Guarneri Hall announces 5th Anniversary Season
with shift of focus to “Chamber Music Made Personal”
All tickets are $40 per performance and include intimate post-event receptions with artists
Highlights from the six-performance series include a deep dive into the work of
George Crumb with PBS host Scott Yoo; a celebration with composer Bernard Rands for his 90th birthday; and a screening of the iconic silent film Sherlock Jr. with a live score
CHICAGO, IL – (June 15, 2023) The nonprofit Guarneri Hall, a state-of-the-art, custom-built classical music venue in the heart of downtown Chicago at 11 E. Adams St., proudly announces its 5th Anniversary Season with a shift of focus to creating intimate, interactive music events that center chamber music in deeply personal experiences—“Chamber Music Made Personal.” Building on its first five years, Guarneri Hall’s 2023-2024 season launches in August, and concentrates on curating opportunities that foster dialogue and audience interactivity. Each event will be followed by a reception with quality libations and hors d’oeuvres where audience members and performers can engage in conversations. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, these performances provide a downtown refuge during rush hour. Tickets are general admission, priced at $40, with student discounts available. Single tickets can be purchased now at guarnerihall.org.
Beginning with a celebratory exploration of music for dance in A Night at the Disco! with Guarneri Hall’s resident ensemble NEXUS Chamber Music, the first half of the season also includes Reflections: Voices of the Underrepresented featuring Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Chrystal E. Williams and pianist Natalia Kazaryan; a screening of Buster Keaton’s iconic silent film Sherlock Jr. with a new score composed and performed live by Stephen Prutsman; and a two-night deep dive into Béla Bartók’s six string quartets performed by The Borromeo Quartet. The season continues in 2024 with a two-night residency by composer Bernard Rands in celebration of his 90th birthday and concludes with a journey through the music and impact of George Crumb, hosted by PBS Now Hear This host Scott Yoo.
Guarneri Hall Founder and Artistic Director Stefan Hersh talks about the decision to shift to a new focus at the five-year mark: “Since our inception in 2018, programs that featured not only music but also readings of poetry and panel discussions that encouraged interactivity have become our most popular hits. Using such events as a model, Guarneri Hall’s 5th season marks an exciting shift in strategy to create ‘chef’s tasting’-like experiences, with programs designed as uniquely powerful communicative encounters that make the most of the intimacy and superb acoustics of the venue. Each immersive, multi-faceted, and interactive event will focus on a unique theme, featuring world-class artists and two-way dialogue with the audience led by notable luminaries, all within the arms of the close proximity and sonic immediacy of the space.”
The 5th Anniversary Season programming is as follows:
A Night at the Disco!
Wednesday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m.
The opening concert of the season is part of the 6th annual NEXUS Chamber Music Festival and celebrates the relationship between classical music and dance with a program of handclapping, foot-stomping works. NEXUS Chamber Music Co-Artistic Directors Brian Hong and Alexander Hersh will join with violinists Alex Gonzalez and Claire Bourg, guitarist Hao (Rachel) Yang, and pianist Winston Choi for a fun and raucous evening.
The program features two works for guitar and string quartet: Luigi Boccherini’s flamenco-inspired Guitar Quintet #4, and Aaron Jay Kernis’ K-Tel ad-inspired 100 Dance Hits. Amy Beach’s Piano Trio of 1938 and Eleanor Alberga’s Wild Blue Yonder complete the program. The performance will be followed by a Q&A on stage, before the reception begins.
Reflections: Voices of the Underrepresented
Tuesday, October 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Acclaimed Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Chrystal E. Williams and pianist Natalia Kazaryan present a program that celebrates the collaboration between men and women in poetry and song. The uniquely curated program integrates music based on thematic content and musical texture, and includes H.T. Burleigh‘s Five Songs of Laurence Hope; a bespoke grouping of songs by Ottorino Respighi, with texts by Ada Negri; a pairing of Troubled Water and The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Margaret Bonds and original text by Langston Hughes; as well as spirituals by Margaret Bonds, Rev. Dr. Lena J. McLin, and Undine Smith Moore who was known as “the Dean of Black Women Composers.” The performance will be followed by a Q&A on stage, before the reception begins.
Buster Keaton’s SHERLOCK JR. with original score by Stephen Prutsman
Wednesday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Guarneri Hall will celebrate the legendary silent film star Buster Keaton with a multimedia program dedicated to his work. Pianist and composer Stephen Prutsman will be joined by violinist Steven Copes and members of NEXUS Chamber Music for a screening of Keaton’s classic Sherlock Jr. (1924), with live accompaniment of Prutsman’s original score. Before the performance, John C. Tibbets, Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas, will offer context on the silent film era and make the case for Keaton as the greatest American filmmaker of the 1920’s.
Sherlock Jr. is Keaton’s third feature film. His trademark sight gags, state-of-the-art effects, and deadpan humor are on full display in this story of a film projectionist who dreams of becoming a great detective. The movie was recognized by The American Film Institute in its list of 100 funniest films, “100 Years… 100 Laughs.”
Alternate Realities: Bartók Quartet Cycle with The Borromeo Quartet
Monday, December 4 & Tuesday, December 5, at 6:30 p.m.
Among the most influential achievements of Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók’s (1881-1945) career are the six string quartets he wrote between 1908 and 1939. One of the earliest and most influential champions of bringing folk music into the concert hall, Bartók’s notoriously challenging quartets synthesize his myriad musical influences from folk song to romanticism to serialism. The award-winning Borromeo Quartet will offer a unique exploration of Bartók’s creative process by juxtaposing previously unknown early sketches of the works with their complete and final versions. The complete cycle of the six quartets will be presented over the course of the two evenings, and each evening will be followed by a reception.
Tickets are $40 for one night and $75 for both nights.
Rands at 90
Friday, March 8, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. & Saturday, March 9, 2024, at 2:00 p.m.
Pulitzer Prize-winning British American composer Bernard Rands (b. 1934) will celebrate his 90th birthday with a two-day residency at Guarneri Hall. The event will feature works that deeply influenced Rands, compositions from his own catalog that includes over one hundred works published during his seven-decade career, and pieces written by composers on whom Rands has had a profound influence.
Rands will talk about his life and earliest influences, his work with fellow composers such as Pierre Boulez, Luigi Dallapiccola, and Luciano Berio, his friendships with luminaries from Takemitsu to Cage, and composers that have followed in his footsteps. The two-day event will conclude with a party in honor of Rands. Musical performances will include a world premiere of a new work for solo cello by Rands, as well as music of Claude Debussy, Augusta Read Thomas, and Kathleen Ginther. Performers include the Terra Quartet; NOIS Saxophone Quartet; Kristina Bachrach, soprano; Adam Neiman, piano; Stefan Hersh, violi;n and Alexander Hersh, cello.
Tickets are $40 for one performance and $75 for both performances.
George Crumb: Ancient Mysteries and the Universe of Dreams
Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at 6:30 p.m.
Scott Yoo, host of PBS’ popular Now Hear This series guides audiences through an illuminating discussion of the work and lasting influence of American composer George Crumb (1929-2022). Crumb expressed his ideas through extended instrumental techniques, vivid musical dialogues, and evocative symbolism embedded in theatrical contexts. In the process, he forged a new means of musical messaging that would have a lasting effect on avant-garde music.
The evening includes performances of two of Crumb’s most iconic works, Vox Balaenae and Black Angels by flutist Alice Dade, cellist Alexander Hersh and pianist Adam Neiman with members of the Grossman Ensemble.
About Guarneri Hall
Guarneri Hall NFP delivers extraordinary classical music to a broad and diverse audience through a curated mix of live performances and original music videos. The hall is a uniquely intimate, custom-built, 60-seat venue in the heart of downtown Chicago with optimal acoustics designed by Threshold Acoustics. In addition to presenting live performances that connect audiences to the dynamism of live performance with unparalleled intimacy, Guarneri Hall also produces high-quality video content designed to advance classical music in the digital age.
Named after the famous Italian family of luthiers whose prominence in violin making is equaled only by that of Stradivari, Guarneri Hall (pronounced gwar-NAIR-ee) was founded in 2018 by esteemed violinist and violin dealer Stefan Hersh. For more information on Guarneri Hall visit guarnerihall.org