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Pianist Sarah Cahill (pictured) has made the performance and promotion of contemporary compositions one of her calling cards. She's hosted several weekly radio programs in the Bay Area devoted to new classical music, and she's written extensively about the subject for magazines and papers including the Village Voice, East Bay Express, and San Francisco Chronicle. But her most convincing advocacy comes from her playing: gorgeous, sensitive readings of pieces written by a who's who of 20th-century music. Most recently she's recorded programs of pieces by Kyle Gann and Leo Ornstein for New Albion Records.
On Sunday at the Chicago Cultural Center she'll perform works by Peter Garland, Phil Kline, Jerome Kitzke, Frederic Rzewski, Kyle Gann, and Terry Riley as part of her ambitious commissioned series "A Sweeter Music," for which she's asked 18 composers to create music "envisioning peace." The title of the project comes from a line in Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel speech: "We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war." Her husband, video artist John Sanborn, will project images assembled specifically for the pieces during the concert.
Also this weekend Immediate Sound, the Wednesday-night jazz and improvised-music series at the Hideout, celebrates its third anniversary with two great concerts. On Friday the Ab Baars Trio with Ken Vandermark give their second concert of the week, ending a North American tour; Baars and Vandermark will open the evening with a set of duos.
Then on Saturday the Baars trio sans Vandermark plays a set of music by brilliant reedist John Carter, one of the primary influences on Baars. Back in 1999 this group recorded a fantastic selection of Carter pieces called A Free Step (Geestgronden). The second set will feature bass duets between Holland's Wilbert de Joode (a member of the Baars trio) and former Chicagoan Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten, and then the evening will end with a bang: the Thing, aka Haaker Flaten, reedist Mats Gustafsson, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, headlines. With any luck the band will have copies in hand of an as-yet-unreleased new album cut in Chicago with Steve Albini.