The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) acclaimed MusicNOW series will opens its 2015/16 season on Monday, November 23 at 7 p.m. at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park (205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago). The innovative new music series is dedicated to showcasing contemporary music through an innovative concert experience, and the November 23 concert marks the first MusicNOW program curated by newly-appointed CSO Mead Composers-in-Residence Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek, who will introduce the program. Adams and Ogonek were appointed by the CSO’s Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti for a three-year term starting this season and continuing through the 2017/18 season.
The program, titled unstrung, highlights a range of contemporary compositions for strings. Acclaimed American conductor and contemporary music champion Christopher Rountree makes his MusicNOW debut leading musicians from the CSO in Law of Mosaics, the acclaimed 2012 work for string orchestra by Chicago native Ted Hearne. A string quartet with electronics by Daniel Wohl and a work for solo cello and electronics by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho complete the program.
American conductor and composer Christopher Rountree is known for his innovative and progressive approach to music, whether he is conducting a concert or curating a program. He is the founder of the ensemble wild Up, which started in 2010 with no funding and no musicians, but has rapidly moved to the forefront in new music. In 2014, Rountree made his conducting debut on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella contemporary music series, and has led other ensembles including the San Diego Symphony and the Colorado Symphony. Rountree has served as assistant conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and began a three-year stint as guest conductor and artist-in-residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra this year.
The CSO’s MusicNOW series will continue its season with concerts on March 7, 2016; May 9, 2016 and June 6, 2016. CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Elizabeth Ogonek’s work Falling Up, based on the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud and Shel Silverstein, is included on the March 7 program. Falling Up had its world premiere on May 14 this year with Ensemble 360 at Sheffield Theatres in England. The world premiere of a new work by CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Samuel Adams commissioned for the MusicNOW series is scheduled for the June 6 program.
Following each MusicNOW concert, audiences are invited to enjoy a postconcert reception with the artists with complimentary refreshments including pizza provided by Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and beer provided by Revolution Brewing Company.
Tickets for all MusicNOW concerts can be purchased by phone at 800‑223‑7114 or 312-294‑3000; online at cso.org, or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.
MusicNOW receives funding through a leadership challenge grant from Irving Harris Foundation, Joan W. Harris. Major support is provided by Cindy Sargent and the Sally Mead Hands Foundation and the Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Newly-appointed CSO Mead Composers-in-Residence Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek (photo courtesy of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra).