Winter Chamber Music Festival lineup includes Grammy Award-winning quartet
Audiences will be taken on a journey through past and present chamber music masterpieces
EVANSTON, Ill –– The 27th Winter Chamber Music Festival returns to Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music January Jan. 5 to 21, 2024. The annual festival features six performances and includes the festival debuts of the Balourdet and Calder Quartets. The Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet is also part of this year’s festival lineup.
In addition to standard and often-performed works by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, and other Classical- and Romantic-era composers, the festival will feature works by popular living composers including Chicago Symphony Orchestra Composer-in-Residence Jessie Montgomery and award-winning composer Thomas Adès.
Single tickets for the Winter Chamber Music Festival are $30 for the public and $10 for full-time students with valid ID. Tickets are available online at concertsatbienen.org.
All performances take place at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, located at 50 Arts Circle Drive on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.
The Winter Chamber Music Festival lineup is as follows:
7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 5, 2024
Gold medalist of both the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Annual Competition for Chamber Music in Yellow Springs, the Balourdet Quartet has performed internationally at festivals and series including the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts and Santa Fe Pro Musica. The quartet received the Grand Prize at the 2021 Concert Artists Guild’s Victor Elmaleh Competition, as well as prizes in the Banff, Paolo Borciani and Carl Nielsen competitions. This is a Chicago-area premiere of a new work by Karim Al-Zand.
Ariel Quartet with pianist Orion Weiss
3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024
The Ariel Quartet has garnered critical praise worldwide for more than 20 years, winning numerous international prizes including First Prize at the Franz Schubert and Modern Music Competition in Austria, Grand Prize at the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Székely Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. Pianist Orion Weiss, who joins the Arielquartet, has performed with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony and New York Philharmonic. Weiss’s impressive list of awards includes the Classical Recording Foundation Young Artist of the Year, the Gilmore Young Artist Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Their program features music by Hugo Wolf, Ludwig van Beethoven and Dmitri Shostakovich.
Quartet-in-Residence, Dover Quartet
7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12, 2024
Named one of the greatest string quartets of the last century by BBC Music Magazine, the Grammy-nominated Dover Quartet has rapidly become one of the world’s most in-demand chamber ensembles. The group’s many awards include a sweep of all the top prizes at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, grand and first prizes at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and prizes at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. Their 2022-23 season includes collaborations with Edgar Meyer, Joseph Conyers and Haochen Zhang, as well as two tours of Europe. The quartet recently premiered Steven Mackey’s theatrical-musical work “Memoir” together with arx duo and actor-narrator Natalie Christa. Their program features music by Florence Price, Dmitri Shostakovich and Franz Schubert.
3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024
Hailed as “imaginative, skillful creators” by the New York Times, the Calder Quartet explores a broad spectrum of repertoire, striving to fulfill the composer’s vision with every performance. Winner of a 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the quartet has commissioned new works by such composers as Peter Eötvös, Andrew Norman, Christopher Rouse, Ted Hearne, and Christopher Cerrone. Recent performance highlights have included Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Disney Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, the Salzburg Festival, Tonhalle Zurich, and the Sydney Opera House. The quartet’s collaborators have ranged from Joshua Bell, Menahem Pressler, and Edgar Meyer to Andrew W. K., Lord Huron, Vampire Weekend, and The National. Their program features music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Thomas Adès, Caroline Shaw and Claude Debussy.
7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19, 2024
The Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation, making recent appearances at Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. The quartet is committed to working with composers of today, with recent commissions including works by Augusta Read Thomas, Felipe Lara, Jaehyuck Choi and Zosha di Castri. This season the quartet marks their 20th anniversary with The Beethoven Project, a multi-faceted initiative which includes performances of the complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets; the commissioning of six composers to write encores inspired by Beethoven’s quartets; the creation of a new video library spotlighting each Beethoven quartet; and bringing Beethoven’s music to non-traditional venues around the quartet’s home base of Boston. The Parker Quartet’s numerous honors include winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition, the Grand Prix and Mozart Prize at France’s Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition, and Chamber Music America’s biennial Cleveland Quartet Award. Their program features music by Joseph Haydn, Grazyna Bacewicz, Donnacha Dennehy and Ludwig van Beethoven.
3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024
The Gryphon Trio is firmly established as one of the world’s preeminent piano trios, regularly touring throughout North America and Europe and enjoying longstanding relationships with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Ottawa Chamberfest and Festival del Lago International Academy of Music in Ajijic, Mexico. The trio often performs triple concerti with the world’s major symphony orchestras and smaller chamber orchestras, and their prolific recording catalogue includes 22 releases on the Analekta, Naxos and other labels. Honors include 11 nominations and three Juno Awards for Classical Album of the Year. The Gryphons are ensemble-in-residence at the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts in Kingston, Ontario, and artists-in-residence at Trinity College University of Toronto. Since 2010, the trio’s ground-breaking outreach program, Listen Up!, has inspired 16 Canadian communities to collaborate on large-scale multifaceted arts creation projects. Their program features music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Bruce Russell and Franz Schubert.
About the Winter Chamber Music Festival
The festival is directed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist and Bienen faculty member Blair Milton, founder of the annual event. Each January, the Winter Chamber Music Festival brings world-class musicians to Chicago’s North Shore to perform chamber masterworks past and present. Hosted by Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music, these renowned artists inspire and pass the torch to the musicians of this generation. Since its founding in 1997, more than 30 quartets and 300 musicians have performed in the festival. Among the featured soloists over the years are internationally celebrated musicians Daniel Barenboim, Yo Yo Ma, Pinchas Zuckerman and James Ehnes.