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The New Season: With Logan Center opening and fresh vision, UC Presents spreads wings

Submitted by on Oct 4, 2012 – 3:59 pm

16th in a series of season previews: The University of Chicago’s international chamber music series expands into the new Logan Center for the Arts with Turtle Island String Quartet leading off Oct. 5.

By Lawrence B. Johnson

It’s shaping up as a banner season for the University of Chicago Presents, with many of its 2012-13 concerts slated for the new Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and the Chicago premiere of Andre Previn’s Piano Trio No. 2 coming up in a series strewn with ensemble debuts.

First-time appearances run the UC Presents gamut from the cutting edge string quartets Turtle Island and Brooklyn Rider to the Baroque-oriented Europa Galante with violinist Fabio Biondi and the eclectic Scottish Ensemble string band.

“The Logan Center is going to change the landscape of cultural offerings in Chicago,” says UC Presents new executive director Amy Iwano, who began her new job in April after 18 years as executive director of Chicago Chamber Musicians.

“It’s going to get people thinking about coming to Hyde Park.”

With its official public opening set for Oct. 12-14, the Logan Center offers a primary performance space seating 474 plus a 150-seat black box and an even more intimate venue that can accommodate 100 listeners.

On the heels of the 2012-13 season opener Oct. 5 with the Takacs Quartet playing in the familiar environs of Mandel Hall, the Turtle Island String Quartet introduces the UC Presents series to the Logan Center with a tribute to rock icon Jimi Hendrix on Oct. 14.

Though the 2013-14 season will be the first to bear Iwano’s fingerprints, the new director says it was the series’ adventuresome tradition and a mandate to keep pushing that envelope that drew her to UC Presents.

“It’s a great series that’s going to see some different approaches to programing – certainly a festival annually or biannually,” says Iwano. “This university has the great intellectual resources to enhance such offerings. And we will continue to develop partnerships with outside presenters.”

The 2012-13 season in brief:

  • Takács Quartet, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m., Mandel Hall. Program: Haydn: String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 76, No. 5; Britten: String Quartet in C major, Op. 36, No. 2; Dvorák: String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, No. 12, “American.” One of the world’s preeminent string quartets. Catch them on YouTube. 
  • Turtle Island Quartet, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m., Logan Center for the Arts. Program: Homage to Jimi Hendrix. Here’s a sampler.
  • SFJazz Collective, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m., Mandel Hall. The music of Chick Corea, program to be announced from the stage. Making its UC Presents debut, this stellar band swings. Here they are on YouTube. 
  • Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m., Logan Center. Program: Works by Corelli, Couperin, Vivaldi and others. Hear this elegant troupe’s Vivaldi on YouTube.
  • Pacifica Quartet, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m., Logan Center. Program: Boccherini: String Quartet Op. 58, No. 2; Bartók: String Quartet No. 6; Beethoven: String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132. Artists in residence at the University of Chicago, the Pacifica Quartet also will present concerts at the Logan Center on Feb. 17 and May 12. Hear this burnished ensemble’s sizzling Bartók.
  • Cappella Pratensis, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Program: Music of Josquin des Prez and the polyphonists of the 15th and 16th centuries. Here’s a gorgeous glimpse of this a cappella group singing Pierre de la Rue’s Introitus Requiem
  • Violinist Cho-Liang Lin, Clarinetist John Bruce Yeh, harpist Deborah Hoffman, cellist Joshua Roman, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m., Mandel Hall. Program: Mixed ensemble music by Paul Reade, Ingolf Dahl, Jacques Ibert, John Williams, Handel and Saint-Saëns. An all-star quartet: Yeh plays with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lin is a veteran virtuoso, Hoffman plays with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Roman has acquired the tag of “classical rock star” cellist.
  • Contempo, Jan. 12, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., Logan Center. The Contempo series spotlights composers from the University of Chicago. Additional Contempo concerts in 2013 will take place at the Logan Center on March 1, April 13, April 14 and May 17, and at Fulton Recital Hall on May 10. Out of the box is what Contempo is all about.
  • Brooklyn Rider, Jan. 25, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., Mandel Hall. Program: Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat, op. 12; Brooklyn Rider: Seven Steps; John Zorn: The Alchemist; Colin Jacobsen: Three Persian Miniatures, and the Brookyn Rider Almanac – a collage of crossover and reimagined works. Eclectic? Try Debussy, then the traditional Persian song “Ascending Bird.” 
  • Cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Kirill Gerstein, Feb. 1, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., Mandel Hall. Program: Liszt: Romance Oubliée Liszt: Die Zelle im Nonnenwerth (IV); Busoni: Kultaselle, variations on a Finnish folksong; Brahms: Sonata for cello and piano in E minor, Op. 38, No. 1; Bartók: Rhapsody No. 1 for cello and piano; Brahms: Sonata for cello and piano in F major, Op. 99, No. 2. Here’s Isserlis playing the Dvořák Cello Concerto. and Gerstein playing the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto. 
  • Harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Logan Center. Program: Works by Johann Kasper Kerll, Couperin, Froberger, Handel and Bach. Here’s the young virtuoso-musicologist performing on the Mozart fortepiano
  • Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m., Logan Center. Program: Orbert Davis: Music from the television documentary, “DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis.” It’s a musical profile of the African American experience in Chicago.
  • Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m., Mandel Hall. Program: Mozart: Trio in B-flat Major, K. 502;  Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50, and the Chicago premiere of Andre Previn’s Piano Trio No. 2, which received its world premiere by this ensemble at Tully Hall in New York in 2009. Hear an excerpt from this well-seasoned trio’s Tchaikovsky.
  • Pavel Hass Quartet, April 12, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., Mandel Hall. Program: Brahms: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2; Schnittke: String Quartet No. 3; Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130 with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133. Hear this impressive young foursome playing Smetana in rehearsal.
  • Scottish Ensemble with Alison Balsom, trumpet, April 19, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., Logan Center. Program: Works by Geminiani, Albinoni, Vivaldi, Handel and Purcell. Ensemble artistic director Jonathan Morton takes you on a backstage visit with his style-savvy Baroque troupe.

Getting there:

The UC Presents performance venues lie in close proximity to each other in Hyde Park on Chicago’s South Side. The Logan Center is located at 915 E. 60th St., Mandel Hall at 1131 E. 57th St., and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at 5850 S. Woodlawn.

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Photo captions and credits:  Home page and top: The Turtle Island String Quartet will be the first UC Presents event at the Logan Center. (Photo by Bill Reitzel) Descending: University of Chicago Presents executive director Amy Iwano. The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. (Photo by Tom Rossiter) SFJazz Collective. Europa Galante. (Photo by Ana de Labra) The Brooklyn Rider string quartet. Harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout. (Photo by Maro Borggreve) Pavel Haas Quartet. Orbert Davis founded the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic to headline the 2004 Chicago Jazz Festival. The Cappella Pratensis performs from a central music stand, singing from the original notation in a large choirbook as in the time of the Renaissance. The Scottish Ensemble is the UK’s only professional string orchestra. (Photo by Joanne Green) University of Chicago’s Logan Center at night. (Photo by Tom Rossiter) 


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