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Classical Thu Mar 01 2012
By Elliot Mandel
This month, music comes from such far-flung places as Antarctica, South America, and outer space in performances that will be full of visual and sonic surprises. Women composers, long neglected, also get the spotlight, and a Japanese virtuoso will play the best Mozart piano music of the year. So venture out into the misery of March in Chicago; besides, when was the last time you went to the Planetarium?
Hear a great concert recently? Have a tip on an upcoming show? Talk about it in the comments.
The natural and digital worlds collide in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's latest incarnation of its new music series. Named after the American satellite that discovered a nuclear blast near Antarctica, Vela 6911 is the creation of musical mad scientist Victor Gama. His exotic set of self-made instruments is one of two visual elements: Gama's photographs from Antarctica will accompany his music. He shares the program with CSO Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates, whose endless imagination combines electronics and the Colorado River in Red River. Cliff Colnot conducts CSO musicians. General admission tickets are $22; student tickets are $10. Monday, March 5, 7pm. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St.
Third Coast Percussion
The wildly inventive, Chicago-based percussion quartet shatters the idea that drums should be in the back. In the Adler Planetarium's newly renovated Grainger Sky Theater, TCP will perform surrounding the audience in Gerard Grisey's Le Noir de L'Etoile (The Darkness of the Star), based on radio waves of dying stars. Advance tickets are $15 general, $12 Adler members, $10 students. Save $5 if you purchase by March 11 (all prices increase by $5 at the door). March 14, 7:30pm. Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.
The world of classical music has long been dominated by men, but the all-female Orion Ensemble emphasizes the accomplishments of women in music with a concert dedicated to women composers. Representing music from four countries and spanning between the Romantic and modern ages, the program includes music by Stacy Garrop, Louise Farrenc, Phyllis Tate, and Fanny Mendelssohn (sister of the famous Felix). The Orion Ensemble is made up of five of the finest Chicago-area musicans, and performs in festivals around the country. Tickets are $26 for adults, $23 for seniors, $10 for students. March 11, 7:30pm. Nichols Hall, Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. March 14, 7:30pm. Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Chicago Chamber Musicians
The venerable group of chamber players shows off the rich musical traditions of Latin and South America. Composer-musicians Paquito D'Rivera of Cuba and Gabriela Lena Frank of Peru, whose music is featured on the program, will join CCM in performance. Music from Argentinean composers Alberto Ginastera and Angel LaSala rounds out the show with tango and folk-inspired melodies. Tickets are $10-$45. March 29, 8pm. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Every year, pianist Mitsuko Uchida plays Mozart with the CSO, and every year, these concerts are some of most soulful Mozart to be heard in the city. Like her stage presence, Uchida's playing is airy and elegant. Conducting from the keyboard, she enjoys a rapport with the orchestra that few soloists or conductors achieve. The program also offers a rare opportunity to hear the CSO string section playing as a chamber orchestra, sans conductor, in Mozart's Adagio and Fugue in C minor and Stravinsky's Concerto in D Major for String Orchestra. March 29, 30, 31, 8pm. April 1, 3pm. Tickets start at $30. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.
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 played "Ode to Joy" as pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.