charges of scandalous behavior. He escaped and fled to Italy, where he gained fame as a composer at San Marco in Venice. At the end of his life he returned to Germany in glory as the “Amphion of his age.” Incorporating French restraint, English theatricality, Italian emotion and the appeal of German traditional song, Rosenmüller’s music is dramatic, heartfelt, clever and beautiful. Soprano Ellen Hargis will sing to the accompaniment of violins, violas, bass violin and keyboard. In addition to Hargis, other performers will include violinist David Douglass, violinist Miriam Scholz-Carlson, violists Brandi Berry and Jakob Hansen, bass violinist Jeremy Ward and organist and harpsichordist Charles Metz. Tickets are $40 ($5 discount if purchased in advance) for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • WFMT Bach Keyboard Festival: Bach’s Keyboard Music, 2 p.m. pre-concert recital; 3 p.m. concert, Sunday, Oct. 11, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. As part of WFMT’s Bach Keyboard Festival, 18 performers from Northwestern’s keyboard program will perform solo music of Bach. The program includes the Concerto in G Minor (BWV 985), “Aria variata alla maniera italiana” in A Minor; English Suite No. 2 in A Minor; French Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major; Fugue in A Major on a Theme by Tomaso Albinoni; Suite in A Major; Toccata in G Minor; and Prelude and Fugue No. 14 in F-sharp Minor from Book II of “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” Tickets are $25 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.
  • Robert Sullivan: trumpet, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. A former member of the Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and United States Air Force Band, Sullivan has performed worldwide. He has presented master classes and recitals throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia and has served on the faculties of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Charleston Southern University and College of Charleston. Sullivan’s program showcases the work of James Stephenson, including the world premiere of “Spinning Wheel,” commissioned by the Bienen School of Music. The program also will feature Stephenson’s “Fanfare,” Sonata No. 1, “Croatian Trio” and “Cousins.” Sullivan will be joined on stage by pianist Yoko Yamada-Selvaggio, saxophonist Taimur Sullivan and flutist John Thorne. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • Mary Ann Archer: Flute Master Class, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, Regenstein Recital Hall. Formerly a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony and the Virginia Opera orchestra, Archer is a lecturer at Virginia’s Hampden-Sydney College. She also serves as the principal flutist and orchestra manager for Virginia’s Opera on the James. Admission is free.
  • Jazz Small Ensembles: The New Crescent City Songbook, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room. New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz and a city of celebration. Its culture created a solid foundation for historic music that is still performed today. Victor Goines and Jarrard Harris will conduct the Jazz Small Ensembles as they present their new arrangements of New Orleans music, present and past. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Mallory Thompson will conduct the ensemble in a program that includes Wagner’s “Huldigungsmarsch” in E-flat Major; Strauss’ “Allerseelen,” David Noon’s “Sweelinck Variations,” Set 1; and Keith Wilson’s arrangement of Hindemith’s “Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber.” Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Victor Yampolsky will conduct a program featuring Rossini’s Overture to “William Tell,” Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”) and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor. Alan Chow will be the piano soloist. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • WFMT Bach Keyboard Festival: Bach’s Keyboard Music, 3 p.m. concert, Sunday, Oct. 25, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Sixteen performers from Northwestern’s keyboard program will perform solo music of Bach. The program includes the Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major; Concerto in G Major (BWV 986); English Suite No. 5 in E Minor and Concerto in B Minor (BWV 979). Also featured will be the French Suite No. 3 in B Minor; Suite in B-flat Major (BWV 821); Fugue in D Minor (BWV 948) and Preludes and Fugues No. 16 in G Minor and No. 21 in B-flat Major from Book II of “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” Tickets are $25 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.
  • Hymnfest XIII: “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates,” 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, Alice Millar Chapel. The 13th annual Hymnfest offers arrangements and anthems for brass, organ, timpani, chorus and congregation by David Giardiniere, Craig Smith, Lani Smith, Richard Webster and others. Conducted by Stephen Alltop, join the Alice Millar Chapel Choir, the Millar Brass Ensemble and the mighty 100-rank Aeolian Skinner organ and raise your voice in these majestic and uplifting hymns. The program features organist Eric Budzynski. Admission is free (an offering will be accepted).
  • Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra: The Spanish Tinge, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. New Orleans piano master Jelly Roll Morton once said, “If you can’t manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.” In this concert Victor Goines and Jarrard Harris will conduct the Jazz Orchestra in a musical sampling of three giants: Chico O’Farrill, Paquito D’Rivera and Dizzy Gillespie. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • Trombone Choir, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. The concert will feature music written and arranged for trombone. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • Lawrence Brownlee Tichio Vocal Master Class, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Brownlee – one of the world’s leading bel canto tenors -- has appeared on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera Covent Garden and Opéra national de Paris, among others. During the 2014–15 season he made his role debut as Don Ottavio in “Don Giovanni” with Seattle Opera, appeared at the Met as Count Almaviva in “Il barbiere di Siviglia” and played Don Ramiro opposite Cecilia Bartoli at Opernhaus Zürich in “La Cenerentola.” This summer he premiered the role of Charlie Parker in “Yardbird” at Opera Philadelphia. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra: A Celebration of Beginnings, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Robert G. Hasty will conduct the orchestra in a program featuring Handel’s “Water Music” Suite No. 2 in D Major; Copland’s Prelude for Chamber Orchestra; Darren Solomon’s “Look for Me in Louisiana”; Cynthia Folio’s “Winds for Change”; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C Major. Lindsey Goodman and Sherry Kujala will be the featured flutists. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • Symphonic Band, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Shawn Vondran will conduct the band in a performance of Mark Rogers’ arrangement of Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture”; Ron Nelson’s “Medieval Suite”; John Boyd’s arrangement of Vaughan Williams’ “Flourish for Glorious John”; and Steven Bryant’s “Paean.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

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