Music » Critic's Choice

Festival of Chicago Composers




For decades the composer community in Chicago has been ideologically fragmented. Lately, however, there are signs of rapprochement, even from insular academic factions. Still, it took a youngster to organize this showcase of local composing talents and new-music performers. The mastermind of the festival, which will take place on five successive Sunday afternoons starting this weekend, is Dan Wallace, a 23-year-old who took up composing nine years ago and is largely self-taught. (Wallace makes his living selling violin bows.) With the advice of some of the scene's veterans, including the University of Chicago's John Eaton and Patricia Morehead, Wallace has rounded up a diverse (and fairly impressive) array of established names, rising stars, ambitious amateurs, and Johnny-come-latelies. The latter three categories are well represented in the inaugural chamber recital. Jeffrey Kowalkowski, a newly minted PhD from Northwestern who just got a professorship at his alma mater, completed Phantasium Politico a couple of months ago specifically for Carrie Biolo-Thompson, an ace percussionist. Scored for vibraphone, bongo, and two gongs, the multisectioned piece lifts its politically tinged refrain from a Talking Heads song. Dan Tucker, a former Tribune editorialist now in his 70s, has contributed a pair of guitar solos to be performed by the fleet-fingered Jeffrey Kust. German-born Inge Braun from Northbrook began her new career only a few years ago. Three of her songs, modeled after the lieder of Schubert, her idol, will be unveiled by soprano Jean-Marie Minton and pianist Pierre Dosogne, whose partnership has garnered excellent notices. Also featured are jazzy solo piano improvs from Bradley Robin and a spate of cleverly titled and poppy piano pieces by Michael Greenberg, who happens to be the cabaret's solicitous operator. Sunday, 3 PM, Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; 327-6666.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Dan Wallace by Susanne Kirschnick.

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