Jazz and Classical Nutcrackers DUKE IT OUT at Nichols Concert Hall Today


The Music Institute of Chicago welcomes families for Duke It Out, a concert showcasing both traditional and jazz-inflected versions of The Nutcracker Suite, preceded by an open house today, December 8 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.

Duke it Out pairs the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn, transcription by James Stephenson) versions of the holiday favorite, performed by Music Institute Ensembles-in-Residence Axiom Brass and Quintet Attacca. Providing a visual illustration of the two musical versions are dance students, ages eight to 18, from Foster Dance Company, as well as Foster Dance Studios tap teacher Phil Brooks and Chicago-area professional dancers, totaling approximately 50 dancers. Choreography is by Ronn Stewart, Sarah Goldstone and Phil Brooks.

This morning of music for families, which is sponsored by First Bank & Trust, begins at 9 a.m. with an open house in the Nichols Concert Hall lobby. Kids can enjoy playing a variety of instruments at the Music Institute Instrument Petting Zoo, parents can talk with faculty and staff, and everyone can take advantage of special discounts on lessons and classes.

Foster Dance Studios opened in Evanston in September 2011, founded by four partners with a unique vision: to create a dance studio where students receive exceptional instruction in a nurturing environment. The goal is to offer an outstanding dance education, train healthy dancers, and encourage students to achieve their personal dance goals. The sought-after teachers are known for their ability to nurture, inspire and respect the dancer within. Whether the goal is a future in professional dance or simply to learn and embrace the joy of movement, the classes are designed to provide a creative, physical and enjoyable outlet for children and adults. Foster Dance Company is the student performance ensemble at Foster Dance Studios.
Foster Dance Artistic Director Ronn Stewart has been a professional dancer and teacher for 20 years and is an award-winning choreographer. He is artistic director emeritus of Moving People Dance in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Santa Fe Dance Festival and resident teacher at Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance in Chicago. Stewart created his own dance technique called MoPeD, or More People Dancing: improvisational movement to guided imagery that creates a foundation for each dancer to open up to all the possibilities of movement. The other partners at Foster Dance Studios are Assistant Artistic Director Sarah Goldstone, a graduate of The Juilliard School; Executive Director Sally H. Turner; and Studio Manager Kathryn Ebert.

Axiom Brass, in residence at the Music Institute, is the only brass quintet in 27 years to win the prestigious Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition (2012), Axiom was also named winner of the 2008 International Chamber Brass Competition and prize winner of the 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, the Preis der Europa-Stadt Passau, the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, and the Jeju City International Brass Quintet Competition in South Korea. The Axiom Brass is dedicated to enhancing the musical life of communities across the globe and educating the next generation of musicians. Axiom’s commitment to education and blend of virtuosic performances and dynamic teaching have inspired young audiences around the nation, earning the ensemble the 2011 Fischoff Educator Award. Internationally recognized for its groundbreaking programming, Axiom performs repertoire ranging from jazz and Latin music to string quartet transcriptions, as well as original compositions for brass quintet.

Founded in 1999, Quintet Attacca is one of Chicago’s most dynamic chamber music ensembles, dedicated to bringing the unique sound of the wind quintet to all types of audiences. Grand Prize Winner of the 2002 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the quintet has spent the past four years in residence as the Outreach Ensemble for the Chicago Chamber Musicians, in addition to being in residence at the Music Institute. Quintet Attacca is one of only two wind quintets in the 35-year history of the Fischoff Competition to receive the Grand Prize. In that same year, the quintet was invited to be a finalist for Chamber Music Society Two at Lincoln Center. Quintet Attacca delights in bringing music education to all ages and abilities and prides itself on its imaginative and engaging outreach programs.

The Music Institute of Chicago believes that music has the power to sustain and nourish the human spirit; therefore, our mission is to provide the foundation for lifelong engagement with music. As one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation, the Music Institute offers musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services. Founded in 1931 and one of the oldest community music schools in Illinois, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Each year, the Music Institute’s world-class music teachers and arts therapists provide the highest quality arts education, reaching more than 10,000 students of all ability levels, from birth to 102 years of age, at campuses in Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Winnetka, and Downers Grove and through its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. The Music Institute also offers lessons and programs at the Steinway of Chicago store in Northbrook and early childhood and community engagement programs throughout the Chicago area and the North Shore. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and programs through four distinct areas: Community School, The Academy, Creative Arts Therapy (Institute for Therapy through the Arts), and Nichols Concert Hall.

The Music Institute of Chicago’s family open house (9 a.m.) and Duke It Out (10 a.m.) take place today, December 8 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $10 per family (up to six family members), available online or 847.905.1500 ext. 108. In addition, the Music Institute is accepting donations of new toys, clothing and gift cards (no gift wrap please) for Connections for the Homeless and Operation Homeland's families of U.S. Veterans of War. For more information visit musicinst.org.<