Chicago Gargoyle Brass And Organ Ensemble To Premiere FLOOD OF WATERS

Chicago Gargoyle Brass And Organ Ensemble To Premiere FLOOD OF WATERS

The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble will bring a surge of musical colors to its May 2019 concerts in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois, with the first performances of composer William C. White's biblically inspired "Flood of Waters," Op. 34.

Commissioned by the Gargoyle ensemble and completed in 2018, the tone poem for brass, organ, and percussion depicts the Great Flood from The Book of Genesis.

It will receive its world-premiere at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, at St. John Cantius Church, 825 N Carpenter Street, Chicago. Its Chicago suburban premiere will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, at Grace Episcopal Church, 924 Lake Street, Oak Park.

White's dramatic new work tells Noah's story in six scenes: "Rain upon the earth," "Upon the face of the waters," "He sent forth a dove," "The waters were abated," "Upon the face of the ground," and "Covenant."

White earned a master's degree from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music and a bachelor's in music from the University of Chicago. He currently serves as music director of Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers.

Unique in the Chicago area, the professional ensemble of brass quintet and pipe organ will also give the world premieres Craig Garner's brass and organ arrangements of Olivier Messiaen's mystical "Apparition de l'église éternelle" (Apparition of the eternal church), the French composer's vison of "the heavenly church"; and "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral" from Richard Wagner's opera "Lohengrin." Both were commissioned by the Gargoyle ensemble.

"The magical combination of brilliant brass sonorities in a wide dynamic range and the majestic sound of the pipe organ, whose notes you can feel vibrating in the sanctuary, makes for a multidimensional experience," says Rodney Holmes, founder and artistic director of the Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble. "Listeners familiar with the originals will hear them in a fresh new way."

The Gargoyles will play "Blessed Are They" from Johannes Brahms's "A German Requiem," a sublime work originally scored for chorus and orchestra. It, too, will be heard in a brass and organ arrangement commissioned by the ensemble.

"These arrangements reveal colors, details, and musical conversations that can get lost when the original scores are performed by a large ensemble," Holmes says.

The concert includes Jean Langlais's rarely heard "Choral médiéval," Op. 29, an original brass and organ piece from 1937, influenced by Gregorian chant.

For solo organ enthusiasts, the Gargoyle's season finale program offers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's remarkable Fantasy in F Minor, K. 608, which blends Baroque counterpoint with a foretaste of the harmony and expressiveness of the early romantic era. Also: J. S. Bach's "Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele" (Adorn yourself, O dear soul), BWV 654, an organ prelude based on a Lutheran hymn.

Tickets and information

Tickets for the May 4 concert at Chicago's St. John Cantius Church are $40 for reserved seating, $20 adult general admission, $15 seniors over 65 and students, and $10 ages 6-18. Tickets at

Admission to the May 5 concert at Oak Park's Grace Episcopal Church is $20 for adults, $15 seniors, and free for ages 17 and younger. Tickets at or 800-838-3006.

Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble

"The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble plays with warmth, elegance, and panache," said U.S. music magazine Fanfare in a review of the ensemble's debut CD. "[They] are perfect companions for the music lover in need of calming nourishment."

Ensemble members are Lev Garbar and Andrew Hunter, trumpets; Abby Black, horn; Ian Fitzwater, trombone; Phil Bessett, tuba; and Jonathan Rudy, organ. Percussionist is Nathan Ankrom.

Conductor is Stephen Squires, resident conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Millar Brass Ensemble, and professor of conducting in the Music Conservatory of Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts.

The Gargoyle ensemble takes its whimsical name from the stone figures atop Gothic buildings at the University of the Chicago, where the now-professional ensemble got its start in 1992 as a brass quintet of faculty and students. Under its founder and artistic director Rodney Holmes, it has evolved over the decades into an independent organization of classically trained professional musicians that focuses on commissioning and performing groundbreaking new works and arrangements for brass quintet and pipe organ. More information at

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