Chicago Scene: August 25 – September 1, 2018

This is a weekly overview live avant performances in the Chicago area. Contact us if you’d like your shows listed.

Saturday, August 25th 2018

4:00PM-11:00PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western (Free)
Dog/Day #1
6:00PM James Brandon Lewis with Ben Lamar Gay, Kent Kessler, Avreeayl Ra
7:15PM mystery set
7:30PM Josh Berman, Jason Roebke, Michael Vatcher
9:00PM Craig Taborn

4:30PM-11:00PM at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont (Free) (wheelchair-accessible)
Dog/Day #1
7:00PM Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things

Sunday, August 26th 2018

5:00PM-8:30PM at Links Hall, 3111 N Western (Free)
Dog/Day #2
5:00PM Jazz Links: Aaron Kaufman Levin Quartet
6:30PM Twin Talk
7:30PM Touch My Beloved’s Thought

8:00PM-11:00PM at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont (Free) (wheelchair-accessible)
Dog/Day #2
8:00PM Vincent Chancey
9:30PM Ken Vandermark
9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Lia Kohl, Muyassar Kurdi, Travis

Monday, August 27th 2018

7:30PM at Experimental Sound Studio, 5925 N Ravenswood, 773.769.1069
Ted Reichman Solo
Håvard Wiik Solo

9:00PM at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 773.281.4444
Extraordinary Popular Delusions : Mars Williams, Brian Sandstrom, Steve Hunt

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Dane Rousay Solo
Dustin Laurenzi, Jeremy Cunningham
Big Fun : Hunter Diamond, Zac Nunnery, Jakob Heinemann, Davi Priest, Andy Danstrom, Christian Hughes

Tuesday, August 28th 2018

5:30PM at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago, 312.280.2660 (Free) (wheelchair-accessible)
Ari Brown — Tribute to Muhal Richard Abrams

6:00PM in Fred Anderson Park, 1611 S Wabash
Fred Anderson Legacy Band with special guest Mai Sugimoto

Wednesday, August 29th 2018

8:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 (Free)
AACM Generations
Ernest Dawkins, Taalib-Din Ziyad, Art “Turk” Burton, Edward House
Jerome Croswell, Ben LaMar Gay, Saalik Ziyad
Dr Adam Zanolini, Runere Brooks, James Sims, Jeremiah Collier

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western
Dog/Day #4
Jeremy Cunningham’s Chicago Drum Choir : Russ Johnson, Lenard Simpson, Nick Mazzarella, Matt Lux, Mike Reed, Quin Kirchner, Jeremy Cunningham, and special guests
Angelo Hart, Jake Wark

Thursday, August 30th 2018

11:00AM-4:15PM at Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E Washington, 312.744.6630
Chicago Jazz Festival
12:15PM-1:15PM Great Black Music Ensemble

5:00PM-9:00PM at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph (wheelchair-accessible)
Chicago Jazz Festival
6:30PM-7:25PM Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening

8:30PM-11:00PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western (Free)
Dog/Day #5
Mark Trecka
Mako Sica with Hamid Drake
Therapy Sessions — at the Hungry Brain

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Håvard Wiik’s Chicago Project
Håvard Wiik Big Band with Josh Berman, Jason Stein, Dave Rempis, Jason Roebke, Tim Daisy, others TBA

Friday, August 31st 2018

11:30AM-4:00PM at the Von Freeman Pavilion, Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph (wheelchair-accessible)
Chicago Jazz Festival
1:50PM-2:45PM Chris Speed Trio

3:45PM-9:00PM at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph (wheelchair-accessible)
Chicago Jazz Festival
4:15PM-5:05PM Tribute to Dr Richard Muhal Abrams

9:00PM-12:00AM at Constellation, 3111 N Western (Free)
Dog/Day #6
Kidd Jordan
Chris Speed Trio at the Hungry Brain

Saturday, September 1st 2018

11:30AM-4:00PM at the Von Freeman Pavilion, Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph (wheelchair-accessible)
Chicago Jazz Festival

1:50PM-2:45PM Matthew Shipp, Ivo Perelman
3:00PM-4:00PM Amina Claudine Myers Trio

3:45PM-9:00PM at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph (wheelchair-accessible)
Chicago Jazz Festival
6:25PM-7:25PM Darcy James Argue

9:00PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western (Free)
Dog/Day #7
Kidd Jordan
Nolatet at the Hungry Brain

For more information, such as directions, as well as upcoming performances, see:,,,,,,,,,,,

The Death and Life of Spectral Music


Something is killing spectral composers. Gérard Grisey, the pioneer of the genre, died of a stroke at age 52, immediately following the completion of his funereal work “Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil.” Claude Vivier, the Quebecois Jonathan van Ness of new music, was murdered at 34 by a man he picked up in a gay bar, after writing “Glaubst Du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele,” a piece that seemed to predict the circumstances of the crime. The Italian Fausto Romitelli, whose work is tinged with distorted electric guitar and LSD, succumbed to cancer at 41. The Romanian Ana-Maria Avram passed away at 55, the Spaniard Francisco Guerrero Marín at 49. (Bob Gilmore, the musicologist who wrote groundbreaking biographies of Vivier and Harry Partch, died in 2015 at 54.) Besides a premature death, there is something else that ties each of these composers together—not necessarily their adherence to “spectralism,” which involves material drawn from the harmonic series, but the combination of intellectual rigor and passionate hedonism in their work.

Dissident Arts Festival in NY, September 8 & 15


The thirteenth annual Dissident Arts Festival, a showcase of revolutionary creativity, will occur on stages in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan’s East Village on September 8 and 15, respectively. The Festival will raise funds for three organizations relevant to the movement for social justice and feature markedly outspoken statements against repression in a reactionary time.

SEPTEMBER 8 ’s edition at 17 Frost Theatre and Gallery, a premiere performance space in Williamsburg, is dubbed Cabaret of Dissent. It will benefit the Rosenberg Fund for Children, a non-profit public foundation that aids children of targeted, progressive activists. The event inspired by Weimar Berlin, New York’s Café Society and downtown arts, includes speaker Jenn Meeropol, granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Director of the Rosenberg Fund, esteemed jazz singer Judi Silvano who adds voice to experimentalists the Beyond Group, pianist Chris Forbes presents “Harmolodic Weill”, liberation jazz and spoken word by the Red Microphone, celebrated bassist/poet Larry Roland debuts his new all-star band They Come With Gold, and noted poetry duo Raymond Nat Turner and Zigi Lowenberg. The closing act is rising star singer/songwriter Lindsey Wilson & the Human Hearts and throughout the evening the politically-charged paintings of Brooklyn visual artist Sophia Dawson will be projected over the stage.

On SEPTEMBER 15 the action moves to the 5C Café and Cultural Center, long-standing home of avant jazz and bold performance, where funds will be raised for the Alliance of Families for Justice and the NYC Jericho Movement. Both organizations advocate for the unjustly incarcerated and call for urgent prison reform. The evening opens with a solo performance by renowned drummer William Hooker, and includes 5C’s own pianist/composer Trudy Silver, Ras Moshe’s Music Now! and the Flames of Discontent duo of Festival director John Pietaro and Laurie Towers. The closing act is international songwriter Martina Fiserova.

2018-19 University of Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition Calendar Announced

Source: UChicago Arts.

The Center will present a concert concert series including: 40 world premieres, seven guest composers who have been commissioned for new compositons, three guest ensembles, a new resident ensemble, and a series of open rehearsals and interactive experiences.

Saturday, October 13, 2018 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Performance Hall*
The genre-bending percussion and piano quartet, described as “fascinating and exciting, with playing that is precise and full of purpose . . .” (George Grella, Brooklyn Rail), performs Les Monde des Rondes et des Carrés, a 2015 work by Japanese composer Misato Mochizuki, and Feld, a recent work by German composer and conductor Enno Poppe. The program also includes two world premieres by UChicago composers Will Myers and David Clay Mettens.
$15, students free with ID / purchase tickets online or call 773.702.ARTS (2787)

Thursday, November 8, 2018 / 7 PM / Logan Center Penthouse
Tyshawn Sorey Trio Composer/drummer
Tyshawn Sorey is widely considered to be among the most important young artists at the intersection between composed and improvised music. He is one of the most in-demand drummers on the modern jazz scene — known for his impossibly virtuosic technique and his mind-boggling ability to effortlessly master even the most difficult written scores — but is also one of a rare breed of jazz musicians who is pursuing composition as seriously as performance.
Free, no tickets required

Friday, December 7, 2018 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Performance Hall*
Grossman Ensemble
Ben Bolter, conductor
Ben Bolter, co-director of Northwestern University’s Contemporary Music Ensemble and Associate director of the NU Institute for New Music, conducts the debut performance of the Grossman Ensemble. The performance includes world premiere works by Assistant Professor of Composition at UChicago and electronics performer Sam Pluta, Professor of Composition at Brandeis University and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist David Rakowski, UChicago Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor Emerita Shulamit Ran, and CCCC Postdoctoral Researcher Tonia Ko.
$15, students free with ID / purchase tickets online or call 773.702.ARTS (2787)

Sunday, January 13, 2019 / 8:30 PM / Constellation
Spektral+1, Plus One
An exciting partnership between University of Chicago graduate composers, Spektral Quartet, and a fantastic group of guest performers, SPEKTRAL+1, PLUS ONE showcases six new works that reimagine and expand the string quartet through the addition of a unique fifth collaborator. Performers including bassoonist Ben Roidl-Ward, percussionist Doug Perkins, cellist Hannah Collins, clarinetist Alicia Lee, and guitarist Jesse Langen join the inimitable Spektral Quartet to premiere works by Darlene Castro, Baldwin Giang, Maria Kaoutzani, Joungbum Lee, David Clay Mettens, and Will Myers at Constellation, one of Chicago’s premiere new music venues.

Tuesday, February 5, 2018 / 8 PM / Chicago Symphony Center
Civic Orchestra of Chicago
A partnership offering the rare opportunity for nine UChicago composers – Rodrigo Bussad Cesar, Pierce Gradone, Jack Hughes, Alison Yun-Fei Jiang, Maria Kaoutzani, Joungbum Lee, David Clay Mettens, Theodore Moore, and Will Myers – to create new works to be premiered by the nation’s most outstanding young professional musicians.
Free with a $5 processing fee / reserve tickets online or call 312.294.3000

Friday, March 15, 2019 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Performance Hall*
Grossman Ensemble
James Baker, conductor
The Grossman Ensemble presents works by Chen Yi, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and University of Chicago graduate composers Rodrigo Bussad and Jack Hughes. James Baker, Music Director and Conductor of the Composers Conference at Wellesley College and Director of the Percussion Ensemble at Mannes College of Music, conducts the performance.
$15, students free with ID / purchase tickets online or call 773.702.ARTS (2787)

Friday, April 12, 2019 / 8:30 PM / Hairpin Arts Center
Spaces Inside Spaces
~NOIS saxophone quartet premieres new works by UChicago composers connecting music and performance to the design and architecture traditions of Chicago. By creatively staging the multiple works throughout the Hairpin Arts Center gallery in the historic Morris B. Sachs building at Logan Square, the composers and musicians engage with physical space and architecture as a compositional parameter. Commissioned lighting design accentuates the space and sonic qualities of the music, both of which lead the audience through a continuously flowing, immersive aesthetic experience.

Thursday & Friday, May 2 & 3, 2019 / Logan Center Penthouse
CHIMEfest 2019: Live Electronics Symposium
The CHIME Studio invites many of the world’s leading live-electronics performers for talks and concerts focused on themes of interaction and experimentation.
Free, no tickets required

Friday, June 7, 2019 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Performance Hall*
Grossman Ensemble
David Dzubay, conductor
In the final concert of the season, the Grossman Ensemble presents four world premiere works by acclaimed soprano Kate Soper, a Pulitzer Prize finalist whose works have been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Music Center; Steve Lehman, whose most recent album was called the #1 Jazz Album of the year by NPR Music and the Los Angeles Times, UChicago composer Joungbum Lee, and David Dzubay, Professor of Music, Chair of the Composition Department, and director of the New Music Ensemble at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, who will also conduct the concert.
$15, students free with ID / purchase tickets online or call 773.702.ARTS (2787)

The Diverse, Idiosyncratic Output of Kevin Drumm 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Before submitting this story, I checked in on Kevin Drumm’s Bandcamp page, in case the Chicago-based avant-garde musician had released any new music over the course of my writing. It wouldn’t have been surprising if he had: throughout his nearly 30-year career, Drumm has released over 150 titles under his own name (he’s issued seven album-length recordings this year already) that showcase a wide variety of approaches to electronic and experimental music production. His swelling Bandcamp page has been quietly active since 2013 and now boasts a staggering 103 titles.