American Women Composers--Midwest | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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American Women Composers--Midwest

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As the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's composer-in-residence and the host of a new-music program on WFMT, Shulamit Ran has become one of the biggest boosters of local composers and players. At this rcital marking the tenth anniversary of the midwestern chapter of American Women Composers, the favor is returned. Ran's performing colleagues will introduce two of her works, composed 22 years apart. The 1969 O the Chimneys, based on poems about the Holocaust by Israeli writer Nelly Sachs, is a harrowingly emotional song cycle. It predates the influence of Ralph Shapey, her mentor at the University of Chicago. The 1991 Mirage, scored for a small chamber ensemble, shows Ran's return to the quasi-orientalism that permeated her music before Shapey's cluster-laden, rugged romanticism took hold. Sandwiched between this pair of pieces are compositions by other area composers. Rami Levin's A New Leaf for basset clarinet and tape was requested by CSO player John Bruce Yeh, who will perform it. Kathleen Ginther's River of Dreams for solo piano, to be played by Christopher Oldfather, is notable for its rippling rhythm. Lita Grier's Sonata for Flute and Piano, featuring flutist Mary Stolper, is a neatly crafted exercise from the 50s. Janice Misurell-Mitchell's Alone Together displays an unusual combination of bass clarinet and double bass. Soprano Lucy Shelton, a renowned interpreter of contemporary vocal music, will also participate. Ran moderates the entire evening. Next Tuesday, 8 PM, Bennett Hall, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds.; Highland Park; 728-4620.

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