New Music Chicago IMPROMPTU FEST 2019 Preview

New Music Chicago IMPROMPTU FEST
Lakeshore Rush. Photo by Ben Murphy


March 21–31
Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.


Guarneri Hall
11 E. Adams Street
Suite 350A

New Music Chicago (NMC), an organization dedicated to the performance and support of experimental and non-mainstream music, will be hosting its second annual Impromptu Fest, a celebration of Chicago composers, musicians, and enthusiasts of contemporary music.

Impromptu Fest will showcase NMC members in a series of eight concerts featuring 16 Chicago-based ensembles playing newly composed music. This year, Impromptu Fest showcases a number of student ensembles and a wealth of multimedia presentations incorporating video, electronics, still images, and live improvisation.

Impromptu Fest curator Amy Wurtz says “This year we are celebrating homegrown music with the work of 22 Chicago-based composers, including several performing their own work, and well-known Chicago groups such as Gaudete Brass, Fifth House Ensemble, and Crossing Borders Music. The music ranges from completely acoustic to totally electronic and everything in between. We also are including performers from outside the city, including Elmhurst, Evanston, and Naperville. And we are so pleased to help introduce more music lovers to Guarneri Hall, which has exquisite acoustic engineering and state-of-the-art equipment in an intimate, 75-seat setting.”

Among the highlights:

New Music Chicago IMPROMPTU FEST
Photo by Eric Snoza

Fifth House Ensemble, celebrating its 13th season, will perform works by Fresh Inc Festival alumni and contemporary Americana composers for the Fest’s opening on March 21.

New Music Chicago IMPROMPTU FEST

The Chicago Composers’ Consortium (C3) will perform, among other works, Tim Johnson’s Tango Terceira inspired by and written on the Portuguese island of Terceira in the Azores, on March 28.

New Music Chicago IMPROMPTU FEST
Photo by Viola Yip

Aviary, a bassoon/cello duo,  will perform two world premieres by Northwestern University composers Neil Quigley and Ben Zuker, along with the Chicago premiere of a work by Emily Praetorius on March 30.

New Music Chicago IMPROMPTU FEST
Photo by Dan Nichols

The Heare Ensemble, also playing on March 21, will perform George Crumb’s “Vox Balaenae for electric flute, cello and piano” in celebration of his 90th birthday and Carter Pann’s Melodies for Robert and Narong Prangcharoen’s Bencharong.

New Music Chicago IMPROMPTU FEST
Photo by Marc Perlish

Composer Janice Misurell-Mitchell will present compositions for flute and voice with the poetry of Dada founder Hugo Ball, slam champion Regie Gibson, and beat poet William Burroughs on March 29.

New Music Chicago IMPROMPTU FEST
Photo by Nick Zoulek

~Nois, also on March 30, features recent commissions by Gemma Peacocke and Chicago’s Darcy Copeland, as well as Georg Friedrich Haas’s Saxophonquartett. ~Nois will also highlight its recent experiments with modified and deconstructed saxophones through improvisation.


$20, a four-concert pass is $60, and a pass to all eight concerts is $100; each ticket level is half price for students.

For information, please visit the Impromptu Festival website.

or the webpage for Impromptu Festival tickets

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