Join us for "Visionaries of the early 20th century + an overlooked German Romantic."

For the third program in its 40th concert season, The Chicago Ensemble presents the kind of off-the-beaten track program for which it has often been acclaimed. The music of three innovators of the early 20th century – Debussy, Copland, and Prokofiev – is heard, along with a fine, overlooked piano quintet by the 19th century German Romantic composer Joachim Raff.

The presentation takes place Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm at International House on the University of Chicago campus and Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm in the new chapel of Fourth Presbyterian Church on North Michigan Avenue near Water Tower Place.

Please note the later time for the Sunday concert.

Members of The Chicago Ensemble appearing in this program are Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, clarinet; Mathias Tacke and Rika Seko, violins; Amy Hess, viola; Andrew Snow, cello; and Gerald Rizzer, piano and artistic director.

Debussy’s Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano was written in 1910 as a competition piece for Paris Conservatory students. Beginning languidly, it later features a sprightly chromatic motive. In 1937 Copland reworked his Short Symphony into a chamber work for clarinet, string quartet and piano. Sharply accented with frequently shifting meters, it shows the composer’s admiration for Stravinsky. We see in this work an aspect of the composer’s output quite different from the “Americana” of his ballets. Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes was written in 1919, not long after his arrival in the US. It was commissioned in New York by the Zimro Ensemble, a Russian group which was on tour. It has the same scoring as Copland’s Sextet.

Joachim Raff’s quintet in A Minor for piano and string quartet is an excellent piece, passionate and very expressive. It deserves to be better known as a worthy companion to the popular piano quintets of Schumann, Brahms and Dvorak.

Single tickets are $25, $10 for students. A complimentary reception precedes the program at both locations. Rizzer, the group’s artistic director, provides informal verbal commentary before each piece.

If you wish to make a contribution for the 40th season, please contact us:

We look forward to having you join us for the 40th season.

Listen to our music: Bartok: Contrasts


The Chicago Ensemble continues its 40th season

The Chicago Ensemble's 40th season of Chicago-area subscription concerts continues. Not many small ensembles can claim a comparable longevity. In the 40th season, as in all the past years, The Chicago Ensemble audiences have had, and will continue to have, the opportunity to hear an extraordinary variety of chamber works presented in a congenial and informative setting.

Remaining programs for the season are:

  • March 5 and 8 – "Visionaries of the early 20th century + an overlooked German Romantic"
  • April 4 and 9 – "20th century music for flute, oboe, clarinet, and piano."
  • May 14 and 18 – "Music of the war years 1939-44 for violin, cello, and piano."

For the traditionalists, we had one program made up of music for strings and piano by Beethoven from each of his three style periods. In another program, music by Bach, Handel, Schumann, and Dvořák was heard.

Innovative and colorful works by great composers of the 20th century are featured in two programs: The March program -- with clarinet, strings, and piano -- holds music by Debussy, Prokofiev and Copland. The May program -- with violin, cello, and piano -- focuses on works written during the war years 1939-44 by Hindemith, Martinů, and Shostakovich.

Woodwinds and piano are heard in the April program, with little known, yet delightful pieces by 20th century French composers Darius Milhaud and Jean-Michel Damase and British composers Gordon Jacob and Malcolm Arnold.

Baroque music made up the first half and Romantic music the second half at the opening of The Chicago Ensemble's 40th season in November. From the Baroque era there were vocal duets by Handel and Purcell, along with Bach's B minor violin sonata. From the Romantic era vocal duets by Max Reger and Dvořák and Schumann's A Minor violin sonata were heard.

Ticket Information for Performances

For tickets or to receive a brochure:
Phone: (773) 558-3448
Online: Click the event date on our season details page to buy tickets, or visit our Brown Paper Tickets overview page. Season tickets are also availible.
Or see our order form to print out and mail your order.

Single Tickets: $25 general, $10 students, $100 full-season subscription
Ticket includes free reception beginning 30 minutes before each concert.

Each program in The Chicago Ensemble's five-concert subscription series is presented at Fourth Presbyterian Church, a block from the Water Tower, and at International House, on the University of Chicago campus.

A complimentary reception precedes each program. The artistic director, Gerald Rizzer, introduces the works on the program with informative comments.

Not sure of your schedule? Tickets are good for any concert, whenever and wherever you want to experience The Chicago Ensemble.