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  • Pianist Patricia Barber to premiere her own composition on opening night program, Wednesday, Oct. 5
  • International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) to perform with students from The People’s Music School, Thursday, Oct. 6
  • Live broadcast on WFMT-FM and featuring Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s assistant concertmaster YuanQing Yu and assistant principal cellist Kenneth Olsen, Friday, Oct. 7
  • 100+ festival musicians, led by conductor Cliff Colnot, to premiere a new work by Drew Baker, Saturday, Oct. 8
  • Weekend-long, 2-day “New Music Marathon” at Chicago Cultural Center during Bank of America Chicago Marathon, featuring works by two Pulitzer Prize-winning composers (Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands) and culminating in a “Blowout Party!” at Constellation, Sunday, Oct. 9
  • The festival will conclude by presenting MusicNow’s Season Opener, Monday, Oct. 10




CHICAGO, IL (July 12, 2016) – 300+ musicians…88 composers…53 world premieres…25 ensembles…5 sound installations…2-day marathon… Ear Taxi Festival, a first-of-its-kind Chicago-centric large-scale contemporary classical music festival, proudly announces its complete lineup. Along with Patricia Barber, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) the impressive roster of Chicago’s new music heavy-hitters includes Spektral Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Ensemble Dal Niente, Chicago Harp Quartet, Arcomusical and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music Contemporary Ensemble. No one performance overlaps with another, allowing festivalgoers to attend every Ear Taxi Festival event.


Ear Taxi Festival will take place October 5-10, 2016 at multiple venues throughout Chicago, including the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago Cultural Center, Constellation and Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. Performances will be presented at over 30 festival events, scheduled in 30 – 90 minute sets. Single event tickets range from $5-$26 and multiple event passes start at $36. Festival passes and tickets are currently available at


In addition to adventuresome concert programming, Festival offerings include five unique sound art installations on display around the city; community partnerships, including public micro-performances; a series of “Meet the Artists” events, featuring moderated panel discussions and cocktails; and a “NewMusicBox LIVE!” event presented by New Music USA and focused on Chicago-based composers, streaming online for a national audience.


Ear Taxi Festival: Day-By-Day Schedule

*World Premiere

**U.S. Premiere

***Midwest Premiere

****Chicago Premiere



Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Street


Harris Theater

  • 6:30 p.m., $5: “Meet the Artists: Championing Emerging Composers” moderated by Michael Tiknis with panelists Amy Iwano, Shawn Okpebholo, Tim Munro, Cynthia Mead Sargent
  • 7:30 p.m., $20/$10: Fulcrum Point New Music Project (**Ringing the Quiet by Elizabeth Ogonek; ***Pendulum II: Yap, Yaw, Yawp by Alex Mincek; ****Fahrenheit by Mischa Zupko)
  • 8:45 p.m., part of 7:30 p.m. show: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (*Prairie Music by Eric Malmquist; ****Blow It Up, Start Again by Jonathan Newman) and Civic Orchestra of Chicago (Desert Transport by Mason Bates)



Rockefeller Chapel (University of Chicago), 5850 S. Woodlawn Avenue

  • 12:00 p.m., free: Joey Brink, carillon (*…the way nets cannot hold water by Iddo Aharony; *Invention – Music for Bells by Tomás I. Gueglio Saccone; *Letters from the Sky by Joey Brink; Capriccio by Joey Brink; Invocation by Joey Brink)


Harris Theater

  • 6:30 p.m., $5: “Meet the Artists: New Music, Old Problems” moderated by Seth Brodsky with participants Michael Lewanski and Katherine Young
  • 7:30 p.m., $20/$10: International Contemporary Ensemble/ICE with students from The People’s Music School (*Divertimento Concertante by Marcos Balter; ****Assumed Roles by Anthony Cheung)
  • 8:45 p.m., part of 7:30 p.m. show: Northwestern University Contemporary Ensemble and Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble (**Wonderblock by Hans Thomalla; ****Consent by Ted Hearne)



Live on WFMT from PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue

  • 12:00 p.m., $5: Ear Taxi Festival musicians, featuring the CSO’s assistant concertmaster Yuan‐Qing Yu and assistant principal cellist Kenneth Olsen (Triple Marionette from Klee Musings by Augusta Read Thomas, On a Poem by Miho Nonaka: Harvard Square by Shawn E. Okpebholo, ****One Moe Time (Waltz for Eric) by Lee Hyla, Third Salvage Meditation by George Flynn, Teeny Tango by Stacey Garrop plus teaser performances of *Chicago Song by Seth Boustead, *From the Shore by Lawrence Axelrod, *Songs and Dances by Amy Wurtz)


Curtiss Hall, 410 S. Michigan Avenue

  • 1:40 p.m., free: The Chicago Academy for the Arts New Music Ensemble (*Hidden Spaces)


Harris Theater

  • 3:30 p.m., $5: Colloquium by George E. Lewis (Lewis presenting his music)
  • 5:30 p.m., $15/$5: Latino Music Festival and Avalon Quartet (****From Freigeld to the Bitcoin by Enric Riu; Musing on the Nature of Time by Elbio Barilari; String Quartet No. 4 by Gustavo Leone)
  • 6:30 p.m., $5: “Meet the Artists: IN BETWEEN TIME – Sound*Image*Word” moderated by Steve Everett with composers Peter Gena, Marlena Novak, Christopher Preissing, Jay Alan Yim
  • 7:30 p.m., $20/$10: Spektral Quartet (*a new work by Samuel Adams; *Prospective Dwellers by Tomeka Reid; *String Quartet 1.5: Experiments in Living by George E. Lewis)
  • 8:45 p.m., part of 7:30 p.m. show: Ensemble Dal Niente (*stutter-step the concept by Chris Fisher-Lochhead; *To Paint Their Madness by Pierce Gradone; *Water on Glass by Jeff Parker)



Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street

  • 12:00 p.m., free: Civitas Ensemble (*Tangled lines, luminous tangents by David ‘Clay’ Mettens) and Gaudete Brass (*Legends of Olympus by Stacey Garrop; *A Lullaby for the Tender Hearted in the Age of Anxiety by Hope Littwin; *Colloquy by Jessica A. Hunt)
  • 1:00 p.m., free: Fonema Consort (**Produktionsmittel II by Joan Arnau Pàmies; ****(in)armonia: retratos I by Pablo Santiago Chin)
  • 2:00 p.m., free: Access Contemporary Music with mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley, “New Songs on the Poems of Carl Sandburg” (*From the Shore by Lawrence Axelrod; *Chicago Song by Seth Boustead; *Mist by Yuan-Chen Li; *the has-been to beachey by Andrew McManus; *a new work by Timothy Page)
  • 3:00 p.m., free: Tim Munro, flute (*breath by Tim Munro; *Seven Somniloquies by David Reminick) and Winston Choi, piano & synthesizer (*études by Igor Santos)

Harris Theater

  • 5:00 p.m., free with priority access granted to pass holders (seating is first-come, first-served): “NewMusicBox LIVE!” with hosts Frank J. Oteri and Molly Sheridan, featuring Andy Costello, Nicole Mitchell, Shulamt Ran; reception with artists and NewMusicBox staff to follow
  • 7:30 p.m., $20/$10: Third Coast Percussion with Spektral Quartet (*Reaction Yield by Third Coast Percussion; ****Selene (Moon Chariot Rituals) by Augusta Read Thomas)
  • 8:45 p.m., part of 7:30 p.m. show: Chicago Harp Quartet (*Plectra by Carolyn O’Brien) and Arcomusical (*Berimbau Sextet No. 1, ‘Kora’ by Gregory Beyer; *Apenas Seja by Alexis C. Lamb) and Ear Taxi Festival musicians led by conductor Cliff Colnot (*NOX by Drew Baker)



Chicago Cultural Center

  • 12:00 p.m., free: Chicago Composers Orchestra (*Lazarus by Olivia Block; *Lake Effect by Kathleen Ginther; *Cooper by Randall West; Roots Run Deep by Brian Baxter)
  • 1:00 p.m., free: Collect/Project (*En la orilla gris, silencio by Francisco Castillo Trigueros; *MOBILE 2016 (Shadow play) by Fredrick Gifford; *for Collect/Project by Nomi Epstein; Freed by Kyong Mee Choi)
  • 2:00 p.m., free: Ensemble 20+ (*A Soundwalk with Resi by Eliza Brown; Concertino by Bernard Rands)
  • 3:00 p.m., free: MAVerick Ensemble (*how dark and single by William Jason Raynovich; *Clameurs, Melodie by Janice Misurell-Mitchell) and Alyson Berger, cello, and Amy Wurtz, piano (*Dirge by Sarah J. Ritch; *Songs and Dances by Amy Wurtz)
  • 4:00 p.m., free: Latitude 49 (*Birkat Haderekh – Blessing for the Road II by Shulamit Ran) and Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble (*not merely bad or broken by Joe Clark) and Amos Gillespie and Taimur Sullivan, saxophones (****Lacework by Amos Gillespie)
  • 5:00 p.m., free: Fifth House Ensemble (Soundings by Dan Visconti) and (festhalten/loslassen by Michael Pisaro) and Picosa (Mechanical Birds by Jonathon Kirk)


Constellation, 3111 N. Western Avenue

  • 8:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m., $15/$10: Third Coast Percussion (Gravity by Marc Mellits); Mary Stopler (flute) and Kuang-Hao Huang (piano) (****Wild Card for Flute and Piano by Nicole Mitchell); Michael Hall (viola) (Elegia in Memoriam John Paul II by Marta Ptaszyńska); MAVerick Ensemble (*Plastic Moment by Christopher Wendell Jones); Fonema Consort (****I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips by Aaron Cassidy); Spektral Quartet (Zin zin zin zin by LJ White)



Harris Theater

  • 7:00 p.m., $26^/$15: MusicNOW presented by Ear Taxi Festival with musicians of the CSO, led by conductor Cliff Colnot, and guest artists Manual Cinema (*the moss glows and the water is black by Katherine Young; *Manual Cinema with music by Kyle Vegter; Tile Mosaic (After Chagall) by Sam Pluta; Splinter by Marc Mellits)
    ^Note: MusicNOW admission available via VIP Pass or Festival Pass regardless of the date on which you buy a Pass; Single tickets for MusicNOW go on-sale August 12, 2016.

Spearheaded by GRAMMY®-winning composer Augusta Read Thomas, Ear Taxi Festival showcases Chicago’s vital new music scene and celebrates the differing styles of new music today with performances from Chicago’s top chamber music ensembles and soloists. True to the collaborative nature of Chicago’s new music scene, Ear Taxi Festival is co-curated by Thomas and conductor Stephen Burns alongside a curatorial committee of Chicago’s leading new music artists and intellectuals: Michelle Boone, Drew Baker, John Bierbusse, Seth Boustead, Teddy Dean Boys, Seth Brodsky, Matthew Duvall, Steve Everett, Peter Gena, Amy Iwano, Michael Lewanski, Peter Margasak, Bill Michel, Liz Pesnel, David Skidmore, Michael Tiknis, Andreas Waldburg-Wolfegg, Austin Wulliman and Angel Ysaguirre.


The full Ear Taxi Festival schedule and artist bios are available at



Ear Taxi Festival Passes are available at the Harris Theater Box Office (205 E. Randolph Drive), online HERE or by phone at 312.334.7777 during regular box office hours: Monday-Friday, 12:00-6:00pm.


  • The VIP Pass ($200) offers the best value for new music fans, guaranteeing admission to all Ear Taxi events! Receive guaranteed access to reserved VIP seating for all ticketed Ear Taxi Festival events at the Harris Theater, access to a VIP reserved seating section at free concerts in the Chicago Cultural Center and admission to all panel discussions. The VIP Pass also guarantees admission to an intimate opening night performance with Patricia Barber on the Harris Theater stage and NewMusicBox Live! on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016.


  • The Festival Pass ($150 general / $100 students) guarantees access to reserved seating at all ticketed Harris Theater events, access to a reserved seating section at free concerts in the Chicago Cultural Center and first-come, first-served admission to all panel discussions (limited seating).


  • The Flex Pass ($36 general / $24 students) allows patrons to select three Ear Taxi Festival concerts at the Harris Theater (excluding MusicNOW on October 10) for one low, discounted price.

Single event tickets at Harris Theater are available HERE. Tickets to the “Blowout Party!” at Constellation are available HERE. Tickets to the performance at PianoForte Studios are available HERE. All events held at the Chicago Cultural Center, Rockefeller Chapel and Curtiss Hall are free of charge.



Spearheaded by acclaimed composer and University of Chicago Professor Augusta Read Thomas, Ear Taxi Festival – October 5-10, 2016 – celebrates the vibrant and booming contemporary classical music scene in Chicago with concerts, lectures, marathons, webcasts and artist receptions. Co-curated by Thomas and conductor Stephen Burns alongside a curatorial committee of Chicago’s leading new music artists and intellectuals and managed by Reba Cafarelli, the festival will be a joy-ride through Chicago’s contemporary classical music scene.



Augusta Read Thomas’ impressive body of works embodies unbridled passion and fierce poetry. The New Yorker Magazine called her “a true virtuoso composer.” She has had the distinction of having her work performed more frequently in 2013-2014 than any other living ASCAP composer, according to statistics from the performing rights organization. Music critic Edward Reichel has stated, “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.


Former Chairperson of the American Music Center, Augusta Read 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.” She is the longest-running composer-in-residence (1997-2006) for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). During her tenure, she founded, started, fundraised for, programmed and hosted the CSO’s MusicNOW contemporary music series which is still thriving today. In addition to her central role envisioning and leading Ear Taxi Festival, she is currently working to create a Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago and she is a tireless advocate for the works of other composers and the music of our time.



The Ear Taxi Festival is made possible through generous support from Lead Sponsor Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University; Presenting Sponsors Harris Theater and the University of Chicago; Platinum Medallion Sponsors the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), The Chicago Community Trust, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Cindy Sargent; Gold Medallion Sponsor The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Silver Medallion Sponsors The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Helyn Goldenberg & Michael Alper, New Music USA and The Sally Mead Hands Foundation; Bronze Medallion Sponsors Susan & Nick Yasillo; and Driver’s Seat Sponsor MacArthur Foundation. Additional support for Ear Taxi Festival has been provided through the partnership of Chicago-based foundations, WFMT-FM, WBEZ-FM, Vocalo, Curb Chicago, Cedille Records, PianoForte Foundation, Sharing Notes, Constellation, New Music Chicago, countless ensembles and composers and with the support of individual and anonymous donors.


For more information on the first-ever Ear Taxi Festival, visit


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