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Northwestern University Music in December

Pre-holiday music events to feature brass, choral and instrumental student ensembles

  • Evening of brass ensemble music to include holiday favorites
  • A Festival of Lessons and Carols portrays story of Christmas via readings and music
  • Skyline Piano Artist Series to feature four-time Grammy nominee Stephen Hough
  • Hough received the Bienen School’s 2008 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- With the holidays merely weeks away, Northwestern University will welcome the season in early December with an evening brass concert featuring favorite holiday works and an annual program of readings and music related to the story of Christmas.

The two holiday events are part of the rich variety of repertoire that the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music has programmed for this fall and throughout the year, which includes performances by outstanding Bienen School faculty members, instrumental and choral student ensembles and guest appearances by some of the world’s leading artists.


All December programs listed below are open to the public. They will take place on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus at the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts’ Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive; Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; and Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, as noted. More information available online.


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 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


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

  • Evening of Brass, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Bienen School faculty member Gail Williams will direct a program of music written and arranged for brass ensemble, including holiday favorites. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • Stephen Hough, Piano Master Class, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. A member of the Juilliard School piano faculty, Stephen Hough also is a visiting professor at London's Royal Academy of Music and holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at the Royal Northern College in Manchester. Admission is free. 
  • Skyline Piano Artist Series recital, Stephen Hough, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall.Stephen Hough, an eight-time Gramophone Award recipient, will perform his own Sonata III, “Trinitas.” His program also will include Schubert’s Sonata in A Minor; Franck’s “Prelude, Chorale and Fugue”; and Liszt’s “Valses oubliées” Nos. 1 and 2 and “Transcendental Etudes” Nos. 10 and 11. Hough also is the recipient of four Grammy nominations, a 2001 MacArthur Fellowship and the Bienen School’s 2008 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance. Single tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs. Skyline Piano Artist Series subscriptions are still available by calling 847-467-4000. 
  • Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra, “Viva l'Italia,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Robert G. Hasty will conduct the ensemble in a performance of  Rossini’s “L’italiana in Algeri” Overture, Puccini’s “I Crisantemi,” Boccherini’s Symphony No. 6 in D Minor (“La casa del Diavolo”) and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A Major (“Italian.”) Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • New Music, Contemporary Music Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Bienen School faculty member Alan Pierson will conduct a program featuring Webern’s Five Pieces for Orchestra and Steve Reich’s “City Life.” Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Victor Yampolsky, director of orchestras at the Bienen School, will conduct a program celebrating the 150th anniversary of composer Jean Sibelius’ birth, including the composer’s “Alla Marcia” from “Karelia Suite” and Symphony No. 3 in C Major, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • A Festival of Lessons and Carols, 10:40 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, Alice Millar Chapel. Stephen Alltop, director of music for Alice Millar Chapel, will conduct a beloved holiday tradition that combines readings and musical gems portraying the Christmas story. Ranging from medieval to modern, the carol settings for brass, strings, organ and choir include Bruckner’s “Virga Jesse,” Gabrieli’s “Magnificat a 8,” Robert Chilcott’s “The Shepherd’s Carol” and selections from Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio.” The program will feature oboist Michael Henoch, the Alice Millar Chapel Choir, Philharmonia and Millar Brass Ensemble. Admission is free, however an offering will be accepted.
  • Symphonic Band, 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Shawn Vondran, the Bienen School’s associate director of bands, will conduct the band in a program featuring Prokofiev’s “Athletic Festival March”; Thomas Fraschillo’s transcription of Alessandro Stradella’s “Aria di chiesa,” “Pietà, signore”; and Holst’s Second Suite in F. The ensemble also will perform David Biedenbender’s transcription of Johann Schop’s setting of Bach’s “Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist,” Biedenbender’s “Luminescence” and Fisher Tull’s “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm.” Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel, “Splendor from Silence,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Pianist Jeffrey Siegel’s “concert with commentary” will focus on the transcendent music of Beethoven, Fauré and Smetana written after each composer was engulfed by deafness. Siegel’s program will feature Fauré's Nocturne, Smetana's polkas and Beethoven's final sonata. Single tickets are $22 for the general public and $16 for students with valid IDs.

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