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British chamber music rounds out Bienen’s December offerings

New professor of viola makes Northwestern debut as Chamber Orchestra soloist

EVANSTON - A concert of chamber music selections by premier British composers will round out the December programming at the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music. Previously announced programs include Duke Ellington’s jazz arrangement of the Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” historically authentic performances of Handel’s “Messiah,” seasonal favorites performed by the Symphony Orchestra and the beloved holiday classic, Festival of Lessons and Carols, featuring the Alice Millar Chapel Choir, Philharmonia and Millar Brass Ensemble.

The concerts will be held on the University’s Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, located at 50 Arts Circle Drive; Galvin Recital Hall, located in the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts at 70 Arts Circle Drive; and Alice Millar Chapel at 1870 Sheridan Road.

For more information, call the Bienen School of Music Concert Management Office at 847-491-5441 or visit the Bienen concerts website. To order tickets, call the Bienen School Ticket Office at 847-467-4000 or visit the website. To receive a monthly events newsletter about Bienen concerts and events, as well as special discount offers, email

This special program of holiday classics features the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite,” edited and transcribed by Chicago Jazz Orchestra artistic director and conductor Jeff Lindberg. For more than 35 years, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra has been at the forefront of classic American jazz-orchestra repertoire at venues and institutions throughout the Chicago area. The orchestra has collaborated with such artists as Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones and Kurt Elling. Tickets are $25 for the general public and $10 for students with a valid ID. 

Conducted by Robert G. Hasty and featuring the Bienen School of Music’s new professor of viola, Helen Callus, in her Northwestern concert debut. The program features Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Wasps” Overture; Edward Elgar’s “Salut d’amor;” Georg Philipp Telemann’s Concerto for Viola in G Major; Herbert Howells’ Elegy for Viola, String Quartet, and String Orchestra and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 in D Major. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with a valid ID.

  • Handel’s "Messiah"
    Friday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec 4., 7:30 p.m.
    Galvin Recital Hall (Inside the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts), 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston

Conducted by Donald Nally, the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Callipygian Players present Handel’s iconic and beloved oratorio. Known as Chicago’s premier baroque music ensemble, the Callipygian Players (featuring violinist Martin Davids and cellist/violist da gamba Craig Trompeter) join the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble in two memorable weekend performances. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $5 for students with a valid ID.

  • Music for the Holidays
    Saturday, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.
    Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
    The Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra will perform Engelbert Humperdinck’s Prelude to “Hänsel und Gretel”; Dmitri Kabalevsky’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in C Major; Sergei Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kijé” Suite; and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite.” The orchestra, conducted by Victor Yampolsky and Benjamin Firer, features cello soloist Riana Anthony. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with a valid ID.

  • A Festival of Lessons and Carols
    Sunday, Dec. 4, 10:40 a.m.
    Alice Millar Chapel, 1879 Sheridan Road, Evanston

The Alice Millar Chapel Choir, Philharmonia and Millar Brass Ensemble present the beloved holiday tradition. Conducted by Stephen Alltop with oboe soloist Michael Henoch, the concert combines readings and musical gems to portray the Christmas miracle. The program features carol settings from medieval to modern for brass, strings, organ and choir. Carols include “Gloria in Excelsis” from Mozart’s Mass in C Minor; Lester Seigel’s setting of “Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head;” “Noél Ayisyen (A Haitian Noël)” by Emile Desamours; “A Babe is Born” by William Mathias; and selections from Stephen Chatman’s “Magnificat.” This is a free event; donations will be accepted.
The Bienen School is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle. Visit the Northwestern Arts Circle website for more arts events at Northwestern.