Eighth blackbird plays University of Chicago student composers’ music on May 28 (FREE). The concert is in Roosevelt University’s downtown Ganz Hall, because if people are too tired or unwilling to go to the South Side and Hyde Park, at least they can get lost trying to find Ganz Hall in the elevators and winding passageways of the Auditorium Building.
Continuing the U. of C. theme, composer and critic Kyle Gann returns to Chicago on May 31 to give a lecture on John Cage’s 4’33″ at the University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society. (FREE) Returns? Yes, returns: He was a stringer for the Chicago Tribune and at the Chicago Reader (archive) in the 1980s and early 1990s before heading to New York for laudations. His commitment to American music was already apparent at that time, as you can see in this Trib review of a concert of John Philip Sousa’s music ($$). I think we can all agree that the music was a better place when a music critic could live in Chicago and write, say, 1100 words on toy-piano player Margaret Leng Tan and nobody batted an eye.
And if eighth blackbird is playing, that must mean that ICE is here, as well. They bring four programs of varying instrumentation, culminating with their Xenakis Portrait show at the Museum of Contemporary Art on June 4. Leading up to it is a duo-piano concert featuring Cory Smythe and Jacob Greenberg on May 29, harpist Bridget Kibbey on May 30, and the entire ensemble playing Crumb on the radio (WFMT) on June 1.
Smythe will always be remembered (by me, at least) for getting Messiaen on a beat-up bar piano to sound like Messiaen on the world’s greatest Steinway. He and Greenberg play the Gyorgys (Kurtag and Ligeti) and Stravinsky at the Sherwood Conservatory, Kibbey plays at the Museum of Contemporary…Photography.
Aaaaaaaaaand, last but not least, the season of the CSO’s MusicNOW series ends on June 8 at the Harris Theater, with music by Osvaldo Golijov (Mariel, featuring cellist Brant Taylor and percussionist Cynthia Yeh), premieres by Mark-Anthony Turnage (Out of Black Dust) and laptoppist (laptopper?) Jeremy Flower, and hyper-accordionist Michael Ward-Bergman. Pizza and beer to follow because after all that music, you’ll be wanting a drink.