- The 25 Best Things to Do in March
- Other Events
How we pick the events: These listings are not advertisements. They are a selective guide to arts events recommended by Chicago’s culture critics.
Know before you go: Details of listings can change at the last minute. Please call ahead to confirm.
Bella Voce Camerata
3/22 at 7:30, 3/23 at 3:30 The renowned chamber choir Bella Voce squeezes into an even smaller chamber as this subgroup debuts, singing David Lang’s Pulitzer-winning The Little Match Girl Passion and Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri. $15–$38. 3/22: Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division, River Forest. 3/23: St Luke’s Episcopal Church, 939 Hinman, Evanston. bellavoce.org
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
3/18 at 7:30 The New York group, which just renewed its residency at the Harris through the 2016–17 season, plays all early-20th-century French works here, the most famous of which are Ravel’s piano suite Jeux d’eau and Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp. $15–$30. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org
Chicago Chamber Musicians
3/30, 31 at 7:30 A program called A Musicians’ Renaissance covers three 17th-century works for violins, trombone, and continuo, as well as Robert Fuchs’s 20th-century Clarinet Quintet and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2. $10–$45. 3/30: Nichols Concert Hall, Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago, Evanston. 3/31: Gottlieb Hall, Merit School of Music, 38 S Peoria. chicagochambermusic.org
Chicago Cultural Center
3/5 at 12:15 Yuri Shadrin, piano.
3/9 at 3 Ensemble Dal Niente gives the Chicago premiere of Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee, a series of recently composed canons and intermezzi.
3/10 at 12:15 Calumet Chamber Musicians.
3/12 at 12:15 Yue Chu, piano.
3/16 at 3 The young-adult Classical Symphony Orchestra.
3/19 at 12:15 Yoo Jin Jang, violin, and Renana Gutman, piano.
3/23 at 3 Midwest Young Artists.
3/24 at 12:15 The flute-harp Lyrebird Ensemble.
3/26 at 12:15 Anna Bulkina, piano.
78 E Washington. explorechicago.org
Chicago Opera Theater
Through 3/23 Duke Ellington left his only opera, Queenie Pie, unfinished at his death, and attempts at reconstruction have struggled with the weird, possibly opera-satirizing plot about a top Harlem beautician and her upstart rival. Of the handful of productions mounted, none of which have played in Chicago, reviewers describe the music as unmistakably Ellington, touching on his big-band vibes, his sacred music, and the orchestral sound he just called “American.” $35–$125. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. chicagooperatheater.org
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
3/5 at 6:30 The CSO’s sterling flutist Mathieu Dufour and the conductor Charles Dutoit premiere Guillaume Connesson’s flute concerto Pour Sortir au Jour in the early-start, no-intermission Afterwork Masterworks series, with a postconcert wine reception. Saint-Saëns’s “Organ Symphony” (No. 3), featuring the star organist Paul Jacobs, completes the program. Jacobs also plays a preconcert recital at 5:30. $33–$96.
3/6 at 8, 3/7 at 1:30, 3/8 at 8 To the Connesson and Saint-Saëns pieces, Dutoit’s subscription series program adds Paul Dukas’s ballet La Péri. Jacobs plays preconcert recitals at 7:00 on 3/6 and 3/8 and at 12:15 on 3/7. $27–$214.
3/13 at 8, 3/14 at 1:30, 3/15 at 8, 3/18 at 7:30 In a rare move, the pianist and conductor Mitsuko Uchida, an annual CSO guest, stays for two weeks this year. Also unusual: the program includes a Mozart solo piano piece and a chamber piece—Schubert’s “The Trout” quintet—alongside the expected Mozart piano concerto (No. 19 this time). $31–$246.
3/20 at 8, 3/21 at 1:30, 3/22 at 8 Uchida’s second orchestral concert falls under Riccardo Muti’s baton, as she plays Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. In the second half of the concert, Muti continues his Schubert project with one of the composer’s most famous symphonies, No. 9. $39–$260.
3/21 at 8 CSO at the Movies screens Charlie Chaplin’s silent film City Lights, with orchestra members playing the score, which is written by Chaplin himself. $35–$120.
Child Friendly 3/22 at 10 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Once Upon a Symphony, the CSO’s program for kids ages 3 to 5, tells the story of the Three Little Pigs. $16.
3/26 at 6:30 Riccardo Muti conducts two greatest-hits orchestral works for the Afterwork Masterworks series: Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony (No. 8) and Elgar’s cello concerto, spotlighting the CSO’s principal cellist, John Sharp. $33–$96.
3/27 at 8, 3/28 at 1:30, 3/29 at 8 The weekend beefing up of Muti’s Schubert-Elgar program adds Schubert’s Second Symphony. $39–$260.
Child Friendly 3/29 at 10 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Once Upon a Symphony reprises the Three Little Pigs. $16.
Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org
3/28–4/13 The éminence grise among the welter of new-music groups now working in Chicago, CUBE recently changed leadership for the first time in its 25-year history. The founder, Patricia Morehead, stepped down and appointed Hope Littwin and Kroydell Galima to steer the group, which will now build new projects in close collaboration with theatre, dance, literature, and other art forms. Its first show under the new regime goes up this month: La Tragédie de Carmen, a 90-minute condensation of the Bizet opera for four singers, a nonsinging actor, and piano accompaniment. Littwin plays Carmen. $10–$35. Den Theatre, 1333 N Milwaukee. cubeensemble.com
3/8 at 7:30, 3/9 at 3 Still in Motion, Eighth Blackbird and MCA Chicago are presenting the program Still in Motion rather than the previously announced Heart and Breath (including Colombine’s Paradise Theatre). Due to a knee injury of an ensemble member and the theatrical demands of Colombine’s Paradise Theatre, that program is replaced and may be presented in a future season. $10–$28. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. eighthblackbird.org
3/2 at 8:30 Fifth House Ensemble presents Invoking the Muse, interweaving new music by composers such as Philip Glass and Augusta Read Thomas with monologues. $12–$15.
3/9 at 8:30 The new new-music ensemble Latitude 49. $8.
3/19 at 7:30 The New York–based NOW Ensemble, including the composer Judd Greenstein, also the impresario of the indie-classical Ecstatic Music Festival. $15. 3/23 at 8:30 Nicholas Phillips, piano. $8.
3/29 at 8:30 The dynamic string foursome Spektral Quartet commissioned more than 40 composers, including the new-music superstars David Lang and Nico Muhly, to compose ringtones. Here, the quartet exhibits and performs the ringtones—which you can actually download to your phone. $8.
3/30 at 8:30 The local ensemble Aperiodic shares a bill with the composer-percussion duo Sargent and Saint, who play Saint, a new 30-minute work for extended-range glockenspiel. $8.
Constellation, 3111 N Western. constellation-chicago.com
Haymarket Opera Company
3/7 at 7:30, 3/8 at 5 and 8 The baroque opera specialists mount a double bill of short dramas by the French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Le Jugement de Pan stages a singing contest between two shepherds adjudicated by Pan, the satyr-like god of the wild. Actéon recounts the story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses of the hunter Actéon spying on the goddess of the hunt, Diana, as she bathes. $50–$60. Mayne Stage, 1328 W Morse. haymarketopera.org
International Contemporary Ensemble
3/21–23 at 7:30 The composer Alvin Lucier made his name with science-experiment-type music, such as rigging performers’ brain waves to percussion instruments or exploring the acoustics of performance spaces. ICE pays homage to the octogenarian in three concerts, each focusing on a different theme of Lucier’s work. $10–$28. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. iceorg.org
Critic’s Pick 3/5–23 La Clemenza di Tito. Evanston’s Matthew Polenzani stars as Tito in Mozart’s underrated opera seria of political and romantic intrigue in old Rome. Also featuring Amanda Majeski as Vitellia and Joyce DiDonato in the role of Sesto. $34–$309.
3/19 at 7:30 The star tenor Jonas Kaufmann, not seen at Lyric since 2008, and Renée Fleming, not otherwise on Lyric’s stage this season despite her leadership role, sing the subscriber appreciation concert, also accessible in single-ticket sales to nonsubscribers. $79–$179.
Through 3/16 Rusalka. Never before staged at Lyric, Dvořák’s opera tells the dark fairy tale of the water nymph Rusalka, who falls in love with a prince and wishes to become human. It doesn’t end as happily as Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Ana María Martínez, who sang Desdemona in Otello earlier this season, plays Rusalka. $44–$319. Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker. lyricopera.org
Music of the Baroque
3/2–3 at 7:30 Update: This is rescheduled for 4/21 due to a fire at the Harris Theater. MoB’s principal guest conductor, Nicholas Kraemer, showcases works in the Italian style by Handel and Bach, including Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 1. $27–$75.
3/30–31 at 7:30 Let there be light! Jane Glover helms Haydn’s great oratorio The Creation, overseeing orchestra, chorus, and a soloist corps including the stellar soprano Elizabeth Futral and the sensitive tenor Nicholas Phan. $27–$75.
3/2, 30: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie. 3/3, 31: Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. baroque.org
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
3/5 at 7:30 The avant-garde violinist Miranda Cuckson, ecumenically visiting both Northwestern and the U. of C. this month (see University of Chicago Presents), headlines a concert of music by the thorny 20th-century Italian composer Luigi Nono. $4–$6.
Through 3/2 Since its 1998 premiere, Mark Adamo’s opera Little Women has scored dozens of repeat performances. The accessible (and maybe the tiniest bit cloying) score strikes operagoers as modern but not scary. $7–$16.
Northwestern U, 50 Arts Circle, Evanston. pickstaiger.org
3/22 at 8 Musicians from Ravinia’s summer conservatory, Steans Music Institute, play Haydn and Schubert chamber works and a commission called Aria Fantasy by David Ludwig that premiered at last summer’s festival. $10.
Critic’s Pick 3/29 at 8 New-music vocal groups are about as scarce as hen’s teeth. If you want to include a Pulitzer-winning composer, pretty much all you’ve got is the octet Roomful of Teeth, which counts the 31-year-old Pulitzer winner Caroline Shaw as one of its founding members. The group’s Ravinia debut brings Shaw’s Partita for Eight Voices to the Midwest for the first time. $10.
Lake Cook and Green Bay, Highland Park. ravinia.org
3/2 at 3 If you love piano recitals, this is your month. Evgeny Kissin kicks off three straight Sunday afternoon piano programs at Orchestra Hall with Schubert’s “Gasteiner” Sonata, etudes, and a sonata by Scriabin. $50–$230.
3/9 at 3 The willowy pianist Mitsuko Uchida begins her stay in Chicago with a solo recital of a late Schubert sonata (D. 894) and Beethoven’s 33 Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli. $34–$99.
3/16 at 3 Leif Ove Andsnes, the Norwegian pianist and conductor, is on a Beethoven kick in his career. Here he plays nothing but, covering a theme and variations and three sonatas, including the “Appassionata.” $28–$92.
3/17 at 8 The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, under its music director for 37 years, the eminent Zubin Mehta, plays Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony. $61–$199.
3/23 at 3 The Australian Chamber Orchestra anticipates this spring’s CSO exploration of Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Britten, called Truth to Power, with short works including Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. $21–$87.
220 S Michigan. cso.org
University of Chicago Presents
3/2 at 3 The violinist Miranda Cuckson, in her first of two local appearances (see Pick-Staiger Concert Hall), gives a recital including works by new-music celebrities Sofia Gubaidulina and Georg Friedrich Haas. $5–$25. Logan Center, U of C, 915 E 60th. chicagopresents.uchicago.edu
3/1 at 7:30, 3/2 at 3 The Minnesota-based choir, which champions unashamedly beautiful new choral music, tours Illinois with the works of Stephen Paulus, Aaron Jay Kernis, Eric Whitacre, and others. 3/1: $5–$45. Edman Chapel, Wheaton College, 418 N Chase, Wheaton. wheaton.edu/ticketoffice. 3/2: Free–$20. Rockefeller Chapel, U of C, 5850 S Woodlawn. rockefeller.uchicago.edu