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Northwestern University Music in April

Bienen School launches spring music season with Branford Marsalis jazz concert

  • Marsalis to perform Victor Goines’ “Crescent City” with Bienen School jazz orchestra
  • Pianist Andrew Tyson, guitarist Alvaro Pierri, tenor Matthew Polenzani among guest artists
  • World premiere of David Lang’s commissioned work by a Bienen School ensemble
  • Dover Quartet to perform the last of three 2015-16 season concerts  

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The spring music season on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus will be launched April 1 with a concert featuring Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis -- the eldest of the four musical Marsalis brothers.

Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, Marsalis will perform a work by Victor Goines, director of the Bienen School’s jazz studies program. Marsalis will perform the piece, commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2013, with the Bienen School jazz orchestra. The following day, Marsalis and Goines will take part in a conversation that will be open to the public.

An impressive lineup of performances by guest artists and faculty, along with special presentations, are part of the Bienen School’s year of celebration commemorating the opening of the new Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts.

Guest artists and ensembles will include an April 6 Skyline Piano Artist Series recital by Andrew Tyson; an April 18 performance by the Strasbourg, France-based new music group Ensemble Linea, which includes dance, theater and cinema in its performances; an April 24 Segovia Classical Guitar Series program by Alvaro Pierri; and an April 30 performance by tenor Matthew Polenzani.

Sounding Spaces: A Workshop for Music, Urban Space, Landscape and Architecture, April 7, is a special celebration event that will take place at the new Ryan Center. Scholars will explore how music and space are inherently linked to show the merits of thinking of them in tandem. The two-day workshop is free and open to the public.

Claire Chase, an internationally recognized flutist and Bienen School visiting artist, will be joined on stage April 16 by more than 100 other flutists to perform a monumental contemporary classical work by Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino.

April includes the world premiere of a commissioned work by composer David Lang, part of an April 17 all-Lang program by the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Contemporary Music Ensemble. 

Faculty recitals include an April 11 program by pianist and Bienen School of Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery, who will be joined on stage by cellist Anthony Elliott; and an April 19 trumpet recital by Robert Sullivan.

The Dover Quartet, the Bienen School’s quartet-in-residence, will perform the last of three 2015-16 season concerts on April 26. The ensemble will return to campus this fall to participate in additional programming next season.


All April 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; David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room;  and Jean Gimbel Lane Reception Room, 70 Arts Circle Drive; Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; Regenstein Hall’s Master Class Room, 60 Arts Circle Drive; and Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, as noted. 


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


  • Conversation with Branford Marsalis and Victor Goines, noon, Saturday, April 2, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Composer, bandleader, educator and Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis has performed with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins. Frequently heard with leading symphony orchestras, he also has written and curated music for several Broadway productions. Goines, a Bienen School professor and the director of jazz studies, has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Wynton Marsalis Septet since 1993, in addition to leading his own quartet and quintet. Admission is free.
  • Marilyn Horne Tichio Vocal Master Class, 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne’s numerous honors and awards include multiple Grammys, a National Medal of the Arts, induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and as a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by France's Ministry of Culture. From regular engagements with the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera to recordings and recitals highlighting folk and popular music, her career has spanned a variety of genres. Committed to excellence in vocal art, she is the voice program director at Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West and holds residencies at the University of Oklahoma and Oberlin Conservatory. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs. 
  • Skylight Piano Artist Series, Andrew Tyson, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Winner of the 2015 Geza Anda Competition in Zurich, Switzerland, and a 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, pianist Andrew Tyson has performed throughout the United States and Europe, appearing as soloist with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Colorado Symphony and the National Orchestra of Belgium, among many others. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, and the Caramoor Festival and with such preeminent conductors as Marin Alsop and Sir Mark Elder. Tyson’s program includes music of Scarlatti, Chopin, Ravel and Gershwin. His program will include Scarlatti’s Sonata in D Minor, K. 9; Sonata in A Major, K. 322 and Sonata in D Major, K. 96; Ravel’s “Miroirs”; Chopin’s Three Mazurkas, Op. 59 and Polonaise-Fantasie in A-flat Major, Op. 61; and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Single tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs. 
  • Toni-Marie Montgomery, piano; Anthony Elliott, cello, 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 11, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, Bienen School Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery was a founding member of the Black Music Repertory Ensemble of Columbia College Chicago. She has performed throughout the United States and in Australia, Brazil, Hawaii, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Cellist Anthony Elliott, a professor at the University of Michigan and a protégé of Janos Starker and Frank Miller, has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Vancouver Symphony and CBC Toronto Orchestra. Montgomery and Elliott have recorded a CD of cello-piano music by African American composers. The program will feature Barber’s Cello Sonata in C Minor, Debussy’s Cello Sonata and Strauss’ Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 6. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • Special Event: Mnozil Brass lecture Q&A and performance demonstration, 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. With immense virtuosity and theatrical wit, Mnozil Brass, an Austrian brass septet, has performed repertoire ranging from Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” captivating audiences around the globe. Hear one of the world’s premiere brass ensembles share stories, answer questions from the audience and perform pieces from the current North American tour of their hit show, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” A video of the group is available online. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • Claire Chase and Guests, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Bienen School visiting artist Claire Chase, an internationally recognized flutist, new music advocate and musical entrepreneur, is the only flutist to receive a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. Chase will be joined on stage by more than 100 flutists, including three Bienen School graduate students, flutists from the People's Music School and Merit School of Music, members of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and additional Chicago-area flutists to perform Salvatore Sciarrino's monumental “Il cerchio tagliato dei suoni” (“Cutting the Circle of Sounds”). Chase participated in the work's U.S. premiere at the Guggenheim Museum in 2012 and led its critically acclaimed West Coast premiere in 2015 at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall. Marveling that the performance turned the concert hall into “an enormous lung” the Los Angeles Times declared that “it was unlike anything anyone had surely heard before or even ever imagined.” Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • Swing into Spring with Madeleine Dring, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 17, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. The performance will celebrate little-known gems by composer-actress Madeleine Dring (1923-1977), as well as music by her compositional influences. A student of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells and Gordon Jacob, Dring wrote many works for the stage. The program will include Dring’s “Three Shakespeare Songs,” “Italian Dance” for oboe and piano, and Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano. Two works by Poulenc: Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano and his Flute Sonata and Gershwin’s “Three Preludes” for piano and other selected Gershwin songs also are on the program. Featured performers include the Bienen School’s John Thorne, associate professor of flute; Michael Henoch, adjunct associate professor of oboe; David McGill, professor of bassoon; as well as soprano Patrice Michaels; and pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs. 
  • Ensemble Linea, 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 18, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Founded in Strasbourg in 1998 by pianist-conductor Jean-Philippe Wirtz, Ensemble Linea is committed to democratizing contemporary music. The ensemble’s projects cover diverse aesthetic perspectives, from musical theater to electronic music and from Western European music to Asian and American repertoire. Regularly including dance, theater and cinema in its performances, the ensemble has earned a reputation for dynamic staging. As the Bienen School’s Institute for New Music visiting artists, Ensemble Linea members will work with composition students, coach performance students in contemporary music and play two concerts, of which this is the first. The program will feature Raphaël Cendo’s “Rokh I,” Aurélien Dumont’s “fiocchi di silenzio,” Yair Klartag’s new work for Ensemble Linea; Marco Momi’s “Iconica”; Pascal Dusapin’s “Indeed” for trombone and Frédéric Durieux’s “etudes en alternance” 1, 2 and 3 (first performance of No. 3). Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs. 
  • Faculty Recital, Robert Sullivan, The Singing Trumpet, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Formerly principal trumpet of the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, the Bienen School’s Robert Sullivan, professor of trumpet, also has been a member of the New York Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony Orchestra and United States Air Force Band. He has recorded soundtracks for several major motion pictures and released two solo albums with pianist James Rensink on the Summit Records label. Sullivan’s performance of music for solo trumpet and brass ensemble will feature aria transcriptions and original works in a lyrical style. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
  • Segovia Classical Guitar Series: Alvaro Pierri, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24, the Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Alvaro Pierri is internationally acclaimed as a leading personality in the world of guitar. Press reviews around the globe praise "his masterfully thought-out interpretations." At age 11 he began winning prizes in international guitar competitions, including top awards in the Buenos Aires, Porto Alegre and Radio France competitions. Pierri is a frequent performer at major concert halls in Europe, North and South America and Asia. In addition to his distinguished solo career, he is sought after as a teacher and ensemble player, performing and giving master classes on nearly every continent. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.
  • Dover Quartet: Quartet-in-Residence, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, the Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Since sweeping the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, claiming the grand prize and all three special prizes, the Dover Quartet has catapulted to international stardom. The quartet won the hearts of our audience when it first appeared as part of the Bienen School’s 2014 Winter Chamber Music Festival, and its return for the 2015 and 2016 festivals 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, this is the third and final performance this season that will take place on Northwestern’s Evanston 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 spring concert will feature Janáček’s String Quartet No. 2 (“Intimate Letters”) and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 2 in A Major. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs. Winter Chamber Music Festival subscribers receive a 20 percent discount to this performance.
  • Guest Artist: Matthew Polenzani Recital, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Tenor Matthew Polenzani is the recipient of the 2004 Richard Tucker Award and the Metropolitan Opera’s 2008 Beverly Sills Artist Award. His 2014-15 season included his return to London’s Royal Opera House for “Idomeneo,” productions of “Les contes d’Hoffmann” at the Metropolitan Opera, “L’elisir d’amore” and “Die Zauberflöte” at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, and his Opernhaus Zurich debut in “La traviata.” His 2015-16 season highlights include appearances in “Don Giovanni” at Opéra national de Paris, productions of “Werther” in Munich and Vienna, and “Les pêcheurs de perles” and “Roberto Devereux” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Polenzani will sing Schubert's “Die schöne Müllerin.” He will be assisted by pianist Alan Darling, Bienen School lecturer and opera vocal coach. Tickets are $25 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.

For more information, call the Bienen School of Music Concert Management Office at 847- 491-5441 or visit or Northwestern’s new Arts Circle website at To order tickets, call the Bienen School Ticket Office at 847-467-4000 or visit

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