Preview: Vocal Chamber Music Festival Runs This Week

Collaborative Works Festival concert from 2018. Photo by Elliot Mandel.

The 8th Annual Collaborative Works Festival of vocal chamber music will take place this week at various venues around Chicago. Hosted by the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, the 2019 event focuses on songs of living composers, starting locally in Chicago, but expanding to the world.

The opening concert on Thursday, September 5, The City, features Chicago composers Augusta Read Thomas, Stacy Garrop, Shulamit Ran and Lita Grier. The program includes the world premiere of Thomas’ The Kiss, which is a setting of e.e. cummings’ poem may I said he. Performing are soprano Lauren Snouffer, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, Eighth Blackbird founding member pianist Lisa Kaplan, pianist John Arida, clarinetist Samuel Almaguer, and tenor Nicholas Phan, who is also CAIC’s artistic director. This concert will take place at Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall, 430 S. Michigan Avenue, 7th floor, Chicago, 7:30 pm. $35 general admission, $30 seniors, $15 students.

Soprano Lauren Snouffer will be performing at all three concerts. Photo by Dario Acosta.

The second concert on Saturday, September 7, The Nation, will have songs by several American composers, including Philip Glass and Ned Rorem, whose song cycle of Sylvia Plath poems, Ariel, will be performed. Joining the performers from the first concert will be a string quartet formed by violinists Yuan-Qing Yu and Kathleen Brauer, violist Danny Lai, and cellist Kenneth Olsen. This concert will take place at the Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street, Chicago, 7:00 pm. Free open seating.

The final concert on Sunday, September 8, expands the geographic reach to the whole world. Several of the artists from the previous concerts will perform songs by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, British composers Jonathan Dove and Ian Venables, French composer Nicolas Bacri and Belize-born composer Errollyn Wallen. A highlight will be the US Premiere of Bacri’s cycle, Drei romantische Liebesgesänge. This concert will take place in Hyde Park at the Logan Center for Performing Arts, 2:00 pm. $35 general admission, $30 seniors, $15 students.

For ticketing and other information, check out 2019 Collaborative Works Festival.

Louis Harris
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.

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