Join us for "MASTERPIECES OF THE WAR YEARS 1939-1944."


Three masterpieces for strings and piano written by European composers during the war years 1939-44 make up the final program in The Chicago Ensemble’s 40th anniversary season. Performers include Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler, violin; Steven Sigurdson, cello; and Gerald Rizzer, the Ensemble’s artistic director, piano.

The program is presented at two locations:
International House 1414 E. 59th St. – Sunday, May 14 at 3:00 pm
Fourth Presbyterian Church 126 E. Chestnut –
Tuesday, May 16 at 7:30 pm

Our final pieces for the season consist of Paul Hindemith’s violin and piano Sonata in C Major (1939), Bohuslav Martinů’s cello and piano Sonata No. 2 (1942). and Dmitri Shostakovich’s violin, cello and piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor (1944).

Hindemith left his native Germany after being harassed by the Nazi authorities for writing “decadent” music and for performing with Jewish musicians. He established himself in the US at Yale, offering classes to many young American composers. The Sonata of 1939 his is an outstanding work in the composer’s mature, modal, contrapuntally complex style. Its final movement is a fugue with three themes, introduced separately and then combined.

As a young man, Martinů had gone to Paris from his native Czechoslovakia. He stayed there for 17 years, but when the Nazis occupied France, he had to hastily leave since he had been an opponent of fascism. He then taught in America and received performances of his works by major music organizations. A prolific composer, Martinů greatly enriched the chamber music repertoire. This sonata combines melodies that conjure up his Bohemian origin, with neo-classicism and syncopated rhythms influenced by Stravinsky, who was active in Paris when Martinů was living there.

Shostakovich’s trio alludes to the horrors of the war. Unmistakably, the last movement is reminiscent of East European Jewish folk music, but the initially innocuous theme becomes increasingly intense, turning into a macabre dance of death.

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 to The Chicago Ensemble, please contact us:

  • Phone: (773) 558-3448
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  • Address: PO Box 409048, Chicago, IL 60640
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We look forward to having you join us for the conclusion of the 40th season.

Listen to our music: Gliere


The Chicago Ensemble 40th Anniversary Retrospective

Not many small ensembles can claim a comparable longevity.

Lawrence Johnson of Chicago Classic Review wrote an article about The Chicago Ensemble's 40 yearrs which appeared April 2017. He speaks of our concerts as “Chicago’s most venerable and repertorially adventurous chamber music series.” Commenting on how modest The Chicago Ensemble’s budget is, Mr. Johnson says: “Dollar for dollar, few offer more musical variety.” 

View the article here:

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.