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Dudok Kwartet, Rolston String Quartet and Jennifer Koh make Winter Chamber Music Festival debuts in 2018

Jan. 12 to 28 festival also features Bienen debut of baritone Edward Parks

  • 22nd annual festival opens Jan. 12 with North American debut of Dudok Kwartet
  • 2016 Banff International Competition winners Rolston String Quartet perform Jan. 14
  • Jennifer Koh’s two-concert event ‘Shared Madness’ closes the festival Jan. 28   

The Dover Quartet, Bienen School's Quartet-in-Residence, performs Jan. 26 as part of the 2018 Winter Chamber Music Festival. 

EVANSTON - Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music presents the 2018 Winter Chamber Music Festival, featuring performances from guest artists and Bienen faculty on Fridays and Sundays from Jan. 12 to 28, 2018, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.

Since its founding in 1997 by Blair Milton, violinist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a Bienen School faculty member, the festival has enlivened the quiet, post-holiday classical music landscape and served as a catalyst for increased concert activity on the North Shore.

The 22nd annual festival is made possible by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

The concert schedule is as follows:

NRC Handelsblad praises the Dudok Kwartet Amsterdam for approaching composers from Ligeti to Mozart with “devotion and a wealth of sound.” The quartet’s numerous honors and awards include the 2014 Kersjes Prize and two special prizes in the 2013 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition. Their North American debut features Mozart’s String Quartet No. 14 in G Major, György Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1 (“Métamorphoses nocturnes”) and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 6 in F Minor. 

“What great jubilance and exuberance these fresh-faced players radiated, and what a thrilling cohesion of phrasing and tone,” raves the Broad Street Review of the Rolston String Quartet. In 2016, the quartet won first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the grand prize in the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. Currently the graduate quartet in residence at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, the Rolston has previously participated in residencies and fellowships at the Aspen Festival, Banff Centre and Norfolk and Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Festivals. The quartet performs Mozart’s String Quartet No. 18 in A Major, R. Murray Schafer’s String Quartet No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1 in D Major. 

Musical mischief and duplicitousness are the focus of this program featuring Bienen School faculty Gerardo Ribeiro, violin; Andrew Raciti, double bass; Stephen Alltop, harpsichord; Steven Cohen, clarinet; Robert Sullivan, trumpet; Michael Mulcahy, trombone; and School of Communication faculty member Henry Godinez, narrator; with special guests Andrea Swan, piano; Lewis Kirk, bassoon; and Cynthia Yeh, percussion. The program includes Bartók's “Contrasts,” Tartini's Violin Sonata in G Minor ("Devil's Trill”) and Stravinsky’s “L’histoire du soldat” (“The Soldier’s Tale”). 

The evening’s program showcases masterworks from 19th-century Vienna: Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1 and Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet in B Minor. Performers include Bienen School faculty Scott Hostetler, oboe; J. Lawrie Bloom, clarinet; Gail Williams, horn; and Blair Milton, violin. Baritone Edward Parks makes his Bienen debut as a special guest on the program. Parks sang the title role in the world premiere of “Steve Jobs” with the Santa Fe Opera and was hailed by Opera News for his “warm, velvety baritone.” Other featured guests are Kenneth Olsen, cello; Robert Kassinger, bass; Kuang-Hao Huang, piano; Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson, flute; William Buchman, bassoon; Lei Hou and Qing Hou, violin; and Lawrence Neuman, viola. 

The Bienen School Quartet-in-Residence’s 2016-17 season highlights included the release of the group’s debut recording, a U.S. tour with bassist-composer Edgar Meyer, performances of the complete Beethoven quartet cycles and a 2017 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Their program features Mozart’s String Quartet No. 15 in D Minor, Arnold Schoenberg’s String Quartet in D Major and Alexander von Zemlinsky’s String Quartet No. 2. 

Exploring the relationship between composer and performer and between violinist and instrument, Jennifer Koh’s spellbinding new two-concert event consists of 24 specially-commissioned caprices inspired by those of Paganini. Living composers represented include Samuel Adams, Philip Glass, John Harbison, David Lang, Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Augusta Read Thomas and Julia Wolfe. Koh is “Musical America’s” 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, a Concert Artists Guild Competition winner and an Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient.

“Shared Madness” tickets are $30 for a single performance or $50 for both, and $10 each for students with a valid ID. Festival subscribers receive tickets to both performances for the price of one.

All other festival single tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for students with a valid ID. Tickets are available on the Concerts at Bienen website, by phone at 847-467-4000 or by visiting the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall box office at 50 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus.

Full and partial series subscriptions are available and include a variety of benefits. For more information, call the Bienen School of Music Concert Management Office at 847-467-4000 or visit the Concerts at Bienen website.  

The Bienen School is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

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