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Bienen School of Music warms up winter with a range of new music

Line-up includes special guests and world premieres by the Institute for New Music
Photo of Contemporary Music Ensemble musicians
The Contemporary Music Ensemble’s first concert of the winter quarter features the Chicago premiere of Nina Shekhar’s “Turn Your Feet Around.” Photo by Todd Rosenberg

This winter, the Institute for New Music at the Bienen School of Music presents a full slate of events featuring works by contemporary artists, including special guest performances and world premieres. 

The institute is helmed by director Alex Mincek and associate director Ben Bolter and serves as the central hub for all contemporary music activities at the Bienen School. 

“It’s wonderful to collaborate with such a talented and creative group of faculty,” said Mincek, who is in his first year as director and looks forward to his continued work with the institute. 

This quarter, the institute welcomes two guest artists: multi-hyphenate musician Aiyun Huang, who presents a program for percussion and live electronics, and Bienen School alumnus Stephen Andrew Taylor (’87), who joins the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble as a guest composer for a world premiere of one of his works. 

“Taylor’s piece is tentatively titled ‘Only yes,” said ensemble conductor Andrew Megill. “It is an a cappella choral setting of a text by the poet Ranier Maria Rilke.”  

The concert on Feb. 2 also includes the regional premiere of “The Mystery” by Bienen School Dean Jonathan Bailey Holland. “Designed to be a companion piece to J. S. Bach’s Cantata 4, ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden,’ it draws on the text and melody of ‘Victimae paschali laudes,’ a traditional Gregorian chant,” Megill said. 

The Contemporary Music Ensemble debuts additional new works under the direction of Bolter, with the world premieres of “Asphyxiation” by Jonah Keoun and pieces by Apsara Balamurugan and Oliver Mann, all Bienen student composers. The Saxophone Ensemble, led by Taimur Sullivan, also premieres a work by student saxophonist and composer Isaac Boone. 

See the full line-up online. Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 847-467-4000 or by visiting the Bienen School Ticket Office at 50 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus. 

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