Category Archives: Concerts



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:

CCC and Friends, September 23

Butterfly, painting by Kyong Mee Choi

Butterfly, painting by Kyong Mee Choi

The Chicago Composers’ Consortium offers a fresh selection of compositions performed by members of the consortium and outstanding guests, including Caroline Pittman, Jeff Yang, Daniel Williams, Eleanor Bartsch. Join us September 23 at 3pm for a lovely fall afternoon enjoying the remarkable resonance of beautiful North Shore Baptist Church in Andersonville.

Rippled Pond for violin, cello, piano by Kyong Mee Choi
Summer Triangle for solo flute by Roger Zare
vc pc for cello and piano by Jason Raynovich
Upbeat for solo clarinet by Martha C. Horst
Simic Songs for guitar and voice by Timothy Ernest Johnson
The Violinists in My Life for piano and violin by Laura Schwendinger
Silent Moon Variations for violin, clarinet, piano by Elizabeth Start

Sunday at 3pm, September 23, 2018
North Shore Baptist Church
5244 N. Lakewood Avenue, Chicago
Suggested donation: $15 accepted at the door

May 6 concert featuring Lakeshore Rush

CCC Season Finale with Lakeshore Rush

Sunday, May 6 2018
2:30 PM
Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University
430 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Donations accepted at the door

Our final concert of the season is Sunday, May 6 at 2:30 PM, Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University.

Our guest artists for this concert are Lakeshore Rush, a sextet consisting of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion.

There will be three world premieres by our member composers: Night Contemplation and Dance by Elizabeth Start, Curved Silence by Beth Bradfish and Ji Chon Myong by Kyong Mee Choi. Until the Sunrise by Laura Schwendinger will receive its Chicago premiere. Portrait of a Moment by Timothy Dwight Edwards has been previously performed by Eighth Blackbird, Contempo and other ensembles.

Here is what people are saying about these composers:

Timothy Edwards is a versatile composer both in electronic and live acoustic music of all combinations. His often playful music was described by the Chicago Sun Times as having “a sense of purposeful direction that kept us anxious to hear what would happen next.”

Elizabeth Start’s work is described as “engaging Buoyancy… a bustle of rhythmic energy, tightly assembled,…(Chicago Tribune) …”Full of great ideas, fun accidentals, suggested dances.  Wonderful stuff…”  (WMUK-FM)

About Laura Schwendinger’s Creature Quartet release featuring the JACK Quartet, “The sheer intensity of both music and performance thereof is spellbinding, as if the passion of the composer for her subject shines through like a light.”

Kyong Mee Choi’s music pays intimate attention to dynamic and expressive gestures and the organic evolution of a deeply personal sonic journey. Along the way it becomes the felt experience of each listener who attends to it.”

“(Beth) Bradfish is a groundbreaking electronic composer whose works are as heartfelt as they are daring. Bradfish’s work has an emotional immediacy that lends it an incredible power.”

We will also feature the winner of our competition for a work to be included on this program. From thirty-nine impressive international entrants we chose Amos Gillespie, a local composer and his piece, The Spanish Speakers.

The concert will conclude with David Lang’s these broken wings, an unusual post-minimal work whose hypnotic slow movement includes various metal objects being dropped to the floor.

We are happy to be presenting the program in Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University, a lovely space in which to enjoy chamber music such as this.

We look forward to seeing you there and celebrating the end of our 28th season!


Cello-stravaganza featuring Craig Hultgren

with featured guest composers Mischa Zupko, Seung-Wan Oh, and Marc LeMay

The Chicago Composers’ Consortium presents Cello-stravaganza! This year, our annual concert featuring electro-acoustic music has a low-string twist: Guest cellist Craig Hultgren, nationally known for his superb performances of new and experimental music, will play works both with electronics and piano. The concert will also feature the CCC’s own cellist/composer Betsy Start in electric and acoustic cello works.

Our guest composers on this program will include local favorite Mischa Zupko, represented by his powerful rhythmically-charged work Fallen for cello and piano. Also, Philadelphia-based composer Marc LeMay will be represented with his work The Crab for cello, electronics and video. The final guest work on the concert will be the solo cello work Persistent Memory by Korean-born Seung-Won Oh.

Adding to the richness of the program, the CCC composer offerings will be the premiere of In Winter for cello and piano by Lawrence Axelrod, Inner Space for cello and electronics by Kyong Mee Choi, Aurora Inscrutabile for cello and electronics by Tim Johnson and a work for electric cello by Betsy Start.

The concert will be held in the Puth Family Theater, a fun black-box theater environment that is a part of the Music Institute of Chicago in Evanston. An ideal location for this electro-acoustic program.

Please join us for this fun concert featuring great performers that will uncover the many sides of the cello in a congenial setting!

Mischa Zupko    Fallen
Marc LeMay        The Crab
Seung-Won Oh    Persistent Memory
Lawrence Axelrod In Winter (premiere)
Kyong Mee Choi    Inner Space
Timothy Ernest Johnson    Aurora Inscrutabile
Elizabeth Start        ecello work tbd

Sunday, March 18 3 PM
Tickets: $20/$10 students and seniors

Puth Family Theater of the Music Institute of Chicago
1702 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, Illinois


deadline extended, season at a glance

Lakeshore Rush competition deadline extended to October 15

The Chicago Composers’ Consortium announces a call for scores for its upcoming collaboration with Lakeshore Rush ( on May 6, 2018. The winner of the call for scores will have her/his work programmed alongside those of members of the Consortium. There will also be a small stipend offered for travel. A concert recording will be made for the winner’s personal use.

The original deadline of October 1 has been extended to October 15. See the competition details here


2017-2018 Season

Friday, October 20, 2017 at 7:30 • Chamber works
Chamber works including flute, clarinet, violin, cello, guitar and piano by George Flynn, Marta Ptaczynska, Randall West, Lawrence Axelrod, Elizabeth Start and Timothy Johnson
North Shore Baptist Church 5244 N. Lakewood Ave
Tickets: $20/$10 students/seniors

March 18, 2018Cello-stravaganza
Featuring cellist Craig Hultgren, with cellist Elizabeth Start, pianist Lawrence Axelrod, and others
Composers: Misha Zupko, Seung-Won Oh, Lawrence Axelrod, Timothy Johnson and Kathleen Ginther.

Sunday, May 6 • Lakeshore Rush
Lakeshore Rush: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion
Composers: Beth Bradfish, Kyong-Mee Choi, Laura Schwendinger, Timothy Edwards, and our competition winner

Our 2017-2018 season, details.

Five Studies in Black and White 2017


Music for two pianos

pianosLawrence Axelrod and Sebastian Huydts, pianists

For our final concert of the 2016/17 season, the Chicago Composers’ Consortium will present pianist-composers Lawrence Axelrod and Sebastian Huydts in a program of music for two pianos. This lesser-known keyboard repertoire offers amazing sonic possibility, especially in this exciting collection of 20th and 21st century pieces. Lawrence Axelrod’s As Summer Wanes, an elegaic work that explores both extended techniques and gentle lyricism, will receive its premiere. Sebastian Huydts’ substantial Fifth Sonata, with powerful echoes of Shostakovich and Spanish music, will finish the program. The classic repertoire is a delightful mix of styles. Debussy’s exquisite En blanc et noir shows great breadth of compositional and emotional range, from joyous to intensely personal to fun. Britten also juxtaposed seriousness and fun in his Introduction and Rondo alla burlesca. Frank Martin’s Overture and Foxtrot contrasts a highly organized sonata-form movement and a jazz/popular dance-inspired movement with highly individual melody and tonality.

Please join us for this wide-ranging and exciting program!

Thursday, May 18, 7:30 pm
Sherwood Conservatory Concert Hall
1312 S Michigan Ave

Lawrence Axelrod ~ As Summer Wanes (world premiere)
Sebastian Huydts ~ Fifth Sonata, op. 39 (for two pianos)
Claude Debussy ~ En blanc et noir
Benjamin Britten ~ Introduction and Rondo alla Burlesca
Frank Martin ~ Overture and Foxtrot


Chicago Composers Orchestra premières five Chicago works


Chicago Stories happens Saturday, April 22, with five orchestral world premieres about Chicago specially commissioned for this concert, all by composers associated with Chicago. The Consortium teams up with the Chicago Composers Orchestra, a Chicago-based 40-member orchestra that is dedicated to presenting works by living composers.

buckingham fountainKyong Mee Choi’s Water Bloom II is inspired by the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain in Chicago. Originally the piece, Water Bloom, was written for two pianos and eight hands. Water Bloom II used most of the ideas from the original piece while some sections were altered in order to add more colorful expressions. The image of multi-layered water spreading during a sunny day was the main inspiration of the work.

wdTimothy Johnson’s Logan Square: Tough Neighborhood, from From Jørgensen to Johnson is based on the family history of the composer in the city of Chicago. It is a loving tribute to his family: Danish immigrants to Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, evoking the life they faced in old Chicago in all its brutality and beauty.

The structure of Martha Horst’s Cloud Gate directly correlates to the structure of Kapoor’s sculpture of the same name.

oceanie_la_merOcéanie La Mer by Laura Schwendinger is inspired by Matisse’s work of the same name, a weaving exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The composer relates: “Living near the lake in Lincoln Park, it struck me how much like an inland sea it was, larger than any lake I had ever lived near, it reminded me more of the Ocean as I remembered it when growing up in the Bay Area. On one of my frequent visits to the Art Institute, I was able to see this work of Matisse. The water evoked by the work, inspired this musical depiction of undulating waves, above the dark waters below filled with mysterious underwater creatures.”

Elizabeth Start’s With the Flow: Musings on the Chicago River takes inspiration from Smetana’s Moldau while referencing the Chicago River’s history and changes of flow, with brief vignettes that reference locations along its path.

Having just come from the Composing in the Wilderness experience in Alaska last summer, it was jarring to think of writing a piece “about” something related to a big city like Chicago.  I found a compromise in the river, which can inspire so many relationships connected to nature, history, geography, and in this case, engineering.  This piece is by no means inclusive of all these things, but influenced by all.  It may be expanded at some point in the near future to delve more deeply into some of these ideas, but presently it is at times a whirlwind sampling of Chicago River imagery, which I hope will be entertaining to listen to. —Elizabeth Start


Concert details

Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7:30 pm
St. James Cathedral
65 E Huron, Chicago [map]

Chicago Composers Orchestra