CO-CURATORS STEPHEN BURNS AND AUGUSTA READ THOMAS ANNOUNCE
EAR TAXI FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 6-9, 2016
A FOUR DAY FESTIVAL CELEBRATING CHICAGO’S VIBRANT AND BOOMING NEW MUSIC SCENE
MADE POSSIBLE BY A MAJOR GRANT FROM
THE ALICE M. DITSON FUND OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
HARRIS THEATER FOR MUSIC AND DANCE PRESENTING SPONSOR
CHICAGO- Co-curators Stephen Burns and Augusta Read Thomas announce Ear Taxi Festival, a four day festival of new music taking place in Chicago from October 6-9, 2016. Ear Taxi Festival will be Chicago’s first large-scale, nationally recognized festival of new music, with plans to present 41 world premieres, one Chicago premiere, two U.S. premieres, four sound art installations, the work of 70 Chicago-based composers, and performances by 16 Chicago-based ensembles. In total, festival performances will involve over 300 musicians. A series of panel discussions and Meet the Artist events will be presented to complement Ear Taxi Festival’s programming.
The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, which supports the work of emerging American composers, initiated a biennial series of contemporary music festivals in 2008. Augusta Read Thomas proposed Chicago as the location for the 2016 festival, and in early 2015 a major gift was granted by the Ditson Fund to make Ear Taxi Festival possible. Ear Taxi Festival will receive generous support from several major Chicago-based partners. The Harris Theater is Ear Taxi Festival’s Presenting Sponsor and will serve as one of the festival’s primary performance venues. The City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will host many free performances at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall and Claudia Cassidy Theater. Constellation will host Ear Taxi Festival’s closing party on Sunday, October 9, 2016. New Music Chicago is Ear Taxi Festival’s fiscal sponsor.
The goal of Ear Taxi Festival is to further establish Chicago as an epicenter for new music by providing extraordinary performance opportunities for Chicago’s new music ensembles and musicians, and catalyzing the creation of new work by Chicago-based composers.
Ear Taxi Festival co-curator Augusta Read Thomas says: “The open, collaborative nature of Chicago’s new music community is home to an extraordinary crop of ensembles and a vibrant landscape of composers. The scene for new music in Chicago is exceptional and I dedicate myself to supporting and encouraging its sustainability and growth.”
Co-curator Stephen Burns comments: “In 2005 Chicago’s new music organizations came together to create New Music Chicago in order to coordinate, collaborate, and energize our efforts in championing the richness of our musical landscape. Chicago’s scene has exploded during this decade to become a fertile source of new composers, ensembles, and performing spaces with the Harris Theater, Constellation, and DCASE as stalwart partners. As the first president of New Music Chicago I feel Chicago should be justifiably proud of our innovative and inclusive spirit, as well as our standards of excellence.”
The final lineup of Ear Taxi Festival events will be announced in the coming months.
For more information about Ear Taxi Festival, visit www.eartaxifestival.com.
ABOUT STEPHEN BURNS
Conductor, trumpet virtuoso, composer, and educator Stephen Burns is the founder and Artistic Director of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project and President Emeritus of New Music Chicago. He has been acclaimed on five continents for his creative programming and expressive performances encompassing recitals, orchestral appearances, chamber ensemble engagements, and innovative multi-media presentations involving video, dance theatre, electronics, and sculpture. He has won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Maurice André International Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has conducted the Boston Civic Symphony, Chicago Symphony MusicNOW ensemble, Simon Bolívar Orchestra, and the Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble. A former tenured professor at Indiana University, Prof. Burns is visiting lecturer at Northwestern University and Amici della Musica, Firenze. Stephen Burns is a Yamaha Performing Artist.
For more information, visit www.fulcrumpoint.org
ABOUT AUGUSTA READ THOMAS
The music of Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964 in New York) is nuanced, majestic, elegant, capricious, lyrical, and colorful – “it is boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music.” (Philadelphia Inquirer) In February 2015, music critic Edward Reichel wrote, “Augusta Read Thomas has secured for herself a permanent place in the pantheon of American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is without question one of the best and most important composers that this country has today. Her music has substance and depth and a sense of purpose. She has a lot to say and she knows how to say it — and say it in a way that is intelligent yet appealing and sophisticated.”
A Grammy winner, her impressive body of works embodies unbridled passion and fierce poetry. The New Yorker Magazine called her “a true virtuoso composer.” The New York Times article of March 6, 2015 states that Thomas had the distinction of having her work performed more frequently in 2013-2014 than any other living ASCAP composer, according to statistics from performing rights organization. Former Chairperson of the American Music Center, she serves on many boards, is a generous citizen in the profession at large, and, according to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, “has become one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American Music.”
For more information, visit www.augustareadthomas.com
ABOUT THE ALICE M. DITSON FUND
The Ditson Fund was established at Columbia University in 1940, with a bequest of $400,000 from Alice M. Ditson, the widow of the noted Boston music publisher Oliver Ditson. Mrs. Ditson’s will stipulated that income from the bequest be used for non-academic fellowships, public concerts, and publications in support of music. The initial Advisory Committee appointed by Mrs. Ditson directed her intentions toward contemporary music. The Ditson Fund has continued this focus, with emphasis on funding of performances and recordings of music by emerging American composers. In 1945 the Ditson Conductor’s Award was established. It is the oldest continuing award honoring conductors for distinguished contributions to American music. Having awarded over 2,000 grants starting in 1940, the Ditson Fund continues to play an important role in support of contemporary American art music.
For more information, visit www.ditsonfund.org
ABOUT HARRIS THEATER
The Harris Theater’s mission is to partner with a wide array of Chicago’s performing arts organizations supporting their initiatives for artistic growth and development. Its continuing efforts help build infrastructure and long-term sustainability for many of its resident companies. Opened on November 8, 2003, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance was the first multi-use performing arts venue to be built in the Chicago downtown area since 1929. Today the Theater continues to host the most diverse offerings of any venue in Chicago, featuring the city’s world-renowned music and dance institutions and the Harris Theater Presents series of acclaimed national and international artists and ensembles.
To learn more about the Harris Theater, visit www.harristheaterchicago.org
ABOUT THE CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
To learn more about DCASE, visit http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca.html
Constellation is a venue on Chicago’s northwest side founded in April 2013 by drummer/composer Mike Reed. Constellation’s mission is to present progressive performance and forward-thinking music with a focus on jazz, improvisation and contemporary classical. Filling a niche within Chicago’s arts community, the space is also a collaborative partnership with the venerable performing arts organization Links Hall. As a building partner, Links Hall brings decades of experience fostering artistic growth in dance, performance art, film and other media.
To accommodate this ambitious programming, Constellation has transformed the 7,000-square-foot site that was once the Viaduct Theater to offer two performance spaces (seating 50-75 and 100-150), as well as a full bar.
For more information, visit www.constellation-chicago.com
ABOUT NEW MUSIC CHICAGO
Established in 2005, New Music Chicago includes 18 ensembles performing recent and new music, sometimes commissioning new pieces. The goal of New Music Chicago is to expand the audience for contemporary art music and foster more opportunities for its performance.
For more information, visit www.newmusicchicago.org