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Classical Thu Feb 02 2012
by Elliot Mandel
February offers mind-bending music and behind-the-scenes access to those who write and perform it. Meet a real live orchestral composer who moonlights as a DJ. Sit in on a rehearsal at Symphony Center or a master class in Evanston. Impress your friends by mentioning "the blackbirds" (really). This month, the boundaries of music are stretched into previously unexplored realms; bring an open mind, but for the love of all that is good and holy, turn off your phone or risk eternal shame.
Hear a great concert recently? Have a tip on an upcoming show? Talk about it in the comments.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and maestro Riccardo Muti will give the world premiers of two pieces written by composers-in-residence Mason Bates (the aforementioned DJ) and Anna Clyne. Both composers are known for evoking colorful musical worlds rich with subtlety that enchant audiences with sounds never imagined in the concert hall. Following performances on February 3 and 9, join Bates, Clyne, and CSO musicians in Symphony Center's 4th floor Arcade for an informal reception--and the CSO will buy your first drink. Use promo code POST for $30 tickets to either concert, or $50 for both. February 3 and 9, 8pm at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Civic Orchestra of Chicago - Open Rehearsal
For one night only, you can catch a rare opportunity to observe a rehearsal led by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Director Riccardo Muti as he puts the Civic Orchestra through its paces in César Franck's Symphony in D Minor. Franck's symphony, the only one he wrote, shocked audiences when it premiered almost exactly 123 years ago, but the melodies it contains are now counted among his most loved. The Civic Orchestra is the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, packed full of young, talented musicians known for giving powerful performances. Admission is free, but tickets are required. February 6, 7pm at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
eighth blackbird, Pacifica Quartet
Two locally-based and superb ensembles will join forces to showcase the music of contemporary Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina. The Grammy-nominated, six-member band eighth blackbird is known for daring and expert performances of modern music, while the Pacifica Quartet racks up praise for its singular beauty and stellar concerts. Gubaidulina marries ancient elements of her Russian background with an improvisational style of music often written for unusual instrument combinations. Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, characterizes Gubaidulina's music as a "viscerally evolving fabric...wholly devoted to fullness of sound and richness of story." Tickets are $25, $5 for students. February 15, 7:30pm at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, Chicago.
Menahem Pressler and Cyrus Forough
[Updated] The Music Institute of Chicago presents two unique events in the intimate setting of Nichols Concert Hall. Menahem Pressler is the founding pianist of the famous Beaux Arts Trio and a towering figure of music instruction. Watch from the audience as he coaches students in two master classes on February 17, 7-9:30pm, and February 18, 10am-12:30pm. Tickets are $10 for each session.
After you watch a master of teaching, listen to some of the most beautiful violin music ever written, performed by Cyrus Forough. Forough is himself a renowned teacher, but also a soloist of great demand whose career has carried him around the world. The program features Bach's haunting Chaconne, Beethoven's Sixth Sonata for Violin and Piano, and Prokofiev's First Sonata for Violin and Piano. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. February 18, 7:30pm at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.
Programs, artists, and prices subject to change. Tickets subject to availability.
About the author: Elliot Mandel plays cello, attends lots of concerts, writes reviews, takes pictures, and loves sports. He has hope that--one day--a cellist will play the Super Bowl Halftime Show.