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Chicago Has 44 Awesome Classical, New Music, and Opera Events in October

The city is putting a ridiculous amount of culture on stage this month. Go listen.

Photo illustration: andrew r. davis photography. Photography: (rorem) jessica griffin/ap; (cabell) devon cass; (zorn) bernd thissen/ap
 

Three acts to see this month (from left): Composer Ned Rorem’s 90th birthday celebration at Northwestern (for $8!), Nicole Cabell’s recital in Northeastern University’s Jewel Box series, and a performance of composer John Zorn’s work by the International Contemporary Ensemble at the Museum of Contemporary Art. 

ACCESS CONTEMPORARY MUSIC Free!
10/19–20 at noon ACM partners with the Chicago Architecture Foundation to present new works composed for spaces open to the public during Open House Chicago. acmusic.org.

BELLA VOCE
10/5 at 7:30, 10/6 at 3:30 The chamber choir presents a concert influenced by the Estonian composer Veljo Tormis. $15–$38. 10/5: Grace Lutheran Church, 7400 Division, River Forest. 10/6: St. Clement Church, 642 W Deming. bellavoce.org.

CHICAGO A CAPPELLA
10/12 at 8, 10/13 at 4, 10/18–19 at 8 Kicking off its 20th-anniversary season, the choir covers Rufus Wainwright, the local artist Stacy Garrop, and Paul Crabtree. $12–$38. Locations: chicagoacappella.org.

CHICAGO CHAMBER MUSICIANS
10/13–14 at 7:30 Britten’s 100th-birthday party rocks on with chamber works inspired by the turn-of-the-17th-century composer John Dowland. $35–$45. 10/13: Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston. 10/14: Gottlieb Hall, Merit School of Music, 38 S Peoria. chicagochambermusic.org.

CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER Free!
10/2 at 12:15 Alice Yoo, cello, and Renana Gutman, piano.
10/7 at 12 Chicago Chamber Musicians play a 20th-century British program of Britten, Frank Bridge, and Elgar.
10/9 at 12:15 Daria Rabotkina, piano.
10/15 at 7:30 Ensemble Dal Niente plays Johannes Kreidler, including Charts Music, a piece inspired by the stock market crash.
10/16 at 12:15 Ang Li, piano.
10/23 at 12:15 For the 36th anniversary of the Myra Hess concert series, the Avalon Quartet and the pianist Kuang-Hao Huang play Brahms’s Piano Quintet, op. 34.
10/30 at 12:15 Ruth Marshall, cello, and Garret Ross, piano.
78 E Washington. explorechicago.org.

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
10/1, 4 at 7; 10/6 at 3 Verdi’s opera Macbeth receives a concert treatment. $35–$278.
10/3, 5 at 8; 10/8 at 7:30; 10/11 at 1:30 Robert Chen, the CSO’s concertmaster, plays the Hindemith violin concerto under Muti’s baton. $31–$246.
10/10 at 7:30 Muti conducts Verdi’s exquisite Requiem. The soloists include the soprano Tatiana Serjan, a Muti favorite. $40–$325.
10/17 at 6:30 The guest conductor Susanna Mälkki leads this Afterwork Masterworks concert featuring Debussy’s La Mer, the contemporary composer Thomas Adès’s . . . But All Shall Be Well, and Stravinsky’s D Major violin concerto, played by Mälkki’s fellow contemporary-music specialist, Leila Josefowicz. $36–$96.
10/19 at 8, 10/22 at 7:30 In addition to the Debussy, Adès, and Stravinsky, Mälkki includes Jean Sibelius’s orchestral suite. $27–$214.
10/24–26 at 8 Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with frequent Chicago visitor Kirill Gerstein soloing. $28–$214.
10/31–11/2 at 8, 11/3 at 3 CSO BFF Bernard Haitink leads the orchestra in Bruckner’s “Romantic” Symphony (No. 4) and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27, featuring the exuberant Emanuel Ax. $32–$217.
Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org.

FREQUENCY
10/6 at 8:30 Maverick Ensemble performs Charles Ives’s “Concord” Sonata and the works of Morton Feldman and Olivier Messiaen, among others. $10.
10/13 at 8:30 The toy-piano specialist Phyllis Chen throws an album release party. $10.
10/20 at 8:30 Third Coast Percussion. $10–$20.
10/26 at 8:30 Spektral Quartet releases its album Chambers, with tracks by the local composers Marcos Balter, Eliza Brown, and Ben Hjertmann. $15 for admission and album download.
10/27 at 8 Members of the Chicago Composers Orchestra and the composer Olivia Block join the album-release-party party. $10.
Constellation, 3111 N Western. constellation-chicago.com.

HARRIS THEATER
10/1 at 7:30 The black and Latino orchestra Sphinx Virtuosi invites the mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves to perform Bach, Vivaldi, and Astor Piazzolla. $10–$25.
10/17 at 7:30 Another star mezzo, Stephanie Blythe, appears on a baroque and classical program with the Canadian chamber ensemble Les Violons du Roy. $40–$55.
10/19 at 7:30 The Miami-based New World Symphony plays new works, including a piece by Niccolò Castiglioni. $30–$95.
205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org.

HAYMARKET OPERA COMPANY
10/26 at 5 and 8, 10/27 at 3 The period troupe returns for the first time since February to play Georg Philipp Telemann’s Pimpinone, a comedy about a merchant seduced by his chambermaid. $53–$63. Mayne Stage, 1328 W Morse. haymarketopera.org.

INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ENSEMBLE
10/20 at 6:30 The new-music confederation plays George Crumb’s seminal Vox Balaenae as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival. $15. Logan Center, U of C, 915 E 60th.
10/26 at 7:30 ICE celebrates the New York iconoclast John Zorn’s 60th birthday with a concert of his works, including the premiere of Fleurs du Mal. $10–$28.
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. iceorg.org.

JEWEL BOX SERIES
10/18 at 7:30 The clarion soprano Nicole Cabell sings a recital, accompanied by Susan Tang. $5–$25. Northeastern Ill U Auditorium, 3701 W Bryn Mawr.

LYRIC OPERA
10/5–11/2 Lyric’s season begins with Verdi’s Otello, the only 2013–14 production that has played in Chicago before. The casually powerful Johan Botha plays Otello, with the luxuriant Ana María Martínez as his leading lady, Desdemona. $34–$600.
10/15–30 This new-to-Chicago production of Madama Butterfly marks the Lyric directorial debut of the Shakespearean theatre specialist Michael Grandage. Amanda Echalaz and James Valenti have their company debuts. $34–$244.
Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker. lyricopera.org.

MUSICNOW
10/21 at 7 The CSO’s new-music series opens its season with an all-European lineup that includes the Swede Anders Hillborg’s Vaporized Tivoli. $10–$25. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. cso.org/musicnow.

MUSIC OF THE BAROQUE
10/6–7 at 7:30 MOB starts its season with some Bach scratching: two cantatas and the Magnificat, led by Nicholas Kraemer. $27–$75. 10/6: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie. 10/7: Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. baroque.org.

PICK-STAIGER HALL
10/10–11 at 7:30 Northwestern University, Ned Rorem’s one-time alma mater, mounts two concerts of Rorem’s chamber music in honor of his 90th birthday. $5–$8. Northwestern U, 50 Arts Circle, Evanston. pickstaiger.org.

SOUTH SHORE OPERA COMPANY
10/19 at 6 The group presents Troubled Island, an opera about slaves in 18th-century Haiti, by the composer William Grant Still. $35–$100. South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S Shore. southshoreopera.org.

SYMPHONY CENTER
10/2 at 7 The Mariinsky Orchestra has thrived as one of the world’s great ensembles under the conductor Valery Gergiev, who is also the principal conductor of the London Symphony. It performs Stravinsky’s three most famous ballets, The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring, this last one getting a final hurrah in its centennial year. $27–$195.
10/13 at 3 The versatile pianist Jeremy Denk, also known for his blogging and New Yorker essays, plays the complete Goldberg Variations of J. S. Bach. $20–$78.
10/26 at 3 Child Friendly The Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the CSO’s training orchestra, vamps it up for its Halloween concert, targeted to kids ages 5 and older. $10–$60.
10/27 at 3 After last season’s effort at Bach completism (he played the entire second volume of the Well-Tempered Clavier), András Schiff performs Bach’s six keyboard partitas in a single concert. $34–$99.
Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org.

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESENTS
10/4 at 7:30 The downstate Jupiter Quartet combines a pair of Britten quartets (Nos. 1 and 3) with the Brahms String Quintet No. 2. $5–$35. Mandel Hall, U of C, 1131 E 57th.
10/6 at 3 The Pacifica Quartet fills in the hole left by Jupiter, playing Britten’s String Quartet No. 2. Beethoven’s late quartet (op. 130), capped by the Great Fugue, op. 133, constitutes the second half of the concert. $5–$25. Logan Center, U of C, 915 E 60th.
10/15 at 7:30 Jean-Guihen Queyras plays solo cello works by Bach, Britten, and Kodály. $5–$35. Logan Center, U of C, 915 E 60th.
10/18 at 7 Proving that the sun never sets on Britten, the tenor Nicholas Phan sings two of Britten’s canticles, along with Schubert lieder. $5–$35. Mandel Hall, U of C, 1131 E 57th.
chicagopresents.uchicago.edu.

 

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