Category Archives: Concerts

* Updated Date * Artemisia Vocal Trio performs new works by the Chicago Composers Consortium

For our first concert of 2021, the Chicago Composers’ Consortium is delighted to be collaborating with the local vocal group Artemisia Vocal Trio - Kaitlin Foley, Alexandra Olsavsky, and Diana Lawrence – with the added participation of Beena David.

The concert will be broadcast on Friday, April 30 at 7:30 pm Central Time on the CCC’s own YouTube channel (Concert Link). It will feature seven works for vocal trio and quartet by CCC composers Kyong Mee Choi, Kathleen Ginther, Martha Horst, Timothy Ernest Johnson, Laura Schwendinger and Elizabeth Start. Most of these pieces are premieres. The singers will also talk about their experience with the different compositions as part of the program.

This performance will NOT have the performers stitched together! The singers of Artemisia decided to be their own pod during the pandemic, so they have been able to rehearse and perform together. Therefore, despite the fact that the program will be recorded without an audience in Ganz Hall for broadcast, it will be a like an in-person concert in every other way.

Over the course of the 30+ year history of the Consortium, we have only rarely worked with vocal groups. We are happy to be remedying this notable lack with a fresh exciting program in April.

Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for this unique program by a dynamic, young, local group!

What: Chicago Composers’ Consortium presents the Artemisia Trio
When: Friday, April 30 7:30
Where: The YouTube Channel of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium

Featured Works:

Pale Courage by Kyong Mee Choi

Give Sorrow Words by Kathleen Ginther

Hand Games by Martha Horst

Un jour de les voix des femmes by Timothy Ernest Johnson

STARS and All Those That Love You by Laura Schwendinger

Uncertain Futures by Elizabeth Start

To pique your interest even further about this concert, here are a few words by the composers about their pieces.

Martha – As a little girl growing up in twentieth century America, I learned hand games on the playground and from my mother, who learned them when growing up in the Appalachian Mountains. All third grade girls knew multiple moves, songs, rhythms, and patterns for various songs. The songs in my work titled Hand Games are a celebration of this rich American folk music tradition.

Tim J- In my “Un jour de les voix des femmes”, Emily Dickinson’s beautiful poem “A Day” acts as a frame around a musical exploration of other poems by Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Sophie d’Arbouville. I hope that Artemisia finds the perfect vehicle for their fun, eclectic and socially relevant approach to performance and repertoire in this music.

Kyong Mee – <Pale Courage> is a true story about the composer’s grand-aunt who chose starvation to death to fight for her dream to be educated and independent instead of being forced to marry a man who she did not know. Her father’s refusal and denial to accept her wish to go to school continued as well as her hunger strike, which led to her death. The composer wrote the text of the piece. This story also becomes the 3-act Opera, <Pale Courage> which is in the work-in-progress.

Betsy – In addition to real life and death struggles, this past year has included soul-searching on personal and national/international levels, refocusing discussions, and hope of re-imagined future dynamics, all of which are uncertain at this time. All three of the Conrad Hilberry poems I set here  present situations where the future is anticipated, but the realities unknown. The first tells us “when I’m hungry enough….. I will know what the goat knows”, but what is that? The second, looking at a relationship of two people with analogs to geometry, ends wondering if their lines will converge into a point or diverge obtusely. The final poem sets “moon” as a “metaphor for what we leave unsaid”, and the poem ends with the moon, “appalling”, about to speak.

Laura – STARS for four woman’s voices and set to a poem by the Canadian Marjorie Pickthall Pickthall published much of her work while she was still young, and died at only 39. John Garvin, writing in Canadian Poets, “evident that a genius of a rare order had appeared in Canadian literature.’’ (A) writer of pain and presence whom we all, male and female alike, ought to read” In my setting, I have sought to capture the exquisite beauty of the heavens, and that feeling we all have when we look up at the stars in awe but also how small and alone it can make us feel in the face of the utter vastness. ALL THOSE WHO LOVE YOU is for Woman’s Voices, from the Songs of Solomon, is about spiritual and romantic love. It is from my six Choral settings, commissioned by the Marsh Chapel Choir and was performed by them at Carnegie Hall in 2012. These two settings are paired to capture two kinds of wonder, human love and transcendental awe.

KC – In addition to the universal sorrow and grief of the past year, ’Give Sorrow Words’ had a more specific impetus – an article in Vanity Fair by Ta-Nihisi Coates about Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor. This article affected me deeply. I was blown away by the courage of this woman in facing the unimaginable loss of her daughter. I wrote ‘Give Sorrow Words’ thinking of all the mothers, and all the fathers, and everyone who has lost a child during this year of tragedy. The words are by Shakespeare and Rumi.


Spektral Floating Lounge with C3 Composers

spektral.vertical.bwOur concert with the Spektral Quartet – The Bernard Rands Effect – finally has a performance date: March 2, 2022. This is actually Bernard’s birthday and we are looking forward to giving him our long-postponed gift! This wonderful program will feature a short new string quartet by Bernard and eight responses by CCC composers. It’s hard to beat nine premieres played by the Spektrals in one evening! We will update time and location soon.

In the meantime, as preambles for the March concert, we will be doing three of Spektral Quartet’s very popular Floating Lounge programs, each one featuring two of our composers, an excerpt of their quartets for this program and conversation. They are fun online events and have proven very popular.
The dates are:
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

All programs are at 7:30 PM. They are free, but you must register through the Spektral Quartet website.


The Chicago Composers’ Consortium will continue its tradition of presenting a concert celebrating electro-acoustic works on October 29 at 7:30 PM. This program will be in a virtual format in conjunction with Experimental Sound Studio.

Clarinetist and composer Eric Mandat, a longtime friend of the CCC, is our featured guest. He will play three movements of his 2013 work Chiral Symmetries and an excerpt of his new work The Isoletudes. Eric will also play a new work by emerging composer Mengmeng Wang titled Formulas and a work by Consortium member Kathleen Ginther, The Line Between, that was written specifically for him. Lituus for 2 clarinets, 4 guitars and video by Timothy Ernest Johnson was also written specifically for this occasion.

Another emerging composer, Mitch Weakley, will premiere his Synthetechnica for fixed media.

We are also delighted to present the beautiful and imaginative work La Mer Émeraude for fixed media by Joao Oliveira, which won the 2020 Chicago Composers Consortium Composition Competition. This exceptional piece was chosen from among 49 entries from around the world.

Two other premieres will round out this varied program. Until Heard, for piano and electronics, by Kyong Mee Choi, and a new work by Timothy Edwards for electronics with video.

Please join us for this exciting online presentation of some of the newest works on the planet!

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

CCC and Spektral Quartet at Constellation – POSTPONED


Bernard Rands Effect Concert Postponement

We are sorry to announce the postponement of our April 19 concert featuring the music of Bernard Rands and eight of our CCC members, due to ongoing health concerns. Both the Spektral Quartet and the Chicago Composers’ Consortium are eager to get this concert in front of an audience as soon as is possible. The exciting combination of a premiere by Bernard Rands and the responses to this new piece by our composers still feels as fun, exciting, and musically enriching as ever.

We will update you on a new date for this concert, as well as plans for our 20/21 season, as soon as they become clear. In the meantime, please keep listening to new music! Support all of your musician friends who are struggling through this crisis. We are all itching both to perform and be part of an audience again very soon!


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