George Lepauw Joins Chicago Arts Orchestra Tonight, 5/19

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Chicago Arts Orchestra (CAO) presents an evening of music by Ludwig van Beethoven titled "The Emperor" featuring guest artist George Lepauw tonight, May 19 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. This concert features Beethoven's works "Creatures of Prometheus Overture", "Piano Concerto No. 4", "Consecration of the House Overture" and "Piano Concerto No. 5", also known as the "Emperor Concerto". CAO Artistic Director Javier Mendoza will conduct. "The Emperor" begins at 8 p.m. and includes a pre-concert "Prelude" discussion with Mendoza and Lepauw beginning at 7:30 p.m.

"Chicago Arts Orchestra is thrilled to be collaborating with George Lepauw - a local Chicago talent of international renown known for his interpretations of Beethoven," said artistic director and conductor Mendoza. "George's passion for bringing exceptional music to Chicago mirrors our own mission. The youthful exuberance of CAO fits with George's passionate playing like a glove."  

Currently, Lepauw is the president and founder of the International Beethoven Project(IBP) and the artistic director of the IBP Beethoven Festival in Chicago. He is also a founder of theBeethoven Project Trio (BPT) with violinist Sang Mee Lee and cellist Wendy Warner. His work has been characterized by its "singing tone" ("New York Times") and its "swashbuckling" and "full-blooded" nature ("Chicago Tribune").  

"I love Javier's willingness to be adventurous and bold," said Lepauw. "Rarely does a soloist perform more than one concerto in a night. I have always wanted to perform Beethoven's 4th and 5th concert in a single evening, as they are both dedicated to the same person, Beethoven's patron, friend and only composition student, the Archduke Rudolph of Austria. They are both in sunny major keys, so full of life, and yet so different and complementary. Performing them together will be revelatory to the audience and a unique experience that only a bold and confident conductor would agree to! This concert is the highlight of my season for that reason."

Originally from Paris, France, Lepauw began his musical studies with Madame Aïda Barenboim who's son is pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim. Lepauw comes from a musical family; his father was First Violin with the Orchestre de Paris, his grandfather was PrincipAl Viola of the Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris and later of the Orchestre de Paris, and his sister Consuelo is a violinist based in Boston.

Along with being part of the BPT, George is also a member of the Beethoven Project Players, a larger collective of passionate chamber musicians, and has been a guest performer with Anaphora and the Avalon Quartet. Lepauw has also premiered solo works by such noted composers as Kirsten Broberg and Pulitzer-Prize winning Shulamit Ran. He received his Masters of Music in Piano Performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and regularly collaborates with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  

In 2010, Lepauw gave his New York City debut with the BPT at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, and concurrently released his first commercial recording of three rare Beethoven trios with the BPT on Cedille Records, which opened at number 24 on the Classical Billboard Charts. In 2011 he was Artistic Director of Beethoven Festival 2011: Man and Muse, which "Time Out Chicago" called the "smash of the season," and the "Chicago Tribune" the "best new undertaking in classical music" in 2011. Currently, Lepauw is planning Beethoven Festival 2012: Politics and Revolutions, slated to run in Chicago September, 2012.

Chicago Arts Orchestra seeks to touch an underserved and neglected audience through the championing of all types of serious music. CAO performs great music by all types of composers-from the old canon and the new canon, from a range of historical periods spanning the creation of the orchestral genre through the present day, and most importantly, by composers who have been marginalized by birth, ethnicity, religion or circumstance. The musicians and creative artists at the heart of CAO use innovative presentation and programming to bring this music to both traditional and new audiences, work to re-energize its appeal to young people, and hope to create a new canon that rediscovers important, neglected works. The orchestra is made up of professional musicians who maintain active performing schedules. The CAO provides educational opportunities for the community through the performance of historic and new orchestral music.

Chicago Arts Orchestra's 2011-12 season concludes with "The Emperor" featuring guest artist George Lepauw tonight, May 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $37 for premium seats, $19 for side seats and $11 for students and seniors. Tickets also include a pre-concert "Prelude" discussion with Mendoza and Lepauw beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are purchased through the Athenaeum Theatre via its websitewww.athenaeumtheatre.com, by phone 773-935-6860 or in person at the Athenaeum box office.