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Concert series offer downtown virtuosity on the North Shore

Bienen School’s four 2017/2018 subscription series are on sale now

Grammy winners Nelson Freire and David Russell and special guest Jennifer Koh are among the season's headliners
Grammy winners Nelson Freire and David Russell and special guest Jennifer Koh are among the season's headliners

EVANSTON - The essential Skyline Piano Artist Series (Oct. 27 to May 12) returns as the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music’s 2017/2018 subscription season begins this fall. After a season of sold-out concerts, this series, which includes Bienen debuts for six of the artists, enters its third year of presenting masters of the piano in Galvin Recital Hall, with its world-class acoustics and the Chicago skyline as a backdrop.

Award-winning artists and rising young stars are among the performers showcasing the dynamic voice of the guitar during the 25th season of the Segovia Classical Guitar Series (Oct. 28 to April 14).

A seasonal highlight for classical music lovers in Chicago, the Winter Chamber Music Festival (Jan. 12 to 28) presents a host of critically-acclaimed artists and programs featuring distinguished faculty with special guests.

Among the festival headliners is the Dover Quartet, which has sold out concert halls in major cities all over the world during the first two years of its three-year residency at the Bienen School of Music. 

And in Keyboard Conversations® (Oct. 6 to May 4), pianist Jeffrey Siegel celebrates his 49th season performing musical masterpieces and little-known gems while sharing the stories behind them.    

Subscriptions are on sale now for the Bienen School of Music’s four subscription series: the Skyline Piano Artist Series, the Segovia Classical Guitar Series, the Winter Chamber Music Festival and Keyboard Conversations®.

Subscription packages are available online at, by phone at 847-467-4000 or in person during box office hours.  The box office is located at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus. 

Box office hours are Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m. Summer hours, effective June 19, are Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Single tickets will go on sale Aug. 1.

The subscription series and programs are as follows:

Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel

Oct. 6 to May 4
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive

This four-program series features masterful performances and lively commentary by Jeffrey Siegel. The Chicago Tribune says “Siegel’s programs strengthen the fragile bonds of communication between composer and listener and are as welcome as they are rare.” 

  • “Celebrating Leonard Bernstein”
    7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6

Jeffery Siegel celebrates the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birthday with a program featuring the beloved composer’s original compositions (including “West Side Story”), arrangements (“Four Anniversaries for the Piano”) and his piano transcription of Copland’s “El Salón México.”

  • “Festive French Fare”
    7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 8

The music of four French composers, from Romantic composer Debussy to avant-garde composer Satie, will be performed and discussed.

  • “Bach and Chopin: A Musical Kinship”
    7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16

Bach was known to be Chopin’s favorite composer, and this program includes selections from their fantasies, preludes and dances. 

  • “Virtuoso Variations”
    7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4

The final program explores imaginative variations on beloved melodies by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt and the late composer Sheldon Shkolnik. 

Skyline Piano Artist Series

Oct. 27 to May 12
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive

The third annual Skyline Piano Artist series, under the artistic direction of James Giles, promises an array of virtuosity and six Bienen performance debuts.

2017 Van Cliburn Gold Medalist
7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27

The series opens with the first-place winner of the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The winner of the elite quadrennial will be announced June 10. 

David Kadouch
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20

A concert by the winner of the Beethoven Bonn Competition and Leeds International Piano Competition. David Kadouch received the “Young Artist of the Year” award from the International Classical Music Award Committee in 2011.

• Lise de la Salle
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17

German-born pianist Lise de la Salle is winner of the Diapason D’Or and Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award.

George Li
7:30 p.m., Friday, March 2

George Li is the silver medalist in the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition and the recipient of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant for piano.

Nelson Freire
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 17

Hailed by Time Magazine as “one of the most exciting pianists of this or any age,” Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire is winner of the Diapason D’Or, Grand Prix du Disque, Gramophone Award and a Latin Grammy.

Anderson & Roe Duo
7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 12

The Skyline Piano Artist Series concludes with Billboard classical chart toppers and Emmy nominees Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe. Called “the most dynamic duo of this generation” by the San Francisco Classical Voice, Anderson and Roe are the webcast hosts of the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Segovia Classical Guitar Series

Oct. 28 to April 14
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive

Named for Spanish guitar virtuoso Andrés Segovia Torres, the series celebrates its 25th anniversary season and welcomes lutenist Nigel North.

Timo Korhonen
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28

Winner of the Cannes Classical Award, Timo Korhonen has premiered more than 70 new works, including those written for him by Magnus Lindberg, Leo Brouwer and Toshio Hosokawa. This concert marks Korhonen’s Bienen debut.

Nigel North
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27

The Segovia Classical Guitar series presents the Bienen debut of one of the world’s premier authorities on the performance and interpretation of early music for the lute.

• Xavier Jara
7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 23

This rising star was the 2016 first prize winner of the Guitar Foundation of America International Competition. Jara makes his Bienen debut with this concert. 

David Russell
7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 17

Guitarist David Russell won the Grammy Award in 2005 for his album “Aire Latino” in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category.

• Shin-Ichi Fukuda
7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 14

Fukuda is the first prize winner of the 23rd Paris International Guitar Competition.


Winter Chamber Music Festival

Jan. 12 to 28
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive

This critically-acclaimed annual festival celebrates treasured classics and compelling new works.

Dudok Kwartet
7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12

The Winter Chamber Music Festival presents the North American debut of the Dudok Kwartet. The Amsterdam quartet won top prizes in Bordeaux, Weimar, the Netherlands and Poland.

Rolston String Quartet
7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 14

The 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition winners make their Bienen debut.

• “An Evening in Vienna”
7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19

Bienen School faculty and special guests perform Brahms, Mahler and Schoenberg masterworks as the composers would have heard them in turn-of-the-19th-century Vienna.

• “Devils and Deceit”
7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21

Mischief and duplicitousness abound in a program featuring Bartók, Tartini and Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du soldat,” performed by Bienen faculty and special guests.

 • Dover Quartet
7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26

The Bienen School of Music’s Quartet-in-Residence returns to the Winter Chamber Musical Festival for a third season. The quartet was named the winner of the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition and is the recipient of a 2017 Avery Fisher Career Grant.

• Jennifer Koh: “Shared Madness”
3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 28

Jennifer Koh is Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition and recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She will present her new two-part program, “Shared Madness,” which is composed of 24 specially-commissioned caprices inspired by those of Paganini.

Bienen School of Music subscriptions are offered at multiple levels for patrons purchasing tickets to three or more events in a concert series. Subscribers save up to 30 percent off single-ticket prices and are guaranteed the same seats each season. The benefits also include free ticket exchanges and access to post-performance receptions with series artists. Subscribers to all of the concerts in a series receive a 50 percent discount off the single-ticket price for any other Bienen School of Music concert subscription series. More information on subscriber benefits is available at on the Concerts@Bienen website.

Single tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for full-time students with valid ID. Single tickets will go on sale Tuesday, August 1.

The Bienen School of Music is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. Search for events across all artistic disciplines at Northwestern Arts Circle.

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