“Monday night’s concert marking the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series [was] given in three spaces of the Art Institute of Chicago,” writes Alan Artner in Tuesday’s (5/8) Chicago Tribune. “The program … proved an adventurous experiment…. Each listener received one of two slips of paper setting out the evening’s locations: the American Sculpture Court, a space overlooking Marc Chagall’s ‘America Windows,’ and the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room. The audience … after listening to generally short compositions, [switched] galleries…. Everyone came together only for food, drink and a longer concluding piece. The MusicNOW series has been almost exclusively devoted to contemporary creations…. This time, however, the program included significant works from the past [providing] modernist aspiration and gravity. [Ruth Crawford] Seeger’s ‘String Quartet 1931’ is a neglected masterpiece…. [Lou] Harrison’s Six Sonatas for Cembalo (1943) were youthful pieces dating from before the composer’s radical exploration of non-Western sources. [In] Christopher Cerrone’s ‘Memory Palace,’ for percussion and electronics … virtuoso Cynthia Yeh played an array of instruments…. [She] worked her magic, subtle as well as with capacity to startle, much to the satisfaction of a grateful composer and peripatetic audience.” 

Posted May 10, 2018

Pictured: Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians Matous Michal (violin), Hermine Gagné (violin), and Danny Lai (viola), and guest musician Calum Cook (cello) perform at the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo by Todd Rosenberg