Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music will begin its 2019-2020 subscription season in September with four concert series, offering 21 performances that showcase award-winning virtuosity.
Poised to enter its fifth season, the Skyline Piano Artist Series (Oct. 18, 2019 to May 1, 2020) highlights piano mastery over the course of six performances.
The Winter Chamber Music Festival (Jan. 10 to 26, 2020) welcomes internationally renowned artists over three weekends during the month of January.
The Segovia Classical Guitar Series (Oct. 11, 2019 to May 9, 2020) features an array of performing styles on guitar, lute and vihuela (a 15th- and 16th-century precursor to the modern guitar, originating in Spain, Portugal and Italy).
Pianist Jeffrey Siegel shares the stories behind centuries of piano masterpieces, from Haydn and Mozart to Gershwin and Joplin, in his Keyboard Conversations series (Sept. 27, 2019 to May 8, 2020).
Subscriptions are now on sale for the four series and may be purchased online at concertsatbienen.org, by phone at 847-467-4000 or in person at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive in Evanston, during ticket office hours.
Ticket office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Summer ticket office hours, beginning June 15, are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday only.
The subscription series and programs are as follows:
Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel
Sept. 27, 2019 to May 8, 2020
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
This four-program series, entering its 51st season on Chicago’s North Shore, features spirited performances and insightful commentary by Siegel.
• Haydn and Mozart: Humor and Heartache
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, 2019
Haydn’s “Gypsy Rondo,” the pathos of his F Minor Variations and Mozart’s tempestuous A Minor Sonata illustrate the composers’ many musical moods.
• Warm Romantic Music from the Cold North
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, 2019
The program focuses on uplifting music by northern composers Grieg (Norway), Brahms (Germany), Tchaikovsky (Russia) and Sibelius (Finland).
• Mistresses and Masterpieces
7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, 2020
A Valentine’s Day program showcasing music of Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Bartók, inspired by the composers’ significant others.
• Fascinatin’ Rhythms
7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, 2020
A lively program featuring the syncopated rhythms of Gershwin and Joplin, polkas by Stravinsky and Shostakovich and marches by Prokofiev and Sousa.
Segovia Classical Guitar Series
Oct. 11, 2019 to May 9, 2020
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
Named for legendary guitar virtuoso Andrés Segovia Torres, the series is entering its 27th season. The 2019-2020 programming features five series debuts.
• Manuel Barrueco
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2019
The Grammy Award-nominated guitarist’s international tours have taken him to celebrated musical centers including London’s Royal Albert Hall and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. He also has appeared with such prestigious ensembles as the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Symphony.
• Brasil Guitar Duo
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020
A 2006 winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and a 2016 Latin Grammy Award nominee, the Brasil Guitar Duo is known for its innovative programming, featuring a seamless blend of traditional and Brazilian works. Committed to performing new chamber music employing the guitar, the duo joined cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Carlos Prieto for the October 2014 world premiere of Cuban composer Leo Brouwer’s “El arco y la lira.”
• Raphaël Feuillâtre
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, 2020
First-prize winner in the 2018 Guitar Foundation of America International Competition, Feuillâtre has studied with Roland Dyens, Tristan Manoukian and Judicaël Perroy. His second recording will be released on the Naxos label in 2019.
• Robert Barto
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020
Lutenist Barto is the first-prize winner of the 1984 International Lute Competition in Toronto, as well as a top prize-winner in the Musica Antiqua Competition in Bruges, Belgium. He has given solo recitals in the Festival of Flanders, London’s Purcell Room, the Utrecht Festival, and New York’s Music Before 1800 concert series. His program will feature music for both lute and vihuela.
• An Tran
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9, 2020
First-prize winner of the Vietnam National Guitar Competition and the New Orleans International Guitar Festival Competition, Tran has appeared throughout North America and Asia as a soloist and chamber musician. Deeply connected to his native country, he is committed to bringing traditional Vietnamese music to the international concert stage.
Skyline Piano Artist Series
Oct. 18, 2019 to May 1, 2020
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
The fifth annual Skyline Piano Artist Series highlights piano virtuosity against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline. Making their Northwestern debuts this season are pianists Awadagin Pratt, Nikolai Lugansky, Philippe Bianconi and Andreas Haefliger.
• Richard Goode
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, 2019
Winner of the Bienen School’s inaugural Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance, Grammy Award-winning pianist Goode is also the recipient of the Young Concert Artists Award, First Prize in the Clara Haskil Competition and the Avery Fisher Prize. His recent performance highlights include a recital at the 92nd Street Y and a Mozart concerto with the New York Philharmonic and Manfred Honeck. He also has appeared as soloist with Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra.
• Awadagin Pratt
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020
Winner of the 1992 Naumburg International Piano Competition and recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Pratt has given numerous recitals throughout the U.S., including performances at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, as well as the White House. His many orchestral appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, National, Detroit and New Jersey symphonies.
• Nikolai Lugansky
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020
A recipient of the Diapason d’Or de l’Année, Lugansky regularly appears at distinguished festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia and Verbier. Highlights of his 2018-2019 season have included performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Russian National Orchestra, Orquesta Nacional de España and the Iceland and Bamberg symphonies.
• Philippe Bianconi
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6, 2020
A silver medalist in the Seventh Van Cliburn International Competition, Bianconi has appeared with the orchestras of Cleveland, Los Angeles, Montreal and Chicago, as well as with James Conlon and the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris. His 2012 recording of Debussy’s Preludes received the Diapason d’Or, a nomination for Recording of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique Classique and the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros.
• Andreas Haefliger
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 3, 2020
Haefliger has performed with such major orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw and the London Symphony. Highlights of his 2018-2019 season include appearances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, in addition to regular visits to London’s Wigmore Hall, where he performs the complete works of Beethoven alongside music of other composers in his Perspectives series.
• José Ramón Méndez
7:30 p.m. Friday, May 1, 2020
Since gaining international recognition with his performance of Liszt’s first piano concerto at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Méndez has concertized extensively in his native Spain, the U.S., Italy, England, Portugal, Holland and Japan. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with such artists as Karl Leister, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree, Pascual Martinez-Forteza and Pinchas Zukerman. Méndez is the newest member of the Bienen School of Music’s piano faculty.
Winter Chamber Music Festival
Jan. 10 to 26, 2020
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
The annual festival explores over two centuries of chamber music brilliance during the month of January. This season, the Aizuri Quartet, the American String Quartet and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe make their Festival debuts.
• James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong
7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020
Grammy Award-winning violinist James Ehnes has appeared with the Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna symphony orchestras, and in the 2018-2019 season, he made his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center. Pianist Andrew Armstrong has performed with such conductors as Peter Oundjian, Itzhak Perlman and Günther Herbig, and his chamber appearances include the American and Manhattan String Quartets, the Boston and Seattle Chamber Music Societies and the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players. Over two special performances, the duo conclude their survey of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas.
• Aizuri Quartet
7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, 2020
Winner of the Grand Prize and the Concert Artists Guild Management Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, the Grammy-nominated Aizuri Quartet served as the 2017-2018 MetLiveArts String Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The quartet has performed throughout North America and Europe, as well as Japan, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica and Abu Dhabi. Their commissions and premieres include new works by Pulitzer Prize- winner Caroline Shaw, Lembit Beecher, Paul Wiancko, Gabriella Smith and Rene Orth, among others.
• Dudok Quartet Amsterdam
7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 19, 2020
Recipient of a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and the prestigious Dutch Kersjes Prize, the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam returns following its U.S. debut at the 2018 Winter Chamber Music Festival. The quartet has appeared at major European venues and festivals including the Wiener Konzerthaus, Carinthian Summer Music Festival, Festival Quatuors à Bordeaux and the Amsterdam String Quartet Biennale, and has appeared regularly at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw. Their most recent release on the Resonus Classics label, “Solitude,” features music of Mendelssohn, Weinberg and Shostakovich.
• Bienen School Faculty and Guests
7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, 2020
An evening with Bienen School of Music faculty and special guests from Chicago’s classical music scene.
• American String Quartet with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26
Celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2019, the American String Quartet began its career winning both the Coleman Chamber Competition and the Naumburg Award in the same year. The group has served as resident quartet at the Aspen Music Festival since 1974 and at the Manhattan School of Music since 1984. Its 2018-2019 season featured collaborations with National Book Award-winning author Phil Klay and poet Tom Sleigh, as well as with author Salman Rushdie. Joining them is mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, recipient of the 1999 Richard Tucker Award and the 2007 Opera News Award. Blythe has performed leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Opéra National de Paris.
Season subscriptions and single tickets
Subscriptions are offered at multiple levels for patrons purchasing three or more events in a concert series. (Due to high demand, for the Skyline Piano Artist Series, subscriptions are offered to patrons purchasing tickets to four or more events.) Subscribers save up to 30% off single-ticket prices and are guaranteed the same seats each season. 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 50% off the single-ticket price for any other Bienen School of Music concert subscription series. More information on subscriber benefits is available on the Concerts@Bienen website.
Single tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for full-time students with valid ID. Single tickets for Keyboard Conversations, the Segovia Classical Guitar Series and the Skyline Piano Artist Series will go on sale Friday, Aug. 9. Single tickets for the Winter Chamber Music Festival will go on sale Friday, Nov. 15.
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.