Preview: Chicago’s New Nevermore Performance Space Hosts a Chamber Music Festival This Weekend

Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood has a new performance space, and a four-day chamber music festival will take place there this weekend. Described as "a sleek, minimalist space offer luscious acoustics and an intimate atmosphere," Nevermore Performance Space will host six of Chicago's leading chamber music ensembles to perform classics and contemporary music.

Led by co-artistic directors Marianne Parker and Amy Wurtz, the Nevermore Chamber Music Festival's programming variety is striking and illustrates the depth of classical music making in Chicago. On Thursday, May 19, the saxophone quartet ~Nois will be performing contemporary works by Gemma Peacock, Maria Kautzani, and Shelley Washington. On the following evening, the KAIA String Quartet offers offer old world and new with Joseph Haydn, Astor Piazzolla, Claudio Santora, and José Bragato.

Two concerts are scheduled for Saturday, May 21. Vocal music hits the stage in the late afternoon with Fourth Coast Ensemble performing Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Florence Price, Stacy Garrop, and several others.

On Saturday evening, the Chicago-based string trio Black Oak Ensemble performs several works from their Cedille Records release Silenced Voices (reviewed here). This CD comprises music by Jewish composers, all but one of whose lives were snuffed out in the Holocaust. Three of the composers on Saturday's concert perished: Dick Kattenburg, Sándor Kuti, and Gideon Klein. The fourth composer on the program, Geza Frid, joined the Dutch resistance and survived the war.

Two concerts are also scheduled on Sunday, May 22. Chicago's four-time Grammy Award-winning Eighth Blackbird will perform live versions of Justin Peters' music on his recent album Kinesthetics. The festival ends Sunday evening with Gaudete Brass Quintet playing music spanning the ages, including Claudio Monteverde, Anthony Barfield, and Stacy Garrop. 

Nevermore Performance Space, 3411 W. North Ave., May 19-22. Afternoon concerts are at 4pm; evening concerts at 7pm. In-person and livestreamed tickets $15, $10 students. For more information, click here.

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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. Member of the Music Critics Association of North America.