Clef N tes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Back on the Steppenwolf stage
EXPO CHICAGO A global spotlight on Chicago's culture scene
to the 2013-2014 season of fine arts in Chicgaoland!
A Decade At The Harris
Photo by Trisan Cook
DEPARTMENTS ON THE COVER: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago dancers Jessica Tong and Jesse Bechard in One Thousand Pieces by Alejandro Cerrudo, Hubbard Street's resident choreographer. The performance is featured in our Guide to the new season of fine arts in Chicagoland. Photo by Todd Rosenberg
12 Defining Moments Each cultural season in Chicagoland has its own. From world premieres to rare appearances by cultural supernovas, these are the moments that will make 2013-2014 a season of real renaissance in the city's arts and culture scene.
16 Spotlight Chicago Arts Tony Karman's popular Expo Chicago festival of art and artists will explode on the scene this fall into a week-long showcase for the best and brightest in Chicago arts and culture.
24 A Decade at The Harris For Chicago arts patrons, Harris Theater's presence in Millennium Park has meant 10 years of cultural wealth added to Chicago's already luminous arts profile. For the theater's resident companies who call it home, it's meant new life and endless possibilities.
40 The GUIDE Above: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's co-artistic directors, David Finckel (cello) and Wu Han (piano), are featured in the Guide to the new season of fine arts in Chicago.
The new 2013-2014 Chicago arts season is upon us, and we've got your Guide to the can't-miss, must-see, best of the best performances and exhibitions that await Chicagoans this yearâ€”all right here at your fingertips.
From the Publisher’s Desk
Photo Courtesy of Harris Theater for Music and Dance
The Autumn 2013 Issue of Clef Notes marks the beginning of our fifth year in Chicagoland, a kind of milestone for the magazine that brings with it all sorts of excitement for the publication. It’s the sort of excitement that comes with anything new, really. A new milestone, a new achievement bodes well for renewed energy, fresh perspectives and insight that spur us on to the next achievement. That’s just the kind of excitement that the new season in Chicago arts and culture brings every fall. In a city like ours, as the summer begins to close, fervor over the new coming performing arts calendar permeates the culture scene like the scent of new leather. Expectations are renewed and anticipation builds for the sort of artistic pursuits a city like Chicago can bring to life in the new season. That’s exactly what’s going on these days over at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The Harris is celebrating something of a milestone, themselves, this year, commemorating their first decade in Millennium Park. Has it really been a decade, already? The Harris has wracked up such an incredible list of achievements in those ten short years, it’s difficult to imagine a Chicago’s cultural season without it. Well, our new issue is all about the excitement that’s built over Chicago’s new fine arts calendar. Of course, we’ve included the annual “Guide to The New Season,” our editor’s selections for the can’t miss, best-of-the-best performances that the 2013-2014 season holds. With venues like the Harris in tow, Chicago presents some of the world’s most amazing artists and exhibitions in worldclass performances that we are lucky to have an opportunity to experience each year. We offer our readers their guide to some of the most important, culturally-rich and rare opportunities to be lavished with some of the highest art on the globe presented right here in the Windy City. One of those opportunities will come this season with the new expansion of the annual art fair, Expo Chicago, at Navy Pier. The popular festival of art and artists will explode this season into an out and out city-wide The extrior of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennim Park. showcase of Chicago culture at its very, very best. With partners from Broadway In Chicago to the Museum of Contemporary Art to even some of the city’s top flight culinary havens, Expo Art Week Chicago promises to spotlight the city’s brightest cultural havens in what is perhaps the best case to be made for Chicago as a giant global center. Of course, there’s a ton of excitement this season over the return of Chicago actress and Hollywood luminary Joan Allen to the Steppenwolf Theatre stage. It's the very stage where she first began her acting career. Dan Scurek had the opportunity to talk with the actress and get a revealing look into the uncanny ability she has to escape into any role she takes on, the traits that bleed from her personal life to professional and allow the actress to transform herself right before our eyes. There’s also the excitement of fresh discovery to explore this season, the thrill experienced when we uncover something long since tucked away and a flood of memories ensue, where we learn about ourselves from our own past and are all the better for it. That’s exactly what’s behind what quite possibly will be the Field Museum’s biggest exhibit yet, Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair. We’ve got all this and a great deal more in the Autumn 2013 Issue of Clef Notes. And while we know that one publication can’t possibly aspire to hold every nuance of Chicago’s massive and eclectic arts calendar, or convey the real magic of what lies ahead for Chicago audiences, we can certainly point you in the right direction and illuminate some wonderful insights for you along the way. Enjoy the season! D. Webb Publisher
Clef N tes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts AUtumn 2013
Publisher D. Webb
Patrick M. Curran II
Associate Editors Christopher Hopper Scott Elam Meaghan Phillips
Editorial Support Rachel Cullen
Staff Writers and Contributors Kathryn Bacasmot Raymond Benson David Berner Fred Cummings Emily Disher Wendy Foster Don Fujiwara Cathlyn Melvin Donna Robertson Amanda Scherker
Art & Design Art Director
Carl Benjamin Smith
Contributing Photographers Colin Lyons Jason M. Reese
Graphics & Design Specialists Chelsea Davis Angela Chang
Advertising Tel. 773.741.5502 Jason Montgomery Jason.Montgomery@ClefNotesJournal.com Subscriptions Clef Notes is published quarterly (March, June, September and December) each year. An annual subscription to the magazine may be purchased by mailing a check or money order for $18 to Clef Notes Publishing, Inc., 5815 N. Sheridan Road, Suite 1107, Chicago, IL 60660. Bulk rates are also available. Credit card purchases may be secured online at ClefNotesJournal.com or by calling 773.741.5502. © 2013 Clef Notes Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the USA.
Contents Autumn 2013
10 Luminary: Playwright Noah Haidle We chat it up with playwright Noah Haidle about the much talked about complex, imaginative work he's bringing to the Goodman Theatre stage this fall. Nuanced and fraught with angst, Snowfall is a thoughtprovoking drama that just may be the hot ticket of the new season.
20 Curator's Corner: Time Trekkers A team from the Field Museum's collections and research centers have traveled back in time to bring Chicagoans a fascinating exhibit that brings to life one of the city's finest historical moments before the world stage, The 1893 World Columbian Exposition.
64 Artist Conversational: Actress Joan Allen Dan Scurek sits down with the Hollywood luminary as she prepares a return to the Steppenwolf stage after 22 years.
72 Shall We Dance? Bill T. Jones is Back Always challenging and ever innovative, world renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones returns to the Dance Center at Columbia College with a work meant to throw you deliciously offbalance this season.
Photos clockwise from top: Actress Joan Allen with Emma Gordon in The Wheel, playing this fall at Steppenwolf Theatre (photo by Sandro); Choreographer Bill T Jones in "Story Time" (photo by Paul B. Goode); Botanical oils first exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair (photo by Kryzsztof Hanusiak).
Letters from our readers...
Photo by Christopher Duggan
Pillow Talk I loved the article in your travel issue ("Summer 2013") about the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. I'm a big fan of dance and had heard about the festival, of course, but never knew it had such a huge Chicago connection. It looks like really beautiful place to experience some of the world's best dance. Anne Connely Chicago - Streeterville
Yaa Samar Dance Theatre performs at The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in western Massachusetts.
I'm not exactly sure of the point of a Travel & Culture issue for a local magazine...Do people really travel that often just to hear or see an opera performance, especially in this economy? I'm not trying to be combative. I just wonder if it really happens that often. Valerie Sheets Highland Park, IL The feature you published on Jacob's Pillow and its programs this summer was a really good showcase for the venue and a nice nod for international dance, at that. I'd also recommend the Vail International Dance Festival for any of your readers interested in dance related travel. Like Jacob's Pillow, the openair venue in Vail, CO offers a marvelous, unforgettable cultural experience. Adam Wrobel Ann Arbor, MI
Your summer issue with Jewel on the cover was probably the best issue I've seen from Clef Notes Magazine. Not only does she make a beautiful cover model, but she's also an interesting read. I was also happy to see that you've branched out more to folk and other crossover genres. Jewel is one of my favorites and I don't think she gets nearly enough attention (neither do folk artists in general, for that matter) in the mainstream media... Considering the output she's had in the past 20 years, she is definitely deserving of more exposure. P.J. Schultz Chicago - Old Town
Clef Notes' "Summer 2013 Issue" Readers may submit letters to Feedback, Clef Notes Publishing, Inc. 5815 N. Sheridan Road, Suite 1107, Chicago, IL 60660 or via E-mail to Scuttlebutt@ClefNotesJournal.com.
No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the express written consent of the publisher. Clef Notes Publishing makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the magazineâ€™s content. However, we cannot be held responsible for any consequence arising from errors or omissions.
n June 14th, the Joffrey Ballet Auxiliary Board hosted an unforgettable evening of mystery and intrigue at the very first Joffrey Blue Masquerade Ball. The ball was held at the ballet’s own Joffrey Tower in downtown Chicago. Over 200 partygoers donned their favorite masques and danced the night away. Complimentary cocktails and delectables were provided by some of Chicago’s favorite late-night haunts. The event raised $20,000 for the Joffrey Auxiliary Board.
hicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) celebrated its season on Monday, June 17, with GALA 2013 at its home on Navy Pier. Over 500 of Chicago’s civic and cultural leaders attended the event. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the third annual Spirit of Shakespeare Awards to this year’s Civic Honoree, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Artistic Honoree, legendary composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The event raised more than $1.1 million benefiting the Regional Tony Award recipient’s many educational and civic engagement initiatives.
Brenda and Jonathan Kinley
(L to R) John and Susan Naughton and Kurt and Kelly Gabouer. Photo by Robert Carl.
(L to R) CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin, Spirit of Shakespeare Award Artistic Honoree Stephen Sondheim and CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines. Photo by Michael Litchfield.
(L to R) CST Executive Director Criss Henderson, Board Chair Elect Sheli Z Rosenberg, Board Chariman Ray McCaskey, Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Spirit of Shakespeare Award Civic Honoree former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Photo by Michael Litchfield. 8•CNCJASummer2013 2013 8•CNCJAAutumn
Photos bOB Carl
Out and About
John Walcher, Camille Britton and Terrence Chappell
Tony and Ashley Insalaco
Ina Feldman Gerber and Bob Gerber
Photos byBrenna Hernandez
ine-hundred of Chicago’s young philanthropists gathered July 27 to raise more than $370,000, with support from a couple of generous matches, during Shedd Aquarium’s annual Auxiliary Board soirée, BLU. Guests enjoyed Martín Códax wine along with beer and spirits from Blue Moon Brewing Co. and Beam Inc. Deserts were provided by Forever Yogurt and Pioneer Tavern. The event commemorated the ten year anniversary of Shedd’s Wild Reef exhibit, which showcases the diverse ecosystem of the Philippines.
(L to R) Shedd Auxiliary Board member Susan Hedlund with husband Ryan Hedlund
(L to R) Shedd Auxiliary Board member Josh Kolar with wife Rachel and BLU Co-chairs Gideon Susan Patience and P. Searle.
(L to R) Shedd Auxiliary Board members Megan Robb,Katelyn Danielski, and Claudine Tambuatco. Autumn 2013CNCJA•9
What’s your favorite play? Three Sisters. But that’s kind of like saying Battleship Potemkin is my favorite movie even though I just want to watch Grown Ups 2. I take it you’re a fan of Raging Bull?
Photo Courtesy of Goodman Theatre
I am. Much more so than Grown Ups 2.
Chatting it up With playwright Noah Haidle
By DANIEL A. SCUREK
For those who don’t know the works of playwright Noah Haidle, now is your opportunity to catch up. His newest play, Smokefall, is a Goodman Theatre commission and will premiere there this October. Longtime Goodman patrons will remember Haidle’s play, Vigils, which premiered during the Goodman’s 2006-2007 season. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and graduate of Princeton and Julliard, Haidle has seen his plays produced widely in the U.S. and abroad. The recipient of notable honors, including three Lecomte du Noüy awards, Haidle also counts the big screen as one of his mastered mediums, holding works like the 2013 film Stand Up Guys, starring Al Pacino and Christopher Walken, among his credits. But Haidle’s mainstay of originality is the live stage. And on it, he demonstrates a gift for finding the unique within the commonplace. Haidle’s busy schedule this summer took him to the East Coast on a separate project, so I had no chance to sit down with him for a face-to-face. But I was able to toss back and forth a few questions about his new work and got a good sense of the imagination which has yielded such a highly unique piece of writing. Smokefall communicates a complex human narrative with incredibly lyrical relationships whose struggles constantly threaten a family’s unity.
I hate this question, but I always wonder how playwrights work. What’s your process? I always loved those great Paris Review interviews of yore when you’d imagine the writer drinking a highball (I don’t even know what that is) and wearing a three-piece suit and being a genius. Or look at those photography books of different writer’s studios, and you see there’s like a tiny desk in an attic under a tiny skylight and you think, “Ooooh, so that’s how Kurt Vonnegut did it.” Unfortunately, I don’t have such a photograph. Or a three- piece suit. Writing for me is simply a question of how honestly (I) answer the question, “What do you want to see?” I mean, you’re asking an audience to leave their homes, pay for parking, pay quite a bundle to come see your play. So it’s a difficult question, and the relative honesty of the answer vacillates depending on the day, hour to hour. “What do you want to see?” Can I answer it without trying to look cool or funny or smart or deep, without delineating how different/similar today’s ideas are in comparison to the past. Can I answer it without hope of success or fear of failure, praise or blame? Most of the time the answer is, "No. I can’t. I feel stupid. I feel afraid." But sometimes I’m able to say, "Yes, this is it, this is what I want to see, not what I used to love or maybe will love in the future...and I love it so much that I hope people will come to see what I love and I hope so much that they love it, too." This is one of the most imaginative scripts I’ve read (perhaps ever) Two things I know about human nature, everybody likes to be thought of, and everybody likes a compliment, and this interview accomplishes both, so, thank you. When people apply the term imaginative to a play it usually means that the play is not naturalistic (spoiler alert: the same holds true here). If I were to be asked someday to write a manifesto about theater, I would probably include this bit somewhere: Why attempt verisimilitude in the theater in the 21st century? When Ibsen wrote A Doll’s House in 1879, electric lights were just getting started. The living room on stage suddenly started to look just like the living room at home, and the audience could empathize with Torvald’s little squirrel in a different way. The scandal when Nora walked away from her wifely obligations arose because of its attacks on societal norms, but also and maybe more so because when she walked out the door it looked so darn real. Nowadays, film and TV are mimetic in a way theater can never be, so why should we attempt mimesis in the theater anymore? The answer is that we shouldn’t. We should attempt an ecstatic truth that has nothing to do with man’s logical understanding of the world, but instead a truth that reverberates in his soul, a world that obeys a logic whose rules have a geometry that can’t be found in any textbook but are made of the same infinite stuff that defines love. Sounds manifesto-y, no? As imaginative as the script is, it is very carefully structured—did you figure all that out ahead of time or work it out as you wrote? This is my attempt at a back-in-the-day Paris Review interview from the veranda of my tramp steamer. But it also happens to be true: For ten years I’ve had a photograph August Strindberg took of himself on my desk. He’s sitting at his work table, his face is on the table, and his hands clutch each other over his crazy hair. So basically it’s a portrait of late 19th century Swedish despair. And below the picture, I scotch taped something he wrote, “Pray, but work. Suffer, but hope. Keeping both the earth and the stars in view.” I hope for his sake it sounded as good in Swedish. Ba da dum dum tsssss… You can peer more into the mind of this imaginative playwright when Smokefall premieres at Goodman Theatre October 5th. Above: Playwright Noah Haidle at rehearsals for Vigils at Goodman Theater.
Every great season has them. They're the moments that transcend even the most thrilling performances. What they communicate, how they communicate and how they change us, these are the moments will make 2013-2014 a season of real renaissance for Chicago, a landmark season for the arts.
Leading Ladies Symphony Center Presents Jazz Series will offer up a sizzling tribute to women in jazz when drummer Terri Lyne Carrington brings "The Mosaic Project" to Chicago on Friday, May 2, 2014. This performance is rooted in Carrington’s 2011 album of the same name, a celebration of female artists featuring a multigenerational cross-section of some of the most acclaimed women vocalists and instrumentalists working today. A mixture of mostly original songs with spoken word interludes, the album showcases how women support and celebrate each other both musically and socially; it won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. And it’s propelled its powerful message in performance by engaging an impressively diverse rotating cast. For the Chicago concert, Carrington will be joined by three artists featured on the album—piano great Geri Allen, rock veteran and Labelle alumnus Nona Hendryx and trumpeter-flugelhornist Ingrid Jensen—with the addition of vocalists Lizz Wright and Carmen Lund along with saxophonist Tia Fuller. Goodman Theatre is also showcasing the powerful force of women in the arts this season. In what’s billed as a “Dream Season” for the theater, four works authored by, and five works directed by, women take center stage, showcasing the breadth and depth and diversity of the voice women bring to live theater. In September, Goodman will rouse its season to a soulful start with Chuck Smith’s production of Cheryl L. West’s Pullman Porter Blues—a Chicago premiere featuring an original and classic blues score. Next up is Robert Fall’s World Premiere production of the gripping drama by Rebecca Gilman, Luna Gale. Adding to the slate is Joanie Schultz directing the Chicago premiere of David Ives’ Broadway smash, Venus in Fur; and then there’s Goodman’s own Mary Zimmerman directing her latest work, The White Snake, based on the classic Chinese fable. Finally, Rachel Rockwell will direct a major revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s 1947 Broadway musical Brigadoon. The production has Playwright Cheryl L. West, whose play been awarded permission from Pullman Porter the Lerner and Loewe estates to Blues will run at Goodman Theatre revise the original book. this fall.
Chicago Commissions Nothing says renaissance like a city that originates powerful new works that then go on to be tested and tried for an opportunity to take their own place among the canon of respected works. And this season has its fair share of Chicago commissions. On October 5th, Goodman will present the World Premiere of playwright Noah Haidle’s new work, Smokefall. Commissioned by The Goodman, and directed by Anne Kauffman, Smokefall is produced in association with the South Coast Repertory Theatre. It runs at the Goodman through November 3rd.
Symphony Center is well known for the support of new, intriguing works, and this season its commissions include a particularly special work by composer Guillaume Connesson. Connesson’s Flute Concerto will be performed by CSO Principal Flue Mathieu Dufour. Acclaimed French conductor Charles Dutoit will lead the world premiere on March 6th at Symphony Center with added performances on March 7th and 8th. In commemoration of its 10th anniversary season, Harris Theater will debut its own commission by Italian composer Niccolò Castiglioni, Inverno In-ver-. The evocative work will be accompanied by a one-of-a-kind video/visual installation by Netia Jones, best known for her production of Oliver Knussen’s opera, Where the Wild Things Are. Led by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, the score will be performed by a dazzling selection of talented young artists including Thomas’ New World Symphony, violinists from Music Institute of Chicago and soloists from Chicago Opera Theater. Above: Composer Guillaume Connesson (photo courtesy of Mr. Connesson); Right: Dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov (photo courtesy of Baryshnikov Productions).
Supernovas A city like Chicago is certainly a magnet for the world’s greatest artists. But a landmark season in arts and culture will draw the greatest luminaries on the planet. And this season, Chicago will host two such artists. Easily counted among the greatest violinists of all time, 15-time Grammy winner Itzhak Perlman graces the Civic Opera House stage March 23, 2014. In 2007, Perlman performed at the White House State Dinner for The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and at the 2006 Academy Awards broadcast. In 2003 he was honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with their annual award for extraordinary contribution to the arts.
Above right: Internationally renowned violinist Ithzak Perlman (photo by Akira Kinoshita).
The Museum of Contemporary Art will host dance mega-luminary Mikhail Baryshnikov in a new performance work based on Chekhov’s brilliant tale of humor and despair. Utilizing a variety of media, including surveillance footage, folk dance, instructional hunting videos, and interviews with the cast, Man In a Case creates a bridge between our time and that of Chekhov’s two 19th century anti-love stores. Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, the team behind the internationally acclaimed Big Dance Theater, bring their signature style—fusing theater, dance, music and video—to this Chicago premiere adaptation.
CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA RICCARDO MUTI MUSIC DIRECTOR CSO.ORG/STUDENTS Global Sponsor of the CSO
DEFINING MOMENTS Discovery On view at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago now through February 23, 2014, Our Work: Modern Jobs Ancient Origins is an exhibition of photographic portraits that explores how cultural achievements of the ancient Middle East have created or contributed to much of modern life. Artifacts that show the connections between the past and today document the development of professions like farmer, brewer, writer and astronomer in the ancient world. And these origins are paired with the image of an individual serving as the modern “face” of that profession today. The resulting photographic portraits represent the diversity of Chicago residents, ranging from ordinary workers to local luminaries. The photographer for the project is Jason Reblando, whose work is in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. The exhibit is curated by Jack Green and Emily Teeter. Developed as three mini-exhibitions in one, 3 in 1: Contemporary Explorations in Architecture and Design offers Art Institute visitors fascinating explorations into fashion, architecture, and product design, illustrating the range of work in the museum’s architecture and design collection. Works of fashion designer Issey Miyake, architect Greg Lynn and designers Scholten & Baijings are on tap for an exhibition that yields a wealth of understanding in the use of research, experimentation, and innovation that these icons employed to drive new forms of architecture and design. Ever wonder what it was like to have been a visitor at the 1893 World’s Fair? Well, thanks to Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair, a new exhibition at the Field Museum, you need wonder no more. The new season will see the opening of a new one-of-a-kind exhibition at the Field that gives us a bird’s-eye-view into one of Chicago’s seminal moments, the 1893 World’s Fair – Columbian Exposition. In addition to the fervor and excitement that the fair elicited, the exhibition introduces visitors to the actual beginnings of the Field, which found its origins at the fair.
The Classics Of course, the classic works of art and culture must be mentioned when talking of a seminal season in performance, and the classical music concert calendar in Chicago is always replete with nods to those anchors in the repertoire. But what makes this season special is the effort to see those classics in illuminating new ways. Pianist Emmanuel Ax will bring several performances this season to Symphony Center in an effort to do just that with the works of one of classical music’s most beloved composers Johannes Brahms. Ax’s Brahms Project will invite a deeper look into the works of the composer through intriguing pairings with those of other composers, along with performances of many of his lesser known compositions alongside the monumental giants within his catalogue of works.
At Chicago Shakespeare (CST) Theater this season Gary Griffin will direct the work of a live theater luminary for whom his interpretations have garnered considerable acclaim, legendary composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The American Broadway sensation Gypsy will run at Courtyard Theater at CST’s home on Navy Pier from February 6, through March 23, 2014. The memorable story, inspired by memoirs of famous strip-tease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, will no doubt ring as one of the classic performances this season.
Off the Beaten Path Any cultural season of real merit will include art that is, by nature, experimental, avante garde, or, in this case, evocative of an art form considered lost or long since commonplace in contemporary culture. Well, the dazzling sextet, eighth blackbird, embraces that challenge quite brilliantly, and this season they will take on the Venetian performance style commedia dell’arte in a new music-theater fairytale of love and death, dream and delusion by Amy Beth Kirsten. In the new work, commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, musicians not only play their instruments but speak, sing, whisper, growl, and even mime in a modern take on one of the world’s earliest dark comedies, originated by the poetess Isabella Andreini, the most celebrated actress of the early 1600s. Beach’s fragile, seductive music and libretto take listeners into conflicted realms of love, passion and angst, and in a wildly “what’s old is new again” approach, musicians don masks and throw themselves into a dreamy, surreal experience that’s sure to be the talk of the season. In the past few years, Lyric Opera has found some wonderfully imaginative ways of introducing new audiences to the joys of the art form. Last season offered their unique opera forward, Popcorn & Pasquale. This year, it’s The Family Barber, a kind of kid-friendly Opera 101 with members of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center and the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus in tow. The Family Barber combines the familiar music and characters of Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (“Figaro! Figaro!”) with some captivating dialogue to reveal behind-the-scenes opera basics in an engaging way kids will enjoy. The Family Barber is written by Lookingglass Theater’s David Kersnar and Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Jacqui Russell. It’s all part of Lyric Unlimited, a multifaceted program of expanded community engagement and artistic initiatives launched in recent seasons. From left - opposite page: Wolly mammoths and giant ocopus models on display iu the Anthropological Building of the 1893 World's Fair (photo © The Field Museum); Composer Stephen Sondheim (photo (photo © ArenaPal/Imageworks); Members of the acclaimed contemporary chamber ensemble eighth-blackbird (photo courtesy of eighth-blackbird).
Photo Courtesy of The CIty of Chicago
16•CNCJAAutumn 2013 2013 16•CNCJAAutumn
Once a three-day art fair at Navy Pier, Expo Chicago is exploding onto the city's arts calendar this year into Expo Art Week, a weeklong showcase of Chicago's best and brightest culture. By DON FUJIWARA
n its second year, EXPO Chicago—the International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art—is building on what Tony Karman, Expo president and director, describes as the extraordinary success of its first by expanding into a weeklong, citywide fete to art and culture. EXPO Art Week commences September 16, 2013 and promises seven days of museum exhibits, gallery openings, and public celebrations of the arts, visual, installation, music, dance and theater. Even the culinary arts will be represented in this year’s event. Art Week culminates, naturally, in the EXPO Chicago fair proper, which kicks off September 19th. EXPO Chicago does more than just blur the traditional art fair boundaries. It blows right past them by turning the whole of Chicago into its venue, and this is by design. Art Week is Tony Karman’s open invitation to art collectors, dealers and enthusiasts across the world to “come to Chicago for the art fair, and then stay to enjoy everything Chicago has to offer.” Coinciding with EXPO Art Week are several exhibitions at the city’s prominent museums. The Museum of Contemporary Art will feature three films and various drawings and paintings of L.A. artist Paul Sietsema. Paper Like Skin, a retrospective of Indian-born, American sculptor and p r i n t m a k e r, Zarina Hamish will also be on exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Of note, on September 19th the Rug Company will unveil Demons, Yarns and Tales, for which artists were invited to work outside their individual comfort zones in the lost medium of tapestry. Organized by Rug Company founders Christopher and Suzanne Sharp, Demons, Yarns and Tales showcases wall hangings by Kara Walker, Grayson Perry, Beatriz Milhazes and 12 other international artists. Partnerships with local museums and galleries are key to Art Week. Some translate to special viewings and ticketing at venues like Hyde Park Art Center, The Renaissance Society, The Smart Museum of Art and the Chicago Architectural Foundation. Dovetailing with EXPO Chicago is Opposite Page: Chicago's downtown Skyline (photo ©GRC/City of Chicago); Clockwise from top right: Broadway In Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre (photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago); Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Alejandro Cerrudo's "One Thousand Pieces" (photo by Todd Rosenberg); Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (photo by Todd Rosenberg); Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2013 cast of Rigoletto (photo by Bob Kusel/Lyric Opera of Chicago); Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes (photo courtesy of the artist).
Gallery Weekend Chicago (GWC), now in its third year. Founded in 2011 by art dealers Monique Meloche, Andrew Rafacz and Scott Speh, GWC promises a “curated weekend of private gallery tours, exclusive museum access and special reservations at top restaurants.” EXPO Chicago has also allied with a host of performing arts entities in the Windy City— including Broadway In Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera and Steppenwolf Theatre—as well as Chicago’s fast-rising culinary scene; among them are Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group, mk, NoMi and Spiaggia. The EXPO Chicago fair proper commences with the popular Chicago art gala, Vernissage, on September 19th. It will play host to 122 exhibitors from 35 cities in 17 countries around the world and feature the work of over 2,000 artists who are shaping our contemporary culture. You will recognize some important galleries from last year—including James Cohan Gallery, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, Russell Bowman Art Advisory Chicago and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard Copenhagen. But expect fresh faces as well, from Marianne Boesky Gallery of New York, Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Sicardi Gallery of Houston, The Breeder (Athens and Monaco), Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie of Berlin and Massimo De Carlo (Milan and London). The expo’s aptly named EXPOSURE section highlights some 20 younger galleries, including Chicago’s The Mission, JTT and DODGE Gallery of New York, Diaz Contemporary (Toronto). Interestingly, while the number of exhibitors has not increased over Autumn 2013CNCJA•17
Photos Courtesy of Expo Chicago
and Special Events (DCASE) and nonprofit destination marketing organization Choose Chicago, which serves to attract business both national and international to the city. But it doesn’t end there. The expo has even entered into an economic partnership with local financial institution Northern Trust to “help establish the longevity” of the event. Indeed, whether EXPO Chicago succeeds or even just survives is a question weighing on the minds of Chicagoans haunted by the cancellation of their last fair, Art Chicago, and the notion that the art fair market has gravitated toward the coasts. But for Karman, all that is so two-years-ago. Between last year’s success, collaborative alliances both old and new, and the sheer amount of support from the city, Karman is “extremely optimistic about the future of the fair and the role it will play in service to the community.” Whatever the future holds for EXPO Chicago, for Tony Karman it represents—for this September and Septembers to come— “a real opportunity to ensure that the calendar of the art world is set for Chicago.” On a final note, MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang and her—well—gang at Studio Gang Architects will once again transform the 170,000 square feet of EXPO Chicago’s venue, Festival Hall at Navy Pier, into a living work of art. But with all the boundaries it is breaking with Art Week, wouldn’t it be fair to say that EXPO Chicago’s true venue is the city itself? EXPO Art Week runs September 16–22, 2013.
last year, it does not equate to an absence of growth. Karman, a 31-year resident of Chicago, asserts that the expo is not about “building the mega fair,” but, rather, taking a quality over quantity approach, and the instrument of that approach is this year’s selection committee, the members of which include Chicago’s Rhona Hoffman, Michael Kohn of Michael Kohn Gallery, Anthony Meier of Anthony Meier Fine Arts and Chris D’Amelio of David Zwirner. However, as Karman stresses, EXPO Chicago’s success rests on the alliance forged with the city’s institutions, not only cultural, but also political and economic. Atop the host of museum, gallery, venue and restaurant partnerships are those with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs 18•CNCJAAutumn 2013
Above: Guests enjoy the opening night reception of Expo Chicago 2013, the popular gala event, Vernissage at Navy Pier; Inset: Tony Karman, president and director of Expo Chicago.
A team from the Field Museum's collections and research centers has traveled back in time via artifacts tucked away for more than a century to give Chicago an exhibit that brings to life the historic 1893 Columbia Exposition, one of Chicago's finest moments on the world stage.
By DAVID BERNER
Deep inside an old box or time-worn trunk in the corner of the darkest part of a home’s basement or attic are those cherished family possessions. We all know they're there, even though they’ve been tucked away and out of sight for many years. It’s been so very long since we've uncovered them, touched them, studied them, or shared them with those who understand how significant they are, how much those belongings mean to us, to our lives. And when we finally rediscover them, reawaken valued memories, and once again offer the amazing stories they have to tell, it's like finding pieces of gold, diamonds of family history. This is essentially what the Field Museum has done, gone into the family attic, uncovered its history, its origins, and its deep-rooted link to one of the most noteworthy events in American history, the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the Columbian Exposition. “You’re right about that. This is exactly what’s happening. Every single one of these artifacts has a story to tell. It’s been a rediscovery for us of many of our old specimens that have been sitting around since 1893,” says Jim Holstein, geology content adviser for what very well may be the Field Museum’s most ambitious exhibition, Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair. Holstein is clearly proud to be part of the team pulling together this new exhibit. He, along with several other museum experts—including those in the disciplines of zoology, botany, and anthropology—recently sat together in a small conference room in the back offices of the Field and spoke about the wonders they’ve uncovered and how each is eager to share them, in some cases, for the very first time. But what may be most amazing is the sheer number of specimens that had to be reexamined and how the Field’s scientists were able to determine which ones would make the cut. There were over 65,000 exhibits at the 1893 World’s Fair; over 50,000 objects on display became part of the museum’s collection. So each of the experts surrounding that conference room table had the admirable task of sifting through thousands of objects and exposing century-old secrets. And, thanks to the new exhibit, they are ready to reveal them all. The process took many months, hundred of hours of digging deep into the museum’s vast collection of objects, artifacts, and ephemera that originated from the Columbian Exposition, and the specialists behind the exhibit all agree, they wanted this new exhibit not only to unveil long-forgotten specimens, but also to pay homage to the 1893 World’s Fair and its historic link to the birth of the Field Museum. “So many of these items are the transition to the beginnings of the museum,” says Christine Giannoni, library/archives content manager for the exhibition. “There’s even the actual charter that incorporates what was then called the Columbian Museum of Chicago, which was our first name. These are things that have been on small display over the years, but not in the public area. This is exciting.” Giannoni says the decision to include the charter in the exhibition was a no20•CNCJAAutumn 2013
Members from the team of specialists in the Field Museum's collections and research centers behind the upcoming exhibit Opening The Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair. (From left): Jim Holstein, geology content advisor; Christine Niezgoda, botany content advisor; Mark Alvey, lead content advisor; Rudiger Biler, zoology content advisor; and Christine Giannoni, library/archives content advisor.
brainer, even though it is not necessarily what most scientists would consider a traditional museum specimen. As the team of advisors began the process of revisiting all the fair’s objects, they realized that they also wanted to keep an important part of Chicago’s history in mind. The Columbian Exposition of 1893 was an incredibly popular and unprecedented international event, drawing over 25 million visitors. But it also was a turning point for the city of Chicago, symbolizing its renewal after the Great Fire of 1871, which left the city in ruins. With this new exhibition, the Field Museum gives visitors the chance to travel back to just a few years before the beginning of the 20th Century and experience the excitement of the monumental revival of what was then dubbed the “White City”–a moniker given to the vibrant and newly rebuilt
Photo by KrZysztof Hanusiak
Chicago because of the gleaming color of the city’s buildings. Each of the Field's content advisers for Opening the Vaults believes it’s imperative to keep in mind this significant part of Chicago’s early history while evaluating the objects for inclusion. “So much of what was at the fair came out of the cigar and scotch clubs in town. They (the city’s influential leaders) were talking about how to show off what the city could do, could be,” says Giannoni. Specialists behind the exhibit want Opening the Vaults to also present a first-of-its-kind exploration into the origin of one of the nation’s most respected scientific institutions—The Field Museum—through rediscovered specimens that have rarely (or in some cases have never been) exhibited in 120 years. In some ways this desire made it easy to pare down the tens of thousands of potential objects to include, but at the same time, there were
practical matters that kept some artifacts from making the cut. Mark Alvey, the exhibit’s lead content adviser, says that in the early discussions, even before scientists started building the object list, the process partially focused on non-scientific matters: “coolness, interesting story... connection to current research, and whether the artifact was in good enough shape to display,” all played a part, says Alvey. “There was a turtle skeleton that was deemed too fragile.” The original Columbian Museum was essentially a museum of the World’s Fair, displaying thousands of the artifacts that were first presented during the exposition, itself. Some of those artifacts have been available to see in the museum’s permanent exhibits. But now, visitors to the new exhibition will also have the opportunity to see previously unavailable items, remarkable artifacts that, for all intents and purposes, had been hidden away Autumn 2013CNCJA•21
Photos by KrZysztof Hanusiak
From left: Mark Alvey (lead content advisor); Christine Niezgoda (botany content advisor); Christine Giannoni (library/archives content advisor), and Rudiger Bieler (zoology content advisor).
in storage for more than a century. The depth and breadth of these specimens is no less than astounding. “One of them was the museum’s first cataloged meteorite,” says Holstein. “To the best of my knowledge that hasn’t been on display since the early days of the museum. It definitely was at the Columbian Exposition, and it’s been in our cabinets for as long as I can remember.” There are also objects from the worlds of anthropology, zoology, metallurgy, and botany, among a host of other fields all represented at the original World's Fair. “People were bringing in wood samples from all over the world,” says Christine Niezgoda, botany content adviser for the exhibit. Researchers found botanical samples still in their original apothecary-like displays. “There are (olive) oils from Spain, different regions,” Niezgoda points out. She says it was important to include these samples in the new exhibit to illustrate the utter mass and variety of what was available to see at the fair, and to remind visitors that in many ways, the World’s Fair was a really a large-scale global trade show. Whether a specimen had true scientific merit in 1893 or in today’s terms was not necessarily criteria for making the cut for the new exhibit. As teammembers began to study the possibilities, they considered how exhibit visitors would view each item in the context of the spectacle and sheer wonder of the World’s Fair. Exhibit advisers believe it’s important to see the same objects that thrilled fair-goers today, despite that artifact's level of scientif-
ic significance. That’s why the Wrigley Company’s Juicy Fruit gum, first introduced at the World's Fair, is part of a display in the natural resources section of the new exhibit. The gum was made from a resin called chicle, highlighted in the section. The Field believes this kind of display has just as much merit as those on large taxidermied animals, fully articulated animal skeletons, dinosaur bones that came from early museum expeditions, and the ancient fish from Wyoming’s Green River fossil bed—specimens still being studied by scientists at the Field Museum today. “The project is so intriguing. It’s been a real discovery process,” says Rudiger Bieler, zoology content adviser for Opening the Vaults. “Then we had to make the decisions on what to use when we knew we only scratched the surface.” Bieler's colleagues agree. The undertaking has been an unearthing—a surprising journey—for everyone involved, mixing ephemera with cultural, historical, and scientific elements. “Three different things came together during the Columbian Exposition.” Bieler told me. “One was the science and the more serious things; then the trade component, people wanting to sell products; and the third was the sort Clockwise from bottom left: On October 9, 1893, visitors to the World's Fair set a world record for outdoor event attendance with fair attendees reaching 700,000 in number; the Court of Honor at the 1893 World's Fair; Gleaming new white buildings built for the fair lent Chicago the name "The White City." The moniker is said to be the inspiration for L. Frank Baum's Emerald City in his book "The Wizard of Oz" (photos © The Field Museum).
of Ripley’s Believe it or Not component, and that’s what makes the fair so fascinating.” The museum’s original study of global cultures traces its beginnings with the World’s Fair and remains a major part of anthropological learning at the Field today. Nowhere is this link more evident than in the new exhibit’s Javanese display. Everyone involved in Opening the Vaults is adamant about the importance of presenting these objects because they are the perfect examples of one of the fair’s most noteworthy efforts. A large part of the theme of the 1893 World's Fair was to offer glimpses into what was then called “exotic cultures.” Many believe this focus helped to usher in an international consciousness to the city. There are gongs and xylophone-like pieces of the gamelan, a traditional musical ensemble from Indonesia—typically from the islands of Java and Bali—featuring a variety of connecting instruments. A large Japanese vase, drums from the museum’s Pacific collections, and Native American artifacts are also highlights, as well as theatrical masks worn during performances of Javanese music. During the World’s Fair, gamelan instruments were used for musical performances in a 1,000-seat theater in the heart of the fair's Java Village in the Midway section. Today, the gamelan is one of the museum’s most treasured artifacts and was one of the very first choices for inclusion in the new exhibit. Not only does the museum open up its more than century-old vaults in the new show to allow an extraordinary look at its early scientific history and the wonders of the natural and man-made worlds, but it also offers visitors an experiential opportunity, a chance to slip back in time. “We do this in big and small ways,” says Paola Bucciol, exhibition proj-
ect manager. After realizing the scope of the rediscovered artifacts, Bucciol believed it was important to present the specimens in as much of a historical framework as possible. Huge, mural-sized video projections and soundscapes will be set up to engage visitors in the scenery of the fair, and the choice was made to include small museum articles to shed light on what Columbian Exposition exhibitors may have believed were their biggest gems, the most marketable items of the fair. “Some of the specimens had prices on them.” Bucciol pointed out. "The price range was from $1 to $7, so it definitely showed what exhibitors thought was most important or interesting. Most of what was for sale were fossil plants.” Some of these pieces still have the original tags on them, making them shoe-ins for inclusion in the new show. The museum wants the Opening the Vaults exhibition to thrill anyone who has ever dreamed of being around to experience the spectacle of the 6-month, 400-acre, 200-building Chicago World’s Fair, and that is exactly why the specimens that were ultimately chosen to be included needed to further that mission. All those at the Field who labored to pull together all of the components of this extraordinary enterprise, all the specialists and content advisers who spent countless hours considering thousands of objects and artifacts for this one-of-a-kind exhibit, can now close the door to the museum’s own attic, its astonishing archives, and celebrate what they have found and awaken the amazing stories that they have to tell. And Chicagoans will become the beneficiaries of it all. Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair will open at the Field on October 25, 2013. It runs through September 7, 2014. Clockwise from top: A component of the gamelon (GAHmuh-lan), a traditional Indonesian ensemble of stringed, wind, and mostly percussion instruments, similar to an orchestra. Those displayed in the exhibition are just a few of the 24 that were played for World's Fair visitors; Andrias japonicus, (Japanese giant salamander) from Ward's Natural Science Establishment display at the 1893 World's Fair; Botanical oils first exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair (photo by Kryzsztof Hanusiak)
A Decade at
After only 10 years in Chicago's Millennium Park, Harris Theater for Music and Dance has made such an indelible mark on the city's performing arts landscape that it is virtually impossible to think of Chicago arts and culture without it. By DONNA ROBERTSON
ith performances that both reflect on the past decade and reach toward the future, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance is celebrating its tenth anniversary during the 2013-2014 season. The schedule includes a combination of important premieres and returning favorites by nationally and internationally recognized companies, in addition to exciting performances by the theater’s more than 35 resident ensembles throughout the entire season. Harris Theater has become such an integral part of Chicago’s cultural landscape that it’s easy to forget it has been in existence for a mere decade. The first multi-use performing arts venue to be built in the downtown Chicago area since 1929, Harris Theater held its inaugural performance on November 8, 2003. The idea for such a venue began more than a decade before that inaugural performance. In 1990, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation commissioned a study to determine the need for a downtown venue for the city’s mid-sized performing arts companies. After establishing that need, a Board of Trustees was formed and funds were raised to build it. According to Joan W. Harris, benefactor and past Chair of the Harris Theater Board of Trustees, a lengthy, extensive search then began for an architect and a location. Finally, a site was agreed upon; an architectural firm was hired; a building plan was developed; and then, the land was lost. The search began anew, continuing for another two to three years. Eventually, the Board was offered the site where Harris Theater now stands; however, because of height restrictions in Grant Park, significant revisions had to be made to the existing plan in order to develop the theater into an underground facility. All told, it took about 13 years from inception to opening night at the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, named for its primary benefactors. The result of this effort is a state-of-the-art venue with a 1,525 seat auditorium and a mission to partner and collaborate with the city’s emerging and mid-sized performing arts organizations to help them build the resources necessary to achieve artistic growth and long-term organizational sustainability—a mission still quite unique among this country’s venues. Harris Theater not only gives its resident companies a permanent venue in which to present their works; it also gives them time to develop and build a name, a brand and an audience. Throughout the past ten years, the theater has continually built upon its mission. In addition to providing its constituent companies subsidized rental, technical expertise, and marketing support, the theater offers ongoing professional development, including master classes and the innovative Learning Lab Initiative, established in 2010. The project presents the Harris staff and industry leaders as professional mentors to the resident companies through the development of “innovative arts management strategies.” This last endeavor was endorsed by the National Endowment for the Arts with an Access to Artistic Excellence grant in 2011. Expanding on its original mission, Harris Theater has added several new programs over the past ten years, including its Family Series performances (2007); the Eat to the Beat lunchtime performance series (2008); the Access Tickets Program, which provides
The exterior of the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.
Photo Courtesy of Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Photo By Julieta Cervantes
Photo © S. Bastien Math
Paris Opéra Ballet perform "Giselle."
Mikhail Baryshnikov in Benjamin Millipieds' "Years Later."
complimentary tickets to underserved children and families (5,000 tickets to date); and the Teen Arts Project, which promotes arts education and participation at schools and community organizations (2010). Another addition is the creation of the Harris Theater Presents series. Launched in 2006, this series presents prominent national and international performing arts companies on the Harris stage. Although it may seem contrary to the theater’s mission, as explained by Michael Tikness, president and managing director of Harris Theater, the goal of this series “is to make the audience larger for that type of music or dance, to create a larger audience for the emerging groups.” The theater’s research has shown that these well-known groups “have brought in many people who have never attended a dance or music performance of that type before,” and Harris hopes those people will then be encouraged to see the emerging groups “before they become the next CSO.” As with any new development, Harris Theater has had its challenges. According to Tikness, getting funding is one of the larger challenges for companies that don’t have the high visibility of established, well-known groups, and it’s an “ongoing educative process to get the emerging groups to be appreciated for the high level of talent they have.” He mentioned the loss of Chicago’s only Latin dance company, Luna Negra—one of Harris’s founding resident companies—which abruptly closed down in 2013. The challenge for the Harris is to help people see that there is real strength at the
grassroots level, that the city as a whole benefits when both large organizations and grassroots companies are thriving. Challenges notwithstanding, Harris Theater has had some amazingly significant successes in the past decade. The number of its resident companies has grown from the original 12 to almost 40 in the current season. The number of outreach programs is steadily increasing, and the theater has achieved many milestones that have made it one of world’s leading stages for world class arts enjoyment, contributing significantly to that goal of Chicago audience development for the arts. After a 25 year absence, the acclaimed New York City Ballet returned to Chicago for opening night of the Harris Theater Presents series. Ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov performed the Chicago premiere of his then new work "Three Solos and a Duet" on opening night of the 2009-10 season. In the 2011-2012 season, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS), the nation’s most wellknown and respected chamber music ensemble, began an unprecedented three-year residency at Harris Theater, the culmination of one and a half year’s work on the part of the theater to bring CMS to Chicago. CMS musicians have held master classes for Music Institute of Chicago students, and the Harris is exploring more collaborative work with the world the group. Tikness announced in July that CMS has renewed its residency for another three years. He stressed the importance for chamber music in
The challenge for the Harris is to help people see that there is real strength at the grassroots level, that the city as a whole benefits when both large organizations and grassroots companies are thriving.
Alonzo King Lines Ballet in "Constellation"
Ballet Preljocaj in "Blanche Neige (Snow White)"
Photo By Kobe van Rensburg
Photo By Margo Moritz
Soprano Stephanie Blythe
Photo By Tristan Cook
Photo By Paul Kolnik
Chicago—of having one of the most important chamber music societies here—because it reinforces Harris’s goal of building audiences for local groups and making Chicago an arts destination. In partnership with the City of Chicago and Millennium Park, Harris Theater presented a cultural milestone for the city, itself, during its 2011-12 season: the nation’s first free, outdoor simulcast of a live ballet performance by a major international company, the Paris Opéra Ballet. The event represented the debut Chicago appearance for the historic ballet company and their first engagement in the U.S. in more than a decade. Sphinx Virtuosi, an ensemble comprised of winners of the prestigious Sphinx Competition for young African-American and Latino string musicians, will make its fifth visit to Harris Theater on October 1, and they’ll bring with them, one of the world’s great voices, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. And the Hamburg Ballet made their highly praised Chicago debut at the Harris last season, unveiling choreographer John Neumeier’s poignant homage to his long-time inspiration, Russian dance icon Vaslav Nijinsky. Neumeier will return with the Hamburg Ballet in February, 2014, marking one of only two appearances the company will make in the U.S. this season. And as an incubator of sorts for Chicago’s own homegrown arts ensembles, Harris Theater has had an incalculable impact. Jason D. Palmquist, executive director for founding resident company Hubbard Street Dance, recalls that “Ten years ago, the company’s home engagements were concentrated in the spring season and presented in a variety of venues — we had no ‘home base’ for Chicago performances.” Palmquist added that their relationship with the Harris has permitted the company “to completely and successfully reimagine its relationship with Chicago…We now can perform in the city throughout the year, each season, giving more people more opportunities to experience our work, as well as connecting us more deeply to the local community.” Karen Fishman, executive director for Music of the Baroque orchestra,
another founding resident, adds that her company is “delighted to have a downtown performing home” that offers the ability to establish a “vibrant, growing audience at the Harris Theater.” Tikness sees Harris Theater as an integral component in developing Chicago as a cultural capital of the world and an important destination for music and dance. Tikness explains that as the growth of local theater over the past 20 years has made Chicago a more attractive destination for actors and directors to live and work here, and for people seeking to live in a city where theater is thriving, the Harris wants to do exactly the same thing with music and dance. In terms of the Harris’ legacy, Tikness told me that the theater’s unique model stands to reshape the contemporary view of traditional arts consumption, which may be the real benefit to Chicagoans. “The Harris Theater stands for the great adventure and dialogue between the community and artists in general, so be adventurous,” he urged Chicagoans. “We sometimes define the arts in terms of what we won’t hear or see (the classics). It’s important to be open and excited about that. Are the arts going to an exciting place or stuck in the 20th century? We sometimes think that there are no more Mozarts and Beethovens—but we often don’t give today’s artists time to develop into a Mozart or Beethoven. Come and discover the next Mozart or Balanchine. There are some wonderful moments to be discovered.” Many of those wonderful moments are packed into Harris Theater's new season. Artists like tap sensation Savion Glover, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony, Lines Ballet, Soprano Stephanie Blythe, Ballet Preljocaj and modern dance phenom Trey McIntyre are just the tip of the iceberg of what the Harris has to offer audiences this season. For more information about Harris Theater's exciting upcoming new 10th anniversary season, visit harristheaterchicago.org.
Dancer/choreographer Trey McIntyre
Photo Courtesy of Harris Theater
Acclaimed conductor Michael Tilson Thomas
Photo by lois Greenfield
Photo Courtesy of Harris Theater
Tap sensation Savion Glover
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's co-artistic directors, David Finckel (cello) and Wu Han (piano)
Photo by Otto Kitsinger
New York City Ballet in George Balanchine's "Swan Lake."
to the new 2013-2014 season of fine arts in Chicagoland
Our editors' selections for the must-see, can't-miss, best-of-the-best performances, productions and exhibits in the new 2013-2014 Chicagoland fine arts season. By FRED CUMMINGS
Classical Music: Orchestral
It goes without saying that Chicago reigns as one of the hottest spots on the planet for intellectually insightful orchestral programming and profoundly brilliant performances of the same each season. Much of that reputation, of course, is due to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, presenting season after season of probing and richly inspired programming that seamlessly weaves sublime classics of the cannon often brilliantly with lesser known masterworks and thrillingly intriguing new works—many their own commissions—to illuminate telling themes in music, music history and trends in composition. Home to one of the preeminent symphony orchestras on the planet and host to the Right: Maestro Riccardo Muti, world’s most celebrated artists music director and principal conductor for the Chicago and conductors, it’s comSymphony Orchestra (photo by Todd Rosenberg).
monly understood that Chicago Symphony Center (cso.org) holds some of the most important concerts in the world each year. And this isn’t just hyperbole. Few audiences get to see the caliber of artistry and programming that Chicago audiences lavishly enjoy every season. The 2013-2014 performing arts calendar holds some terribly intriguing themes for CSO audiences to explore. Maestro Riccardo Muti, CSO’s highly decorated music director, has had a long and passionate relationship with the music of Guisseppi Verdi, which leads to my first recommendation of the season. On October 10, Riccardo Muti will conduct the CSO and the CSO Chorus in a special one-time-only performance of Verdi’s Requiem on the exact 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The concert will feature some powerful vocal fireworks from emerging talents like sterling soprano Tatiana Serjan and tenor Mario Zeffiri. Adding significantly to the potency of Chicago’s new orchestral season is the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago’s Millennium Park (harristheaterchi-
ous cathedral’s destruction by aerial bombardment during World War II. Set to poems by English soldier and poet Wilfred Owen, the poignant 85-minute work is scored for soprano, tenor and baritone soloists, chorus, boys’ choir, organ and two orchestras (a full orchestra and a chamber orchestra). Underlining the work’s message of reconciliation, Britten wrote the solo parts specifically for an English tenor, a German baritone and the great Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, who was not permitted by Soviet authorities to take part in the Coventry premiere (one of the Cold War’s most notable collisions with the arts). The CSO aptly honors Britten’s intentions in these performances, which feature Russian soprano Tatiana Pavlovskaya and English tenor John Mark Ainsley in their CSO debuts, alongside German baritone Matthias Goerne and the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Chicago Children’s Choir. This December (12, 13, 14 & 17) will bring Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, music director for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, in a return to the CSO with an eclectic program whose centerpiece is performances of Mexican composer Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez’s scintillating Piano Concerto, featuring Chicago-based pianist Jorge Federico Osorio as soloist. Osorio is in his element here, performing a work fraught with inherent cacophony and dissonance, Osorio is well able to articulate the varied textures and nuances that lie at the heart of this melodic core. Also featured on the program are Antonín Dvořák’s Husitská Overture and Ravel’s famous orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition. In February (6, 7 & 8), Maestro Muti leads the CSO’s first-ever performance of Schubert’s Overture in the Italian Style in C Major and his Mass No. 5 in A-flat Major. Italian composer Ennio Morricone’s
cago.org) with its October 17 return of acclaimed Canadian chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy, this time with renowned mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe (making her Harris Theater debut) in tow. Blythe is easily considered heir apparent to Marilyn Horne as the country’s preeminent power diva. The American soprano’s versatility and musical depth will make for a fine compliment to Les Violons and its music director, Bernard Labadie, who have more than mastered the vast chamber orchestra repertoire and bring an uncanny ability to perform each work in a style distinctly suiting its own unique place within the timeline of the musical cannon. Making its second Chicago appearance in as many seasons, Michael Tilson Thomas’ acclaimed young artists ensemble New World Symphony will make its Harris Theater debut on October 19 in an intriguing program celebrating the Harris’ 10th year anniversary season. Thomas will conduct the orchestra—which boasts the world’s most promising young classical musicians—in an evocative work by Italian composer Niccolò Castiglioni, Inverno In-ver-, for which noted director, designer and video artist Netia Jones will create a one-of-a-kind video/visual installation. Jones is best known for her production of Oliver Knussen’s opera Where the Wild Things Are, an adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s book. Jones’ work will be co-commissioned by the Harris Theater and the New World Symphony. The Italian-themed concert will open with a selection of violin duets by Luciano Berio that will pair New World violinists with musicians from the Music Institute of Chicago. The performance will conclude with Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score Pulcinella, featuring soloists from Chicago Opera Theater. From November 21 – 24, Tilson Thomas will travel down the road a bit for his return to Symphony Center conducting Mahler’s otherworldly 9th Symphony on a program that opens with the rarely heard Stravinsky’s Elegy for J.F.K., performances of which poignantly mark the 50th anniversary of the President’s assassination. In November (14, 15 & 16), Symphony Center will host guest conductor Charles Dutoit, who will lead the CSO in a performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, the English composer’s impassioned denunciation of war. The concert is but one of many performances this season over a broad swath of ensembles, artists and venues throughout Chicago celebrating Britten’s centennial anniversary this season. The War Requiem was written to mark the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, which was rebuilt after the previ-
Left: Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (photo courtesy of Harris Theater for Music and Dance); Above left: Conductor Bernard Labadie leads the Canadian chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy. (photo courtesy of Les Violons du Roy); Above left: Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya (photo courtesy of the conductor); Right: British conductor Sir Mark Elder (photo by Simon Dodd). Autumn 2013CNCJA•29
Voices from the Silence, also a CSO first, was written to commemorate the events of September 11, 2001, and was first performed in the U.S. at the United Nations in 2007, conducted by the composer. Muti led the world premiere of the work at the Ravenna Festival, which commissioned the piece. Both the Schubert Mass and Voices from the Silence feature the Chicago Symphony Chorus. In a highly anticipated return visit to the Harris Theater (February 7) renowned violinist Gidon Kremer and his chamber orchestra Kremerata Baltica, consisting of young musicians from the Baltic republics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), will give Chicagoans an opportunity to hear Kremer as solo violinist in pieces by Weinberg and Shostakovich. The ensemble has gained quite a reputation for its high artistry, no doubt a result of the exceptional talent of the individual musicians and Kremer’s innovative approach to repertoire. The orchestra’s artistic director and violinist, Kremer believes that music can overcome all barriers of language and culture. That belief has been brought to life with Kremerata Baltica. Anyone that loves to hear young, talented musicians performing with infectious energy and verve should attend this special concert. Celebrating his 25th season as artistic director and principal conductor, for the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Yuri Temirkanov and the orchestra will return to the Symphony Center stage with an all-Russian program including Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2, which features some of the composer’s most famous melodies. Temirkanov also leads Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto with the exciting young violinist Vilde Frang, winner of the 2012 Credit Suisse Young Artist Award. In the second week of his 2013 residency with the symphony (February 27, 28 and March 1), CSO Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Piere Boulez leads CSO musicians in a wonderfully visceral program that focuses solely on the music of Ravel and Stravinsky. Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements and Eight Instrumental Miniatures are programmed with Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses and Une barque sur l’océan. Ravel’s beguiling Alborada del gracioso closes the program.
On March 17, 2014, The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will make its first appearance at Symphony Center since 2004, performing a program that includes Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 in C Minor. Originally founded in 1936, the orchestra regularly tours the world and has enjoyed musical partnerships with many of the world’s leading conductors, including Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur and Riccardo Muti. Making his first appearance at Symphony Center since 2001 is legendary conductor Zubin Mehta, who became the Israel Philharmonic’s music director in 1977 and was subsequently named music director for life in 1981. Always a favorite for Chicago audiences, pianist Mitsuko Uchida will return for her annual performances with the CSO as both a conductor and soloist. As is customary, her residency will comprise weeks of programming featuring works by Mozart, but also, as part of the Symphony Center’s Schubert survey, a performance of his Piano Quintet in A Major (The Trout) featuring Uchida and CSO musicians is also in store. The March (13, 14, 15 and 18) concerts will be followed by performances pairing Uchida and Maestro Muti conducting the CSO in performances of Schumann’s lush Piano Concerto in A-minor (March 20, 21 and 22). At the age of 12, acclaimed American violinist Anne Akiko Meyers debuted with the New York Philharmonic under conductor Zubin Mehta. Next spring (April 17, 18, 19 and 22) Meyers will appear with the CSO for the first time to perform Mead Composer-inResidence Mason Bates’ Violin Concerto with Detroit Symphony Orchestra music director Leonard Slatkin. The performance will headline an all-American program presenting the well known Gershwin work, An American in Paris with the lesser known Medea’s Dance of Vengeance by Samuel Barber and Symphony No. 6 by William Schuman. Next spring, British conductor Sir Mark Elder will lead the CSO in a Symphony Center Beyond the Score presentation of Charles Ives’ Second Symphony, considered the first great symphony by an American. Symphony Center’s Beyond the Score series offers an illuminating look into the classical masterworks, weaving together historical narrative with live actors, visual illuminations and musical examples played by the CSO. It’s an ever-engaging and probing evening that gives listeners a greater understanding of the works in question.
Clockwise from top: Conductor Zubin Mehta (photo courtesy of Maestro Mehta); violinist Anne Akiko Meyers (photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco); Detroit Symphony conductor Leonard Slatkin conducts the Indiana University Philharmonic (photo courtesy of Indiana University); CSO Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez (photo by Todd Rosenberg).
An insurance executive, church organist and experimental composer, Charles Ives’ imaginative and open-minded approach to music resulted in his monumental Second Symphony, which counts gospel music, Stephen Foster songs and barn-dance fiddles among its influences. The April 25 and 27 concerts offer a uniquely in-depth look into this distinctly American work. In May (1, 2 & 3) 2014, acclaimed German conductor Christoph von Dohnányi will lead the CSO in a marvelously varied program that opens with Lutosławski’s Musique Funèbre and closes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique). Probing English pianist, Paul Lewis, will perform with the symphony in what is sure to be a poignant reading of Beethoven’s muscular and emotive Piano Concerto No. 3 (May 1, 2 and 3). Part of Symphony Center’s Britten celebration, the composer’s charming Suite on English Folk Tunes: A time there was… will be included on a program led by Amsterdam-born conductor Jaap van Zweden, which also includes Prokofiev’s virtuosic Symphony-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 125. Red hot, charismatic cellist Alisa Weilerstein will perform as soloist. The program also includes Shostakovich’s powerful Ninth Symphony (May 29 and 30). Finally in June (5, 6, 7 and 8), Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma will make her grand CSO debut performing Britten’s Violin Concerto. The work, which first premiered with the symphony in 1940, will be paired
Also On Our Radar October
• 2 - The Mariinsky Theater Symphony Orchestra (formerly the Kirov Orchestra) at Symphony Center performing Stravinsky's most famous ballets: The Firebird, Petrushka and the revolutionary The Rite of Spring.
19 & 20 - Chicago Sinfonietta Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Works by Verdi, Strauss, Jacob TV, along with various gospels
19 - Ars Viva Symphony in Skokie: Vaughan Williams' Oboe Concerto in A-minor feat. Stephen Colburn, oboe & Tchaikovsky's
Serenade for Strings in C.
26 through 29 - Riccardo Muti conducts the CSO in program feat. Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony No.2 and Elgar's Cello Concerto feat. John Sharp, cello.
Above: Conductor Jaap Van Zweden (photo by Burt Hulsemans); Right: Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves (photo courtesy of Harris Theater for Music and Dance).
with Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, which was completed around the same time in 1937.
Chamber, Duo Recitals
Not since the 1950s, when virtuoso pianist and Chicago chamber music pioneer Clara Siegel Ehrlich launched one of the city’s first modern day chamber series by a Chicago-based ensemble, has there been the kind of excitement surrounding chamber music concerts we see in the city today. The Siegel Chamber Players introduced Chicago audiences to the intimate masterpieces that fill the canon in its popular Fullerton Hall concert series at The Art Institute of Chicago and marked a significant turn in Chicago’s enduring love of classical music. Building on that foundation, elite home grown chamber ensembles like Chicago Chamber Musicians, Orion Ensemble and Pacifica Quartet have worked tirelessly for years illuminating audiences here to the invaluable treasures packed within the massive chamber music repertoire. Today, some of the world’s most preeminent chamber musicians join them in series like those of Symphony Center and Harris Theater, promulgating audience favorites and lesser known compositions within the repertoire—feeding an ever increasing hunger for the kind of erudite pairings and intriguing underlying associations chamber programs accommodate. This season, audiences will be treated to a sparkling array of world class artists feeding much of that hunger with illuminating concerts that takes us from Bach to Britten and back again. My first selection of the season is one of my favorites, Sphinks Virtuosi, returns to Harris Theater on October 1 with its alumni ensemble of young, award-winning African American and Latino string musicians. Making her Harris Theater debut, the beguiling mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves will join the ensemble in a marvelously diverse program that includes works by Bach, Vivaldi, African American composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson and conductor and Argentinean composer Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla. Like Symphony Center programming this season, an ample amount of the coming year’s chamber music performances will commemorate the centennial celebration of England’s most prominent 20th Century composer, Benjamin Britten. And On October 4, 2013, the famed Cleveland-based Jupiter Quartet will open the University of Chicago Presents Series’ (chicagopresents.uchicago.edu) Britten Festival with mentor and former Quartet member, acclaimed violist, James Dunham. Dunham and the Jupiter will bring a lovely program that pairs brilliantly string quartets of Britten with Brahms’ exquisite Second Viola Quintet, reverberant with Hungarian gypsy rhythms and Viennese popular song. The concert begins with Britten’s first and Autumn 2013CNCJA•31
third quartets, spanning the composer’s life from 1941 to 1975, just a year before his death. Made up of many of Chicago’s premiere instrumentalists, including founding member Larry Combs, the Chicago Chamber Musicians (CCM, chicagochambermusic.org) will offer their own season-long series celebrating the works of Britten. Illuminating the composer’s chamber music over its first three programs this season, CCM’s second program (October 13 and 14) will showcase their trademark mix of contemporary music, superb guest artists and probing intellectual examination of themes, relationships and influences within the repertoire. The program, entitled "Britten, Before and Beyond," investigates the influences of one composer upon another: first that of John Dowland on Britten, and then Britten on Arthur Butterworth. The concert offers an intriguing look into the layers of influence that make up these elite composer’s works. This fall, the University of Chicago Presents will offer a wonderful look into the music of Italian composer Luigi Boccherini. On Friday, November 1, 2013, Spain’s first quartet with a truly international profile, the Casals Quartet, will make their Mandel Hall debut in a presentation of Boccherini’s famous “Fandango” Quintet with the distinguished Denis Azabagic, one of the most compelling guitarists on the international circuit today. Chicago’s own Orion Ensemble (orionensemble.org) will bring audiences back to chamber music’s core with their fall concert program entitled “Danube Destinations.” On October 27, November 3 and 6, Orion will welcome guest violist Stephen Boe. A member of The Chicago Ensemble, Boe is also a distinguished pedagogue, teaching at the Music Institute of Chicago. The meaty program includes Beethoven’s Trio in G Major for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 9 No. 1; two works by Hindemith and Mozart’s Quartet in G Minor for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, K. 478. Look for Orion’s trademark sensitivity and musical symbiosis to take these highly potent works to new levels of artistic integrity and sincerity. In the fall of 2012, Harris Theater took one of the most significant steps in recent Chicago chamber music history with the establishment of its 3-year Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) residency. Now in its third year, CMS has brought some thrilling programs in addition to amazing artists through its Michael Hill Series. On December 8, 2013 CMS opens its first concert of the season with a mainstay for its audiences, celebrating the holidays with the complete Bach Brandenburg Concertos. Aptly called a “holiday staple” by The New York Times, this festive performance is one that is not to be missed. The concert features Joseph Lin, member of the acclaimed Juilliard String Quartet and win-
ner of the First Prize at the inaugural Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand. The New York Times has lauded Lin as “a sensitive, passionate player with a glowing tone” and described his formidable sound as “warm, flexible and perfectly centered.” “When we heard the Harris Theater was looking for a special way to commemorate its 10th anniversary, we couldn’t think of anything more celebratory than sharing CMS’ annual tradition of performing all of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos on one program with our Chicago audience,” noted CMS co-artistic directors David Finckel and Wu Han. “These six concerti contain some of the most colorful and festive music in the repertoire, and we are thrilled to bring them to Chicago.” On February 21, internationally celebrated cellist and CSO Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant YoYo Ma makes his annual appearance on the SCP Chamber Music series (cso.org), once again performing with his close musical partner Emanuel Ax as part of Ax’s ambitious Brahms Project. Ma and Ax will perform the two cello sonatas—Sonata No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 38 and Sonata No. 2 in F Major, Op. 99. The first was written when Brahms was quite young and is an intriguing homage to Bach, taking inspiration from The Art of the Fugue; the second was written after Brahms had composed all four of his symphonies and combines the composer’s trademark lyricism with a symphonic approach to the piano score. Two favorites of Chicago audiences, pianist Yefim Bronfman and violist-violinist Pinchas Zukerman, will close out the 2013-2014 SCP Chamber Music series on April 2, 2014 with a sumptuous pairing of the music of Brahms and Schubert. Close friends and collaborators, Zukerman and Bronfman will join forces to present Brahms’ delightful Viola Sonata No. 1 and Schubert’s Violin Sonata in A Minor, D. 385. Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style and often daring repertory choices, over the past two decades the Pacifica Quartet has gained significant international stature as one of the finest chamber ensembles on the concert scene today. The University of Chicago’s Resident Artist Ensemble will welcome the spectacular Anthony McGill (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra principal clarinetist and Chicago native) for a performance of two of the most beloved quintets in the chamber music canon, Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A Major, K. 581 and Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115. Chill-inducing charm will most certainly permeate the
Clockwise from lower left: Members of the Orion Ensemble (photo by of Cornelia Babbit); members of the Casals Quartet (photo by Luis Montesdeoca Dominguez); Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform the Bach, Brandenburg Concertos (photo by Tristan Cook); Violist Pinchas Zuckerman (photo courtesy of the artist).
audience at this must-see concert. Beethoven’s works are key milestones of the cello repertoire. Praised for the boldness, imagination, and collaborative intimacy of their performances, CMS co-artistic directors Wu Han and David Finckel will join forces for in a special Harris Theater concert on April 29 featuring the complete cycle of Beethoven cello sonatas. In Han and Finckel’s own words, “Performing the entire cycle in a single evening provides a journey from Beethoven’s fiery youth through his heroic middle period to the moving and momentous final sonatas of his late career.” That particular journey is one Chicago chamber music lovers will relish this season.
This season, Symphony Center continues its tradition of bringing the world’s finest instrumentalists to its stage with programs that are both thrilling and insightful. Hungarian pianist András Schiff plays a recital program at Symphony Center on October 27 that will bring both of those aspects in droves. The recital constitutes the second performance in his ambitious two-season Bach Project. After a wildly lauded presentation of the complete Book 2 of the WellTempered Clavier, Schiff will turn his attention this season to Bach’s six partitas for keyboard (BWV 825 through 830), another monumental undertaking as part of his multi-season recital performances of the composer’s most difficult and influential keyboard works. Known for his thoughtful as well as emotional interpretations of classic and contemporary repertoire, violinist Christian Tetzlaff will return to Symphony Center for his first performance there since 2009. Along with pianist Lars Vogt, Tetzlaff will perform a decidedly varied program of Mozart and Beethoven sonatas, along with Bartók’s First Violin Sonata and Webern’s Four Pieces, Op. 7. Tetzlaff and Vogt released a new recording of Mozart’s Violin Sonatas K. 454, 379 and 526 in October 2012. The recording promises a delightful afternoon for Symphony Center’s November 17th audience. On January 26, 2014, Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter
and pianist Emanuel Ax will join forces for another program in Ax’s ambitious Brahms Project. In this concert, von Otter performs selected songs, including the Four Serious Songs, the composer’s last set of songs. Ax also performs solo piano works, and the program includes a new commission for voice and piano by young American composer Nico Muhly. Muhly has studied and worked with some of the great contemporary composers of the day, including heavyweights Philip Glass, Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano. Largely considered one of the greatest pianists of his generation, enigmatic Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin will bring an intense and dynamic program to Symphony Center’s Piano Series on March 2. The bravura program features Schubert’s Gasteiner Sonata D. 850, Scriabin’s Sonata No. 2 as well as a section of Scriabin etudes. Kissin will no doubt give a dazzling show, but this program looks to be a look into Kissin’s more intimate, lyrical side. Anchoring her 2013-2014 residency with the CSO, pianist Mitsuko Uchida will return to Chicago on March 9 for a recital performance of Beethoven’s dynamic Diabelli Variations. Frequently compared to Bach’s Goldberg Variations and considered one of the greatest piano works ever written, the set of 33 short pieces was inspired by a short theme written by Anton Diabelli, a publisher and composer who sent the theme with a request to write one variation to all of the leading composers of the day. The nearly hour-long work transforms the simple waltz motif into a complex and expansive expresTop right: Pianist sion of Beethoven’s Mitsuko Uchida (photo robust compositional by Richard Avedon); Left: Pianist Leif Ove style. Andsnes (photo courOn March 16, tesy of the artist). Noted Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will perform a massive allBeethoven program on the Symphony C e n t e r Presents Piano series. This impressive program features the Appassionata Sonata, along with Sonata Nos. 11 and 30 and the Six
Top left: Pianist András Schiff (photo courtesy of the artist); Bottom left: Violinist Christian Telzlaff (photo by Alexandra Vosding).
Variations on an Original Theme in F Major, Op. 34. This recital is part of Andsnes’ ongoing multi-season project during which the pianist is making Beethoven’s music the centerpiece of his work as both performer and recording artist. His debut on Sony Classical, titled The Beethoven Journey, was released in September 2012 and features Beethoven’s First and Third Piano Concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. On April 6, 2014, Lyric Opera of Chicago will bring the single best opportunity for a wonderfully sublime concert recital experience this season in the person of legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman. Perlman will make his Civic Opera House debut next spring with his frequent collaborator, pianist Rohan De Silva, following the end of Lyric’s regular season. Perlman’s performance will further the company’s practice of augmenting Lyric’s world class programming with dynamic, world class solo performances for Lyric audiences to enjoy. As Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director, points out, Perlman’s performance will further the company’s practice of augmenting Lyric’s programming with dynamic, world class solo performances for Lyric audiences to enjoy. Enjoying superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician, Perlman is undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin. In 2009, he was honored with an invitation to take part in the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams and performing with clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Gabriela Montero, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In 2003, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts granted Perlman a Kennedy Center Honor celebrating his distinguished achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of our nation. Perlman’s rich and emotive tone is legendary and the sheer depth of his phrasing and sensitivity make for the heightened poignancy and immediacy that characterize his performances. If you see only one concert this season, let this be that concert.
Chicago audiences have always been spoiled with extravagantly wonderful opera performances, with Lyric Opera anchoring the city’s seasonal calendar at their Civic Opera House home in Chicago’s Loop. And with a wildly adventurous new music director in Andreas Mitisek, Chicago Opera Theater adds a thoroughly engaging element of exploration that offers new and groundbreaking works at the forefront of Chicago’s new season. 2013-2014 will mark some thrilling firsts in Chicago opera along with some wonderfully satisfying revisits to the familiar and the be34•CNCJAAutumn 2013
Also On Our Radar February •
12 - Violinist Joshua Bell (program to be announced)
loved within the operatic canon. For instance, what would a season of opera in Chicago be without Wagner? Audiences in the Windy City crave it like warmth on a winter’s day. Well, Lyric doesn’t disappoint this season with a generous portion of Wagner’s genius in a new production of his very last staged work, Parsifal (November 5 – 29). Parsifal abounds with emotional fervor and spiritual uplift, and it presents characters whose complexity provokes endless food for thought in any audience. Conducted by the one-andonly Sir Andrew Davis and directed by John Caird in his Lyric debut, this production is awash in bright shining stars of opera today. Tenor Paul Groves sings the title role and mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas (also debuting at Lyric this season) will lend her splendid voice to the seductive character, Kundry. Look for Lyric’s most potent forces to culminate in the profoundly moving final act of this epic Wagner work. In performances that mark the Lyric debuts of nearly all its sterling cast, Lyric will present a new production of Verdi’s La Traviata (November 2 through December 20). An opera rapt with music of incomparable beauty and sensitivity, Traviata is considered the first contemporary opera, and Lyric’s production will give Chicago audiences a chance to see the work of acclaimed theatrical director Arin Arbus, whom Anthony Freud calls a “brilliant young American” in her Chicago debut. Hot young symphonic and operatic conductor Massimo Zanetti has been tapped to lead the Lyric Opera Orchestra with soprano Marina Rebeka, tenor Joseph Calleja and baritone Quinn Kelsey leading the cast. The Barber of Seville is perhaps the most popular operatic comedy ever created. Based on the work by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais, Rossini brought to life characters who never fail to captivate, and with ever figure within his cast he showcased enchantingly fresh music. Conducted by Michele Mariotti and in the hands of veteran Broadway director Rob Ashford (both debuting at Lyric), Rosinni’s delightfully zany Barber will no-doubt charm Lyric audiences this season to no end. Hunky Baritone Nathan Gunn has been cast to sing the title role and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard will debut as Figaro’s coveted ward, Rosina. The new production runs Clockwise from top left: Superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman (photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco); soprano Marina Rebeka in La Traviata (photo courtesy of the artist); soprano Anna María Martínez (photo courtesy of Ms. Martinez); tenor Nathan Gunn (photo courtesy of Mr. Gunn).
February 1 through 28, 2013. The sole opera by legendary jazz pianist and composer Duke Ellington, Queenie Pie seamlessly blends big band sound and clever lyrics with the musical styles of opera, jazz and musical theater to produce a wholly original and undeniably innovative operatic showcase. The title character, Queenie Pie, was inspired by the life of Madam C. J. Walker, the first African American self-made female millionaire, who developed and sold a line of hair care and beauty products through innovative mail orders and door-to-door sales. Interested in opera as a genre since the 1940s, Ellington started composing Queenie Pie in 1962, when he received a commission from the New York public TV station WNET. In collaboration with librettist Betty McGettigan, he worked on the opera from 1967 until his death in 1974, but the work remained unfinished. Since then, different versions of the opera have been produced (1986 in Philadelphia and Washington, DC; 1993 in Brooklyn; and 2008 by the Oakland Opera Theater). This season (February 15 – March 5, 2014), the ever engaging and probing Chicago Opera Theater (COT, chicagooperatheater.org) will treat Chicagoans to a rarely seen production of the version that McGettigan created for the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas at Austin in 2009—largely thought to be the closest to Ellington's original inspiration. For this season's opening work, COT will partner with the renowned Chicago Jazz Orchestra, bringing Ellington’s unique vision to life in a debut performance that’s sure to enthrall and delight audiences. Based on the Slavic folk tail, “The Little Mermaid,” Rusalka is the only opera of composer Antonin Dvořák to have established itself in the repertoire outside of Eastern Europe. The composition offers a wealth of melodic inspiration. Brilliant touches of humor abound to give variety, but the heart of the work is the overwhelmingly poignant predicament of the title character, sung in this new production (February 22 – March 16) by soprano Ana María Martínez. Martinez returns to Lyric as the conflicted water nymph who’s fallen hopelessly in love with a human prince (sung this season by tenor Brandon Jovanovich). If the story sounds familiar, it’s because Disney based its popular animated film of the same name on the same original content. In his announcement of Lyric’s new season, Anthony Freud said of the work, “This is one of my favorTop right: Soprano Anna María Martínez (photo courtesy of Ms. Martinez).
ite operas, a bit like Hansel and Gretel in that it’s a traditional fairy tale with a multitude of very powerful contemporary resonances.” Those resonances will be brought to full light as Sir Andrew Davis conducts the wonderfully romantic score of this new production. Sir David McVicar directs and John MacFarlanne provides a vibrant set design. McVicar and MacFarlane will likely bring the same resplendent energy with which they imbued Lyric’s laudable 2013 production of Elektra.
As artistic director for Chicago’s preeminent period ensemble, Baroque Band (baroqueband.org), Gary Clark has a unique knack for curating exceptionally thoughtful programs that offer wonderfully insightful pairings of early music composers through bold and unique prisms. His insightful programs often draw commonalities in ways the most sophisticated audiences rarely consider. This September (18, 20 & 21), acclaimed British baroque violinist Simon Standage joins Baroque Band for a concert of baroque concerti that include Bach's E Major Violin Concerto and "Autumn" and "Winter" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, considered among the finest examples of expression in the artfully narrative style of programme music. Meanwhile, the Chicago ensemble that pioneered modern day early music programming here, The Newberry Consort (newberryconsort.org), hosts international cornetto virtuoso Bruce Dickey on October 18 in a concert of dazzling music from the Italian late Renaissance and early Baroque. With dizzying pyrotechnics, sublime poetry, and gorgeous harmonies, this program will honor the memory of noted musicologist and Consort founder Howard Mayer Brown. Born in Alaska, mezzosoprano Vivica Genaux will make her CSO debut under conductor Nicholas McGegan performing a distinc- Acclaimed conductor Nicholas McGegan (photo by Randy Beach). tive set of operatic arias by Vivaldi, Porpora, Hasse and Broschimostly made popular by the famous 18th-century Italian castrato, Farinelli. Interestingly enough, the CSO will be performing these works for the first time in the orchestra’s history. Famed for her penchant for engaging character portrayal (including "trouser" roles), Genaux began her professional stage career in 1994 with the Florentine Opera as Isabella in Rossini's L’italiana in Algeri. Her incredible versatility is displayed Autumn 2013CNCJA•35
by her repertory of over 55 roles, yet she expresses a particularly fine expertise in music of the Baroque. (February 13 and 18). Acclaimed Chicago harpsichordist David Schrader needs little introduction to early music lovers here in the city and around the world, for that matter. Harpsichordist for Baroque Band, David Schrader will perform with the ensemble in a glorious program on March 19, 2014 that includes C.P.E. Bach’s String Symphonies and Telemann’s Suites and Ouvertures. Not to be missed is the ensemble's performance of J.S. Bach’s incomparable Triple Concerto. Now in their fourth year in Chicago, Soli Deo Gloria (sdgmusic.org) will present their annual Easter celebration, The Chicago Bach Project. The sacred music ensemble, led by acclaimed conductor and early music specialist John Nelson, presents an annual concert of rotating Bach sacred masterworks in sacred spaces. On Friday evening April 11, 2014, Maestro Nelson will return to the beginning of the cycle to conduct the Chicago Bach Choir and Orchestra in the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244. Nelson’s recent release of the St. Matthew Passion on DVD has garnered high praise from the likes of BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone, and American Record Guide. He’ll lead a double choir and orchestra, a children’s choir, and a distinguished roster of soloists that include tenor Nicholas Phan, baritone Stephen Morscheck as Jesus, and tenor Matthew Brooks. Nelson’s trademark sensitivity to both the musical context of the period-based score and the emotional weight of the sacred text to which it bears witness will make this a wonderfully satisfying concert and a remarkably moving experience.
Since its formation by trumpeter Stephen Burns in 1998, Fulcrum Point New Music Project (fulcrumpoint. org) has advanced its mission to champion new classical music and highlight contemporary composers who are inspired and influenced by popular culture. Many of the genres Fulcrum Point has carried forward over the years involve literature, film, dance, folk, rock, jazz, blues, Latin and world music. Through multi-disciplinary concert performances and educational programs, the 25-member Fulcrum Point ensemble actively engages audiences in onstage crosscultural connections between new music, art, technology and l i t e r a t u r e — o ff e ring greater insight into today’s diverse Clockwise from top left: Conductor John Nelson (photo by David Gaugh); Cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima (photo courtesy of Mr. Sollima); Members of acclaimed Chicago contemporary chamber ensemble eighth-blackbird (photo by Luke Ratray)
world. On September 11, 2013 in Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavillion, Fulcrum Point will present its annual interactive concert in commemoration of the lives lost as a result of the tragic events of 9/11. The multi-disciplinary event will open with a poignant procession of international flags by Chicago Public School students. As part of an international collaboration, the works on the program showcase compositions by Indian and Middle Eastern composers, including a commission for Fulcrum Point with special guests, young pop British sarod artist Soumik Datta and the Chicago Children’s Choir. A sampling of work by acclaimed contemporary Indian composer Param Vir will also be on the program, providing a “sneak preview” of a Vir commission Fulcrum Point will debut in 2014. The work blends Indian and contemporary classical music. The 33-piece International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will return to the Museum of Contemporary Art’s venerable MCA Stage Series (mcachicago.org) on October 26 in a musical celebration of the 60th birthday of visionary saxophonist/composer/provocateur John Zorn. Zorn is an innovative composer and has been a leader of American avantgarde music in New York City’s downtown scene since 1975. The concert includes his recent work based on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the world premiere of an intriguing new work composed for ICE. This winter (January 30, 31 and February 1) Riccardo Muti will lead the world premiere of contemporary Italian composer and cellist Giovanni Sollima’s Double Cello Concerto. Sollima has been hailed as a post-minimalist composer of wide-ranging influences. He blazes a trail in a trailblazing arena with visionary compositional structures that, while minimal, draw on an eclectic slate of motivic ideas. His Double Cello Concerto is a CSO commission and an important contemporary work. Sollima and cellist Yo-Yo Ma will grace the Symphony Center stage to perform the two cello parts as soloists with the orchestra. Chicago’s multi-Grammy Award winning contemporary chamber
music sextet eighth blackbird will make their return to the MCA Stage this season with a performance of Colombine’s Paradise Theatre. Their new music/theater score and libretto focuses its attention on love and death and is performed in the engaging Venetian commedia dell’arte theater style, employing the use of masks. Scored and adapted from the original poem by Amy Beth Kirsten, the performance is directed by Mark DeChiazza, and commissioned by the MCA. The new work is set in perfect context within a program that features a set of love songs through the ages, from Medieval poet Machaut’s courtly love and Renaissance composer Monteverdi’s “little death” to early American folk ballads. The performance will set an interesting context for musical and performance concepts previously thought to be exclusive to the early music genre. Esa-Pekka Salonen, principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, will return to the CSO for an brilliant two-week residency that speaks volumes for the power and impact of new music today. The first week’s program includes the CSO’s first performances of CSO Mead Composerin-Residence Anna Clyne’s <<rewind<<. Clyne, whose term as Mead Composer-inResidence was famously extended last spring (along with that of co-Mead Composer in Residence Mason Bates) by Riccardo Muti, has provided significant evidence as to the merit of that extension in laudable new works that employ multimedia, traditional and new idioms and textures, styles and focus that leave listeners wanting to hear more. And that’s exactly what new music is all about. In the April (3, 4, 5 & 8) concert, the young Brittish composer’s work will aptly be programmed with Bartók’s Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin and Sibelius’ Four Legends from the Kalevala. Works on the program for Salonen’s second week of subscription concerts (April 10, 11, 12 and 13) will also receive their first performances by the CSO. Janáček’s Overture to From the House of the Dead and Sinfonietta, Dvořák’s Violin Concerto performed by Christian Tetzlaff will share the bill will Salonen’s very own work, Nyx, which makes its Chicago debut in this performance.
Folk, Americana, Bluegrass & Traditional
Folk music has always had a steadfastly loyal core audience in Chicago, yet over the past 10 years,
we’ve seen venues for Folk, Americana and Bluegrass concerts crop up all over the Chicagoland area. And with the onset of venues like City Winery, just west of Chicago’s Loop, and regional festivals like Woodstock’s Folk Festival and Schaumberg’s Great Northern Bluegrass Fest, the caliber of artists that now make their way through our proverbial doors on an annual basis rivals that of the classical and jazz scene here in the city. While folk venues typically book their artists far less in advance than their classical counterparts, the acts that are pinned down for the 2013-2014 season already make for a promising concert calendar. Singer/songwriter Chris Smither will get things rolling on September 13 bringing his trademark fiery finger-picking and evocative sonic textures to City Winery (citywinery.com/Chicago). The concert supports his 12th studio record, Hundred Dollar Valentine. The album sports a collection of brilliant Smitherpenned songs, delivered in the artist’s bone-wise, hard-won voice. Winery guests will get a heavy dose of the signature earthy blues and folk sound that Smither’s honed for over 40 years. It’s hard to believe that it’s also been 40 years since Tim Hauser formed his ground breaking harmony vocal quartet Manhattan Transfer. With timeless hits like Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone, Birdland and Java Jive, the four-part wonder has long since catapulted into the annals of American popculture. Moving easily in and out of the sounds of jazz, R&B, pop, rock and swing, their September 27 concert at City Winery will leave few, if any, unattended seats. One of the top songwriters of her generation, Suzanne Vega was as leading figure of the early ‘80s folk music revival, when—accompanying herself on acoustic guitar—she sang her own contemporary folk or neo-folk songs in Greenwich Village clubs. Since releasing her acclaimed 1985 debut recording, she’s given sold-out concerts in many of the world's bestknown venues. Vega sings in a distinctive, clear voice that’s void of vibrato and extraneous drama. It’s been described as "a cool, dry, sandpaper-brushed near-whisper" and as "plaintive but disarmingly powerful." Vega brings that power to City Winery on September 30 in a concert I can only say must not be missed. On October 11, 22-yearold Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz will perform songs from her third album release, Build Me Up
Clockwise from top left: Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (photo by Nicho Sodline); Singer Suzanne Vega (photo courtesy of City Winery); Singer Sarah Jarosz (photo courtesy of Ms. Jarosz)
From Bones, at Old Town School of Folk Music (oldtownschool. org). Over the past four years, Jarosz—who musically fits comfortably where contemporary folk, Americana, and roots music intersect—has covered a remarkable amount of ground in her career. She’s toured the U.S. extensively, as well as Canada and the UK; taped Austin City Limits and the BBC Series, The Transatlantic Sessions; and she's appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. Supported on the road by astounding instrumentalists Alex Hargreaves (fiddle) and Nathaniel Smith (cello), Jarosz will prove one of the city’s best young emerging performers to appear on the folk music scene here this season. Grammy winner Paula Cole has released six solo albums over a 20 year career selling nearly three million albums. Cole's performances are renowned for their poetry and emotional depth. Her compositions have been covered by the likes of Herbie Hancock, Annie Lennox, and Katherine McPhee, and she’s performed alongside musical icons from Peter Gabriel to Dolly Parton. Rolling Stone calls her “An extraordinary songwriter with a gorgeous voice.” From her top 10 hits of the 1990s to her more recent critically acclaimed albums, Cole continues to write, produce, record, and perform heartfelt, meaningful, lasting music that defies categorization. And her personal connection to her fans will draw Chicago’s folk music aficionados in droves to her October 18 Old Town concert, to be sure. In the 22 years since the release of singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin’s debut album, she has won three Grammy Awards, released ten albums, maintained a nearly non-stop national and international touring schedule. Her most recent recording, All Fall Down, is her eighth studio album and the first to be produced by longtime friend and cohort Buddy Miller (Robert Plant, Solomon Burke). Recorded in Nashville, with a group of stellar musicians, the album features performances by Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris, among a bevy of other luminary artists. On Octoer 18, Colvin will share the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (northshorecenter. org) stage in Skokie with long time friend and legendary artist Mary Chapin Carpenter as an intimate duo, performing acoustic material spanning their vast catalogues. Singers Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody, and Heather Masse comprise the Wailin’ Jennys, three distinct voices that together create an achingly splendid vocal sound. Starting as a happy accident of solo singer/ songwriters getting together for a one-time-only performance at a tiny guitar shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 38•CNCJAAutumn 2013
The Wailin' Jennys have grown over the years into one of today's most beloved international folk acts. Founding members Moody and Mehta, along with New York-based Masse, continue to create some of the most exciting music on the folk-roots scene, stepping up their musical game with each critically lauded recording and thrilling audiences with their renowned live performances. They’ll bring one of those performances to Old Town on November 17 in what’s sure to be one of the most lively and authentic folk concerts of the season. Part of the urban-folk/pop music phenomenon that led to the wide proliferation of the singer/songwriter of the ‘70s, Paty Larkin revels in traditional folk melodies, drawing on anything from Bob Dylan to Dylan Thomas. Larkin's songs wind through soundscapes of evocative vocals, inventive guitar wizardry and imaginative lyrics. Performing Songwriter calls her “Drop-dead brilliant.” See for yourself when she plays Old Town on November 24 this season. Acoustic Renaissance Concerts (acousticren.com) in Hinsdale hosts a bevy of talented emerging folk artist throughout the year, and on April 13, Harpeth Rising will bring its powerful repertoire of classically influenced folk, Americana, blues, bluegrass and all -things-acoustic to the west suburban venue with a bang. Named for the small, powerful river in Tennessee, Harpeth creates original songs that layer rich instrumental arrangements with four part harmonies and lyrics that depict wanderlust, eternal curiosity, class struggle and extraordinary love. The result is a sound that defies category. The four members met while earning performance degrees at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and despite their diverse beginnings (hailing from vastly different cultures and geographic areas), found in each other a unified musical idea— and a brand new one at that. This concert will prove to be a real treat for lovers of classic folk with just that extra bit of polish and panache.
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Jazz in Chicago is a lot like champagne in France. Sure, they make it elsewhere, but nobody really does it better. And this new season is proof positive that if you want to hear the best in jazz performance around the world, all you need do is come to Chicago and wait for it to come to you. With an illustrious career Clockwise from top left: Singer/songwriter Paula Cole (photo courtesy of Ms. Cole); singer/songwriter Patty Larkin (photo by Jana Leon); Grammy winning jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock (photo courtesy of Mr. Hancock); singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin (photo courtesy of City Winery).
himself apart with his impeccable technique and interpretive insight, embracing his art form’s long tradition while diving into infinite improvisational possibilities. A member of the storied Marsalis family—which collectively received a 2011 NEA Jazz Master award—he has made an indelible mark on the history of jazz and continues to shape its future. Making their Symphony Center debut opening for Marsalis will be Ray Anderson’s Pocket Brass Band, headlined by the boisterous trombone of Chicago native Ray Anderson and featuring trumpeter Lew Soloff, sousaphonist Matt Perrine and drummer Bobby Previte. Despite their diminutive moniker, this quartet produces a huge sound, as featured on their newest release Sweet Chicago Suite and their self-titled 1999 debut. On February 15, 2014, Symphony Center will offer a special Saturday night performance of the all-star DeJohnette-Lovano-SpaldingGenovese Quartet. This newly formed quartet consists of two of jazz’s old guard in 2012 NEA Jazz Master, Chicago native and legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette and multiple Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Joe Lovano, paired with two of jazz’s stellar younger generation in 2011 Best New Artist Grammy-winning bassist Esperanza Spalding and Argentinian pianist Leo Genovese. Though this group marks the first time that these four artists have all performed together, they are no strangers to collaboration. Spalding is a member of Lovano’s Us Five Quintet. And so, there you have it. my picks for Chicago's 2013-2014 golden tickets. In a sprawling metropolis like the city in which we live, teeming with wealth, and a citizenry that feasts on arts and culture like a Black Bear in a salmon run, we've created sprawling, state-of-the-art performing arts centers where the performing arts can grown and thrive, drawing the most eclectic slate of the world's very best and brightest to inspire and satisfy. It gives great credence to the adage coined by the famous film (which shall not be named), "If you build it, they will come."
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spanning five decades, pianist Herbie Hancock is a true icon of not only jazz, but modern music as well. Celebrated across the globe as a visionary performer who consistently expands the possibilities of musical thought, Hancock will open the Symphony Center Presents Jazz (cso.org) 20th anniversary celebration on Friday, October 11, making his first appearance at the venue since 2010. His musical explorations have transcended limitations and genres and won him a whopping 14 Grammy Awards, including the 2008 Album of the Year for River: The Joni Letters and 2011 Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for Imagine. A classically trained pianist, Hancock performed at age 11 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and influenced generations of jazz artists with his singular style, which he developed on such classic albums as 1965’s Maiden Voyage and through his work with the Miles Davis Quintet and his own bands. A Chicago favorite, The Joshua Redman Quartet returns to Symphony Center on Friday, November 22. The ensemble features renowned saxophonist Redman and three of his long-time collaborators: pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. The quartet will perform selections from Redman’s newest album Walking Shadows from Nonesuch, as well as new, original compositions that Redman has composed specifically for this elite group of musicians. Winner of 2012 DownBeat Critics Poll for Best Jazz Clarinet, Anat Cohen has won hearts and minds the world over with expressive virtuosity and an irresistible stage presence. Cohen has been voted Clarinetist of the Year six years in a row by the Jazz Journalists Association, as well as 2012ʼs Multi-Reeds Player of the Year. In 2009, she became the first Israeli to headline at the Village
Vanguard— the setting for perhaps the most celebrated live recordings in jazz history—and she remains a fixture on the New York scene. Cohen is joined by pianist Jason Linder, bassist Joe Martin and Daniel Freedman on drums when she performs works from her recent album Claroscuro on the University of Chicago Presents Jazz Series (chicagopresents.uchicago.edu/series/jazz-logan), November 24, 2013. A virtuoso on soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, Branford Marsalis will return to Symphony Center on January 31, 2014. Three-time Grammy winner and a Tony nominee, Marsalis has set
Clockwise from top left: Jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman (photo courtesy of Mr. Redman); Grammy award-winner Esperanza Spalding (photo by Joannn Sauty); jazz clarinetist Anat Cohen (photo by Jimmy Katz).
By DANIEL A. SCUREK
espite having repeatedly earned its reputation as an outstanding performance town, Chicago’s theater identity still exists in two distinct worlds: one, as a trailblazer of original, tough, and honest productions of award-winning scripts with world renowned actors; and the other that still looks to Broadway as its older, more accomplished brother. One never faults either and both seem to coexist peacefully. But the truth remains that Chicago is never the final destination for any production. In Chicago, shows get tested before heading to New York; hits arrive from the Great White Way after they’ve proved their staying power and other productions work to gain enough buzz to earn the attention of a producer capable of—and willing to—move it on to New York, which really only works to increase the excitement and excellence of any new season. We try harder because we have to. And the selling point of the Broadway In Chicago franchise is in the name; before buying the ticket, you know that producers will only take a chance on the best of the best—or at least the most popular of the popular. After all, tickets must be sold; houses must be at capacity to accommodate a three- to six-week run, at least. Productions are expensive. Who will fund them? In the end, it's the theatergoer. Perhaps one of the most exciting seasons in the 2013-2014 calendar is the Goodman Theatre's (goodmantheatre.org). Theirs opens with Cheryl T. West’s new play, Pullman Porter Blues (September 14 -
October 20). The Chicago Premiere will be directed by Goodman’s Chuck Smith and will feature original and classic blues songs. Other highlyanticipated highlights include the World Premiere of Rebecca Gillman’s new play, Luna Gale (January 18 - February 23, 2014)—directed by the Goodman's acclaimed artistic director, Robert Falls—and MacArthur fellow Mary Zimmerman’s staging of her new work, The White Snake (May 3 - June 8, 2014), based on a classic Chinese fable. Zimmerman, a master at theatrical adaptation, won a 2002 Tony Award for her version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Brigadoon (June 27 - August 3), will be the Goodman’s large-scale musical offering this year. But it’s more than just a revival. Goodman Theatre received special permission from the Lerner and Loewe estates to revive the book particularly for this production. I fully expect a vibrant, captivating, yet fresh retelling of the Broadway classic. Perhaps one of the most exciting offerings—not only at the Goodman but at any Chicago theater this season— is the premiere of playwright Noah Haidle’s new work, Smokefall (October 5 - November 3). Haidle, whose play, Vigils, was a hit during the Goodman’s 2006-2007 season, wrote Smokefall on commission. This extraordinary new work—surreal but with deep compassion—presents the story of a fragile family whose bond of love works almost well enough to keep everything from falling apart. Lyrical and emotional without indulging in its emotions, the play manages complete originality while remaining completely accessible. Not to be outdone, Steppenwolf Theatre (Steppenwolf.org) also promises Chicagoans a powerful season. Tony Award winner and three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen will mark her first turn on the Steppenwolf stage in 22 years when she stars in the U.S. Premiere of Scottish playwright Zinnie Harris’ play, The Wheel (Septembder 12 - November 10), directed by Tina Landau. Other highlights include Austin Pendleton’s direction of Tribes (December 5, 2013 - February 9, 2014) by Nina Raine and Yasen Peyankov’s direction of Russian Transport (February 6 - May 11, 2014) by Erika Sheffer. In the new year, Amy Morton will direct the World Premiere of Mona Mansour’s The Way West (April 3 - June 8, 2014). And the season will conclude with another highly-anticipated World Premiere Top left:Playwright Noah Haidle (photo courtesy of Mr. Haidle); Left: E. Faye Butler in Pullman Porter Blues (photo courtesy of the Seattle Repertory Theatre).
of Pam MacKinnon's direction, The Qualms (July 3 - August 31, 2014), by Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris. Just up the road a bit in Skokie, Steppenwolf Theatre alum and Chicago favorite John Mahoney will return to Northlight Theatre (northlight.org) stage for the World Premiere of acclaimed Irish playwright Christian O’Reilly’s Chapatti (March 7 - April 13, 2014) about a touching romance between two animal lovers. Scottish playwright Zinnie Harris proves to be as hot as Irish playwright Connor MacPherson has been in recent years. Not only will we have the Steppenwolf production of her play, The Wheel, but A Red Orchid Theatre (aredorchidtheatre.org) will present the U.S. Premiere of her work, Solstice (January - March 2014), directed by ensemble member Karen Kessler. Other plays in Red Orchid’s season include the Midwest Premiere of Trevor (October 10 - November 24) by Nick Jones, and the Chicago Premiere of Mud Blue Sky (April - May 2014) by Marisa Wegrzyn. Notably absent are new works by Red Orchid’s own hot playwrights, Brett Neveu and Craig Wright. Written by Jimmy Tiillman and Jackie Taylor, founder and director of Black Ensemble Theatre (BET, blackensembletheater. org), when Howlin At The Moon (The Story of Howlin Wolf) first premiered in Chicago 10 years ago, it did so to rave reviews. This season, the rollicking love story reflecting the life and times of one of the greatest blues singers the world has ever known is back, starring Rick Stone— who stole the show in the original 2003 production. Running at BET’s newly minted Lincoln Park home through September 15th, Howlin will keep audiences howling for more. Opening October 3rd and running through November 17th at Profiles Theatre (profilestheatre.org) resident artist Neil LaBute’s fiercely passionate powerhouse work, Wrecks, will make its Midwest Premiere. An unflinching story that explores societal boundaries and their limitations on the needs of the heart, Wrecks was commissioned and produced by the prestigious Everyman Palace Theatre in Cork, Ireland as part of the city’s Capital of Culture Program. It marks Profiles’ 10th premiere by LaBute and stars Ed Harris, Edward Carr. and John Judd. Victory Gardens Theater (victorygardens.org) makes the focus of new works their mission in the 2013-2014 season. Two new plays by African-American playwrights will receive productions: in conjunction with the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Appropriate (November 8 - December 8), by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins will receive its World Premiere with The Gospel of Lovingkindness (February 21 - March 23, 2014), by Victory Gardens ensemble playwright Marcus Gardley, following in the season. The Gospel of Lovingkindness is especially noteworthy as it concerns critical issue of inner-city violence in Chicago and is based on true events. The season finishes with a modern classic, Ariel Dorfman’s, Death and the Maiden (June 13 - July 13, 2014), staring Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh. Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (CST, chicagoshakes. com) stages two of the Bard’s From Top: Actor John Judd (photo courtesy of Mr. Judd); Actress Sandra Oh (photo courtesy of Victory Gardens Theatre)
Clockwise from top left: Harry Groener in the title role of Cyrano de Bergerac at Shakespeare Theater (photo courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater); 2012 Broadway Revival of Evita (photo by Richard Termine); Cast of In a Garden at Lookingglass Theatre (photo courtesy of Lookingglass Theatre)
works this season: the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor (December 3, 2013 - January 19, 2014), directed by Barbara Gaines, artistc director, and Shakespeare’s epic history play Henry V (April 29 - June 15, 2014), staged by acclaimed British director Christopher Luscombe. Another classic is on the bill: Edmond Rostand’s romance, Cyrano de Bergerac (September 24 November 10), directed by Penny Metropulos and featuring Harry Groener (CST’s The Madness of George III, Jeff Award) in the title role. CST has branched away from strictly dramatic classics in recent years to present classic and newer musical theater, most notably, the works of Stephen Sondheim. This season, two Sondheim works—Gypsy (February 6 - March 23, 2014), and the re-titled and reworked, Road Show (March 13 - May 4, 2014)—will run simultaneously, on the mainstage and in CST’s upstairs theaters, respectively. Similarly, Court Theatre (courttheatre. org), who’s focus has always been classical theater, offers a season looking to contemporize the definition of classic. In fact, one offering won last year’s Pulitzer Prize for drama: Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful (March 6 - April 6, 2014), which deals artfully between the story of a returning Iraq war veteran and the struggles of his recovering addict mother. Another entirely laudable modern classic in Court’s season is playwright August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. One nice thing about Court’s entire season is its vast cultural diversity, presenting works by a Mexican-American, an Asian-American and an African-American. An engaging blend of resonant storytelling, spirited indie-folk music and inventive puppetry, The Old Man and The Old Moon will make its Midwest Premiere at Writers Theatre (writerstheatre.org) from September 3 through November 10. A product of the New
Writers, New Plays program at Vineyard Arts Project and PigPen Theatre Company in New York, The Old Man and The Old Moon presents a theatrical event full of wit, style and emotional depth. Jessica Thebus, who has directed at Goodman, Steppenwolf and Northlight, among notable others, will return to Lookingglass Theatre (lookingglasstheatre.org) in the spring of 2014 for their staging of Lookingglass artistic associate Sara Gmitter’s new play, In the Garden: a Darwinian Love Story (April 16 - June 15, 2014), about the romance between Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgewood. Another new work by a Lookingglass member will premiere this fall when Heidi Stillman adapts and directs her version of Marguerite Duras’ The North China Lover (September 25 - November 10).
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But if musical theater really interests you, thereâ€™s always Broadway In Chicago (broadwayinchicago.org). The theater district mainstay presents the revival of Evita this season at the Oriental Theatre, opening September 18 for a threeweek run. The recent Broadway smash, Once, comes the Oriental on October 9 for a three-week run, as well. The winner of eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical), Once features an ensemble of actor/musicians performing on their own instruments onstage. An original story more inline with the type of classic musical narrative that seems rarer and rarer these days, it tells the story of a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dreams when an alluring young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs, and an unusual romance grows between them. Probably the most anticipated musical this season, Wicked returns to Chicago, playing at the Oriental T h e a t r e October 30 December 21. To celebrate its 10th anniversary on Broadway, a number of touring productions of the "Wizard of Oz" prequel are touring major cities, including a nearly two-month stop in Chicago. As theater-goers will remember, the original production opened in the Windy
Above: Cast of the Broadway musical, Wicked (photo by Joan Warren).
City in 2005 and typically played to capacity houses for three-and-a-half years and a total 1,500 performances. Of course, Broadway In Chicago has non-musical offerings as well. One of the most interesting productions headed our way this season originated in Chicago—not on Broadway. In 2010, Timeline Theatre had a hit with the World Premiere of To Master the Art, by William Brown and Doug Frew, a play about the romance between Julia Child and her devoted husband, Paul. In a new collaborative with Chicago theaters, the Broadway Playhouse is staging the revival with William Brown again directing for a limited run. Timeline (timelinetheatre.com) continues to find innovative ways to make use of alternate production venues in order to expand its offerings this season. Their revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (through November 17) will partially overlap with their revival of Larry Kramer’s AIDS play, A Normal Heart (October 6 - December 26), which will call the space at Stage 773 on Belmont its home. In fact, if To Master the Art gets extended (no closing date is currently given), it’s not impossible for Timeline to have three shows running simultaneously at three separate venues. Of course, some of the finest venues for homegrown productions rest in the suburbs. In addition to Northlight, at least two other suburban theaters have offerings worth noting. This fall, Drury Lane Theatre (drurylaneoakbrook.com) in the western suburb of Oak Brook Terrace will present the regional premiere of the recent Broadway sensation Next to Normal (through October 6). Citadel Theatre (citadeltheatre.org) in Lake Forest will offer one new work, How We Got On (September 21 October 20) by Idris Goodwin, a compelling coming-of-age story about three young rappers in the Midwest in 1988. Citadel also holds some classics this season: A Christmas Carol, Cabaret and Neil Simon’s Hospitality Above: Karen Janes Woditsch (Julia Child) and Le Cordon Bleu instructor Chef Max Bugnard (Terry Hamilton) in TimeLine Theatre's 2010 World Premiere of To Master The Art by William Brown and Doug Frew (photo by Lara Goetsch).
Suite. Of course, this only scratches the surface of the upcoming theater season in Chicago. But regardless of your interest, Broadway musical or classic drama; contemporary comedy or even Shakespeare, 2013-2014 looks to be one of the most varied theatrical seasons in years, sure to keep Chicago on the national map—maybe even enough to rival The Great White Way.
Also On Our Radar September
• Now through October 6 – 9 Circles (thriller) at Sideshow Theatre Company • Now through Octoer 27 - The Color Purple (musical) at Mercury Theatre • 5 through October 19 - Other People’s Money (comedy) at Shattered Globe Theatre • 6 through October 11 - In The Heights (musical) at Paramount Theatre in Aurora • 13 through 28 – A Streetcar Named Desire (drama) at Jedlicka Performing Arts Center • 23 through November 17 – The Trip To Bountiful (drama/comedy) at Raven Theatre • 26 through October 26 – The Water’s Edge (drama) at AstonRep Theatre Company
• 21through November 19 - The Sovereign Statement (thriller) at the Neo-Futurists
• 1 through March 3 – Rough Crossing at First Folio Theatre • 5 through April 10 – The Playboy of the Western World (comedy) at Raven Theatre
7 through April 13 - Darlin’ (thriller) by Step-Up Productions
April • •
17 through May 24 – If There Is I Haven’t Found it Yet (drama/comedy) at Steep Theatre 25 through May 18 – I Do! I Do! (musical) at Buffalo Theatre Ensemble in Glen Ellyn
May • •
15 through 18 - Baryshnikov Productions: MAN IN A CASE (drama and dance) at the Museum of Contemporary Art MCA Stage Series 5 through June 8- Earthquakes in London (music, drama & dance) at Red Tape Theatre
By EMILY DISHER
AAcclaim for Chicago’s dance community continues to grow, spurred by its dance-loving mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and the well-spring of talent that keeps awing audiences season after season. Last season was a landmark one for the community. In addition to the usual lineup of performances in the fall of 2012, several local dance and music institutions came together with Chicago Human Rhythm Project to create the American Rhythm Center, a stable environment where small and mid-sized companies could rehearse, develop, and flourish. In the spring, Auditorium Theatre hosted their inaugural Music + Movement Festival, which supported the dance community by offering many local companies the opportunity to perform with live music and compete to present works on the Auditorium Theatre stage. The 2013-2014 season follows on last season’s strides, again with performance venues taking a leading role. This season will celebrate landmark anniversaries for two of Chicago’s most
respected performance venues. The Dance Center of Columbia College (colum.edu/Dance_Center) celebrates 40 years, while Harris Theater (harristheaterchicago.org) marks its first decade. Both stages will host an array of the best Chicago and visiting dance talent during their commemorative seasons. Plus, other dance arenas in Chicago will also present high caliber performances from the city and beyond. We can look forward to 2013-2014 to extend the momentum of last year’s groundbreaking season, providing new surprises and festivities to keep the city’s appetite for dance sated. On the brink of The Dance Center’s anniversary season, Executive Director Phil Reynolds notes, “It is remarkable to reflect back on our 40-year history. I think everyone at the dance center and Columbia College is proud and honored to be part of The Dance Center’s legacy. Bring on the fifth decade.” As The Dance Center reflects on its rich history, it brings back many old favorites—both local and visiting—to mark its 40th year. In fact, the center hosts eleven companies from September through April, including performances, master classes, and family dance events. Chicago’s own Mordine & Company Dance Theater will help usher in the anniversary season with a revival of their 2010 hit “I Haven’t Gone There.” It is highly appropriate that Mordine & Company participate in this exciting season. After all, the company was founded by Shirley Mordine, who also founded of The Dance Center. Mordine & Company maintains its own rich legacy, as the longest-running contemporary dance company in the Midwest. In choreographing “I Haven’t Gone There,” Mordine found inspiration in commedia dell’arte, a form of theater exemplified by stock characters performing a series of sketches either improvised or having an improvisational feel. In the piece, six dancers journey to unknown places, where they encounter unexpected circumstances.
The nomadic tale incorporates text by Bryan Saner of the former Goat Island Performance Group, and live music performed by members of the popular Mucca Pazza marching band. The company’s October 3-5 performances at The Dance Center will also feature other Mordine & Compan works, yet to be disclosed. The Dance Center will showcase quite a few intellectually driven and stimulating works dreamed up by Chicago’s creative artists this season. Mid-October’s joint bill featuring Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre (SPDW) and Peter Carpenter Performance Project is one such event, standing out for its diverse subject matter, spanning from the political to the psychic, to aesthetic impulses. SPDW, a Chicago-based contemporary dance company founded in 1997, is known for its evocative, diverse spectrum of work. Joanna Rosenthal, SPDW artistic director, will unveil her new work “Whiteout,” an examination of impulsive behavior in the context of disorientation. Her work grows from
a substantial research project she began with SPDW in 2012. The company has also commissioned a new work from guest artist Netta Yerulshamy, an Israeli choreographer now based in New York. Yerulshamy makes her Chicago debut with a piece that aims to cultivate productive tensions between the inanimate world of art and the animate body. Peter Carpenter, a Chicago-based independent choreographer, often finds inspiration from political topics, and his presentation alongside SPDW will follow suit. His Peter Carpenter Performance Project will present “Rituals of Abundance for Lean Times #10: Entanglements of Power” during the joint Dance Center program. This installment of his Rituals cycle engages specifically with critical conceptualizations of power. The joint program takes place October 10-12. One of the most unusual productions of The Dance Center’s season will no doubt be the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company production of “Story/Time.” Company founder Jones juxtaposes a series of disconnected, randomly selected narratives, choreographies, and musical compositions that play with the viewer’s innate desire to make sense of the elements, however disjointed. The company visits The Dance Center from New York, presenting this edge-of-your-seat performance October 24-26. Harris Theater’s 10th anniversary season will also be vibrant, with an exciting lineup of talent. “The first decade of the Harris is a milestone in many significant ways,” noted Michael Tiknis, president and managing director of Harris Theater. “It celebrates the nurturing of new works and a strong commitment to artistic collaboration and diversity that make the Harris truly unique…. Since the beginning, Harris Theater is, has been, and remains more than just a place—it’s an idea, ever-changing and ever-renewing itself within the creative process.” The exciting and eclectic lineup at the Harris this season reflects this ever-changing creativity of the venue. The theater continues to play home to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) in a series of three performances over the course of the season, as well as Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC). From December 12-15, HSDC will reprise Cerrudo’s popular “One Thousand Pieces.” This mystifying piece, which HSDC premiered last fall, builds luxurious movement around glassy motifs, made all the Clockwise from left - opposite page: "I Haven't Gone There," Mordine and Company Dance Theater (photo by William Frederking); "Story Time," Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Theatre (photo by Paul B. Goode); "Altered," Same Planet Different World (photo by Vin Reed).
more stunning through expert use of shadows and lighting. On October 25, GDC returns to the Harris with an exciting program featuring two world premieres: Roni Koresh, artistic director of Koresh Dance Company, has choreographed a new full-company piece, and GDC assistant artistic director Autumn Eckman will debut her latest creation. Visiting companies will also invigorate the Harris during the ten-year celebration. Tap master Savion Glover and his ensemble of dancers will present “STePz” in January. The production demonstrates Glover’s virtuosity in performing complex jazz phrasing—both bass line and melody—and wild improvisations. Another can’t-miss production at the Harris this season is New York City Ballet’s prima ballerina Wendy Whelan presenting “Restless Creatures” in March. Whelan’s series of four duets premiered at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the summer of 2013. It will make its Chicago debut at the Harris. “Restless Creatures” was created by and performed with
four magnificent male choreographers, including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo. Plus, in a special return to the Harris, Hamburg Ballet will perform February 19-20. Under the direction of famed choreographer John Neumeier, the company makes an encore performance after wowing Chicagoans with “Nijinsky” last year. This year, the company will perform Neumeier’s “Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler,” in which Neumeier translates the experience of Mahler’s music into dance. Harris Theater will be the only American venue presenting the work during Hamburg Ballet’s U.S. tour this season. Speaking of ballet, Chicago will showcase an unusually wide breadth of balletic works this season. For classical ballet lovers, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (auditoriumtheatre. org) will be bursting up the drama this season as the home venue for Joffrey Ballet. The acclaimed company will bring to the Auditorium stage two full-length love story ballets, starting with “La Bayadère: The Temple Dancer” in October.
“Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler,” Hamburg Ballet (photo courtersy of Harris Theater for Music and Dance). 48•CNCJAAutumn 2013
The classic 19th-century “La Bayadère” was reimagined by Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch for his company in 2010. Set in a fanciful Indian Royal Court, Welch’s version articulates the story of Nikiya (a temple dancer), her secret lover (Solor) and the betrayal that tears them apart. Featuring elaborate costumes and lavish sets by British designer Peter Farmer (complete with live snakes), this decadent ballet with thrill viewers in its Chicago debut. And if a passionate story of love and betrayal weren’t enough drama, Joffrey Ballet follows up with the timeless tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” April 30 – May 11, 2014 at Auditorium Theatre. Krzysztof Pastor’s “Romeo and Juliet” (2008) tells the classic tale of starcrossed lovers through a modern angle, projecting the story through a series of eras from the 1930s through present day. Pastor’s naturalistic choreography paints the heartrending love story with emotional intensity, set to Sergei Prokofiev’s iconic score. “Romeo and Juliet” makes its U.S. premiere. And our editor's choice this season is the spring Auditorium Theatre residency of one of America's most beloved companies, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT, alvinailey.org). An annual celebration of grace, elegance and athleticism, AAADT's Chicago performances have always exemplified the most noble elements of modern dance. Under the guiding hand of Robert Battle, executive director, the company has grown to master even broader territories in dance, capturing the imagination of a new generation of dance lovers. Proffering new, innovative works that explore subjects provocative and poignant, intermixed with beloved classics of their repertoire like "Revelations," their two week residency next spring will likely stand out, yet again, as one of the most memorable performances of the season. In addition to the Joffrey and Alvin Ailey Dance, Auditorium Theatre will also host Ballet West and Houston Ballet this season. Ballet West returns October 4-5 with “The Sleeping Beauty,” newly conceived by artistic director Adam Sklute, and set to live orchestra. In keeping with the fairy tale theme, Houston Ballet will make its Auditorium Theatre debut with “Aladdin” March 22 and 23. Originally created in 2008 for the New National Ballet of Japan in Tokyo, English choreographer David Bintley's full-length “Aladdin,” features spectacular scenery by designer Dick Bird and an original score by Carl Davis.
Of course, Auditorium Theatre will host more than ballet this season. Modern dance enthusiasts will be delighted to have the opportunity to take in the Paul Taylor Dance Company, which returns to the Auditorium Theatre stage May 17 - 18. Taylor is the last surviving member of America’s second generation of modern dance, and was dubbed the “naughty boy” of dance by the legendary Martha Graham. Taylor continues to astound audiences with the vibrancy of his creations.
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Clockwise from top left: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Alicia Graf Mack and Jamar Roberts (photo by Andrew Eccles); "Esplanade," Paul Taylor Dance Company (photo by Rob Eran); The Sleeping Beauty," Ballet West (photo by Luke Isley).
Finally, for unforgettable issues-based dance theatre, Chicago’s The Seldoms will revisit their 2008 piece "Monument" this September at Theatre 773. Conceived and choreographed by The Seldoms' artistic director Carrie Hanson, "Monument" explores the imbalance between the human and the natural environment, following a course of voracious individual consumption culminating at the landfill. This inspection of human monuments was the first issues-based endeavor for The Seldoms, and remains an important work in the company’s repertoire. From Shirley Mordine to Bill T. Jones, to Savion Glover to AAADT to The Seldoms to Alvin Ailey Dance—Chicago is bursting at the seams with talent this season. (But then again, we rarely have a season short on talent.) Even beyond the city’s largest venues for dance, Chicagoans will find meaningful dance performances popping up all over the city. Venues such as the Chicago Cultural Center, Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts, Visceral Dance Center, the Athenaeum, Ravinia, the American Rhythm Center, Chicago art museums, and community outreach locations will all host dancers expressing their art and sharing their passion through exhilarating movement.
Also On Our Radar September •
15 - Pilobulus at Ravinia Festival
By AMANDA SCHERKER
The purpose of art—or indeed, lack thereof—has been the perennial subject of debate by artists and critics, kings and paupers, patriots and revolutionaries. (Though, whether the first caveman subverted social norms, or merely thought finger painting was fun, is debatable.) Regardless of whether you enjoy art for its beauty, its rebellion or merely for arts’ sake, Chicago’s 2013-2014 season offers a dizzying array of art shows certain to confound, delight, and always surprise. Kick off the season with a look at the highly evocative world of Africa COBRA, the Chicago bred African American art movement. The Dusable Museum of African American History (dusablemuseum.org) offers 2 months of exciting programming around its AfriCOBRA: Art & Impact exhibit, beginning with an its opening ceremony this past summer and ending with a musical-poetry spectacular on September 29. Until then, look out for exciting gallery talks, daily screenings, and of course, beautifully irreverent art. From November 1-3, SOFA Chicago will display the exciting art of over 100 exhibitors by “dealers of glass, ceramics, textiles, wood and metalwork by artists at every stage of their careers.” One of the world’s greatest celebrations of decorative arts, SOFA shows how the most creative minds can make one man’s abode another man’s museum. There’s nothing more California than out-“cooling” the competition, coast to coast, and when it comes to fine arts, our
fine We s t Coast neighbors make no exceptions. Need proof? Look no further than State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970, which, according to curators, celebrates California as an “incubator of social change and counter-culture that attracted artists seeking alternatives to traditional modes of art making.” Organized as a joint initiative by several California art institutions, State of Mind will surf its way into the Smart Museum of Art at The University of Chicago (smartmuseum.uchicago.edu) on October 3, and be open to the public until January 12. Comprised of over 150 pieces, ranging from installations to performance art footage, o photographs, this carefully cu50•CNCJAAutumn 2013
rated exhibit is an ode to the wild experimental work of bold Californian artists and art collectives. This ain’t your grandmother's museum gallery, kid. Later in the season, scope out the daring work of a post-art world of post-WWII reconstruction-era France with the Smart Museum’s Interiors and Exteriors: Avant-Garde Itineraries in Postwar France, open from December 17, 2013– March 16, 2014. Predictably was a time of transition—with an emergence of the new avant-garde and the resurgence of the pre-war surrealism. In the curators’ words, the show will “represent a tense exploration of the location of the personal and the political within reconstruction-era France.” Ooh lala! Your favorite old Greek cautionary fable meets a modern tale of global climate change with the The Renaissance Society’s (renaissancesociety. org) exhibit Suicide Narcissus. The Renaissance Society is a free contemporary art museum at the University of Chicago, and their new exhibition will be open from September 15 to December 15. The show will exhibit eight artists’ depictions of the world’s ecological crisis through the lens of human vanity. The exhibit will confront human arrogance, rethink man’s Above left: Guests gather for SOFA Chicago 2012 at Navy Pier (photo courtesy of SOFA Chicago) ; Right: Robert Kinmont, 8 Natural Handstands (detail), 1969/2009, Nine silver gelatin prints, each: 8 x 8 in/21.5 x 21.5 cm. (photo by Joerg Lohse. Image courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York).
art fragile existence with nature, and probably convince you to finally start recycling. Check it out and bring along your funny friend who “just doesn’t believe in global warming.” If you liked high school American History, you probably know a fair amount about the Civil War, or at least a certain mythical top-hatted, log cabin-bred Illinois politician of the era. The cultural impact of the war on everyday civilian life was generally glossed over in most textbooks, though. The Terra Foundation (terraamericanart.org) seeks to fill some of that collective amnesia with a gallery show run in conjunction with the Newberry Library. Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North will be exhibited from September 27, 2013 to March 24, 2014. The foundation has gathered a rich array of cultural texts, ranging from rare works of art to less prescient magazine advertisements, each of which offers valuable insight into the consciousness of a country devastated by the horrors of an internal war. Along with a gallery exhibit, The
Terra Foundation is hosting a one day-scholarly symposium and 3 public lectures. It should be a truly one-of-a-kind show, and a chance to make your 10th grade history teacher proud! Art School 101: Make Art About What You Know Best. So, it’s not just narcissism that fueled a million self-portraits from Picasso and Van Gogh to 8-year-old crayon-sketch artists everywhere. Artists’ self-consciousness—and sometimes, self-loathing—make for trenchant, often haunting, images of what they see when they look in the mirror. With the exhibit Not Just Another Pretty Face, The Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC, hydeparkart.org) will display more than 50 new self-portraits of vulnerability and bravery by up-and-coming Chicagoan talent. This exhibit, the fifth of its kind, will be on display from December 15, 2013 to March 30, 2014. HPAC’s self-described goal is “to encourage a new and diverse public to think of themselves as patrons or leaders of contemporary art.” As the local aficionados of mid-century abstract art, the McCormick Gallery (thomasmccormick.com) will showcase the work of American painter Norman Kanter (19272010). From September 7 to October 19, 2013, the West Loop gallery will pay tribute to decades of abstract paintings by the acclaimed long-time New York artist. It’s hard to think of a nobler artistic mission than to give voice to the voiceless, and to express—with kindness and compassion—what society has deemed unspeakable. Film and video artist Anwar Kanwar’s work, The Lightning Testimonies, does just that, shattering the silence that surrounds the harrowing sexual violence against women that has occurred in India—and indeed, throughout the world. From October 12, 2013 to January 12, 2014, the Art Institute of Chicago (artic.edu) will display Kanwar’s video installation, comprised of eight simultaneous projections. According to the curator, “each projection features a different woman recounting a multilayered memory of trauma and resilience” Food and art are two of life’s greatest joys. So when it comes to true bliss, art about food just might take the proverbial cake. The Art Institute
Above right: Installation view of Amar Kanwar’s The Lightning Testimonies, 2007. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris, with the support of The Ford Foundation, New Delhi, Documenta 12, Germany, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; Right: Raphaelle Peale. Still Life - Strawberries & Nuts, 1822. Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Jamee J. and Marshall Field.
of Chicago happily panders to foodies of all ages this season with Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine. Open from November 3, 2013 to January 20, 2014, this show will trace the history of America’s food culture from restaurant dining to cocktail lounges to hamburger fries and cake. American artists, ranging from John Sloan to Gerald Murphy to Andy Warhol, serve delicious depictions of favorite foods, with a garnish of fresh political and social commentary. Curators selected 75 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from a period ranging from the 18th to 20th centuries to indulge the art and culture of food and to explore the many meanings and interpretations of eating in America. Bon appetite! Loyola University Museum of Art (luc.edu/luma) will display one mouthful of an exhibit this winter, Elegant Enigmas: the Art of Edward Gorey and G is for Gorey - C is for Chicago: The Collection of Thomas Michalak, from February 15 to June 15, 2014. On display: Edward Gorey, a Chicago artist born and bred, and his collection of book jackets, magazine artwork, and children’s book illustrations. Gorey’s a good example of surnames that predetermine density: his charmingly dark, Gothic aesthetic could be called the godfather of the Tim Burton school of art. The Museum of Contemporary Art (mcachicago.org) continues to highlight some of the most important artists of our time this season. Winter will bring a showcase of William J. O’Brien, a prolific jack-of-all-trades artist that has conquered every medium from drawing to sculpture to textile. A unique chance to explore the entire creative process of an artist who has transcended genre, this show will be open to the public from January 25 to May 18, 2014. This fall, Elmhurst Art Museum (EAM, elmhurstartmuseum. org) will present a new exhibit, Inventory_The EAM Collection, which unpacks the museum's vault and fills the galleries from floor to ceiling with art and objects from its massive collection. Never before has the entire building been dedicated to EAM's holdings. The ambitious exhibition provides unprece-
t r a
dented access to EAM's unique collection and includes work spanning three centuries by such notable artists as Thomas Eakins, Frederic Remington, Sonia Delaunay, Abbott Pattison, Tsuguharu Foujita, Peter Saul and EAM's own founder, Eleanor King Hookham—all ripe for interpretation and discovery. The expansive exhibition will run from September 21, 2013 through January 5, 2014. Though the art world has been a powerful battleground for feminist thinkers to battle the omnipotence of the patriarchy, it’s often governed by politics not unlike that of a gentleman’s club. Nobody knows that betLeft: Artist Edward Gorey (photo courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art); Above: Edward Hopper. Nighthawks, 1942. Art Institute of Chicago. Friends of American Art Collection.
ter than German-born artist Isa Genzken, one of the most celebrated female sculptors of the past 30 years. Despite her international art-world street cred, you probably haven’t heard of her. That’s because Genzken’s never been honored with a large retrospective in an American museum, a travesty which the MCA—along with help from the MOMA and the Dallas Museum of Art—is appropriately seeking to amend with the aptly named Isa Genzken: Retrospective, on display from April 12 to August 3, 2014. Genzken’s work ranges from grade-school-sized dioramas to room-sized installations, and they're sprinkled with kitsch, pop culture, mass produced goods, and old photographs, all melded into truly remarkable works of art. If you’re not familiar with Genzken, consider this your crash landing into her truly original creative vision. With a year of exhibitions and shows as diverse and eclectic as the city of Chicago, there are dozens of carefully curated arguments about why art matters. Regardless of how you personally discern meaning and truth in art, you’ll find yourself constantly challenged and inspired by the vivid, imaginative exhibitions of this season’s roster of Chicago art experiences.
Also On Our Radar September • •
Now through September 28 – Impressionism, Art and Modernity at The Art Institute of Chicago 10 through November 18 - What Vincent Saw at The Art Institute of Chicago
9 through March 9 - The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archeology at The Museum of Contemporary Art 9 through April 13 – CITY SELF at the Museum of Contemporary Art
12 through February 23- Nora Shultz at Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago
By DONNA ROBERTSON AND JEFF LYONS
ith summer quickly coming to an end, Chicagoans' thoughts are beginning to turn to the indoors for opportunities to explore and engage with the city's abundant culture scene. And that makes this a good time to take a look at some of the more intriguing exhibits on tap this season at Chicagoland museums. 2013 marks the 120th anniversary of Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition, and three museums in the city are observing it with various events this season. By far, the largest such event will take place at the Field Museum (fieldmuseum.org). The late 19th century Columbian Exposition drew 25 million visitors and included 65,000 exhibits. It occurred just 22 years after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, and its overwhelming success spoke volumes for the city's resilience and leadership, firmly placing Chicago in the global market and building the reputation of Columbian Exposition architect Daniel Burnham. To commemorate this momentous occasion in its own and the city’s history, the Field Museum is presenting Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair from October 25, 2013 through September 7, 2014. This exhibition will feature over one hundred artifacts from the the World's Fair that have rarely (or never) been on display in the past 120 years. From animal skeletons and taxidermy that allowed visitors to view animals from faraway corners of the world to worldwide botany collections showing the global ecological resources to late 19th century scientific discoveries, Opening the Vaults will give visitors a sense of the wonder that permeated fair-goers of the day and set a context for the kind of discoveries these artifacts represented for society at the time. Using multi-media displays, including mural-sized video projections, digital technology and soundscapes, this large-scale exhibition will be infused with the incredible energy that The Wolrd's Fair brought to a beleaguered Chicago.
Below: Mamoth skeletons first exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair (photo courtesy of The Field Museum); Above: Record-setting crowd at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago (photo courtesy of The Field Museum); Right: Mouse ears worn by Jimmy Dodd on the Mickey Mouse Club (photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry).
Complementing Opening The Vaults is SIAM: The Queen and the White City at the Chicago History Museum (chicagohistory.org). On display will be items from the Siamese (now Thai) women’s exposition at the 1893 World's Fair—including delicate embroidery using silk threads, gold, and silver filaments—as well as artifacts on loan from other collections from The Queen Savang Vadhana Foundation and the Royal Thai Government. This exhibition will open September 21, 2013 and run through March 2, 2014.
If further insight into how the World's Fair shaped and defined Chicago’s future is what you crave, you may want to attend a lecture given by Diane Dillon, director of Scholarly and Undergraduate Programs at the Newberry Library and a frequent lecturer on Chicago’s two World’s Fairs. The event takes place at Glessner House Museum (glessnerhouse.org) on November 6. A small number of World's Fair artifacts will also be on display that evening. Reservations are required. Who doesn’t love Mickey Mouse, and pretty much everything else Walt Disney? From October 16, 2013 (which happens to be the 90th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company) through February 17, 2014, visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry (msichicago. org) will have the opportunity to view Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, an exhibition of almost 300 imagination-stirring artifacts—many of which have rarely been seen by the public—covering all nine decades of Disney history. See clips of Walt Disney’s earliest animated works before Mickey Mouse was created, then view the original script for the historic 1928 cartoon short, Steamboat Willie, which introduced Mickey to movie audiences. Get a first-hand look at hand-drawn artwork, hand-sculpted models, and props used in the production of some of Disney’s most iconic and renowned animated features, animation models and artwork from contemporary Disney animation film hits, and
props from classic Disney live-action films. There will also be artwork, Audio-Animatronics characters, and memorabilia from several popular attractions at iconic Disneyland and Magic Kingdom as well as early materials showing Walt Disney’s vision for Epcot Center. For those who would rather do than view, hands-on, interactive stations will allow visitors to personally experience some of Disney’s technological breakthroughs in animation and motion pictures. This exhibit does more than simply show visitors fascinating Disney memorabilia; it allows viewers to better understand the creative process and genius behind some of the most-loved successes in movie-making history. Kids of the young and not-soyoung variety can splash their way through Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum's (naturemuseum.org) River Works exhibit next spring (March 23 through May 31) and discover that the only real lazy rivers are the ones you find at water parks. Serving as nature's own flood controls, rivers are filled with species of fish, herons and beavers. The interactive show allows visitors to reverse the flow of the exhibit's river, transform it into a lake, control a water
Above right: One of the many interactive stations of the Rivers exhibit at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago's Lincoln Park.
Heroes of the Holocaust
were people just like you.
Come be inspired.
IllinoisHolocaustMuseum.org Autumn 2013CNCJA•55
u m e s s u Museums
display at the Shedd through May of 2014. Like Jellies, some of the top exhibits this season are held over from 2013, and show the strength and staying power Chicagoland scientific institutions. One such exhibition can be found at the Field Museum. Since 1940, when four teen-agers happened upon the Lascaux caves in southern France— discovering the awe-inspiring prehistoric paintings and drawings therein—anthropologists, pre-historians, scientists, and artists have been struck by the wonder of the incredible find. Beautifully subtle paintings and engravings of animals line the deep cave walls—sophisticated artwork created at the hands of our early ancestors nearly 20,000 years ago. In an effort to preserve their fragile existence, the caves have remained closed indefinitely, denying visitors even a glimpse of their shadowed treasures. Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux at the Field now allows us to experience the thrill of walking through exact cave replicas by flickering light, marveling at full-size copies of the paintings—including some never before seen by the public—and view them through the eyes of ancient artists. Scenes from the Stone Age remain a marvel for Chicago museum-goers this season, but not for long. The exhibit closes September 8. So get out there and enjoy the incredibly rich experience while you still can. Developed by the Morton Arboretum (mortonarb.org) in Lisle, Vanishing Acts is an award-winning outdoor exhibit that sheds light on the plight of trees that we know and love that are endangered in the wild. The Wild Apple tree, the Fraser Fir and the Pacific Yew are just a few of the species in focus in this enlightening exhibition this fall. "To save trees, we can accomplish more together than we can individually," notes Gerard Donnelly, president and CEO of the Morton Arboretum. "With 8,000 endangered tree species worldwide, it's a huge issue with a direct link to climate change and other factors affecting the health of plants, people, and the planet." The Vanishing Acts exhibit is comprised of a quartermile loop on the grounds of the Morton Arboretum with an outstanding display of 4,100 kinds of trees from around the world. It runs through January 2014. It's truly amazing, the incredible wealth of resources we have in the city this season for exploration and scientific discovery. So with all of the innumerable educational opportunities in Chicago's museums this season, why aren't you out there already soaking in all that knowledge?
turbine and even build their own dams, proving that there's no better fun than learning. Now on view, the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership (spertus.edu) presents Woof and Drash, Weaving the Jewish Experience, the debut exhibit of the work of Berit Engen. Engen began weaving as a child in Norway, and now practices this ancient craft of entwining woof (horizontal threads) with warp (vertical threads) from her home in Oak Park, Illinois. She finds inspiration for her work in the richness and diversity of the Jewish experience: from the laws of the Torah to the songs of Leonard Cohen, from the ethical wisdom of the Prophets to the contemporary commitment to repairing the world. Engen's miniature tapestries are modern-day commentaries (in Hebrew, drash) on the diverse experience that is Jewish living. Woof and Drash is a free exhibition on view at the Spertus Institute through February 23, 2014. Having thrived in the earth's oceans for 500 million years, sea jellies are some of the most resilient and diverse creatures known to man. And the Shedd Aquarium's (sheddaquarium.org) popular exhibition, Jellies, offers a fascinating up-close-and-personal look at these mesmerizing creatures. Watch them pulse and float, and learn about the ecological ramifications they suffer when the earth's waters suffer pollution. Jellies is a wonderfully illuminating show and will be on
Top: One of the informational booths at the Jellies exhibition at the Shedd Aquarium (photo courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium); Bottom: View of the Hall of Bulls shows the immense size of the Lascaux cave paintings. The painted animals are accompanied by unknown symbols, which are found throughout the cave complex. (photo © CNP – DRAC – MCC).
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exploringmusic.org Autumn 2013CNCJA•57
Cultural Happenings... Blending In
The Chicago Park District’s Grant Park in downtown Chicago is playing host this fall to Borders, a public sculpture installation by renowned Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir. Sponsored by Bloomberg and hosted by the Chicago Park District in conjunction with the Grant Park Conservancy, Borders consists of 26 sculptures that inhabit the park and interact with the social space of the park and its visitors. The Seattle Times calls the uncanny installation art that “promote(s) self-reflection and connective empathy through their ungainly forms and their quiet intrusion into our everyday lives.” Modeled after Thórarinsdóttir’s oldest son, the static, life-sized figures allow park visitors to engage with them by crossing the invisible “borders” they create. The exhibition generated a great deal of interest when it was installed in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, near the United Nations headquarters in New York. The Park District notes that Thórarinsdóttir chose its Chicago site, similarly, as a populated space bracketing frequent cultural happenings from the nearby Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park.
BEETHOVEN 2.0 The International Beethoven Project (IBP) recently announced the
full schedule of more than 60 musical performances in nine days for its upcoming Beethoven Festival: LOVE 2013. The organization’s third annual multidisciplinary festival inspired by the genius of Ludwig van Beethoven will kick-off September 6th at Merit School of Music’s Joy Faith Knapp Music Center just west of downtown Chicago. Spanning from Bach to The Beatles, new classical and rock commissions, the diverse musical programming for LOVE 2013 includes 37 world premieres and six Chicago premieres, among them the world premiere of a newly discovered Beethoven love song. Throughout the festival, acclaimed Chicago artists such as Kotche, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and the Lincoln Trio will be featured alongside international talent from a host of countries, including Belgium, Canada, and France. According to the IBP’s president and artistic director, George Lepauw, artists from rock jazz and electronica will perform their works for the very first time at the event. To purchase tickets or for more information about the festival's programming, call 312-772-5821 or visit www.BeethovenFestival2013.com.
Local philanthropist, Marcus Lemonis, Chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam and star of CNBC’s The Profit, has made a substantial leadership gift to support and enhance the ongoing work of the Joffrey Ballet's Bridge Program, an acclaimed dance education residency in Chicago Public Schools. In recognition of this gift, the Joffrey has renamed the program The Joffrey Ballet Lemonis Bridge Program. The Bridge Program provides Chicago Public School students in grades 1 and 2 with a highly structured dance experience where they develop life skills, engage in creative expression, and practice physical awareness and healthy lifestyle choices. Lemonis’ gift will guarantee that the Bridge Program – which currently reaches over 400 students each year – will continue to engage Chicago’s children for the next decade, while at the same time expanding the number of teaching artists, schools and students served annually.
Arts' Advocate This September, the Grant Park Music Festival (GMPF) will host its annual Advocate for the Arts Awards benefit. Funds raised from the event will support the festival’s popular, free ten week classical music series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, led by Carlos Kalmar, artistic director and principal conductor for the festival and Grant Park Chorus director Christopher Bell. They will also help to underwrite the festival’s artistic and community engagement activities enjoyed by more than 330,000 audience members from around the world. A major highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the second annual Advocate for the Arts Awards. This year’s Civic Honoree is former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who will be recognized for his commitment to the arts of Chicago. Paul Winberg, GPMF president noted the former mayor’s “extraordinary vision to create a new park for the people of Chicago has made our city a world-class destination.” The GPMF Advocate for the Arts Awards benefit will take place Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park. For more information about the Advocate for the Arts Award benefit, call 312.553.2000 or visit www. pjhchicago.com/gpmf.
This fall, the Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview will present two new, interactive, reading-focused exhibits specifically designed to boost literacy. Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites allows kids to immerse themselves in a life-sized world of seven award-winning childhood favorites, while Sheridan’s Books and Crannies, a new permanent exhibit, will reinvent the museum’s “Play Library.” The dynamic exhibits are designed to encourage children to build literacy skills through imaginative, interactive experiences and dramatic play that focus on vocabulary, print motivation and awareness, narrative skills, letter knowledge and phonological awareness. The best part: kids get to play and learn at the same time. It never gets better than that. Clockwise from top: Philanthropist Marcus Lemonis (photo courtesy of Mr. Lemonis); Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (photo courtesy of the City of Chicago); Children play in the Storyland exhibition stations at the Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview; Members of the acclaimed chamber ensemble the Lincoln Trio (photo courtesy of The Lincoln Trio); Artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir's installation, Borders, in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, near the United Nations headquarters in New York.
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60â€˘CNCJA Autumn 2013 The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.
62â€˘CNCJA Autumn 2013 The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.
Photo Courtesy of steppenwolf Theatre Company
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The Hollywood luminary returns to the Steppenwolf stage his fall after 22 years. By DANIEL A. SCUREK
If you travel west on the Eisenhower expressway from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, onto the Reagan tollway, past the far western suburbs into the corn fields surrounding DeKalb, then further, halfway to the border of Iowa, you’ll find the small town of Rochelle, IL—population 9,506. A true fit for the Midwestern euphemism “out-in-the-middle-ofthe-cornfields.” You could lay a cross over a map of northern Illinois, and Rochelle would sit directly at the apex. With rows of downtown stores, a colonial style municipal building and corner gas stations, one might call Rochelle a textbook example of Main Street America. The trek from O’Hare to Rochelle is exactly 77 miles, taking one hour and 13 minutes to travel by car. Assuming, of course, some method of figuring airport congestion, road construction, gridlock and traffic accidents into the mix, that travel time probably looks utopian. Still, every two weeks, Acclaimed Hollywood and stage actress Joan Allen
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PhotoS Courtesy of The Dance Center at Columbia College.
a young girl after Beatriz’s farm is overrun by soldiers. The play involves her determination to reunite the child with her father through place and across several time periods. Talking with the actress a month before rehearsals begin, one easily makes the connection between Joan Allen the talented actress and Joan Allen the caring daughter. Even after winning a Tony Award in 1989 for the role of Anna in Landford Wilson’s Burn This—and after three Academy Award nominations—she distances herself from the idea of permanence. “Actors are always unemployed” she states in response to a question about the time commitment required to visit her mother. This sentiment, often echoed by countless professional actors trudging between acting work and day jobs, sounds odd coming from an artist who hasn’t even had to audition for a role since she read for the character of Elizabeth Proctor in the film version of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (her second Oscar nomination in as many years). Her story—at least the acting part of it—begins in the 1970s, when she met John Malkovich at Eastern Illinois University. After earning her BFA in acting at Northern Illinois University, Malkovich invited her to become an ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theatre. At that time, Steppenwolf and Malkovich were poised to become national sensations. And the young ensemble was already a vital part of Chicago’s growing theater community. By the time And A Nightingale Sang transferred to New York in 1982, Allen knew she had made it; at least it was one of the great milestones she’d always looked for. “It was the perfect role at the perfect time," Allen told me. "I was working as a secretary at Journal Films in Evanston and doing Nightingale at Steppenwolf at night. Then I would go home to my apartment in Rogers Park, have some dinner, go to sleep, get up and do it all over again. I loved it. I quit my job when the show moved to New York.” Allen continued to work at Steppenwolf and, without a day job to tend, she was free to pursue a film career. She made her screen debut in 1985’s Compromising Positions and followed in 1986 (along with future Steppenwolf alum William Peterson) in the original Silence of the Lambs film, Manhunter. Other films followed, including two with director Francis Ford Coppola: Peggy Sue Got Married in 1986 and Tucker in 1988. But her first major recognition came onstage when she accepted the role of Anna in Lanford Wilson’s Burn This. The show originally opened at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles with Allen and John Malkovich in the leading roles of two embattled lovers. After an extensive development period at various professional venues (including Steppenwolf), the show finally enjoyed an open run on Broadway in October of 1987 to critical acclaim, an important comeback for playwright Wilson, who had seen his reputation wane throughout the 1980s. It was an important win for Allen, too, because it garnered her the 1989 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. PhotoS by sandro
R o c h e l l e ’s most famous citizen, actress Joan Allen, makes that trek in order to visit her convalescing 96-year old mother. But first, Allen must travel from her apartment in Manhattan to Chicago’s O’Hare. When asked what she does in her free time, she doesn’t respond with a list of hobbies, Manhattan nightspots or theater openings. She simply states, “Well, my mother is very sick, so every two weeks I fly home to be with her.” Despite a Tony Award and three Academy Award nominations, she manages to do her part—along with her brother and two sisters—to participate as a humble caregiver. Joan Allen knows not only Rochelle but Chicago quite well, even if she hasn’t lived here for decades. A long-time ensemble member of perhaps Chicago’s most famous theater, Steppenwolf, Joan Allen’s performance history includes an eclectic variety of types from sexy leading ladies to young moms—a trend carried over to a successful film career, as well. And this fall she returns to the Steppenwolf stage for the first time in 22 years when she plays the role of Beatriz in hot Scottish playwright Zinnie Harris’ Chicago premiere of The Wheel. Set in 19th century Spain, Beatriz becomes the unintentional guardian of
Above left: Joan Allen with Emma Gordon in playwright Zinnie Harris' The Wheel, playing this fall at Steppenwolf Theatre; (top of page): Joan Allen and actor John Malcovich on stage in Burn This at Steppenwolf Theatre.
Left to Right: Joan Allen with fellow Steppenwolf ensemble cast members (1) Waitings for the Parade; (2) Earthly Possessions; and (3) Three Sisters (photos courtesy of Steppenwolf Theatre Company).
comes specific to those characters, making her an actress not only of great Ironically, Lanford Wilson originally wrote the role of Anna for a range but incredible detail. different actress. “She became pregnant and had to drop out,” Allen exShe mentioned also that she enjoys collaboration. And as a member of plained. Astonishing to think that her Broadway debut resulted in a Tony the theater which defines ensemble, one sees how success—creative and Award, yet the thought of moving to the Great White Way did not intimiprofessional—naturally follows. And Steppenwolf has had its share of date the actress. After Burn This, Allen originated another role, this time success stories, actors that have gone on to national success include Terry in Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles. The script would go on to Kinney, Gary Sinise, William Peterson, Austin Pendleton, John Mahoney, win a Pulitzer Prize. Laurie Metcalf, Kevin Anderson and Major changes Tracy Letts—the list seems endless. ensued, both in her And many of those successful luprofessional and minaries return from time to time, to private lives. In write, act or direct. Joan Allen has been 1990, she married absent from the Steppenwolf stage for fellow actor Peter 22 years. And her upcoming leading Friedman, with role in The Wheel is going to mark a whom she worked welcome return for many Steppenwolf onstage in The audience members. Heidi Chronicles. Why the lengthy hiatus? “I had The two had a to take the time to raise my daughter. daughter, Sadie, in She’s 19, now. Up until now, though, it 1994. Meanwhile, just would not have been possible—or Allen continued to fair—to invest the time in a producperform onstage in tion and take care of her. I wanted to be New York, expandpresent for her.” ed her acting credits But perhaps it's that same sense on film. She garof dedication, of responsibility that nered two Academy allows Allen that uncanny ability to Award nominations Joan Allen and Anothony Hopkins as Pat and Richard Nixon in Oliver Stone's 1996 Oscar nominated film, Nixon transform so meticulously when she for Best Supporting (photo courtesy of Hollywood Pictures). takes on a role on stage or screen. During my interview with her, Allen Actress in 1996 for her stunning portrayal of Pat Nixon in Oliver Stone’s, was quite gracious and even apologetic for needing to attend to the evNixon, and the following year for The Crucible. In 2000, she received the eryday business of life. Her character, her personal strengths broght me Academy Award nomination for best actress in The Contender, a powback to her strengths as an actress. Perhaps that's where the real key to her erful political drama. Allen played Laine Hanson, a vice-presidential transformation lies. nominee caught up in scandal. “I was blessed,” Allen told me. “Rod Lurie Perhaps it's the same sense of dedication, responsibility and humilwrote the role for me.” ity that allow her the remarkable metamorphosis we witness every time Roles like Laine Hanson may be reward in and of themselves, but I she takes on a role, this form of expression so natural to her. And perhaps still wanted to ask about her motivation to pursue acting in the first place. that's key to the success she's enjoyed in the field. Of course, asking Joan Allen, “Why acting?” is kind of like asking a fish, Allen credits Steppenwolf for that success and marks it as the first “Why swimming?” “Acting is a way of expressing myself that works best milestone in her many career achievements. One benefit of working at for me,” Allen explained. Steppenwolf might be its proximity to her mother—though rehearsal Indeed.....perhaps the most striking quality about her characters inprocess might make that a challenge. Her greatest strength, her characvolves the uncanny transformation that occurs when Allen adopts their ter—that thing that makes a person who they are—permeates not just her personas. A high profile actress with classically chiseled beauty, it seems acting but her entire life; she’s already in touch with everything she needs doubtful that she could ever be taken for anyone but her own self. But in order to connect with the scripted character. cruise her performances from film to live stage and one can easily forget I wonder if Chicagoans really know just how lucky they will be to they are seeing the same individual. It’s the type of complete transformahave such brilliant, humble talent back on the Steppenwolf stage this fall, tion you hear about some of acting’s greatest legends like Sir Lawrence even for a brief time. Here’s hoping that she stops in Chicago more often Olivier. But with Joan Allen, the transformation seems even more staras she makes her way west to the middle of the corn fields. tling because, typically, her appearance scarcely changes all that much. Yet every part of the Allen’s persona—flesh and blood, it seems—beAutumn 2013CNCJA•67
68â€˘CNCJA Autumn 2013 The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.
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Almanac listings for ongoing or permanent exhibits may be found on pages 61, 62 & 63.
The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.
BRAC E Yourselves! Shall We Dance?
Bill T. Jones is back in Chicago with a oneof-a-kind performance that just may set you on edge......if you're lucky.
Bill T. Jones is one of the hardestworking, most celebrated choreographers of our time. Jones’ tenacious attitude and boundless creativity have won him practically every major award in the field, including a 1994 MacArthur Genius Award, the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors, the 2010 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, the 2005 Wexner Prize, two Tony awards for his Broadway choreography, and an Obie Award. Jones has accomplished the remarkable feat of finding choreographic success in both theater arts and popular theater as well. He's created over 140 works for his own company, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, as well as commissioned works for various other companies. Jones has choreographed the popular musical Spring Awakening, and is now working on Super Fly, a new work for the live stage. Plus, he 72•CNCJAAutumn 2013
Photo Courtesy of The Dance Center at Columbia College.
By EMILY DISHER
“Bill is not one to lie around. Even with
revivals, he’s always messing with the work—none of it stays the same. The guy just doesn’t rest. And that’s something I appreciate about him.” –Phil Reynolds, Executive Director, The Dance Center, Columbia College
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Photos by Paul B. Goode
“’Story/Time,’” Jones explains, “is an arts historical exercise that has a poetic side to it. It’s an homage to the great John Cage’s 1958 work, (which was) an experimentation less about what Cage’s stories were, than the fact that they were organized by chance procedure.”
has forged a myriad of interesting artistic collaborations, working with notables such as writer Toni Morison, musician Max Roach, and opera legend Jessye Norman. Whew! It may be a bit exhausting just reading this abbreviated list of Bill T. Jones’ accomplishments, but Jones certainly isn’t tired. Now in his sixties, the incredibly fit and fearless dancer/choreographer continues to dedicate himself to the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Co-founded with late partner Arnie Zane, who died of AIDS in 1988, the pair’s company is now celebrating its 30th year. The group continues to astound viewers with works choreographed by Jones and others that entertain and challenge with widely varied subject matter and skillful integration of dance, theater, music, new media, visual arts and more. The company’s 2012 “Story/Time,” which will be featured at The Dance Center at Columbia College this fall, is a perfect example. When I chatted with Jones about the work, he spoke excitedly about the piece, as well as the artist who inspired it: acclaimed composer John Cage. The seed for “Story/Time” was planted when Jones encountered Cage’s Indeterminacy, in which Cage performed a series of 90, randomly selected, one-minute stories that played with timing, rhythm, and chance selection. Jones notes that this exercise, Indeterminancy, for Cage, was just another type of music, “...because it’s about time. Every line in the story has been plotted out to the second. So if the story has 200 words, it’s read very, very fast. If it has only 30 words, it’s read much, much slower. The content was less important than the actual structure of it.” In creating “Story/Time,” Jones set himself on stage, reading a series of 70 oneminute stories, randomly selected from a collection of 170 vignettes he’s written or complied, including memories, jokes and quotations from books. Jones’ invention incorporates music and dance, bringing together disparate elements to profound effect. “Story/Time” creates a kind of conversation across time and space with Indeterminacy, following a similar format, but exploring different subject matter, and incorporating these added elements. “’Story/Time,’” Jones explains," is an arts historical exercise that has a poetic side to it. It’s an homage to the great John Cage’s 1958 work, (which was) an experimentation less about what Cage’s stories were, than the fact that they were organized by chance procedure.” Jones elaborates, “I thought by plunging into this process, using my concerns, it would say something about passage of time, how an idea in one time takes on another dimension in another, how one man’s (John Cage’s) set of concerns— Buddhism, science, music, art—compare with my own. My view of the world is quite different from his. I am a man born in 1952, I am African American, sexuality is important to me.…The specifics are less important than the range of topics Photos: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in "Story Time."
Shall We Dance?
that I’m interested in, compared to the range of topics (Cage) is interested in…. It’s kind of a portrait comparing two men, and one idea. That’s why I think ‘Story/Time’ is interesting.” “Story/Time” doesn’t just play with the topics and timing of Jones’ readings, but also juxtaposes dance and music snippets that are randomly selected and ordered. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company Associate Director Janet Wong has culled many different sequences of choreography from the Dance Company’s 30-year history (and some prior to the company’s founding). Some of the choreography originates from pieces no longer in the repertoire, while some of it is as fresh as the very morning of the performance. Dancers receive sheets numbered 1-70 that tell who is dancing, where they are on stage, and what the order of events will be. The group travels with composer Ted Coffey (who studied with composer Christian Wolff, one of John Cage’s colleagues). Coffey also uses chance procedure to select his musical compositions for “Story/Time.” “It’s a very lively venue and it’s very exciting to watch because every two performances we change the menu,” Jones explains. With random selection occurring at so many points—story, music, dance—one can imagine that the pieces fit together in a rather incongruent manner. In fact, the elements are deliberately out of sync, and that’s what makes “Story/Time” so fascinating, and, at times, challenging for audiences. “The elements do not fit neatly together,” explains Jones, “but the human mind is such that it is straining to make a connection between the two. After a while, the mind is able to operate on several tracks and that is something I think John Cage was interested in.”
Because random selection often causes the elements of each one-minute interval to coincide without synchronization, the audience becomes uncomfortably aware of rhythm and timing. To heighten this hyper-sensitivity to timing, Jones goes a step further and displays a large clock on stage behind him. “The first 10 minutes can be very difficult going for people, because there is a clock behind me, and they are super aware of it,” Jones told me. “They wonder if I’m going to make it (through the reading before the 60 seconds are up). But the clock goes away. After a while, I realized that it’s very important that people get lost in time.” Jones’ “Story/Time” will undoubtedly challenge its audience when he brings it to Chicago as part of The Dance Center’s 40th anniversary season. And thanks to the random selection and continual addition of new components, the performance Chicagoans view will be different from any other “Story/Time” performance. The group performs only two shows in a row of the same sequence, and then switches the choices and order all over again. So, as you’re feeling pressure in the audience to put together the pieces, just imagine the pressure experienced by the performers who have only a short time to mentally prepare for the latest selection lineup. “Story/Time is very fun,” explains Jones. “The dancers have to learn very fast and keep a lot of information in their heads. It’s very good for us. It keeps us all very alert.” The company's fall performance in Chicago will no doubt keep its audience on their toes, as well. Autumn 2013CNCJA•75
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Almanac listings for ongoing or permanent exhibits may be found on pages 61, 62 & 63.
The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.