Category Archives: News

Unsupervised at Ear Taxi Festival

Celebrate the Ear Taxi Festival with the Chicago Composers’ Consortium on October 4!
We are delighted to be partnering with the group Unsupervised in the upcoming supernova of new music! Five of us – Laura, Kyong Mee, Larry, Betsy and Martha – will have works on this exciting early-afternoon program for large mixed chamber ensemble. This much anticipated.concert is the opening of our 2021-22 season. 
Please join us. It’s free, but you do need to register through the Ear Taxi website because of Covid-related seating restrictions.
Laura Schwendinger: Celestial Bodies
Kyong Mee Choi: MOMENT
Lawrence Axelrod: Of Wind and Sky
Elizabeth Start: O, Aedicatio; O, Vita
Martha Horst: Quiltage

Monday, October 4, 2021 — 1:45 to 2:30 pm

Hannah Christiansen, violin
Rebecca Boelzner, viola
Juan José Horie Phoebus, cello
Joe Bauer, bass
Autumn Selover, harp
Suzanne Hannau, flute
Erick Alverez, clarinet
Mark Haworth, trumpet
Riley Leitch, trombone
Rebecca McDaniel, percussion

Chicago Composers Consortium Electro-Acoustic Concert, Oct 29, 2020 7:30 p.m.

Easily accessed from your favorite armchair for free!


Joao Oliveira La Mer Emeraude (2018) for fixed media

Kyong Mee Choi, Until Heard (2019) for piano and electronics

Mitch Weakley, Synthetechnica (2020) for electronics (premiere)

Timothy Ernest Johnson, Lituus (2020) for 2 clarinets and 4 guitars


Eric Mandat Chiral Symmetries (2013)
I. Stars Twinkle, Planets Shine
IV. Origins
VI. The Universe Stops Expanding Briefly to Offer Advice

Mengmeng Wang, Formulas (2020) (premiere) for clarinet and electronics

Kathleen Ginther, The Air Between

Eric Mandat, The Isoletudes (2020)


Biographies & Program Notes (Program order)

Composer João Pedro Oliveira holds the Corwin Endowed Chair in Composition for the University of California at Santa Barbara. He studied organ performance, composition and architecture in Lisbon. He completed a PhD in Music at the University of New York at Stony Brook. His music includes opera, orchestral compositions, chamber music, electroacoustic music and experimental video. He has received over 50 international prizes and awards for his works, including three Prizes at Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition, the prestigious Magisterium Prize and Giga-Hertz Special Award, 1st Prize in Metamorphoses competition, 1st Prize in Yamaha-Visiones Sonoras Competition, 1st Prize in Musica Nova competition. He taught at Aveiro University (Portugal) and Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). His publications include several articles in journals and a book on 20th century music theory.

La Mer Émeraude (2018): Let us imagine a small invented world, a micro universe where everything exists… matter, energy, spirit, telluric movements, mysteries, natural and supernatural forces. That world is whole and from afar, whoever watches, sees it as a living ocean. This work was composed in the Musiques-Recherches studio and is dedicated to Annette Vande Gorne and Francis Dhomont. It received the second prize at SIME Competition 2019, the first Prize at Cittá di Udine Competition 2020, the first prize at Destellos Competition 2020 and the first prize at Chicago Composers Consortium Competition.


Kyong Mee Choi, composer, organist, painter, poet, and visual artist, received several prestigious awards including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Robert Helps Prize, Aaron Copland Award, John Donald Robb Musical Trust Fund Commission, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, First prize of ASCAP/SEAMUS Award among others. Her music was published at Ablaze, CIMESP (São Paulo, Brazil), SCI, EMS, ERM media, SEAMUS, and Détonants Voyages (Studio Forum, France). She is the Head of Music Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she teaches composition and electro-acoustic music. Samples of her works are available at

Until Heard for piano and electronics depicts the awe of nature. Natural sounds such as rain, birds, thunder, ocean reflect our appreciation of the planet. The main piano melody that is recurring throughout the piece implies our awareness to recognize the beauty of nature. The composer hopes humanity to bring consciousness to conserve the planet that has been damaged through human desire and greed. The piece is dedicated to Lawrence Axelrod for his 60th birthday.

A review in Opera News states that Lawrence Axelrod is “a … composer whose fresh and distinctive music deserves to be more widely known.” He is a composer, pianist and conductor. Mr Axelrod’s musical activities have taken him around the United States, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. His works were performed by ~Nois, the London Sylvan Ensemble, Clocks in Motion, The Chicago Composers Orchestra. His music was included in the Sound of Silent Film Festival by Access Contemporary Music. Mr. Axelrod is a founder and current member of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium and the creator of Opera Adventures.


Mitch Weakley composes dynamic and narrative music in all genres and has a special affinity for electroacoustic music. His compositions have received recognition in performance at conferences and festivals around the country, and in 2015 he was awarded the SEAMUS Allen Strange National Memorial Award. He began composing music in 2005, creating mostly works for rock band or trumpet, his first instrument. He later expanded his compositional repertoire to include more diverse ensembles such as choir, brass ensemble, and strings. During his undergraduate degree he began to learn and write in the electroacoustic genre and since then, electroacoustic music has become a major focus of his compositional output. Mitch holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Eastern Illinois University, and a Master’s in Music Composition from the Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Through experimentation with synthesizers, creating sounds and manipulating presets, I began to develop a library of source materials. These sounds lent themselves to layering and phrasing in such a way that a musical form began to come together intuitively. This initial musical structure then informed more intentional compositional choices and further digital processing, resulting in Synthetechnica, originally composed for 4-channel fixed media playback.


The music of Chicago composer Timothy Ernest Johnson has been performed internationally by some of the world’s best musicians including Winston Choi, the Pianissimo, Ensemble Mise-en, Ensemble Paramirabo, Illinois Modern Ensemble, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Due East, and Ensemble Dal Niente. Johnson has received numerous awards, including Finalist in the Alea III competition. As a classical guitarist, Johnson has performed recitals in North America, Europe and Asia, premiered numerous works, and made two Brazilian jazz recordings with the group Desafinado. Johnson is also a noted researcher in microtonality, and spent several years helping the Kepler String Quartet record Ben Johnston’s music.

Lituus is a partly algorithmic composition based on a mathematical lituus equation that graphs a spiral pattern looking roughly like a treble clef. The music is structured in spiralling pitch patterns, in a tuning space of eighth tones. The guitars have also been restrung to create an expanded tessitura (essentially the range of the cello). The original lituus “was a crooked wand used as a cult instrument in ancient Roman religion by augurs to mark out a ritual space in the sky.” (Wikipedia) Expressively, the composition references the drama of predicting the future in a public ritual in the presence of a powerful ruling official, during which the behavior of the natural world is interpreted as an omen for good or ill. The sense of anxiety and desire for reassurance about contemporary events also informs the expressive elements of the music.


Eric Mandat is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost authorities on clarinet extended techniques. He tours frequently worldwide as a concert soloist. For 15 seasons he was a member of the Chicago Symphony’s MusicNOW ensemble. Eric is Visiting Professor of Clarinet and Distinguished Scholar at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He received the 1999 SIU Outstanding Scholar Award, the university’s highest honor for research/creative work.

Chiral Symmetries traverses a universe rife with elements simultaneously identical and antipodal.

The improvisations in The Isoletudes reflect on the storm cloud of COVID this spring, and humanity’s ebb and flow of uncertainty.


Mengmeng Wang is a DMA composition dissertator at University of Wisconsin-Madison and studies composition with Professor Laura Schwendinger. She received her Master of Music in Composition from Shanghai Conservatory of music. She is the winner Mead Witter School of Music Concerto Competition. She has won awards at 1st eARTS Digital Audio China Competition and the 4th Chinese National Music Exhibition and Performance etc. Her music was performed in Glasow UK, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Ithaca (NY), June in Buffalo (NY) etc.

Formulas is inspired by 3 chemical reactions, Hot ice, BZ reaction, and Copper and Nitric Acid reaction. The electronic track is divided into 3 sections in order to correspond to these 3 chemical reactions. The common structure of the molecules in the 3 reactions is , which also becomes a structure of the chords in the piece. The development of pitch materials depends on the process of atom binding in these chemical reactions. The breaking and recombining of chemical bonds make substance transform from one to another. The music language’s changing and moving just mimic this process.


Kathleen Ginther’s music has been performed in Italy, England, Scotland, Holland, China, Japan and Brazil, and across the United States. She has been awarded multiple Illinois Arts Council Fellowships and is the focus of a composer portrait on ‘Arts Across Illinois’, produced by WTTW (Channel 11). As President and Program Director of American Women Composers Midwest in Chicago, she presented concerts and worked with other performing and presenting groups to integrate music by women into their repertoires. A member of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium, she is the Founder and former Director of Outside The Box, an annual Festival of New Music at Southern Illinois University.

The Air Between is characterized by a juxtaposition of various kinds of contrasts: soft/loud, slow/fast, high/low, pitched/nonpitched. It was written for my friend and colleague Eric Mandat, with whom I had the pleasure of working for many years at Southern Illinois University, and is dedicated to him, with the deepest admiration and affection.


CCC and Spektral Quartet on The Floating Lounge with C3 composers Martha Horst and Laura Schwendinger











We’re delighted to announce a joint online event with the Spektral String Quartet. The event will take place on June 17 at 7:30 PM Central Time. It will feature two of our composers – Laura Elise Schwendinger and Martha C. Horst – talking about the pieces that they wrote for the Spektral Quartet as part of the Bernard Rands Effect concert that was to happen on April 19, but was necessarily postponed. The Spektrals have recorded and pieced together excerpts from both Laura’s and Martha’s piece, which will be presented along with conversation with both composers. It should be a fun and interesting hour that will whet your appetite to hear the whole program when it happens!

The event is free, but you DO need to register. Please follow this link :

Another great way to support us at no cost is with Amazon Smile. When you make your next purchase at Amazon, sign in using the URL instead of the usual way. Here, you can choose the CCC to be the recipient of a percentage of your purchase with no extra cost to you! Win/win!

Thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing you (virtually) on June 17!
Larry Axelrod, president, with Kyong Mee, Tim E, Amos, KC, Martha, Tim J, Laura and Betsy

p.s. We are delighted to announce that eminent composer, saxophonist and educator Amos Gillespie has joined our ranks!

CCC and Spektral Quartet on The Floating Lounge
with C3 composers Martha Horst and Laura Schwendinger
June 17 at 7:30 PM Central

Annual Electro-acoustic music concert

Sam Pluta Photo

Friday, February 21 at 7:30 in Ganz Hall, we will present our annual concert of electro-acoustic music.  Noted local composer Sam Pluta will be our guest for this program, His works Triptych for EF and Points Against Fields for bassoon and electronics will be featured. Also on the program include Unfolding for flute and electronics by Tim Edwards, Steel Plan for lead steel pan, vibraphone and electronics by Tim Johnson, Vanished for harp and electronics by Kyong Mee Choi and Whispers and Secrets, an installation piece by Beth Bradfish. Performers for this program include Ben Roidl-Ward, bassoon, Ben Melsky, harp and Lisa Goethe-McGinn, flute.

Also on the concert will be a work by the winner of this year’s call for scores, Panayiotis Kokoras, and our runner-up John Gibson, chosen from among 59 entries from all over the world.

Please join us for this celebration of one of the cutting edges of new music!


30th Anniversary Celebration Recap

October 6 was a banner day for the Chicago Composers’ Consortium – we celebrated our 30th anniversary at the Experimental Sound Studio. For any organization, this is a remarkable amount of time. For a small self-administered not-for-profit group, it is a minor miracle.

Beth Bradfish and KC Ginther took the lead in organizing the event, assuring that good food (from the Middle Eastern Bakery in Andersonville), lovely silent auction art works and scheduling all went smoothly. Kyong Mee Choi, Martha Horst and Laura Schwendinger used their considerable charm in engaging our attendees, making sure the food and wine remained properly displayed and directing our attendees to the performing space. Tim Edwards provided important audiovisual `support of C3 history. Larry Axelrod, Tim Johnson and Betsy Start, along with former member Sebastian Huydts and flutist and dear longtime supporter and friend Caroline Pittman were the performers.

We also took this important marker to honor one of Chicago’s most fervent supporters of new music – Jane Heron. Jane’s role in creating New Music Chicago, her support of us and many of other new music groups, and her sane, solid advice have been fixtures for many years. We were delighted to share our celebration of good fortune with her.

It was a lovely afternoon, so our audience friends were able to enjoy the garden space. To our delight, most people decided to spend several hours with us, enjoying good food, conversation and music. The warmth and good will of the event were readily apparent to everyone.

Here’s to the beginning of our next decade of bringing the newest music to Chicago!



Happy 30th Birthday C3! A Celebration

October 6, 2019 Experimental Sound Studio, 2-5p           

C3 combines music, food and friends in the galleries and gardens of ESS. Over the course of the afternoon, our guests are invited to listen to works from our repertoire played by our ensemble – – Lawrence Axelrod (piano), Timothy Ernest Johnson (guitar) and Elizabeth Start (cello) joined by collaborating partners Sebastian Huydts (piano) and Caroline Pittman (flute).

Sebastian Huydts -Various for Piano – 10 min
Kyong Mee Choi – For those who left us (for guitar and piano) – 9 min

II (performed in garden, weather permitting)
Lawrence Axelrod – Mandala (for guitar)- 8 min
Elizabeth Start – Various for Cello – 9 min

Timothy Ernest Johnson – Three C Thirty (piano, cello and flute) – 6 min
Martha Horst – Shades of Silence (for piano) – 8 min

Kathleen Cecilia Ginther – Windpool (for guitar) – 9 min
Laura Schwendinger – Rapture (for piano and cello)


Beth Bradfish – Sound Art Chair – an installation


It’s Spring: Electro-Acoustic Music Festival

February 21, 2020 Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University, 7p

C3 presents It’s Spring, an annual electro-acoustic festival, featuring Guest Composer Sam Pluta, a Chicago-based composer, laptop improviser, electronics performer and sound artist, plus CCC members Kyong Mee Choi, Tim Edwards, Tim Johnson and Beth Bradfish.


Call & Response: C3/Spektral Quartet/Bernard Rands

April 19, Constellation, 8:30p

C3 launches a bold 30th Anniversary Season with Call and Response, a concert of 10 World Premieres written for and premiered by Chicago’s superb Spektral String Quartet. It’s a double birthday – for C3 and for Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Bernard Rands, Illinois resident and world renowned composer, who is celebrating his 85th birthday year. The concert features a new string quartet written specifically for this project by Rands, plus short quartets written by C3 composers in response to Rands’ newly composed work, using Rands’ work as a jumping off point into their individual musical landscapes. Riffing on Rands’ musical ideas, C3 enters into a unique musical conversation with each other, with Spektral Quartet, and with the composer whose work inspired this project.


Call & Response – The Tour – C3/Spektral Quartet/Rands

C3 and Spektral Quartet hit the road with a tour throughout Illinois, bringing 10 world premieres plus a variety of outreach activities to local community venues, schools and universities in Carbondale, Cairo, Normal, and Champaign.

Rube Goldberg

Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola

Chicago Composers Consortium Season Finale with the Nois Saxophone Quartet!

The final concert of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium 2018-19 season is special indeed! The special featured performers are the highly acclaimed ~Nois Saxophone Quartet – Hunter Bockes, János Csontos, Jordan Lulloff and Brandon Quarles. The program will include a work by special guest composer Jeremy Rapaport-Stein, winner of this year’s call for scores. The rest of this program features works specially written for ~Nois by CCC members Lawrence Axelrod, Martha Horst, Betsy Start and Timothy Ernest Johnson.We hope you can join us for what will be an exciting evening of the newest music for saxophone, performed by four of Chicago’s new music specialists!

Frequency Series

Sunday, June 2 2019 / 8:30PM / $20/$5
Constellation 3111 N. Western Ave.



Frenetic Dances (2018)            Martha Horst
Chicago Summer (2018)        Timothy Ernest Johnson
Quatresaxfoil (2018)            Elizabeth Start
Frissons (2018)                Lawrence Axelrod
Lucifer Gorgonzola (2016)        Jeremy Rapaport-Stein

Nois Saxophone Quartet:

Hunter Bockes
János Csontos
Jordan Lulloff
Brandon Quarles


Traveling Inside: C3 at ESS


Painting by Cassandra Kaczor
Portrait of Seth Pae Playing His Viola (2016)
Acrylic on Canvas

The Chicago Composers’ Consortium has once again brought together a fascinating group of pieces exploring both electronic and acoustic media including works by three guest composers to keep your eye on, as well as several established Chicago composers. On April 5, Experimental Sound Studio will be the setting for the event including works featuring a variety of instrumentalists performing on bass clarinet, viola, piano, violin, spoken word and French horn, and with an emphasis on electronic interaction.

Themes of travel, motion, dreams, surrealism and introspection pervade these highly individual and personal musical expressions. Guggenheim-winning composer Kyong Mee Choi will include her acousmatic piece Trains of Thought, “based on the experience of sitting on a train and having various thoughts evoked by the sounds of the environment.” Based on a short story, Cassandra Kaczor’s piece secondhand smoke for amplified viola is also a technical study. The theme of introspection continues with the sonically rich electro-acoustic autobiographical piece about a trip to Japan, Journey/Dream by Lawrence Axelrod. Keith Kusterer’s newest premiere will exhibit the most masterful fusion of dramatic and compositional elements in a duet performance for pianist Shi An Costello and electronics. The composer writes “for measure is a surrealist work performed by two very close friends. The live performance is layered with pre-recorded sonic events that are designed to pair with real-time elements of theater, interactive movement and musical gesture.” Jeff Schaller’s piece for solo violin is inspired by soundscape work and virtuosic performance experienced in Italy.

While at ESS, you’ll want to experience The Sound Art Chair, a sound installation by Beth Bradfish in collaboration with Celia Grainer, inspired by her synesthetic response to paintings by Anna Kunz. The project was supported by a grant from DCASE. It is the third sound sculpture object in the series “Home Sounds.”

Experimental Sound Studio

5925 N Ravenswood Ave., Chicago

7:30 pm April 5, 2019

Tickets $20/$5 at the door

C3 @Impromptu Fest

C3 Image faces filter 2 w_ border 3

C3 presents a concert of chamber works at Guarneri Hall in downtown Chicago as part of the second annual Impromptu Fest created by New Music Chicago. Concert to include works by Betsy Start, Larry Axelrod, Tim Johnson, Tim Edwards, KC Ginther and Kyong Mee Choi.

Concert is March 28, 7:30PM.

Guarneri Hall
11 East Adams Street · Suite 350A
Chicago, Illinois 60603

For more info see:

~Nois Saxophone Quartet Competition Results

Rube Goldberg

Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola

This year’s call for scores had the largest response of all that we have held. Sixty-four entries from around the world were sent in. These compositions covered all ranges of style and manner of musical expression. We were truly awed at the variety and quality of the entries.
Larry Axelrod, Kyong Mee Choi and Tim Johnson narrowed the field to twelve finalists, which were sent to ~Nois for their final decision. With typical verve and energy, the members of the quartet listened carefully and decided quickly. The winning composition is Lucifer Gorgonzola by Jeremy Rapaport-Stein. Jeremy is currently a PhD student at Brandeis College in Boston. He hopes to join us for the concert in June!

You can get to know a bit about him here:

We thank all those who took the time to submit to our call for scores. We learned so much about the amazing possibility of the saxophone from your music.
Congratulations to Jeremy Rapaport-Stein!