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

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