Impromptu Fest Program Notes


Thursday, March 21, 7:30 pm

Fifth House Ensemble • Fresh Inc All Stars

Herine Coetzee Koschak, cello

in manus tuasCaroline Shaw (b. 1982)

Fire Rainbow CloudJonathan Hannau (b. 1989)

Garden of Earthly DelightsPete Fernández (b. 1987)

BLK GIRL ARTAyanna Woods (b. 1992)

Book of RuthMarc Mellits (b. 1966)

  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Jaana’s Gift
  4. Chapter 3
  5. Chapter 4

Unchained MelodiesDan Visconti (b.1982)

—PAUSE—

Heare Ensemble • Vox Balaenae

Jennie Oh-Brown, flute
Kurt Fowler, cello
Jennifer Blyth, piano

Melodies for RobertCarter Pann (b. 1972)

BencharongNarong Prangcharoen (b. 1973)

  1. Red
  2. Blue
  3. Yellow
  4. White
  5. Black

Vox BalaenaeGeorge Crumb (b. 1929)

  1. Vocalise (. . .for the beginning of time)
  2. Sea Theme
  3. Archeozoic
  4. Proterozoic
  5. Paleozoic
  6. Mesozoic
  7. Cenozoic
  8. Sea-Nocturne

Program Notes

Caroline Shaw – in manus tuas

in manus tuas is based on an earlier motet, in this case that of Thomas Tallis. While there are only a few slices of the piece that reflect exact harmonic changes in Talllis’ setting, the motion (or lack of) is intended to capture the sensation of a single moment of hearing the motet in the particular and remarkable space of Christ Church in New Haven, Connecticut.

in manus tuas was written in 2009 for cellist Hannah Collins, for a secular cello compline service held in the dark, candlelit nave.

– Caroline Shaw

Jonathan Hannau – Fire Rainbow Cloud

A Circumhorizontal arc – also known as a Fire Rainbow Cloud – is an optical phenomenon that occurs when the sun’s light refracts off of cirrus clouds; these clouds then act like a prism resulting in a rainbow within the cloud. When I first saw it I was captivated by how beautiful it was and I have been fascinated ever since.

As the piece begins, the cello takes the role of a cloud, illustrated by airy gestures. As the piece progresses, ethereal natural harmonics emerge from the texture, which evolve into glissandos to embody the spirit of fiery colors. I originally wrote a poem to accompany the piece, which is included below:

A little cloud lazily floats across the sky.
Suddenly, a rainbow is cast upon the cloud.
Brilliant, beautiful, spectral, the cloud wears these colors proudly.
They dance like flames as they enshrine the cloud.
As fast as they came, the rainbow, suddenly, disappears.
The cloud moves on…

– Jonathan Hannau

Pete Fernández  – Garden of Earthly Delights

Garden of Earthly Delights came to life in 2015, when I was working downtown as a line cook and studying music; busy and hectic days and nights. I would eat lunch outside at Buckingham Fountain every day, with Bosch’s triptych in my head. I loved the way I could move freely between the images, and how the pacing of it felt. Wanting to attempt a triptych of my own, I created three simple, musical ideas and three partitions, played with them at length and tied it all together freely. The pacing is autobiographical and follows a day in my life at the time, based on my own interpretations of what the three ideas represented, essentially creating programmatic music.

The piece opens with the initial idea, or motive, and quickly falls into the second one. Like a double helix, these are side-by-side throughout almost the entirety of the piece. The third idea, represented with repeated sixteenth notes, is stark and appears only after the first two have become familiar and partitioned, like a viewer scanning and detailing a visual work. Just as thoughts, ruminations and hopes are ever-present in the mind with equal weight, the musical ideas swim together and each is brought forward explicitly once for examination before falling away. Lastly, there is an ever-present element of athleticism in the performance of Garden of Earthly Delights, as it was composed for cellist Herine Coetzee Koschak, who premiered the piece shortly after the ink dried.

 – Pete Fernández

Ayanna Woods BLK GIRL ART

Jamila Woods’ poem BLK GIRL ART inspired by Amiri Baraka’s “Black Art,” is an ode to the ways Black girls nurture themselves and each other through the transformative power of their words. The poem and film conjure images of Black girlhood that are at once familiar and ethereal.

The music evolves slowly: waves of drones roll over each other, revealing an ever-richer sound world as a girl creates a poem and releases it into the world. The score was composed, performed and recorded by Ayanna Woods.

The film, starring Kamaria Woods, is a collaboration between three sisters. It was shot and co-directed by Chicago filmmaker Alex Myung. BLK GIRL ART is published in the anthology The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop.

– Ayanna Woods

Dan Visconti – Unchained Melodies

Unchained Melodies is a new modular chamber work with a contemporary twist that evokes the contrapuntal rigor of medieval music and the crafty puzzles of J.S. Bach. The composition is a collection of short solo pieces that can be combined in endless permutations ranging from duos all the way up to the full ensemble.

A statement from composer Dan Visconti:

Such a project allows me to truly stretch my craft and imagination as a composer. My goal is to create a new system of notation that will enable a satisfying and intellectually engaging musical performance in any form—an extension of the core principle of chamber music that all voices must contribute and that all are essential in shaping a musical dialogue. Unchained Melodies is a work designed to yield performances as diverse and varied as the performers themselves, allowing the musicians to put their own expression and identity to the fore in a way that is not typical for classical music.

– Dan Visconti

Artist Biographies

An avid conversationalist, cellist Herine Coetzee Koschak is on a lifelong quest to engage in meaningful and personal exchanges through music. Herine is a founding member of Fifth House Ensemble and is regularly heard on local and national radio stations and concert stages, as well as on the Cedille record label. As a passionate advocate of music education in underserved communities, Herine joined the faculty of the Merit School of Music in 2002 and served as Co-Director of the Suzuki-Alegre Strings Program and the String Department Chair from 2010-2014. She has appeared as a featured soloist with numerous orchestras including the National Repertory Orchestra, the Nittany Valley Symphony, and International Chamber Artists. Herine has held titled positions in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the National Repertory Orchestra, and has also performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the renowned new music ensemble, Eighth Blackbird. An Indiana University alumna, her principal teachers were Janos Starker and Emilio Colon. She resides in Deerfield, IL with her husband and young son, with whom she shares a love of Nutella.

Praised by the New York Times for its “conviction, authority, and finesse,” the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble harnesses the collaborative spirit of chamber music to reach beyond the traditionally-perceived limits of classical music. The ensemble’s artistic, educational, and civic programs engage theater groups, video game designers, corporate innovators, and folk bands to share stories as diverse as the communities it serves.

An established partner and resource to the nation’s top music schools and conservatories, Fifth House launches the careers of emerging artists through entrepreneurship residencies and training programs, including those at Yale College, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Northwestern University, DePaul University, and the Colburn School. Fifth House continues its creative partnerships with Roosevelt University this season, and begins new initiatives with the San Francisco Opera. In 2012, Fifth House launched Fresh Inc, a two-week, intensive training program for emerging composers and performers where Fifth House works with participants on building careers in music in line with their own unique, vision and values.

Founded in 1996, The Heare Ensemble is committed to developing and performing repertoire for flute, cello, and piano in concert venues and academic institutions around the country.  Central to the ensemble’s vision is its collaborations with composers, most recently including Robert Pound, Narong Prangcharoen, Marc Mellits, and most notably Carter Pann.  The ensemble was recently engaged as Ensemble-in-Residence at Indiana State University’s Contemporary Music Festival and performed recently at Constellation Chicago.

Currently, the ensemble is recording George Crumb’s Vox Balanae, a signature piece for the ensemble, with Grammy Award winning sound engineer Dan Nichols.  Additional works on the album include Narong Prangcharoen’s Bencharong, Carter Pann’s Melodies for Robert, and Stacy Garrop’s Silver Dagger.  Melodies for Robert was commissioned by SDG Music Foundation, and Silver Dagger was adapted for the ensemble from the original piano trio instrumentation.


Friday, March 22, 7:30 pm

Jennifer Woodrum • 21st Century Clarinet

Jennifer Woodrum, clarinet and bass clarinet
Kay Kim, piano
Emily Marlow, clarinet and bass clarinet

As Desperation Sets InCaleb Burhans

Stubborn As HellStacy Garrop

BlackMarc Mellits

Sonata for Clarinet and PianoJames Stephenson

—PAUSE—

Students of the University of Chicago • Shadow Studies

Will Myers, viola
Ted Moore, cymbal, no-input mixer, lights, and video

Five Studies and a PostludeWill Myers

it teaches us that it doesn’t exist (2017)Ted Moore

shadow (2018)Ted Moore

still motion b, or things a mouth does (2017)Ted Moore

Artist Biographies

Jennifer Woodrum’s commitment to engaging audiences through the performance of 21stcentury chamber music sends her to world-renowned venues across the country including Bennett-Gordon Hall at Ravinia, Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion, the San Francisco Center for New Music, National Sawdust and Miller Theatre in New York. A solo competition prize winner of the Chicago Musicians’ Club of Women, the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation, and the American Opera Society, Jennifer maintains a busy career as a recital and solo artist.

Jennifer is on faculty at Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin Parkside.

As an active chamber musician, pianist Kay Kim enjoys concertizing domestically and internationally each season. She performed in recitals with the members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Paris Opera Orchestra and the recipients of Stradivari Society award as well as with the faculties of the Juilliard School, Northwestern University, and Indiana University, among others. She has been regularly playing for the conductor/soloist rehearsals at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for over a decade under Maestri Daniel Barenboim and Riccardo Muti.

Emily Marlow is frequently in Toronto at her post playing clarinet with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, where she enjoys playing a wide variety of repertoire that often includes the E flat and Bass clarinets. Living in Chicago she has performed with local chamber ensembles 5th House Ensemble, Quintet Attacca, C.U.B.E. and MusicNow of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Originally from Nova Scotia, Emily trained at Acadia University with Stan Fisher and then furthered her studies at DePaul University in Chicago with Larry Combs, additionally becoming a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

Will Myers writes music that is concerned with memory and fragility, as well as the agency, labor, consent, and physicality of the performer(s).


Saturday, March 23, 7:30 pm

Brass Students from the Chicago Area • Gaudete in Chicagoland

Trio for Brass (1996)Anthony Plog (b. 1947)

  1. Allegro Vivace
  2. Andante
  3. Allegro Moderato

CCPA Brass Trio
Yu Hsin Liu, horn
Hanna Rahnangen, trombone
Joey Epstein, trumpet

String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 12 (1829)Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
arr. Verne Reynolds

  1. Andante espressivo
  2. Motto allegro e vivace

Heavy Metal Brass Quintet – DePaul University
Adam Shohet and Stephen Cook, trumpets
Andrea Kennard, French horn
Nick Mihalich, trombone
Serena Voltz, tuba

Fire Dance (2004)Anthony DiLorenzo (b. 1967)

Brass Quintet No. 3 Mvt. 1 (1912)Victor Ewald (1860-1935)

Brazen Overture (2000)Libby Larsen (b. 1950)

TCB Quintet – Northern Illinois University
Derek Detzler and Robyn Clarke, trumpets
Maddy Bolz, French horn
Elijah Swan, trombone
Mike Vaschur, tuba

—PAUSE—

Gaudete Brass • Music for Brass Quintet

Charles Roberts and Bill Baxtresser, trumpets
Joanna Schulz, French horn
Paul Von Hoff and Catie Hickey, trombones
Scott Tegge, tuba

Wawel Fanfare (2010)Mark Nowakowski (b. 1978)

Morning Music (1986)David Sampson (b. 1951)

Saóko (1997)Tania León (b. 1943)

Music for Brass instruments (1944)Ingolf Dahl (1912-1970)

Artist Biographies

Gaudete Brass is made up of five musicians who believe strongly in the expressive and communicative power of brass chamber music. Since 2004 the quintet has engaged in creatively expanding the brass quintet repertoire, developing unique programs that have resonated with chamber music audiences all over the country. The group has engaged in live performances at venues such as Merkin Hall and Symphony Space in New York City and Millennium Park in Chicago, commissioned new works from noted composers such as David Sampson, Jonathan Newman, John Cheetham, Steven Bryant and Stacy Garrop, and appeared on radio broadcasts on WFMT in Chicago, WQXR in New York, and Nashville Public Radio. While keeping this rigorous performance schedule, Gaudete has recorded four albums: Brass Outings (2006), winner of the CDBaby Editors’ Choice distinction and nominee for Just Plain Folks Best Classical Chamber Album; Conversations in Time with organist R. Benjamin Dobey (2011, Pro Organa); Chicago Moves, produced by Grammy winner Judith Sherman and featuring several of its commissioned works (2012, Cedille Records) and sevenfive (2017, Cedille Records) featuring five new works commissioned for Chicago’s John Corigliano 75th birthday festival. The quintet has also presented educational programs and concerts at prominent institutions including The Juilliard School and the Eastman School of Music. In the fall of 2013 Gaudete joined Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts faculty as ensemble-in-residence. Gaudete (gow-day-tay) is a form of the Latin word for “Joy.” We support the idea that chamber music, even (and perhaps especially) the serious kind, can powerfully communicate both the poignant and the exuberant. To learn more about the Gaudete Brass, please visit www.gaudetebrass.com.


Sunday, March 24, 3:00 pm

Wurtz-Berger Duo • Restless Woods

Alyson Berger, cello
Amy Wurtz, piano

Of Wood and Touch (2001)Alex Shapiro (b. 1962)

Moonflowers (1986)Marta Ptaszynska (b. 1943)

Your World for the Moment (now)Alyson Berger & Amy Wurtz

Restless (2014)Ken Thomson (b. 1972)

  1. restless
  2. forge
  3. remain untold
  4. lost

—PAUSE—

Lakeshore Rush Ensemble • Midwest Meets the Rest

Erin Murphy, flute
Laura McLaughlin, clarinet
Henry Zheng, violin
Christopher Ferrer, cello
Elena Doubovitskaya, piano
Josh Graham, percussion
Amos Gillespie, saxophone

Spanish Speakers (2014)Amos Gillespie (b. 1980)

Curved Silence (2017)Beth Bradfish (b. 1948)

Trio for Clarinet Violin and Piano (1996)Gian Carlo Menotti (1911 – 2007)

  • I. Romanza: Andante espressivo
  • III. Envoi: Allegro

These Questions Three (2011)Amos Gillespie (b. 1980)

Glassworks (1981)Phillip Glass (b. 1937)

Program Notes

Alex Shapiro – Of Wood and Touch (2001)

Of Wood and Touch is a uniquely American piece in its mutt-like nature, with music that is happily influenced by disparate cultures.  Driving rhythms and scales recalling those heard in the Middle East, meet jazz-inspired harmonies in a lyrical middle section evoking France in the earlier part of the 20th century.

The title refers to the sensual nature of each instrument, as agile fingers pry emotion and urgency from materials that were once alive, and live again through the beautiful sounds they create.  

Marta Ptaszynska – Moon Flowers (1986)

The inspiration for this work came from the paintings of Odilon Redon, French symbolist artist (1849-1916), who created a fantasy world of strange flowers, mysterious men in the moon, and mythological beings, where the lyricism coincides with the deepest sadness and tragedy, and where one is struck by an indefinable and haunting air of unreality. This visionary, dream-like quality of his art fascinated the composer so much that she named the piece after one of his paintings.

Moon Flowers is a short piece in one movement, a sort of  Fantasiestück about 8-9 minutes in length. The piece can be divided into a few sections. The opening section starts with a characteristic Largo-theme played by the cello. This section develops instantly into a more lyrical fragment played by cello and piano, which leads to the second section of the piece Vivo, con anima. From its beginning, this part grows in complexity, tempo, dynamics, and volume of sound and gradually moves from the lower register to the highest sounds in both instruments. This marks the climax of the piece, which suddenly is blown up by the soft, whispering sounds of the cello which announces the recapitulation of Largo-theme from the beginning. The Largo section with its broad melancholy is fading out gradually and dies away almost to silence.

Your World for the Moment (now)

This improvisation is inspired by this quote from Georgia O’Keefe.

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world at the moment.”  

The rhythm of the melody we are using as the basis for our improvisation is based on these words.  

Ken Thomson – restless (2014)

restless is one of Thomson’s most substantial chamber works. The piece consists of four movements, lasts approximately 20 minutes, and is a substantial addition to the cello/piano duo tradition. While the form and instrumentation of restless is a clear nod to traditional idioms, Thomson’s signature blend of jazz, punk, and modern art music is still boiling at the surface. This work highlights the composer’s masterful manipulation of tension and energy. In restless, the music churns, building in a wave of dissonance and density while never leaving traditional harmony behind.  Thomson’s music is notoriously difficult, consistently demanding the height of virtuosity from each performer, and restless is no exception.

Amos Gillespie – The Spanish Speakers

The Spanish Speakers for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion by Amos Gillespie is a tribute to the Mexicans and South American Spanish speakers in composer’s hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. Amos wanted to celebrate and acknowledge all the positive cultural influences they contribute to the region despite frequent racial profiling.

Beth Bradfish – Curved Silence

Curved Silence for flute, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, violin and cello by Beth Bradfish is about composer’s synesthetic experience of color, gesture and texture in Anna Kunz’ painting. With the ensemble, Beth seeks to create transparency and physical intimacy similar to that sun of flowing through scrim paper to light watercolors in the painting. Pitches and gestures in composition correspond to colors, gestures and textures in painting, specifically: blue grey, light green with blue, pink blots, green with blue grey, blue grey with pink, white passing through the scrim paper and ridged paper texture.

Gian Carlo Menotti – Trio for clarinet, violin and piano

Trio for clarinet, violin and piano by Gian Carlo Menotti was written for Verdehr Trio, a renowned ensemble who commissioned numerous works for this genre for the last 40 years. It took Menotti seven years to complete this project due to his busy schedule directing  Spoleto festival and fulfilling other commissions. The first two movements were premiered by the trio in Spoleto festival in July of 1996. According to Verdehr trio the last movement was completed on the day of a concert the following Fall at Michigan State University. “He literally finished it at noon on a very day of the concert – we were sight-reading the manuscript at our rehearsal , as it was created by Maestro’s hand’. The last two movements performed today are Romanza with gorgeous operatic lines and Envoi, a brisk fugato filled with bouncing melodies.

Amos Gillespie – These Questions Three

The title of These Questions Three for clarinet, violin, cello, saxophone, piano and percussion by Amos Gillespie refers to the inordinate number of threes that consistently came up in the piece: It’s in a three part form, there’s an emphasis on the interval of a third, there are three large crescendo gestures in the middle section of the piece, rhythmic thematic material revolves around triplets and sixteenth notes grouped in three’s, and there are three musical questions given by an ascending pizzicato line in the cello. To highlight the contrasting nature of the piece, fun yet serious, the title came from part of a phrase out of the “Three Questions” scene from the film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Phillip Glass – Glassworks

Glassworks for mixed ensemble by Phillip Glass was composed in 1981. According to the composer, it was originally written as a commission project for CBS Records. The work includes set of six pieces, each composed for different instrumentation and can be performed individually. Then first movement ‘Opening’ is written for solo piano, while the last movement ‘Closing’, based on the same thematic material is written for a group if mixed instruments.

Artist Biographies

Lakeshore Rush comprises extraordinary musicians from Chicago who are delighting audiences of all ages with riveting contemporary and classical standards, characterized by programmatic innovation, synergistic collaborative partnerships and intimate performances.  Their inaugural 2014-2015 year included performances in the Chicago Symphony Center as part of Meritfest, the George Crumb Festival at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, PianoForte Studios in Chicago, the Chicago Center for Music Education, and Chicago’s Fine Arts Building. Outreach programs include a performance and masterclass at Lawrence Conservatory in Wisconsin and reading sessions for composition students at the University of Illinois – Chicago. Lakeshore Rush has premiered new works by Laura Schwendinger, Joshua Hintze, Jonathan Hannau, Griffin Candey, Pierre Jalbert and Beth Bradfish. Co-founded by clarinetist Laura McLaughlin and flutist Erin Murphy in 2014, Lakeshore Rush takes its name from a previously endangered lakeshore grass that recently revitalized Lake Michigan’s shores in Chicago.

Amos Gillespie’s music has been heard on WFMT in Chicago, WQXR in New York City and PBS. His music spans a wide range of genres including chamber and orchestra concert music, jazz, as well as music for film, theater and dance. His music has been commissioned and performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Quintet Attacca, Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Third Millennium Ensemble, Eclipse Theater, Barkada Saxophone Quartet, Kaia String Quartet, Access Contemporary Music (ACM) and the Chicago Composers Orchestra among others. Amos’ music has been heard at various venues and festivals around the world including the Ear Taxi Festival, Preston Bradley Hall Sunday Salon Series, Atlantic Music Festival, Illinois Musicians Festival at Grant Park, North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, An Die Musik in Baltimore MD, Music Institute of Chicago, Court Theatre and the Green Mill among others. Amos has received special recognition and finalist awards from ASCAP, League of Composers (ISCM), American Prize, Columbia Orchestra, the Macarthur Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council, and has won numerous grants including the 2013 IAS professional development grant through the Illinois Arts Council and a Lucerne fellowship through the Chicago Sister Cities program and the Swiss Benevolent Society. He is currently a lecturer of music at the University of Illinois Chicago and substitute teaches at Chi-Arts, Chicago’s Fine Arts High School. He has an MM in composition from the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

The Wurtz-Berger Duo, Alyson Berger and Amy Wurtz have been part of Chicago’s new music community for over a decade.  After years of crossing paths on various concerts, they decided to combine their talents to perform the contemporary music of this classic duo of instruments. Alyson is a member of the Palomar ensemble, and teaches and performs throughout the Chicago Area.  Amy is a composer and pianist, and also works as Music Director at Hemenway Church in Evanston.  The Wurtz-Berger debut CD is due to be released this Spring, featuring works by George Flynn, Sebastian Huydts, and Wurtz.


Thursday, March 28, 7:30 pm

William Jason Raynovich and Seth Boustead • now//Contrasts

Drew Williams, violin
William Jason Raynovich, cello
Seth Boustead, piano

now (ongoing)William Jason Raynovich

rara avisCarolynn Chen

WhitespaceSeth Boustead

Calm, with WavesSeth Boustead

Loud and Fast!Seth Boustead

—PAUSE—

Chicago Composers Consortium • C3 Chamber Works

Caroline Pittman, flute
Elizabeth Start, violoncello
Timothy Ernest Johnson, guitar
Jennifer Presar, French horn

Assisi Impressions for flute and cello (2013)Elizabeth J. Start

  1. Reverence
  2. Getting Around
  3. Vista with Birds

Mandala for solo guitar (1993)Lawrence Axelrod

Tango Terceira for solo guitar (1998)Timothy Ernest Johnson

Houses of Cards for alto flute (1999)Timothy Dwight Edwards

Respiro, for French Horn and ElectronicsKathleen Ginther

It only needs to be seen for guitar and electronicsKyong Mee Choi

Program Notes

Lawrence Axelrod – Mandala (1993)

This work, my first for guitar, takes its name from the sacred circular artwork found throughout the Buddhist and Hindu world. Using these concentric circles of symbols and colors as a basis, the piece begins with a simple pattern of six eighth notes which are repeated over and over again in the piece, but in each repetition a note value is extended, a rest added or a new note inserted. Thus, each repetition is only slightly different from that which precedes it, but, by the end, long arching phrases with varied rhythms and dynamics have been created from the original regularly flowing six notes.

This musical meditation has continued to intrigue me over the years, leading to a total of five works written in a similar manner for different solo or chamber combinations.

Tango Terceira’s namesake is the island of Terceira, one of nine islands that comprise the Portuguese Azore Islands. Composer Tim Johnson lived there for two years, teaching classical guitar at a conservatory. The guitar lies at the heart of Portuguese folk culture. The native art form of Fado normally uses two types of guitars: a standard classical guitar and a “Portuguese guitar”, a steel double-strung instrument shaped like a large mandolin. Similar to the development of different folkloric styles of Fado that developed concurrently in Coimbra and Lisbon, there are also unique folkloric traditions on each of the Azore Islands. The island of Terceira has its own repertoire of folk music that uses two types of guitars, a standard classical guitar and a steel double-strung instrument with multiple courses called an “Island Guitar,” a precursor to the modern Portuguese guitar. Johnson’s composition was inspired by the guitar-centric culture and austere beauty of this small island in the middle of the Atlantic. The main motive is loosely based on a tango rhythm in a 7/4 meter.

Timothy Dwight Edwards –Houses of Cards for alto flute (1999)

The title of this piece alludes to the process through which the melody unfolds: Several times, it begins again, and in so doing gradually builds a recognizable structure. There are, of course, other motivic and emotive aspects to the piece.

Kyong Mee Choi – It only needs to be seen

This piece is inspired by Steve Hagen’s saying, “Truth does not need any explanation. It only needs to be seen. The only way we can be free in each moment is to become what the moment is.” I want the audience to experience being the moment through a stream of sound that does not need any explanation but only needs to be heard.

Kathleen Ginther – Respiro

Respiro, for French horn and electronics, was inspired by and written for Jennifer Presar, Professor of Horn at Southern Illinois University. As a colleague, I had long admired Jen’s playing – specific her rich, buttery tone and an amazing ability to easily do things that are not easy. The piece is built around a limited number of recurrent musical ideas – among them long, sustained pitches, different kinds of trills and tremolos, and extreme glissandos. These musical mottos occur both in live performance and in the electronics, pre-recorded by Jen and manipulated (slightly) by me.

Respiro means ‘to breathe’. It is the player’s breath that moves air through the instrument, the player’s lungs that breathe the instrument into life, much as air moving through our lungs brings our very beings into life.

Elizabeth J. Start – Assisi Impressions for flute and cello (2013)

Assisi Impressions was written after my return July 18, 2013 from performing at the Assisi Suono Sacro festival, and was premiered on Aug 28th that year.  It is experiential and visceral. The first movement is about reverence of a place–whether you totally share the reverence, the feeling is there, and quite palpable (like the Basilica of St. Francis, for instance)–one can get excited about something, or powerfully moved, or even mildly amused, but it doesn’t get far from a hushed feeling. The second movement, a little scherzo and trio, “getting around”, is a look at driving in the crazy busy winding streets (in my little rental car!) contrasted with lots of walking, perhaps even slogging, up hills on foot–including moments of excitement and sharing a sight or discovery, but back to the slogging (in hot weather)–then back to the car.  The third movement represents to me a very memorable evening, at a restaurant overlooking the Basilica of St. Francis church–light changing on it as the sun set, and birds rising around it.  Yes, flute, birds: type-cast again.

Artist Biographies

Kyong Mee Choi, composer, organist, painter, poet, and visual artist, received several prestigious awards and grants including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Robert Helps Prize, Aaron Copland Award, John Donald Robb Musical Trust Fund Commission, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, First prize of ASCAP/SEAMUS Award, Second prize at VI Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo among others. Her music was published at Ablaze, CIMESP (São Paulo, Brazil), SCI, EMS, ERM media, SEAMUS, and Détonants Voyages (Studio Forum, France). She is the Head of Music Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she teaches composition and electro-acoustic music. Samples of her works are available at http://www.kyongmeechoi.com.

Described as “music of ethereal delicacy” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “otherworldly rapture” (Chicago Reader), Kathleen Ginther’s colorful, vibrant and immediate music has attracted national and international attention, with performances in Italy, England, Scotland, Holland, China, Japan and Brazil, as well as New York, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles and her native Chicago. She has travelled extensively as Visiting Composer at venues such as the Cleveland Institute of Music, Bowling Green New Music Festival, the Festival of New American Music at Sacramento State University, the Utrecht Conservatory, Sheyang Conservatory (China) and Niigata University (Japan). A multiple Illinois Arts Council fellowship awardee, her music is featured in a WTTW documentary entitled “Illinois Artists at Work”. Two new CDs are due out this year and next on Chicago’s Northport Records.

A passionate advocate of new music, Dr. Ginther has worked for many years with composer- based groups in an effort to expand the audience for new music. As President and Program Director of American Women Composers Midwest, she presented concerts and worked with other performing and presenting groups to integrate music by women into their repertoires. A long time member of the Chicago Composers Consortium, she also founded and directed Outside The Box, an annual festival of new music at Southern Illinois University, where Dr. Ginther taught Composition and served as Composer-in-Residence for 18 years. She is now Professor Emerita from that institution, having resigned in order to devote herself to writing music full time.

Jennifer Presar, a West Virginia native, currently teaches Horn and Music Theory and is Assistant Director of the School of Music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She holds a BM in theory and composition from the University of Illinois and an MM in horn performance from West Virginia University, where she is also ABD on a DMA. Her principal teachers include Virginia Thompson, Kazimirez Machala and David Cottrell.

Ms. Presar is Principal Horn of the Paducah Symphony, and she has performed with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, (IL), West Virginia Symphony, Wheeling Symphony (WV), the Illinois Symphony, and others throughout Illinois, West Virginia, and Maryland. She is a founding member of Neoteric, a unique trio of horn, bassoon and cello. With Neoteric, she has performed at the Chamber Music America Conference, the International Horn Symposiu, and the International Double Reed Convention, as well as appearances in venues throughout the region.

Timothy Dwight Edwards is a versatile composer both in electronic and live acoustic music. His solo, chamber and choral music combines rhythmic, avant-garde, jazz and contrapuntal elements that cross boundaries between musical genres and styles to create a highly personal expression, and has been performed by numerous ensembles in the US and abroad. His teachers have included Ralph Shapey, Lewis Spratlan, John Eaton, Andrew Imbrie and Shulamit Ran. Recordings of his music can be found on the Naxos, Navona and Albany labels.

Edwards has taught over twenty different university-level courses, at various institutions, in the areas of music composition, theory, aural skills, history, electronic music, electronic music performance, computer programming, popular music, counterpoint and orchestration. He has taught at Columbia College Chicago, The University of Illinois at Chicago and The University of Chicago. His current research involves tracing the development of obscure puzzle music from the late middle ages to the twenty-first century. 

Elizabeth Start (aka Betsy) holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and cello from Oberlin, master’s degrees in cello and theory/composition from Northern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Chicago.

She spent 15 years living and free-lancing as a cellist, composer and teacher in the Chicago area, teaching at many institutions, including DePaul University and Columbia College.

As a performer, she has premiered over 100 works. As a composer, she has received numerous grants and commissions and over 300 performances of over 140 works in the U.S. and abroad. While living in Chicago, she performed on many concerts with Ralph Shapey’s Contemporary Chamber Players, chamber concerts of new music at Orchestra Hall with members of the CSO, for American Women Composers, CUBE, and New Music Chicago.

She returned to her hometown of Kalamazoo, MI in 2001, where she is a cellist with the Kalamazoo Symphony, Executive Director of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, and Vice President-Secretary of the Kalamazoo Federation of Musicians, Local 228, AFM. She continues her activities with the Elgin Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Access Contemporary Music, and Chicago Composers’ Consortium. She has recently been commissioned by the Kalamazoo Symphony to create a piece for their 100th anniversary season in 2020-21, which will feature a new commissioned work on every concert, including a concerto for orchestra by Andre Previn. www.elizabethstart.com

Caroline Pittman received her music degrees from Stetson University and The Manhattan School of Music. Her principal teachers were Parker Taylor , Geoffrey Gilbert, Charlie DeLaney, Harold Bennett, Thomas Nyfenger and Harvey Sollberger. She is principal flute with The Park Ridge Civic Orchestra, was a founding member of the CUBE  Contemporary Chamber Ensemble with whom she performed for 26 years.  She plays with the Salt Creek Ballet and the  DaCorneto Opera company and has played with the CSO , Grant Park, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Elgin, Northwest Indiana Orchestras and others. Her recordings include Peter and the Wolf, Bugs Bunny on Broadway (Warner Bros. ) and  works by J.M. Mitchell on Southport label and Opus One and the music of Patricia Morehead on Navona Records.  She composed and received a gold medal for the music for the Sand Animation “Narcissus and Echo” and also wrote music for Fairy Tales for Encyclopedia Britannica. She has done extensive studio recording and chamber music, taught at the Conservatorio Ollin Yolitzli in Mexico City, American Conservatory in Chicago , Valdosta State College and currently at the Musical Offering in Evanston.  Before moving to Chicago she was principal flutist with the Opera and Ballet Orchestra of Bellas Artes in Mexico City and the Mexico Philharmonic.

The music of Chicago-based composer Tim Johnson has been performed internationally by some of the world’s best musicians including Brad Friedman, Winston Choi, the Pianissimo, Ensemble Mise-en, Ensemble Paramirabo , Illinois Modern Ensemble, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Due East, and Ensemble Dal Niente. Johnson has received numerous awards, including Finalist in the Alea III competition. As a classical guitarist, Johnson has performed recitals in North America, Europe and Asia, premiered numerous works, and made two recordings of Brazilian jazz with the group Desafinado. Johnson is also a noted researcher in microtonality, and spent several years helping the Kepler String Quartet record Ben Johnston’s music.

A recent review in Opera News states that Lawrence Axelrod is “a … composer whose fresh and distinctive music deserves to be more widely known.” At once composer, pianist and conductor, Mr Axelrod’s musical activities have taken him around the United States, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Axelrod has had works done by Quintet Attacca, The Chicago Composers Orchestra, Palomar, Ensemble Dal Niente,  Pinotage, The Lincoln Trio in recent seasons. Most recently, Brown Line, a scherzo sort of was premiered by the Chicago Composers Orchestra in January 2018. Fits and Starts was premiered by the renowned woodwind group Quintet Attacca in October 2016. Two of his Brandenburg Fantasias were premiered by the Chicago Composers Orchestra in November 2014. His music will be included in the Sound of Silent Film Festival presented by Access Contemporary Music in April 2018, following inclusion in an earlier similar project in 2012, which was performed both in Chicago and New York’s Symphony Space.

A CD of solo and small chamber works was released in the Fall of 2003.  A CD featuring Mr. Axelrod’s Six Brandenburg Fantasias, compositions using the instrumentation from Bach’s famous works, was released in October 2013 on the Innova label, garnering significant attention, and was considered for Grammy nomination. The Heart Revived, a new recording, featuring works for soloists and chamber orchestra and solo piano, was released in August 2016, garnering an excellent review and critic’s choice in Opera News.

Mr. Axelrod has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, Chorus America, Meet the Composer and Arts International for the performances of his works.

Mr. Axelrod is a founder and current member of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium. and was a member of CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. He has taught a highly successful opera appreciation class in Santa Fe each summer for fifteen years, which has become a springboard for leading cultural travel trips. His teaching experience also includes Music Theory at Columbia College

The Chicago Composers’ Consortium is a grass-roots organization of composers dedicated to creating new music in Chicago. We are a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization formed in 1988 and incorporated in 1989. Since then c3 has organized scores of concerts, invited many distinguished composers, and collaborated with several musicians and ensembles, creating unique musical events.

What has set the consortium apart from other contemporary music organizations has been its composer-generated collaborative projects.

As a presenter of contemporary music in the Chicago area, the consortium has found new ways to introduce Chicago to what is new in music

William Jason Raynovich has been active in the field of contemporary music most of his music career. As a performer specializing in the music of experimental composers, he has given numerous lectures and performances on improvisation and the performance practice of indeterminate music at national and international festivals. Highlights of his work with this music include premiering Christian Wolff’s Two Players, co-producing a performance of John Cage’s Musicircus, and directing two music festivals of music by Christian Wolff and James Tenney. William has performed at venues, music series, and institutions such as Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Merce Cunningham Dances Company, Museum of Contemporary Art, Ellsworth Snyder Concert Series, Music from Almost Yesterday, 12 Nights, University of Macedonia, Electronic Music Midwest, and International Computer Music Conference.

In addition to his activities as a performer, he actively composes for a wide variety of instruments. He has received awards, commissions, and performances by organizations such as the Chicago Composers Forum, York Vocal Index, Access Contemporary Music , Electroacoustic Juke Joint, Renaissance Society, NACUSAsf, Athens Municipal Small Brass Ensemble, and Millennium Music Festival 2000.

He has been working on his most recent work, now for cello and electronics, for over four years.  Using Pure Data, he continues to develop the program/composition, posting the development of the composition on vimeo and youtube.

Seth Boustead is a composer, radio host, arts manager and writer, concert producer, in-demand speaker and visionary with the goal of revolutionizing how and where classical music is performed and how it is perceived by the general public.  He received his Master of Music Composition degree from the Chicago College for the Performing Arts in 2002 and has gone on to forge a unique and highly personal musical identity through a prolific outpouring of works in every conceivable genre. His music is regularly performed across the United States and in Europe and has been heard on radio and television stations in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Paris among others.


Friday, March 29, 7:30 pm

Janice Misurell-Mitchell • The Speaking Flute:  Poems and Proclamations

Janice Misurell-Mitchell, flutes, voice
Bob Garrett, percussion

Sub-Music and Song, for solo flute (1983)Janice Misurell-Mitchell

Sometimes the City is Silent (2002)

Blooz Man/Poet Woman (2004)

Amendment Blues No. 1 (2012)

Motel…loneliness, for solo flute (1997)

Karawane, for voice/alto flute and electronics (2016)

Uncommon Time, for flute and frame drum (1991)

—PAUSE—

Naperville Chamber Players • Ad Astra – To the Stars

Marie Bennett, flute
Dorothy Deen, cello
Tricia Wlazlo, oboe
Ben Wahlund, percussion
Michael Giuliani, piano

Constellations for alto flute and marimba (2016)Joe W. Moore, III

  1. Orion – The Hunter
  2. Gemini – The Twins
  3. Leo – The Lion
  4. Pisces – The Fish

Nebula for solo cello (2014)Mischa Zupko

The Whimsical Nature of Small Particle Physics (2016)Ben Wahlund

Double Concerto for Oboe, Bassoon (Cello) with piano, and percussion (2013)Jenni Brandon

  1. The Spiral Galaxy
  2. Traveling through the Milky Way
  3. The Orion Spur: The Blue Planet Waltz
  4. Supermassive Black Hole: Falling into the abyss…
  5. Dark Matter: “…an elementary particle that pervades the universe”
  6. The Orion Nebula: “We are made of star-stuff.”
  7. …Flying through the Spiral Galaxy

Program Notes

Janice Misurell-Mitchell – Sub-Music and Song, for solo flute (1983)

The term, “sub-music” comes from a poem by Wallace Stevens, “Variations on a Summer Day”, in which he says, “Sub-music, like sub-speech, a repetition of unconscious things….” I interpreted the concept of sub-music as music not yet entirely formed: the first two-thirds of the piece contains rough, colorful displays of repeated, distorted sounds, while the last third, the Song, presents material of the previous section in a more refined setting, using rounded phrases and purer sounds.

Janice Misurell-Mitchell – Sometimes the City is Silent, for solo flute (2002)

Sometimes the City is Silent, was commissioned by the National Flute Association for its 2003 High School Soloist Competition. The piece is based on a series of poetic and musical sketches I made in the fall of 2000 while I was teaching at New York University and living in Greenwich Village on the twenty-fifth floor of a hi-rise. I would read the various shapes of bridges and lights as a kind of graphic notation; I improvised flute lines based on these images and recorded them. There were also sounds regularly occurring below that found their way into the piece. And on rare occasions there were times, usually for only a few moments, when the city was silent.

Janice Misurell-Mitchell – Blooz Man/Poet Woman, for flute/voice (2004)

Blooz Man/Poet Woman is derived from an excerpt of the last section of Profaning the Sacred, a work for flute/alto flute/voice and bass clarinet/clarinet which makes extensive use of spoken text in the flute part. The work is oriented around an idea: the sacred as profane, and vice versa. The Ginsberg text, from his poem, “Howl”, speaks of the biblical god, Moloch, to whom children were sacrificed, as a monster created by our political system; the Gibson texts, “Blooz Man” and “Poet Woman” continue the theme of hatred inspired by religious dogma but finds strength in opposition through the words of  “Poet Woman”. Blooz Man/Poet Woman treats the voice as an adjunct to the flute, a second instrument, one with a sound often covered or colored by the flute.

Janice Misurell-Mitchell – Amendment Blues No. 1, for voice/alto flute (2012)

Amendment Blues No. 1 was inspired by the 2011 Occupy movement. It is a musical exploration of our constitutional rights as they play out in contemporary American politics. It is part of a series of short performance pieces I am writing that use familiar tunes to illustrate various political views.

Janice Misurell-Mitchell – Motel…loneliness, for voice/flute (1997)

Motel…loneliness is a structured improvisation based on a phrase taken from the story, Word, by William Burroughs, which was written in the 1950s and had originally been part of Burroughs’ celebrated work, Naked Lunch.

Janice Misurell-Mitchell – Karawane, for voice/alto flute and electronics (2016)

This piece is based on the poem, “Karawane” (or Caravan), written and first performed by Hugo Ball in 1916 at Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich; it is considered to be one of the first sound poems. After spending some time working with the poem, I realized that many of the lines fit into the tune, “Caravan”, by Duke Ellington, so I’ve created several musical motives for voice and alto flute to highlight this relationship. Ball’s inaugural performance can be found in a short film about Dada on Youtube. My soundtrack, comprised of voices and flutes will pay homage to this performance. 

Janice Misurell-Mitchell – Uncommon Time, for flute and frame drum(1991)

Uncommon Time was commissioned by the National Flute Association for the 1991 High School Soloist Competition.  It was conceived of as a piece that would introduce the performer to “extended techniques”, or an extension of the coloristic possibilities of the flute: the use of harmonics, and of a very percussive sound. Throughout, phrases are structured in asymmetric rhythmic patterns: hence, the words, “uncommon time”.  Today’s version of Uncommon Time will employ an improvised accompaniment on frame drum, using rhythms derived from the piece and from drum patterns found in the Middle East.

Joe W. Moore III – Constellations

Constellations by Joe W. Moore, III is a contemporary set of four works for alto flute and marimba. Each work is titled after a constellation in our galaxy – Orion, Gemini, Leo, and Pisces – each representing both the astronomical and mythological characters. Orion – The Hunter: Portrays a strong masculine being;Gemini – The Twins: Portrays both similarity and singularity; Leo – The Lion: Represents the beauty of our universe as well as the planet we know as our home; Pisces – The Fish: Represents yin and yang, ebb and flow.

Mischa Zupko – Nebula

Nebula by Mischa Zupko hypnotizes as its opening seductive phrase emerges, suggesting an almost infinite arc of which we catch only glimpses. All subsequent phrasings pursue this model, growing in length even as the spaces between them gradually diminish. Meanwhile, the music undulates, absorbing an increasing number of artifacts that both propel the music and refract it in a kaleidoscopic way. Just as the swirling clouds of the nebula cool and ultimately implode in an igniting of new life, the music aches with that inevitable, endless gathering of intensity and its explosive release. A display of relentless virtuosity and vigor, Nebula both drives and is driven by that cosmic creation of new life.

Ben Wahlund – The Whimsical Nature of Small Particle Physics

Composer Ben Wahlund writes: “In the fall of 2006, a dear family friend gave me a tour of his workplace – the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, IL. The home of an atomic particle accelerator, scientists use the machine to violently slam atoms into each other at incredibly high speeds and study the results. Among these results are a type of subatomic particle known as “quarks” which come in six different varieties – top, bottom, up, down, strange, and charm – and help scientists understand the nature of matter as well as the fabric of time itself. The Whimsical Nature of Small Particle Physics is presented as a suite of six types of quarks, with a seventh dance entitled “collision.” The accompanying electronic track consists entirely of sounds I recorded at Fermilab – no other sound are involved though some are liberally altered.”

Jenni Brandon – Double Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon

This version of the Double Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon by Jenni Brandon was written for this concert, with the cello in place of bassoon. This work tells the story of our Galaxy, of the great unknown and what lies beyond, and where we belong within this vastness of space. The soloists and the ensemble paint a picture of this great mystery of the universe, taking us on a journey through the Spiral Galaxy, the Milky Way, and onto our own arm in the galaxy, the Orion Spur, where we dance the waltz of the Blue Planet. Being pulled toward the Supermassive Black hole, the djembe lends a rhythmic background of mystery to this journey. The cello, then joined by the solo oboe, begins to tell us a story of Dark Matter, “…an elementary particle that pervades the universe.” We then travel to the place where stars are born in “The Orion Nebula,” quoting Carl Sagan from his book Cosmos that, “we are made of star-stuff.” Finally, we begin to leave the Orion nebula to continue our journey again through the spiral galaxy, exploring the vastness of space as thematic material returns to carry us on this ever-continuing journey of exploration.

Artist Biographies

Janice Misurell-Mitchell, composer, flutist and vocal artist, teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has taught and performed in the US, Europe, Mexico, Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Taiwan and China. For many years she performed in Chicago as a member of CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, where, along with Patricia Morehead, she was Co-Artistic Director. Her honors include grants from Meet the Composer, the Illinois Arts Council, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. Speaking about her 2013 CD, Vanishing Points, New Music Box’s Frank Oteri says, “[she] seamlessly [weaves] elements from high modernism with jazz, Latin, blues, and modernism with jazz, Latin, blues, and even funk into an amalgam that is completely its own thing…” Her solo CDs are on the Southport Records label; other recordings are on MMC, OPUS ONE, Capstone, meerenaishim.com and Arizona University Recordings. www.jmisurell-mitchell.com

Musician/composer Bob Garrett, percussion, toured with the national company of The Lion King for four years and has performed with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens, John Elmquist and Hard Art Group, Redmoon Theatre, and others. He has accompanied for dance companies/choreographers including The Seldoms, Alvin Ailey Dance, Urban Bush Woman, Bill T Jones, and Hubbard Street Dance. Bob is also co-founder (along with Nadine Lollino) of Posterchild Art, a multi-disciplinary art company based in Chicago’s art district.  They’ve shown their work throughout the U.S. as well as Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. Recently Bob is focusing on writing for film and commercial work and co-created  ESCP, an electronic music duo, with violinist/composer Chihsuan Yang.

Naperville Chamber Players was founded in 2009 by co-Artistic Directors Marie Bennett and Dorothy Deen to explore the combination of the flute and cello in chamber music, and present innovative, accessible, and affordable chamber music in the western suburbs of Chicago. Collaborating artists from painters to dancers to other musicians join them for concerts every year. 

Marie Bennett is a founding member of Naperville Chamber Players, and has also performed with international and regional orchestras including the Orquesta Sinfonica in Monterrey, Mexico, Concertante di Chicago, Illinois Chamber Orchestra and the Illinois, Rockford, Quad Cities and Decatur Symphonies. She can be heard playing flute and Irish whistle on recordings from GIA Music and she has made live appearances on WFMT 98.7 FM. In addition to running a private flute studio, Marie teaches at summer camps and frequently adjudicates for competitions and solo contests. Marie is adjunct professor at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where she runs the flute studio, directs the flute choir, and teaches music theory and musicianship courses. She studied flute performance at Northwestern University (BM) and DePaul University (MM) where her teachers included Richard Graef, Walfrid Kujala and Mary Stolper.

Dorothy Deen is a native Chicagoan and has been a freelance cellist, educator and live music contractor for over 30 years. She received her master’s degree in cello performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University. She has played with numerous area ensembles such as the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Kenosha Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Rockford Symphony and Illinois Philharmonic. She also was an Adjunct Professor of Music Appreciation at Joliet Junior College for two years.

Dorothy performs with New Philharmonic and is an active recitalist in the Chicago area. She has enjoyed playing chamber music concerts in private homes, school settings and elegant theaters throughout Chicago and on Chicago’s classical radio station, WFMT. She thoroughly enjoys her work on a wide variety of recording projects for classical, jazz, liturgical and popular ensembles. Her pride and joy is the Naperville Chamber Players, which she co-founded with Marie Bennett to promote fresh and accessible chamber music in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Dorothy is also a youth orchestra coach and operator of a private cello teaching studio in her hometown’s Bartlett Center for the Arts. Her hobbies are running, reading escapist fiction, volunteering for good causes, babysitting her many nieces and nephews and walking the world’s cutest dogs.

Tricia Wlazlo attended the University of Michigan and Yale University, and received her masters degree at the University of Southern California in music. She studied at Northwestern University with Ray Still as a graduate assistant.  She has performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Park Ridge Civic, the New Philharmonic at College of DuPage and the Lake Forest Symphony.  Tricia has played for Broadway shows in the Chicago area such as Wicked, Camelot, Miss Saigon, and Ragtime.  She is a founding member of the  Amber Trio, an oboe ensemble . Tricia is adjunct faculty member at North Central College in Naperville, and plays first oboe in the Skokie Valley Symphony.

Ben Wahlund is a Grammy nominated, award-winning music educator, composer, and performer who lives in the Chicago area. Mr. Wahlund serves as full-time percussion instructor at Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL) and the Director of Percussion at the College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL). Published by Bachovich Music, HoneyRock Publications, and Innovative Percussion, his music compositions have won numerous international awards and are performed by professionals around the world.

His engaging teaching style has availed him of the opportunity to work for years with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra as percussion ensemble director, director of a number of regional camps and workshops with high school students – including the NIU Percussion Camp – and university residencies across the country. Wahlund performs as a solo artist, a member of area orchestras, ¡The Screaming Norwegians! Percussion Duo, the Naperville Chamber Players, has performed at a number of state, national, and international conventions, is a member of the Yamaha Performing Artist roster, the Zildjian Artist Program, and endorses Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets.

Ben Wahlund received his Masters of Music degree in music theory/composition and Performance Certificate in percussion from Northern Illinois University and Bachelor’s Degrees in Music Education and Music Performance with minors in math and philosophy/theology from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Michael Scott Giuliani is Cantor (the historic Lutheran term for Director of Music) at Bethany Lutheran Church & School in Naperville, IL.  Prior to coming to Bethany, he served as a church music in various settings throughout Illinois and South Carolina. He studied piano as an undergraduate student with Dr. Terree Shofner-Emrich at North Park University, and received the Master of Church Music in Organ degree from Concordia University Chicago where he studied organ with Dr. Steven Wente and piano with Kuang-Hao Huang.  He is currently pursuing a PhD in Christian Worship.

A sought-after collaborative pianist of unique versatility, Giuliani’s musical endeavors have taken him across the United States and Europe.  He is the current accompanist for the acclaimed St. Charles Singers under the direction of Maestro Jeffrey Hunt, and regularly accompanies amateur and professional soloists and ensembles around the Chicagoland area.  In the past, he has served as pianist and organist for Tim Zimmerman & The King’s Brass, an internationally renowned sacred brass ensemble, pianist for the North Park University Choir and Gospel Choir under the direction of Dr. Rollo Dilworth, and as a collaborative pianist at Charleston Southern University.  As a conductor, he has conducted (or prepared choirs for collaborative performances) numerous choral-orchestral works, including Gloria by John Rutter, Messiah by G.F. Handel, Oratorio de Noël by Camille Saint-Saëns, The Chariot Jubilee by R. Nathaniel Dett, Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi for the Colour of Music Festival, and most recently Requiem by W.A. Mozart for Edward Higginbottom, conductor of the Choir of New College, Oxford.  He is the past Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Spiritual Ensemble, and has been featured in Charleston’s annual Piccolo Spoleto Festival as both an organist with the Taylor Festival Choir on the festival’s Spotlight Concert Series, and as a conductor of the CSO Spiritual Ensemble in a concert highlighting the African-American spiritual settings of composer R. Nathaniel Dett at the historic Citadel Square Baptist Church.

Giuliani has a passion for music education, believing that a comprehensive music education is not a luxury, but a necessity for all human beings.  To this end, he founded and is the Director of The J.S. Bach Academy of Music at Bethany Lutheran Church & School (aka “The Bach Academy”), a community music school serving the Naperville community through a variety of programs in music education.  He is an active instructor of piano and organ in Naperville, IL, where he resides with his wife Agnes, a gifted violinist, and their three children, Lucien, Eloise, and Adeline.


Saturday, March 30, 7:30 pm

Aviary • New Works by Northwestern Composers

Isidora Nojkovic, cello
Ben Roidl-Ward, bassoon

And or OtherEmily Praetorius (b.1990)

my dream was to create content forever
or five instances of dependency and two of decay*Neil Quigley (b. 1990)

Invention of Water*Ben Zucker (b.1993)

*Denotes world premiere by NU Composer

—PAUSE—

~Nois • Is this ~Nois? – Music for Saxophones

Brandon Quarles, soprano saxophone
Hunter Bockes, alto saxophone
Jordan Lulloff, tenor saxophone
János Csontos, baritone saxophone

DwalmGemma Peacocke (b. 1984)

even the words that we are speaking nowDarcy Copeland (b. 1996)

SaxophonquartettGeorg Friedrich Haas (b. 1953)

Improvisation~Nois

Program Notes

Neil Quigley – my dream was to create content forever
or five instances of dependency and two of decay

“My dream was always to travel forever, and create content forever, and make an adventure out of my life”

– The Food Ranger in the video “How I Afford to Travel All The Time + Top Questions and Answers 2018”

This piece was influenced by the macro-narratives of food travel videos.

I’ve been watching these videos for years but have never once talked to anyone about them. I have thought about them not one jot outside the activity of watching them.

Every so often some information that my brain absorbed from the videos leached out into real life. I’d be having dinner with someone and I would tell them what region a specific Thai dish originates or I would, apropos of nothing, drop some hot take about the political implications of goats cheese in the Yunnan Province.

But what really sticks with me is the macro-narrative of these videos, the characters and lives of the person/people making the videos over time, their interpersonal relationships and the glacial pace of documenting a life through the medium of food blogs.

-Neil Quigley

Ben Zucker – Invention of Water

This is a piece about water; around it, through it, with it in spirit and in traces: the origins of the shell, the viscosity of the bassoon reed, the very systems of the performers themselves. It is indebted to concepts wrought from Astrida Neimanis’ “Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming A Body Of Water”: for her, water is “a conduit and mode of connection,” “flows through and across difference,” with “a material fecundity that rejects an ontological separation between ‘thing’ and ‘transition,’ between ‘body’ and ‘vector.’ “ Thinking and composing through water, all of the objects utilized here attempt to flow into each other, sounds and identities diverging, merging, assembling over a greater space of time.

– Ben Zucker

Artist Biographies

Formed in the summer of 2017 at the Spoleto Festival USA, Aviary (Isidora Nojkovic, cello and Ben Roidl-Ward, bassoon) is committed to expanding the duo repertoire for cello and bassoon by working with living composers and using non-standard instrumental techniques and electronics. In the winter of 2017/18, Aviary embarked on an international tour, with concerts in New York City (presented by NYU’s inaugural Precarious Sounds/Sounding Sanctuary conference), Tacoma, WA, and Vancouver, BC. Their 2018/19 season will include premiers of four newly commissioned works funded in part by the Luminarts Cultural Foundation, as well as concerts in Chicago, IL, and Denver, CO.

~Nois is a Chicago-based saxophone quartet that defies categorization by working between the boundary of contemporary classical music and experimental improvisation. Founded in 2016 by graduate students at Northwestern University, ~Nois (pronounced “noise”) has quickly emerged as one of the premier young ensembles dedicated to innovative and engaging performances. Known for their “masterclass-level demonstrations of precise articulations and glowing legatos” (I Care if You Listen), “truly innovative musicianship,” and “raw creativity” (Cacophony Magazine), ~Nois has been awarded prizes at prestigious chamber music competitions including the Second Prize in the Open Division of the 2018 M-Prize International Chamber Arts Competition, the Silver Medal at the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Second Prize at the 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition, and First Prize at the 2016 Chicago Woodwind Ensemble Competition. ~Nois was invited to be an Ensemble Fellow to the 2018 Blackbird Creative Lab, where they worked closely with fellow Chicago-based ensemble, Eighth Blackbird.

~Nois’ third season features many exciting projects including a residency at the University of Chicago’s new Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition. Throughout the academic year, the quartet will collaborate with the composition department’s graduate students and Postdoctoral Researcher Tonia Ko to create an immersive experience connecting music and performance to the design and architecture traditions of Chicago. ~Nois will perform Pulitzer Prize winner William Bolcom’s Concerto Grosso with conductor Dr. Mallory Thompson and the Northshore Concert Band to open the ensemble’s 63rd season. The 2018-2019 season will also see ~Nois twice return to the Frequency Series at Constellation. The first performance in September 2018 will be a collaborative concert with F-PLUS, while the second in June 2019 will feature world premieres of works composed by members of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium. ~Nois will also return to New Music Chicago’s Impromptu Fest in March 2019.

This season, ~Nois will be collaborating with some of today’s most exciting performers. ~Nois will perform with critically-acclaimed indie-rock band My Brightest Diamond when the group performs at Chicago’s renowned Metro in December 2018. ~Nois will be featured at Elastic Arts’ Improvised Music Series in January 2019 where the quartet will collaborate with Fat Pigeon. ~Nois will also join forces with Chicago’s own Zafa Collective to present a collaborative concert of works by Chicago-based composers at the Fulton Street Collective in February 2019.

Outside of Chicago, ~Nois will travel to Princeton University in November 2018 to perform Gemma Peacocke’s Dwalm at the Princeton Sound Kitchen. ~Nois will also collaborate with three New York City based composers — Nathan Hudson, Howie Kenty, and Ed Rosenberg — to present concerts throughout New York including a performance at Brooklyn’s Areté and Stony Brook University. ~Nois will be one of the featured artists on the 2019 Re:Sound Festival in Cleveland, Ohio.

Highlights of previous seasons include performances at the 2018 Omaha Under the Radar Festival, the 2018 Continuum Music Festival in Memphis, the Frequency Series at Constellation in Chicago, New Music Chicago’s Impromptu Fest, and the Irving Park Fine Arts Series. In March of 2018, ~Nois embarked on a five-week-long tour throughout the eastern United States with performances and master classes at Baldwin Wallace University, East Tennessee State University, James Madison University, Lee University, Manhattan School of Music, Tennessee Technological University, and the Universities of Akron, Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  During the tour, the quartet performed with the Bang On A Can All-Stars for the U.S. premiere of Michael Gordon’s Big Space at the Big Ears Festival, a multi-genre music festival in Knoxville, TN. ~Nois has also performed with members of Eighth Blackbird, flutist Claire Chase, and singer-songwriter Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond.


Sunday, March 31, 3:00 pm

Students of Elmhurst College • Impromptu Fest Presents

Madeleine Wilmsen, flute

Danza de la MariposaValerie Coleman

Crossing Borders Music • African-American Women Composers:
Looking Back and Looking Forward

Kyle Dickson and Rasa Mahmoudian, violins
Sixto Franco, viola
Tom Clowes, cello
Marianne Parker, piano

Afro-American SuiteUndine Smith-Moore

  1. Nobody Knows the Trouble I See, Lord Brothers Will You Pray for Me and Help Me to Drive Ole Satan Away
  2. I Heard the Preaching of the Elder, Preaching the Word of God
  3. Who is that Yonder?, Oh, It Looks Like My Lord, Coming in a Cloud
  4. Shout All Over God’s Heaven

PortraitsBrittany J. Green

  1. La femme complexe
  2. Le garçon qui passe
  3. La mère dans le marché
  4. L’homme durci
  5. La fille dans les nuages

Memories from BeyondElizabeth A. Baker

  1. Rain on the Cotton Fields

What Have You Done (Who Are You?)Jordyn Davis

5 Folksongs in CounterpointFlorence Price

  1. Calvary
  2. Oh My Darlin’ Clementine
  3. Drink to Me Only With Thine Own Eyes
  4. Shortnin’ Bread
  5. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Artist Biographies

Madeleine Wilmsen is a performer and teacher based in the Chicago area. She recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Flute Performance where her principal teachers were Sarah Frisof and Michael Gordon. She was awarded placement in the University Honors Recital in 2016 and is an accomplished ensemble player, acting as principal for both the University Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Orchestra. She is also an alumna of Credo Flute at Elmhurst College. Wilmsen combines her love of music and her passion for promoting the arts in her community by actively supporting nonprofits, including the Kansas City Symphony and the Ojai Music Festival, as a development intern. She recently served as the office intern with the National Flute Association. Wilmsen currently studies with Jennie Brown of Elmhurst College.

Founded in 2011, Crossing Borders Music has become a leading interpreter of chamber music by composers from cultures including the Chickasaw Nation, Colombia, Egypt, Haiti, India, Syria, and Uganda, and a pioneering, critically acclaimed presenter of music by graduates of the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education in Iran. Crossing Borders Music was a Headline Artist at the African Festival of the Arts, a Resident Arts Organization at the Chicago Cultural Center, and has been presented by the Old Town School of Folk, St. John’s Cathedral of Denver, Montréal’s Society for the Research and Promotion of Haitian Music (SRDMH), and at Chicago’s Symphony Center through the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s African American Network. Crossing Borders Music has been featured on ABC-7 and NBC-5 Chicago News, on WFMT, on WBEZ, in the Chicago Tribune, and as a Critic’s Pick in TimeOut Chicago. Crossing Borders Music released Beyond the Headlines: Haiti in Music, a live album of Haitian chamber music, in 2013. Through a grant from The Chicago Community Trust, in 2016, Crossing Borders Music released Zombie: Origin and Evolution, an album of newly commissioned string quartet music by Haitian composers Jean “Rudy” Perrault and Sabrina C. D. Jean Louis. Through a grant from the Sparkplug Foundation, in August 2018, Crossing Borders Music recorded a world premiere album of original chamber music with the composer, Grammy-nominated sitarist Gaurav Mazumdar, set to be released in 2019.

The mission of Crossing Borders Music is to use music to promote the dignity of people from all cultures.

We envision a more harmonious world in which people experience musical and artistic dimensions of world cultures in such a way that influences how they shop, invest, travel, volunteer, do business, and live their day-to-day lives.

To this end, Crossing Borders Music produces moving music that tells compelling stories by composers from under-represented cultures – music that invites audiences to challenge assumptions and learn more. Crossing Borders Music also presents educational programs to foster young people’s awareness of the diversity and richness of cultures and their music.

Crossing Borders Music is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. For more information, visit www.CrossingBordersMusic.org or contact us at info@nullcrossingbordersmusic.org or 773-442-2195.