Composer John CoriglianoApril 27, 2010 — EVANSTON, Ill. — A master class, a spring opera and four concerts — including one at Chicago's Millennium Park on Memorial Day weekend — will spotlight the works of multiple award-winning composer John Corigliano. The events are all part of the Northwestern University Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music's festival saluting the composer.

The John Corigliano Festival runs from May 12 to May 30 and includes performances by the University's Symphonic Wind Ensemble, University Chorale, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, Bienen School students and guest artists.

Corigliano has written more than 100 chamber, vocal, choral and orchestral works that have been performed and recorded by many of the world's most prominent orchestras, soloists and chamber musicians. An Oscar recipient for his score to the film "The Red Violin," Corigliano has received a Pulitzer Prize and three Grammy Awards for his compositions.

Festival events are open to the public and will take place, as noted, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive; Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road; Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street; and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 55 N. Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.

The John Corigliano Festival events will include:

  • a composition master class led by the composer at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, in Regenstein Recital Hall, focusing on his concertos. Admission is free.
  • a Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band concert, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 14, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Conducted by Mallory Thompson and showcasing Corigliano's music for wind ensemble, the program will feature Corigliano's "Gazebo Dances" and Symphony No. 3, "Circus Maximus," and Richard Strauss' "Festmusik der Stadt Wien." Corigliano's "Circus Maximus," an eight-section symphony scored for large wind ensemble, is inspired by the barbarity of ancient Rome's famed arena and today's "extreme" forms of televised entertainment. Audience members are invited to meet Corigliano during a post-concert reception in the Pick-Staiger lobby. Refreshments will be served. Tickets are $7 for the general public; $5 for seniors and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • vocal and instrumental chamber works in a program conducted by Robert A. Harris, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The concert includes "Fern Hill," a lyrical setting of Dylan Thomas' poem, scored for mixed choir and instrumental ensemble. In addition to performances by the University Chorale and Bienen School of Music faculty and students, highlights will include Corigliano's music for piano, voice and strings and a talk by the composer. Tickets are $7 for the general public; $5 for seniors and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $4 for students with valid IDs.
  • the annual Alice Millar Spring Festival Concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 16, in Alice Millar Chapel. The program is devoted to Corigliano's Fanfares to Music," the dramatic cantata "Of Rage and Remembrance," "Amen" for a cappella chorus and "Psalm No. 8" for organ and chorus. Stephen Alltop and Gail Williams will conduct the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and soloists and the Northwestern University Brass Ensemble. Corigliano will discuss his music as part of a concert that includes the choral work "Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine" by Eric Whitacre, one of Corigliano's former students. Admission is a freewill offering.
  • a Northwestern Opera Theater production of Corigliano's "The Ghosts of Versailles" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 21, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 23, at Cahn Auditorium. Staged by Bienen School faculty member Jay Lesenger, the two-act opera was inspired by the Beaumarchais play "The Guilty Mother." This "grand opera buffa" with music by Corigliano and a libretto by William M. Hoffmann premiered at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1991. Northwestern's production will be conducted by Robert G. Hasty and Steven Osgood and performed in English with English supertitles. Tickets are $18 for the general public; $15 for seniors and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $8 for students with IDs.
  • a final festival performance at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 30, in Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion in downtown Chicago. Bienen School faculty member Victor Yampolsky will conduct the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. Guest soloists include violinist Maria Bachmann and tenor Grant Knox. Men of the Northwestern University Symphonic Choir also will be featured. The program includes Corigliano's "The Red Violin: Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra," a set of variations based on his Oscar-winning score for the 1998 film. Liszt's "A Faust Symphony" also is on the program. Admission is free. Pavilion and lawn seating will be available.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit To order tickets by phone, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000.

—Judy Moore

Judy Moore is the fine and performing arts editor for Northwestern NewsCenter. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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