Nemo Ensemble | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Nemo Ensemble


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Our city's latest cross-Atlantic musical exchange continues this week with more concerts introducing composers from European countries considered noteworthy pioneers of current aesthetic tastes. One composer to watch is Italy's Ada Gentile. A longtime professor at Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, Gentile first visited Chicago six years ago when some of her chamber works were performed in an Art Institute recital. Now she's returning as a NEMO (New European Music Overseas) guest with a recent composition for clarinet and string quartet. The elegant eight-minute piece, receiving its American premiere at the festival, is typical of Gentile's penchant for muted, spare texture and minute, elusive gestures. Slated on a separate night are works by two French composers of different generations. Eliane Radigue, the grande dame of French electronic music, is represented by KYEMA: Intermediate States--First Part of the Trilogy on Death, an hour-long collage of taped sounds reflecting her belief in Tibetan Buddhism and at times suggesting the now-famous monks' ritualistic chants. Pierre Charvet, who's only 28, is also enamored of the sonic possibilities opened up by newfangled recording techniques: his Brandenburg, with its obvious baroque echoes, relies on a computer for tantalizing variations on a violin's soliloquy, and L'invitation au voyage mixes three female voices through digital tape for a haunting spell. The NEMO Ensemble--which boasts some new-music interpreters well versed in the toughest instrumental tricks--performs in both events under Philip Morehead's direction. The Hamburg-based ensemble Das Neue Werk shares the chores in the first concert. Friday, 6 PM, ballroom, School of the Art Institute, 112 S. Michigan; 329-0915. Tuesday, 5:30 PM, auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; 747-4740. TED SHEN

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