Preview: Thirsty Ears Classical Street Festival Airs This Weekend

Thirsty Ears Music Festival

The fourth annual Thirsty Ears Festival 2019, Chicago’s only street fair centered on classical music, takes place this Saturday and Sunday on Wilson between Hermitage and Ravenswood. Hosted by Access Contemporary Music, performers will feature music from the whole classical spectrum, from baroque to contemporary.

Every hour a different ensemble will be performing on the main festival stage from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Several concerts will also take place indoors at All Saints Church. At the west end of the street, a Kidzone will offer face painting, magic acts, storytelling, and other activities for children.

Program highlights from the main stage on Saturday include pianist Mio Nakamura playing Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt, at 2:00 pm. This will be followed at 4:00 pm by soprano Liza Sobel and pianist Nathan Canfield performing Sobel’s own songs, as well as those by Claude Debussy and others. At 8:00 pm, the saxophone quartet ~Nois Ensemble will perform music by contemporary composers. Saturday evening ends with ACM reprising a version of its Sound of Silent Film Festival on an outdoor screen. It features newly composed music for modern silent films.

Performing on the main stage on Sunday will be chamber music ensemble Picosa playing a transcription of Aaron Copland’s ballet, Appalachian Spring, as well as contemporary music by Shulamit Ran and Jennifer Higdon at 3:00 pm. Cellist extraordinaire Ian Maksin will be performing a varied program at 6:00 pm. The festival ends with six stories from Ben Hecht’s 1000 Afternoons in Chicago adapted to live music and voices, at 8:00 pm.

The fourth annual Thirsty Ears Festival 2019 takes place this Saturday and Sunday, August 10 and 11, on Wilson between Hermitage and Ravenswood. $10 suggested donation. Proceeds go to the ACM School of Music, a non-profit organization.

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Louis Harris

A lover of music his whole life, Louis Harris has written extensively from the early days of punk and alternative rock. More recently he has focused on classical music, especially chamber ensembles. He has reviewed concerts, festivals, and recordings and has interviewed composers and performers. He has paid special attention to Chicago’s rich and robust contemporary art music scene. He occasionally writes poetry and has a published novel to his credit, 32 Variations on a Theme by Basil II in the Key of Washington, DC. He now lives on the north side of Chicago, which he considers to be the greatest city in the country, if not the world.