Concertante Di Chicago | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Concertante Di Chicago

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Concertante di Chicago's season finale, which marks this top-notch ensemble's tenth year on the local music scene, is distinguished by its hallmark eclecticism. Foremost is an anniversary commission from Gustavo Leone, who was born in Argentina, got his PhD at the University of Chicago, and now teaches at Columbia College. His Concerto for Harp and Orchestra reflects both his Latin American heritage and the postmodern notions of harmony and tonality taught by such U. of C. stalwarts as Ralph Shapey and Shulamit Ran. Its three movements--"Dance," "Song," and "March"--contain echoes of Brazilian carnival and Indian dance music, but structurally it's a Bartokian romp built around a fleeting tonal center and recurrent motifs. It highlights various facets of the harp, from the staccato attacks in the opening movement to the long vocal lines in the second to the rhythmic roundelays in the last, and a nimble-fingered and musically astute soloist is a must. At this concert the Lyric Opera Orchestra's Elizabeth Cifani, to whom the piece is dedicated, will do the honors. Also receiving its local premiere is the Concerto Ostinato for Cello and Orchestra, an intriguing blend of swooning Eastern lyricism and Western techniques by the Japanese composer Yasushi Akutagawa that will feature Ko Iwasaki as cellist. Conducting the orchestra will be its founder, Hilel Kagan. The young African-American sensation Awadagin Pratt gets to strut his stuff as soloist and conductor in Bach's Concerto no. 1 for Harpsichord and String Orchestra and as conductor of Lyric for Strings by the conservative African-American trailblazer George Walker. Sunday, 3 PM, concert hall, DePaul University, 800 W. Belden; 454-3030.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Cynthia Johnson.

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