DePaul University’s School of Music will get what is likely its biggest moment ever in the city spotlight this fall.
The school, which has 375 students and more than 3,800 alumni, will celebrate the opening of the Holtschneider Performance Center, 2330 N. Halsted on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, with an 11-day music festival (Nov. 1-11) featuring nearly 40 events — its biggest offering ever.
“The celebration is called ‘Unveiled,’” said Ron Caltabiano, dean of the School of Music, “and we are first unveiling this new, incredible facility. But in a way, this celebration celebrates the entire school of music. Even though DePaul has been in the public eye, I think the exposure of these 11 days, when virtually all of our ensembles will be performing, is a new presentation of DePaul to the city of Chicago.”
Among the festival’s highlights will be soprano Ana María Martínez, a regular at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, singing duets and trios with DePaul opera students on Nov. 4; the New York-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performing Nov. 6, and celebrated violinist Itzhak Perlman joining the DePaul Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 11. For a complete line-up, visit music.depaul.edu.
The $98 million performance center includes the 505-seat Mary Patricia Gannon Concert Hall, 75-seat Mary A. Dempsey and Philip H. Corboy Jazz Hall and a pair of recital halls with 140 and 80 seats respectively. In addition, there is a significant increase in rehearsal facilities, practice rooms and classrooms.
“It is an enormous change,” Caltabiano said. “It is the first time the School of Music has had a space created to be a school of music.”
Here is an overview of other noteworthy classical events this fall in the Chicago area:
— SEPT. 8, “The Song as Drama,” 2018 Collaborative Works Festival, Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn (caichicago.org). This three-day festival, which began Sept. 5, celebrates the communicative potency of art song with an array of selections from past and present. The culminating Sept. 8 concert will feature two major 20th-century works: Arnold Schoenberg’s “The Book of the Hanging Gardens” and Leoš Janáček’s “The Diary of One Who Disappeared.”
— SEPT. 12, “Considering Matthew Shepard,” Martin Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Highland Park (ravinia.org). To mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Shepard, a University of Wyoming student whose torture and death led to the creation of the federal hate-crimes act, Ravinia presents this rumination on his legacy performed by choral ensemble Conspirare. Craig Hella Johnson’s 100-minute work is billed as a “fusion oratorio,” incorporating a range of texts and musical styles.
— SEPT. 13, “Lagrime di San Pietro (The Tears of St. Peter),” Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon, conductor, Peter Sellars, director, Ravinia Festival (ravinia.org). Written by the late Renaissance composer Orlande de Lassus in 1594, the “Lagrime” is a cycle of 20 madrigals and concluding motet. Famed musicologist Alfred Einstein wrote that the landmark work could be compared “in its artistry, its dimensions, its asceticism only to the ‘Musical Offering’ and ‘Art of the Fugue.’”
— SEPT. 15, Mozart’s Requiem, Music of the Baroque, Jane Glover, conductor, Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Also Sept. 16, North Shore Center, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie (baroque.org). These performances, along with Nov. 8-10 performances of Verdi’s Requiem Mass by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with music director Riccardo Muti at Orchestra Hall (cso.org), will showcase two of the most famous requiems — musical settings of the mass for the dead. The celebrated works, the first written in 1791 by Mozart (who died before it was completed) and the second by Verdi in 1873, display contrasting styles but are both immensely moving and powerful in their ways.
— SEPT. 15, violinist Jennifer Koh, Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston (musicinst.org). Not only is Koh an internationally renowned violinist, she also happens to be a native of Glen Ellyn and an alumna of the Music Institute of Chicago, the concert’s presenter. She will perform two solo sonatas by J.S. Bach as well as John Harbison’s “For Violin Alone,” which Koh premiered in 2015 in New York City.
— SEPT. 22, “I.D.: Images of Diversity,” Chicago Sinfonietta, Mei-Ann Chen, conductor, Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago. Also Sept. 24, Orchestra Hall (chicagosinfonietta.org). Continuing its long emphasis on diversity, the Sinfonietta celebrates the immigrant experience. The multifaceted program will culminate with Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America,” a 2002 work which features seven actors and video accompaniment.
— SEPT. 29-30 AND OCT. 2, Handel’s “Serse (Xerxes),” Haymarket Opera, Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan (haymarketopera.org). Nov. 15-16, Charpentier’s “Actéon” and Rameau’s “Pygmalion,” Opera Atelier, Tafelmusik, Harris Theater (harristheaterchicago.org). Two opera companies (the first from Chicago, the second from Canada) are presenting period-instrument productions of important baroque operas this fall. Haymarket’s presention of “Serse” will be the first in Chicago since Lyric Opera performed it in English in 1995.
— NOV. 1-3, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim, conductor, Orchestra Hall (cso.org). In what will likely rank among the most anticipated set of concerts of the season, Barenboim returns to lead the orchestra for the first since he stepped down as music director in 2006. The celebrated conductor will lead Smetana’s “Má vlast,” a set of symphonic poems including “The Moldau,” one of the most beloved works in the classical repertory.
— NOV. 3-16, “Siegfried,” Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker (lyricopera.org). Lyric presents the latest installment of its on-going presentation of Richard Wagner’s 15-hour set of four operas, “Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung),” directed by David Pountney. Bass-baritone Eric Owens returns as Wotan, and tenor Burkhard Fritz makes his Lyric debut in the title role.
— NOV. 7-11, “Chicago Philharmonic Festival: Poland 2018,” multiple venues (chicagophilharmonic.org). The Chicago Philharmonic Society presents its first-ever festival, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty. A highlight of the five-day event, which will include chamber music and an organ recital, will be the Philharmonic’s Nov. 11 performance of Wojciech Kilar’s “Mass for Peace” with Polish guest conductor Marek Mós.
Kyle MacMillan is a local freelance writer.