Winter concerts to warm music fans

By M.L. RANTALA
Classical Music Critic

There’s lots of hot music to come during the cold opening months of 2013, including several interesting performances right here in the neighborhood.
University of Chicago Presents resumes on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m., with a Contempo concert featuring the music of University of Chicago composers Anthony Cheung, Marta Ptaszynska, Shulamit Ran and Augusta Read Thomas. Performers include Cliff Colnot, eighth blackbird, Pacifica Quartet, Allison Attar and Jeremy Ruthrauff. This will be Contempo’s inaugural concert in the Performance Hall of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.

UCP’s Classic Concert Series continues with a performance by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider on Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m., in Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St. Works on the program include Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat, op. 12; Brooklyn Rider’s Seven Steps; John Zorn’s The Alchemist and Colin Jacobsen’s Three Persian Miniatures.

Other programs in the Classic Concert Series include Steven Isserlis (cello) and Kirill Gerstein (piano) in February and the Prague-based Pavel Haas Quartet in April.

The next concert in the Howard Mayer Brown Early Music Series features harpicordist Kristian Bezuidenhout on Friday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m., at the Logan Center.

For more information on any of the University of Chicago Presents concerts, visit chicagopresents.uchicago.edu.

Baroque Band serves up “tempestuous recorder concertos” on Saturday, Jan. 19, at Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn Ave. Piers Adams (recorder) joins Gerry Clarke and the Band for works by Vivaldi, Sammartini, Telemann and Manfredini. Tickets start at $15.
Although not taking place in Hyde Park, well worth noting is Baroque Band’s 21st Century Brandenburg Project at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).

Over the course of three concerts the Band will perform all six Brandenburg Concertos, each paired with a newly commissioned work scored for exactly the same set as instruments as the Brandenburg it twins. The composers for the project, selected by Clarke, are: Elbio Barilari (Brandenburg 1), David Fulmer (2), Christopher Theofanidis (3), Jason Seed (4), Jennifer Jolley (5) and Anna Clyne (6).

The concerts take place at the MCA, 220 E. Chicago Ave., on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m.

For more information, visit baroqueband.org.

The Chicago Ensemble returns to International House on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m. Stacy Eckert (mezzo-soprano), Susan Levitin (flute), Steven Sigurdson (cello) and Gerald Rizzer (piano) concentrate on songs for mezzo, including Greg Kallor’s expressive Exhilaration (2007), made up of settings of nine Emily Dickinson poems. Also on the program: Handel’s Sonata in C Major, for flute, cello and piano; Martin’s Trio, for flute, cello and piano; Chausson’s Pièce, op. 39, for cello and piano and Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses, for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello and piano.

On Sunday, April 14, at the same time and place, the Chicago Ensemble performs piano quartets by Mozart, Copland and Taneyev; and on Sunday, June 9 they close out the 2012-13 season with music for winds by Quantz, Mozart, Needham and Jacob. For more information, visit thechicagoensemble.org.
The CUBE Contemporary Ensemble returns to Hyde Park in February for a free concert in Fulton Recital Hall, 5845 S. Ellis Ave. on Sunday, Feb. 3, at 3 p.m. The concert will include works by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elliott Carter, Howard Sandroff, Patricia Morehead, Sarah J. Ritch and John Elmquist.

Performers include Alejandro Acierto (clarinet), Michael Hall (viola), Patricia Morehead (oboe and English horn), Philip Morehead (piano) and Ben Sutherland, percussion.

For more information, visit cubeensemble.com.

Karl Wilhelm’s baroque tracker organ, formerly housed in one of the Chicago Theological Seminary buildings, now finds its new home at Bond Chapel. Two free concerts celebrate the installation of the organ, and feature university organist Thomas Weisflog along with organists Thomas Wikman and Walter Whitehouse, as well as other musicians. Speakers at the event include conservator Jeffrey Weiler, who moved the organ from the Chicago Theological Seminary; Margaret M. Mitchell, Dean of the Divinity School and Elizabeth Davenport, Dean of Rockefeller Chapel.

The concerts take place Saturday, Feb. 2, and Saturday, Feb. 16, both at 3 p.m. Although free, both concerts require registration in advance (with the first offering waitlisting only). Visit rockefeller.uchicago.edu.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m., the South Shore Opera Company celebrates the work of Black composers in a free concert at the South Shore Cultural Center , 7059 S. Shore Drive. For more information, visit southshoreopera.org.