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Winter Chamber Music Festival is back with five award-winning ensembles

Led by Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist Blair Milton, the festival celebrates 25 years

Ariel Quartet with Orion Weiss
Ariel Quartet with Orion Weiss
St. Lawrence String Quartet
St. Lawrence String Quartet, Jan. 16. Photo by Marco Borgreve
Miró Quartet
Miró Quartet, Jan. 22. Photo by Tania Quintanilla
Ying Quartet
Ying Quartet, Jan. 23. Photo by Todd Maturazzo
Dover Quartet
Dover Quartet, Feb. 15. Photo by Roy Cox
Jeffrey Siegel
Jeffrey Siegel leads Keyboard Conversations. Photo by Peter Schaaf

With the return of two popular concert series, guest artists are back on the Northwestern stage this winter thanks to the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

The Winter Chamber Music Festival (Jan. 14 to Feb. 15, 2022), entering its 25th season, offers a five-concert journey through chamber music masterworks past and present.

“After more than a year of separation, we are thrilled to come together again to experience the transformative and unifying power of music,” said founding artistic director Blair Milton, a Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist and an adjunct associate professor at the Bienen School. “This year we are privileged to welcome last year’s artists to celebrate the 25th season of the Winter Chamber Music Festival. If it is true that good things come to those who wait, we anticipate a spectacular series and look forward to the unique collaboration the festival’s performers and audience have enjoyed for years.”

For more than 50 years, pianist Jeffrey Siegel has shared the music and stories behind centuries of piano masterpieces by well-known composers with Chicagoland audiences. Siegel returns with a three-concert Keyboard Conversations series (Feb. 11 to May 20, 2022).

Winter Chamber Music Festival

Running Jan. 14 to Feb. 15, 2022, the festival explores chamber music spanning centuries and continents, with five award-winning ensembles on the bill at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

Ariel Quartet with Orion Weiss, piano
7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 14, 2022:  Recipient of the Cleveland Quartet Award and the Grand Prize at the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Ariel Quartet has garnered critical praise worldwide over the course of more than two decades. Joining them for this performance is pianist Orion Weiss, praised by the Washington Post for his “powerful technique and exceptional insight.” The program includes music of Hugo Wolf, Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms.

St. Lawrence String Quartet
7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022: The St. Lawrence String Quartet has maintained residencies at Spoleto Festival USA and Stanford University, and recent collaborations have included the San Francisco Symphony, LA Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony. Their program features music of Joseph Haydn, Béla Bartók and Ludwig van Beethoven. 

Miró Quartet
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022: Winner of an Emmy Award for their multimedia project “Transcendence” and the first ensemble to be awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Miró Quartet performed newly commissioned works together with music of Dvořák and Schubert during the 2020-21 season. Their program features music of Samuel Barber, Kevin Puts and Maurice Ravel.

Ying Quartet
7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022: The Grammy Award-winning Ying Quartet’s recent seasons have featured performances with jazz pianist Billy Childs, a tour of China, concerts for the Philadelphia and Phoenix Chamber Music Societies and appearances as quartet-in-residence at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Their program features music of Joseph Haydn, Zhou Long, Tan Dun, Vivian Fung and Antonín Dvořák.

Dover Quartet
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022: Bienen School of Music Quartet-in-Residence the Dover Quartet counts among its many honors and awards an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award and top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Their program features music of Joseph Haydn, Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten.

Keyboard Conversations

Running Feb. 11 to May 20, 2022, this three-program series, entering its 52nd season on Chicago’s North Shore, features lively performances and insightful commentary by Jeffrey Siegel at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

Music of Joy and Peace: Beethoven, Schumann, Gershwin
7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 11, 2022: Siegel shares a program of music to uplift and soothe. Beethoven’s“Rage Over a Lost Penny,” Schumann’s gorgeous Aria, Copland’s humorous “The Cat and the Mouse” and Gershwin’s jazzy “I Got Rhythm” are just some of the short works on this program to bring much-needed joy and peace.

The Glorious Music of Chopin
7:30 p.m., Friday, April 8, 2022: Heroic polonaises, soulful mazurkas, passionate études, dreamy nocturnes, vivacious waltzes and the rarely heard tarantella are featured in this evening of works by one of the world’s most popular, beloved composers.

Evocative Visions: Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Liszt
7:30 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2022: Visually-inspired musical masterpieces are the focus of this concert; Rachmaninoff’s festive and passionate “Études-tableaux,” Debussy’s visionary “Préludes,” Liszt’s “Au bord d’une source” (By the Water) and “Il Pensieroso,” inspired by Michelangelo’s statue.

Get tickets

Series subscriptions are now available and may be purchased by phone at 847-467-4000 or in person at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall during ticket office hours.

Single tickets for the Winter Chamber Music Festival and Keyboard Conversations are $30 for general admission and $10 for full-time students with valid ID. Tickets are available online at

Ticket office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Reduced ticket office hours during Northwestern University’s winter recess will be posted at

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.

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