The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association Announces the 2014/15 Season of its MusicNOW Series

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association Announces the 2014/15 Season of its MusicNOW Series

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association announces the 2014/15 season programming for its acclaimed MusicNOW contemporary music series-dedicated to showcasing contemporary music through an innovative concert experience. Uniquely curated by CSO Mead Composers-In-Residence Mason Bates and Anna Clyne, the annual, four-concert series in 2014/15 presents a range of work from major musical figures such as Pierre Boulez and established contemporary talents such as John Luther Adams and Michael Gordon. Programs are performed by members of the CSO and guest artists led by MusicNOW principal conductor Cliff Colnot and guest conductors, which this year includes James Feddeck, winner of the 2013 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award.

The 2014/15 MusicNOW Concerts take place Mondays (September 29, 2014; January 19, March 23 and June 1, 2015) at 7 p.m. at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph) and include pre- and post-concert DJ sets by illmeasures, projected program notes with video introductions by featured composers and the opportunity to meet with the CSO musicians and composers immediately following the concert in a casual, lounge-style setting.

Bates and Clyne, who mark their final season with the CSO in 2014/15 after being named to their artistic role by Music Director Riccardo Muti in 2010, collaborate on the vision for the programming and experience for each of the four MusicNOW programs. In one of the season's program highlights they create an intimate concert celebration honoring the 90th birthday of composer, conductor, mentor and innovator Pierre Boulez, the CSO's Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus, on the March 23 program Boulez's Workshop.

The MusicNOW season launches on Monday, September 29, 2014 at 7 p.m. The program features the powerful electro-acoustic work, SynchroniCities, by Chicago-based composer Anthony Cheung and Light is Calling, a multimedia work by filmmaker Bill Morrison and Michael Gordon, a founding member of Bang on a Can. Completing the program is the visceral sinfonietta for 12 players, The Rise of Exotic Computing, by Mason Bates and an ambient pastoral piece, The Wind in High Places, by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams.

The cornerstone of the second program in the MusicNOW series on Monday, January 19, 2015 at 7 p.m. is the stunning score for the acclaimed film, There Will Be Blood, composed by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. Also scheduled is Anna Clyne's poignant work A Wonderful Day, which incorporates performances by Chicago street musicians. The electro-acoustic percussion trio 120 bpm by Dan Trueman and Ai limiti della note for solo viola by Salvatore Sciarrino complete the program.

Inspired by the CSO's exploration of Scriabin's work in the 2014/15 season and the composer's fascination with the "color" of music, DJ Justin Reed and lighting designer Todd Clark create Hommage à Scriabin that will greet audience members upon arrival at the January 19 concert.

The season continues with a concert celebration honoring the 90th birthday innovator/conductor/composer and mentor Pierre Boulez in Boulez's Workshop on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 7 p.m. The program's featured work is his seminal chamber work for 11 instruments, Dérive 2, alongside Mason Bates' virtuosic Indigo Workshop for solo piano and the world-premiere of Postponeless Creature by Anna Clyne, commissioned for MusicNOW by the CSO. Clyne's composition is the latest in a series of settings of the enigmatic poetry of Emily Dickinson featuring vocalists from the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

On Monday, June 1, 2015 at 7 p.m., the final MusicNOW concert of the season highlights the work of Chicago pianist and composer Myra Melford and avante garde icon John Zorn. Melford, the recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, performs a set of her own compositions including The Whole Tree Gone from her acclaimed 2010 acoustic jazz release of the same name. Selections from Zorn's epic Goetia for solo violin, Esa-Pekka Salonen'sDichtomie for piano and the Octet by Chicago composer Marc Mellits complete the evening's program. Cinema Libertad, one of Chicago's cutting-edge interactive theater troupes, set the scene with engaging visual elements created especially for this program.

Program and Ticket Details

Tickets for all MusicNOW concerts can be purchased by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312-294?3000; online at, or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.

Subscriptions for the four-concert MusicNOW series are on sale now and are $72. There is also a $28, four-concert student subscription available with valid student ID. Single tickets for all CSO 2014/15 concerts go on sale August 8, 2014.

MusicNOW concerts for the 2014/15 season take place on Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance located at 205 E. Randolph in Chicago.

Discounted student tickets for select concerts can be purchased, subject to availability, online in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. For group rates, please call 312-294-3040.

Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.


Monday, September 29, 2014 at 7 p.m.
James Feddeck, conductor

CHEUNG SynchroniCities
GORDON Light is Calling
ADAMS The Wind in High Places
BATES The Rise of Exotic Computing

There Will Be Blood

Monday, January 19, 2015 at 7 p.m.

REED/CLARK Hommage à Scriabin
TRUMAN 120bpm
SCIARRINO Ai limiti della notte
CLYNE A Wonderful Day
GREENWOOD Suite from There Will Be Blood

Boulez's Workshop

Monday, March 23, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Cliff Colnot, conductor

CLYNE Postponeless Creature
MusicNOW commission; world premiere
BATES Indigo Workshop
BOULEZ Dérive 2

Myra Melford & John Zorn

Monday, June 1, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Cliff Colnot, conductor
Myra Melford, piano

SALONEN Dichotomie
ZORN Selections from Goetia
MELFORD The Whole Tree Gone

About Pierre Boulez
Appointed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus in 2006, Pierre Boulez is a composer, conductor, tireless advocate for new music and one of the most important musical and intellectual figures of our time. Boulez was named principal guest conductor of the CSO in March 1995, only the third person to hold that title in the Orchestra's history. An eloquent and passionate advocate of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Boulez has become one of Chicago's most popular conductors in his annual residencies with the Orchestra.

Born in 1925 in Montbrison, France, Pierre Boulez initially trained in mathematics and later pursued studies in piano, composition and choral conducting at the Paris Conservatory. In 1954, he founded the Concerts du Petit Marigny, one of the first concert series entirely dedicated to the performance of modern music. Throughout the next decade, he was much involved with musical analysis, and he taught in Darmstadt and at Basel University. In 1963, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University, and in 1976 he became a professor at the Collège de France.

Boulez began his conducting career in 1958 with the Südwestfunk Orchestra in Baden-Baden, Germany. His reputation as a leading musician brought him to the attention of George Szell, who invited him to conduct in the United States for the first time with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1965; he subsequently held posts there as principal guest conductor and musical advisor from 1969 until 1972. In 1971, he became chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and that same year he succeeded Leonard Bernstein as music director of the New York Philharmonic, a position he held until 1977. His positions with these orchestras garnered him an international reputation as a foremost interpreter of music by Berg, Webern and Schoenberg as well as Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky and Wagner.

His difference of opinion about state intervention in the arts in France, as espoused by André Malraux, led Boulez into voluntary exile for several years. He returned in triumph in 1974, when the government under President Georges Pompidou, decided to build a music research center at the Pompidou Centre and invited Boulez to be its creator and director. From the Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) sprang the creation of a major and permanent instrumental group, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, one of the world's finest contemporary music ensembles, which Boulez has conducted in France, as well as on extended tours abroad. In 1991, Boulez resigned as conductor of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, while continuing as its president. Boulez is also cofounder of Cité de la Musique, a music center in Paris created in 1995.

Boulez's many awards and honors include honorary doctorates from Leeds, Cambridge, Basel and Oxford universities, among others; Commander of the British Empire; Knight of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany; and the 2009 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy.

He has won 26 Grammy Awards since 1967; eight of those were with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including best performance and best album awards for Bartók's The Wooden Prince, Cantata profana and Concerto for Orchestra, as well best performances for Mahler's Ninth Symphony; Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle; and Varèse'sAmériques, Arcana, Déserts and Ionisation. Pierre Boulez first appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on subscription concerts in February 1969 conducting Debussy's Jeux, Bartók's First Piano Concerto with Daniel Barenboim, Webern's Passacaglia and Six Pieces for Orchestra, and Messiaen's Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum.

About Mason Bates (
Mason Bates writes music that fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of techno. Along with Anna Clyne, Bates was appointed by Music Director Riccardo Muti as one of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Mead Composers-in-Residence beginning in the 2010/11 season, an appointment that has been extended through the 2014/15 season. Bates and Clyne have transformed the Chicago Symphony's MusicNOW series into an imaginative concert experience drawing huge crowds, with cinematic program notes and immersive stagecraft. Another new take on new music is Mercury Soul, which embeds sets of classical music into a fluid evening of DJing and immersive stagecraft. A collaboration with director Anne Paterson and Maestro Benjamin Shwartz, it has been performed at Chicago's Metro with members of the CSO, as well as in spaces from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls.