Why? Because the play is the thing, and in this annual festival of work by national (like Joshua Cohen, Andrew Biss) and local (Liz Leighton) playwrights, you get seven plays for the price of just one. Familiar local performers—including Philip Slettleland, Clarence Aumend, Grace DeWolff–take you on a tour of the ups and down of love and romance.
Why? Because they wowed audiences in their collaboration with Present Music back in October. And now Chicago’s acclaimed and adventurous percussion ensemble, Third Coast, is back with a concert that is paired with INOVA’s new show, “Leo Saul Berk: The Uncertainty of Exposure.” Berk’s art is an exploration of his life in the Aurora, Ill., house designed by Bruce Goff. And the concert features a world premiere by Goff, “Piano Rolls.” Quite the dilettante, that Goff. The concert also features work by Steve Reich, John Cage and Timo Andres, who has been featured in recent Present Music concerts, as well.
Why? Because it’s time to call it a season, and the MSO does it in style with a concert that highlights several crowd-pleasers. Gilbert Varga is again at the podium leading the orchestra in a Mozart overture, a Kodály dance suite, and Ravel’s much-loved (and often-repeated) Bolero. And if that isn’t enough, Karen Gomyo takes the soloist spot to play Tchaikovsky’s stirring violin concerto.
Why? Because it’s Tony Bennett, that’s why. Downbeat magazine just declared him #1 of the 80 reasons to love jazz today. And the near-90-year-old Bennett has been touring the country in the last year (it’s reputed to be his farewell tour), to show audiences exactly why. He’s lost some of his soaring power with age, but Bennett still can tell a story like very few singers in the history of the American songbook. As usual, he’s touring with a modest–but crack–jazz trio. And his daughter, Antonia Bennett, opens the evening with her own brand of jazz.
Why? Because it’s a glorious week for piano geeks, with seven days of performances, workshops, seminars and general harmonic hobnobbing. This year’s jury– Lydia Artymiw, Yoheved Kaplinsky and André-Michel Schub—will conduct master classes. Piano Arts Music Director Andrews Sill (also the music director of the New York City Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet) will talk concertos with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra members. And of course, there will be plenty of performances, as 12 semi-finalists strut their stuff for judges and audiences. Your ivories will be tickled.
Third Coast Percussion Photo by Saverio Truglia.