Archive for the ‘Events’ category

Pianist Jenny Q Chai to Utilize New Performance Technology

September 18th, 2014

Jenny Q Chai’s performance this coming Sunday at Spectrum in New York City ( is one of several intriguing premieres. Not only is she presenting her collaboration with Nils Vigeland, and giving Marco Stroppa’s “Birichino” a US debut, she will also be playing the piano alongside the new Antescofo technology.

Developed by Arshia Cont and Marco Stroppa at the French institute of music science IRCAM (, Antescofo is a radical new computer program that displays a visual component to a live performance. Rather than using pre-recorded, fixed media, Antescofo reacts to the impulses and nuance of the performer. An artificial intelligence of sorts, the program gives a lot of freedom to expression, and has been used in performances from the BBC Scottish Orchestra to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Jenny will be giving the world premiere version of Jarosław Kapuściński’s piece “Juicy” using Antescofo, featuring animations of fruits.

Pianist Jenny Q Chai Album Release at Spectrum NYC, September 21, 2014

August 25th, 2014

jennyqchai-greedastudiohq.pngOn Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 7 pm, Shanghai/New York-based pianist Jenny Q Chai will be throwing an album release party at New York City’s Spectrum. Spectrum is located at 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, New York City. (Essex stop on J, M and Z trains; Delancey stop on F Train.) Admission is free but reservations are recommended. Please RSVP to

Jenny Q Chai will be performing selections from Life Sketches, the latest digital release of the esteemed Classical label Naxos. Life Sketches is the product of a long-time collaboration between the Chinese pianist Jenny Q Chai and American composer Nils Vigeland. (The album itself is currently available from major digital services providers for downloading and streaming, including iTunes.)

Chai first met Vigeland when she was studying for her master’s degree, where he served as her theory teacher. With a shared a love of New Music, and an admiration for her playing, Vigeland gave Chai the score for his original work Life Sketches. “This was the first serious piano cycle I’d ever received from a living composer, and I took it very seriously,” said Chai. “…It was overwhelming!”

This world première recording presents five works spanning forty years in their date of composition. One of the selections, Allora e ora (Now and Then), is a suite of character pieces on Italian subjects, running a constant exploration of the unique resonances of the piano, especially those created through the use of the sostenuto pedal.

Another work, Five Pieces, is from 2010, and was specifically composed for and dedicated to Jenny Q Chai. “The different texture of each of the pieces was intended to give Jenny every opportunity to utilize her varied and remarkable gifts of touch and timbre,” said Nils Vigeland.

Chai will augment the evening’s performance with works by living composers Marco Stroppa and Jarosław Kapuściński, not included on the recording.

Stroppa’s Birichino is a boy who died as a casualty of police terror in Italy. While the subject matter appears heavy, the piece is light and humorous, with an overarching theme about refusing to be treated as a victim.

Kapuściński’s Juicy, a work about personified fruit, is a carefully designed work for piano and video, where the aural and visual aspects are equally important. Juicy will be played with the artificial intelligence software Antescofo, designed by Marco Stroppa at IRCAM.

On the horizon for Jenny Q Chai is an appearance at the Leo Brouwer Festival in Cuba, alongside artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Yo-Yo Ma, and Jordi Savall.

Concert Program

Nils Vigeland, Wild Hopes/Trumpets/Cambiata Waltz from Life Sketches
Nils Vigeland, L’empire des lumières
Nils Vigeland, Santa Fina/I Turisti from Allora e ora
Marco Stroppa, Birichino from Miniature Estrose
Jarosław Kapuściński, Juicy
Nils Vigeland, 2 and 4/ 5 from Five Pieces

About Jenny Q Chai

A boundary-defying artist, and recipient of numerous awards, pianist Jenny Q Chai studied at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and in Germany. Her teachers include Pierre- Laurent Aimard, Seymour Lipkin, Solomon Mikowsky, and Anthony de Mare, as well as close consultation with Marilyn Nonken, Chai’s thesis adviser for her doctoral dissertation. Although her extensive repertory spans from the Renaissance to the present day, Chai has a special affinity for the music of Scarlatti, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel. In addition, Chai has forged strong relationships with contemporary composers such as Nils Vigeland, Marco Stroppa, Jarosław Kapuściński, and Cindy Cox. Chai has won acclaim for performances in New York City, Chicago and Baltimore, as well as throughout Western Europe. In China, she has appeared regularly at the Shanghai Concert Hall, and is widely known as a leading advocate for contemporary music, having given the Chinese première of numerous contemporary masterworks, including works by Messiaen, Cage, and the very first prepared piano concert in the country. Her immersive approach to music is also channelled into her work with FaceArt Institute of Music, the Shanghai-based organisation she founded and runs, offering music education and an international exchange of music and musicians in China and beyond. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the New York City-based contemporary music organisation Ear to Mind. Chaiʼs talents have been showcased on recordings with Ensemble 20/21 on the Deutschlandfunk label (performing music by Hanns Eisler) and as solo pianist/vocalist on ArpaVivaʼs New York Love Songs.

About Nils Vigeland

Nils Vigeland was born in Buffalo, NY, in 1950. He made his professional début as a pianist in 1969 with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Lukas Foss conducting. He later studied composition with Foss at Harvard University and Morton Feldman at the University at Buffalo. Since 1978, he has lived and worked in New York City, directing the Bowery Ensemble (1980-88), which was closely associated with the music of Feldman and John Cage. He taught at Manhattan School of Music from 1982 to 2013. His music has been performed by the English National Opera, the Milwaukee Symphony and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, among others. With Eberhard Blum and Jan Williams, he recorded the complete extended length works for flute, percussion and piano by Morton Feldman on HAT ART. His own music is available on EMF, Focus, Lovely Music, Mode, and Ravello releases.


Cellist Gabriel Cabezas performs at Dame Myra Hess Series, Chicago Cultural Center, September 3, 2014

August 18th, 2014
Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.30.52 AMHaving recently played his critically acclaimed Grant Park Music Festival debut last month, cellist Gabriel Cabezas ( has been selected to appear, together with pianist Amy Yang, on Chicago’s esteemed Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, held at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Wednesday, September 3 at 12:15pm. Mr. Cabezas will perform Sibelius’ Four pieces, op 78, and Brahms’ E minor sonata. The Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 E. Washington. For more information on this venue, visit

Complete Program:
Four Pieces, Op. 78 by Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957)
I. Impromptu
II. Romance in F Major
III. Religioso
IV. Rigaudon Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38 by Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Allegretto quasi Minuetto
III. Allegro

“An intense player who connects to music naturally, without artifice, and brings a singing line to the cello” (The Oregonian), Gabriel Cabezas is one of America’s most sought after young musicians. Combining a superb technique, intellectual curiosity and a pioneering musical spirit, Cabezas is at home in front of an orchestra, performing with a singer-songwriter or sharing the stage with a dance troupe. What drives him is the delight of artistic collaboration, the need for genuine communication with audiences and the search for new musical experiences.

In 2014/15 Cabezas maintains ongoing partnerships with close colleagues and friends. He travels far and wide with the genre-bending musicians of New York’s yMusic; joins the consummate chamber musicians of the Marlboro Festival for Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No.2; tours an arrangement of Bach’s immortal “Goldberg” Variations to Japan with violist Nobuko Imai; appears in a staged version of Gabriel Kahane’s The Ambassador as part of BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival; and plays in Chicago alongside bassist Edgar Meyer in Meyer’s trio score for a production by the San Francisco-based LINES Ballet. Cabezas has appeared as soloist with America’s finest orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Pittsburgh and Nashville. In 2014/15 he performs Tchaikovsky’s virtuoso “Rococo” Variations with the Amarillo Symphony (Texas), and Shostakovich’s blistering Cello Concerto No.1 with the Decatur Symphony (Illinois).

Born and raised in Chicago, Cabezas preserves a close relationship with the City of Big Shoulders. In 2014 he makes his debut with Chicago’s Grant Park Festival Orchestra, in Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1, and performs on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, a series inspired by the revered pianist’s free concerts in World War II London. Cabezas also has strong family ties to Costa Rica; his great uncle founded the country’s National Conservatory and is the only Costa Rican musician to have performed at Carnegie Hall in the 20th Century. Cabezas returns often to play with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica and work with students at the Programa Nacional de Educación Musical, a program similar to Venezuela’s El Sistema.

Cabezas studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Carter Brey, and is a recipient of the Career Grant by the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation. He is a winner of the 2014 Astral Artists National Auditions, and joins this presenting and promotional organization’s roster of America’s finest young soloists and chamber musicians. A committed advocate for community engagement and education programs across the country, he is involved with Midori’s Partners in Performance, the Sphinx Organization and Chicago’s Citizen Musician movement. Cabezas was the first place Laureate at the Sphinx competition twice — in the Junior Division (2006); and in the Senior Division (2012).

The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, produced by the International Music Foundation ( have been presented under the magnificent Tiffany stained-glass dome in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. since 1977, are broadcast live over WFMT Radio (98.7FM) locally, and are streamed globally over The concerts are an important showcase for local, national, and international emerging classical artists, and follow in the tradition of Dame Myra Hess, one of the most eminent pianists of the 20th century, who started a daily concert series in London’s National Gallery that ran for 6 years during World War II.

21-Year-Old Cellist Gabriel Cabezas to Perform at Grant Park Music Festival

June 8th, 2014
July 2, 2014
6:30 pm

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.30.52 AMOn Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 21-year old cellist Gabriel Cabezas will perform Camille Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Under the baton of Giancarlo Guerrero the evening’s program will also feature works by Danielpour and Poulenc. Soprano Tracy Cantin will also perform in the Danielpour work. This will be Cabezas’ debut with the Grant Park Music Festival. Cabezas, a Chicago native, shares a common heritage with Maestro Guerrero, who is a native Costa Rican.

This FREE concert begins at 6:30 PM at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion, Chicago’s most beloved outdoor performance space.


Performers: Grant Park Orchestra; Giancarlo Guerrero, guest conductor; Gabriel Cabezas, cello; Tracy Cantin, soprano

Danielpour Darkness in the Ancient Valley
Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A Minor
Poulenc Suite from Les Biches

Cellist Gabriel Cabezas has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, the National Symphony of Costa Rica, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Nashville Symphony, among others. Cabezas has been portrayed as “…an intense player who connects to the music naturally, without artifice, and brings a singing line to the cello” (David Stabler, The Oregonian) and his debut performance with the Cleveland Orchestra described as a “…remarkably poised and elegant account, with superb attention to phrasing, nuance and tonal coloration” (Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer).

A passion for chamber music and collaboration has taken him to Marlboro Music, Music@Menlo, Music from Angel Fire, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, Bargemusic, and Chicago’s Symphony Center Presents series. His television appearances include performances with Yo-
Yo Ma at “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Good Morning America”, and with Béla Fleck in “From The Top Carnegie Hall.”

2013-14 season highlights include a subscription debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as a return to Chicago’s International Beethoven Festival and the annual Sphinx Virtuosi national tour. Cabezas’ 2012-13 engagements included concerts with the Detroit Symphony, the Nashville Symphony and the National Symphony of Costa Rica, as well as appearances with Musicians from Marlboro, at the International Beethoven Festival, and ChamberFest Cleveland.

Formerly a recipient of an Education Grant by the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation, Cabezas has supported music outreach and education programs including Midori’s Partners in Performance, the Sphinx Organization, Costa Rica’s national SINEM music education program, and Chicago’s Citizen Musician movement. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Carter Brey. As a writer, Cabezas has been featured in Teen Strings Magazine and has been a contributing writer for Strings Magazine.

Acclaimed by critics and beloved by audiences, the Grant Park Music Festival is the nation’s only free, summer-long outdoor classical music series of its kind. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, located between Michigan and Columbus Avenues at Washington Street, is the official home of the Grant Park Music Festival. The Grant Park Music Festival is proudly presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association with key support from the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

The Grant Park Music Festival is led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar, along with Grant Park Chorus Director Christopher Bell, Grant Park Orchestral Association President and CEO Paul Winberg, and Board Chair Chuck Kierscht.

The Grant Park Music Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support from its 2014 sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Season Sponsor; American Airlines, Official Airline; Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, Official Hotel; Mariano’s, Official Picnic Sponsor; and Millennium Park Garages, Parking Sponsor. The Grant Park Music Festival is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

THE UNEXPECTED 2014: a collaborative performance featuring Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions

April 21st, 2014
May 21, 2014
7:00 pm

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For the second consecutive year, Creative Partners will present THE UNEXPECTED, an evening of performances featuring its partner companies: Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions. On Wednesday, May 21st, these three companies will share the Dance Center of Columbia College stage to showcase their current projects through an interwoven evening of music, dance and puppetry.


DATE: Wednesday, 5/21/14
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL
TICKETS: Reserve tickets online at, prices range from $30 (standard ticket) to $80 (includes post-performance VIP reception)

This event celebrates Creative Partners, a collective that provides professional fundraising to three Chicago-based, nationally-recognized arts organizations, which allows the companies to focus on what they do best: creating world-class theater, music, and dance. Tiered pricing for audience members gives fans the option to see the performance, or to snap up VIP tickets for the post-show reception: drinks and snacks with the artists and a facilitated conversation by Columbia College Dance Professor, audience dramaturge and dance historian Bonnie Brooks about the work.

The evening will feature the following pieces, alternating between playfulness and virtuosic movement and musicality:

  • Blair Thomas & Co.: Stephen Montague’s Mirabella y Tarantella for toy piano and Frederic Chopin’s Scherzo in b flat minor
  • eighth blackbird: Tom Johnson’s Counting Duets and György Ligeti’s Études, arranged by the ensemble.
  • Lucky Plush: an excerpt from The Queue

Equal parts dance and theater, Lucky Plush’s The Queue unfolds in a fictional airport, where travelers stumble humorously, tragically and awkwardly into the high stakes of each other’s private lives; co-created by Julia Rhoads & Leslie Danzig, and featuring live music by drum & piano duo The Claudettes. Blair Thomas & Co.’s puppet appetizers, Mirabella y Tarantella and Scherzo in b flat minor, combine a piano recital and a puppet show. And if eighth blackbird’s take on Tom Johnson’s Counting Duets is Sesame Street on Acid, the ensemble’s new arrangements of Ligeti’s Études are Chopin Gone Wild!

Original piano-based interstitial performances written by Lisa Kaplan (pianist for eighth blackbird) will facilitate interplay between the companies’ performances. The event demonstrates that Creative Partners companies share not only a dedicated development team, but also broad artistic sensibilities – all are doing work that is genre-bending, playful, and technically rigorous.

Launched in 2013, Creative Partners was strategically developed following three years of research and collaboration Creative Partners addresses a contemporary problem in a meaningful way. At a time when artists must exhibit administrative savvy, social influence, and responsible financial practice while also generating ever-more-ambitious creative work, Creative Partners promises to help artists of all kinds do more with less.between Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions, with additional assistance from the Arts Work Fund and The Center for Entrepreneurial Law at Northwestern University and major funding from the John G. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Prince Charitable Trusts.

The Chicago Cultural Plan recognizes that investing in organizational stability and longevity in the nonprofit sector yields promising returns. In Creative Partners, we advance a model that shares resources “focused on function instead of discipline”, promising broader exposure for our partners and a richer experience for our shared audiences. Creative Partners has already received recognition for taking up these sound principles:

  • Creative Partners was recognized the 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award.
  • Creative Partners members have participated in discussions at the Chicago Creative Expo, the National Performance Network Convention in New Orleans, a convening led by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and at the Chicago Suburban Arts Conference.