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Chicago Chamber Musicians

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The Chicago Chamber Musicians have established quite a formidable reputation and following for a group so young. It's easy to see why. First off, there's the Chicago Symphony Orchestra connection: five of the collective's core players, including cofounder Larry Combs and horn player Gail Williams, are first or second chairs from the CSO, each with a fan club of his or her own. Second, since its founding six years ago the group has participated in a variety of wide-ranging educational and outreach activities, the most prominent of which is the free concert at the Chicago Cultural Center on the first Monday of every month. Then there's the group's extensive repertoire, which favors crowd-pleasing wind instruments, especially Combs's clarinet. In this concert Combs plays along with Michael Henoch on oboe, Joseph Genualdi on violin, Robert Swan on viola, and Bradley Opland on bass in Prokofiev's Quintet for Winds and Strings in D Minor, a picturesque and showy 1927 work adopted from one of the composer's ballet scores. The program also includes pieces from the previous two centuries: Francois Devienne's C Major Quartet for Bassoon and Strings is an attractive but emptyheaded example of the French galant style; Schubert's lyrical and expansive Piano Trio in B-flat, on the other hand, is an unsurpassed achievement in a chamber genre rife with first-rate though little-known representatives. Classical-music lecturer Allen Linkowski will give a preconcert commentary a half hour before the performances. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 1977 South Campus Drive, Evanston. Monday, 7:30 PM, concert hall, DePaul University, 800 W. Belden. 973-4513.

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