U. of C. professor organizes new citywide music festival

Herald Intern

A University of Chicago professor, Augusta Read Thomas, has been organizing a new contemporary music festival across Chicago: the Ear Taxi Festival (ETF). The musical lineup was announced mid-August, and will include a performance at Rockefeller Chapel by the university’s carillon player.

Thomas is the Professor of Composition in Music at the U. of C. and for the past three years has had a central role in organizing ETF.

“Giving back to the profession and supporting the work of my colleagues is a privilege and responsibility I take extremely seriously,” Thomas said. “I deeply love contemporary classical art music and want to support it. Leading ETF has been a massive effort in public spirit and in supporting colleagues and their work.”

A Chicago-centric concert series, ETF will be comprised of 30-90 minute sets in multiple Chicago venues Oct. 5-10, including Harris Theater and the Chicago Cultural Center.

“It is my hope that Ear Taxi Festival’s showcase of Chicago’s inventive and original composers, musicians and creators of contemporary classical music will focus interest in and support of the diversity and richness of our city’s creative, musical minds and inspire us as we all discover new ways to appreciate this ever-expanding art form,” Thomas said.

University carillon player Joey Brink will perform on Oct. 6 in Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave. He will play the world premiere of pieces by Iddo Aharony, Tomás Gueglio Saccone, and his own piece “Letters From the Sky.”

“My piece is based on the idea that when you’re walking around campus, you hear music coming from the tower,” Brink said. “But when it’s out of view, the sound can bounce off walls around you and it almost seems like the sky is creating music.”

Brink has been preparing for ETF for almost a year, and is releasing his first CD at the festival.

“I’m excited to see what everyone has created in the past few years,” Brink said. “It will be really cool to come together and see what we’ve all done.”

ETF will showcase more than 300 musicians and 88 composers, 53 world premieres and 25 ensembles.

“Being part of the University of Chicago and Hyde Park family and community affects everything in my life inspiring me to give back, set ambitious goals, roll up my sleeves and to work vigorously,” Thomas said. “I am profoundly grateful to the university, to all my colleagues in the Department of Music and across campus for their support and encouragement.”

For more information visit eartaxifestival.com.