Kathryn Bacasmot




Chicago, Illinois (December 18, 2013) – Chicago Composers Orchestra (CCO) presents its third annual “Amidst Lush Plantlife” concert on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. at Garfield Park Conservatory, located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue in Chicago. Past performances in this series have been praised by New Music Box contributor Rob Deemer as “very successful” in showing “why new music concerts can be diverse in content, in venue, and in audience to great effect.”

Conceived as a way to take the orchestra out of the box and put it into an entirely different setting, “Amidst Lush Plantlife” invites audiences to engage with new music in the verdant surroundings of the Garfield Park Conservatory, in the midst of the Chicago mid-winter. “The CCO is thrilled to return to Garfield Park Conservatory to present daring new works that take full advantage of this unique Chicago landmark, including works that invite the performers and audience to move around the space,” remarks CCO co-Artistic Director, Randall West. “This is ‘orchestra’ like you’ve never experienced it.” The event is free, and will feature performances of music by American composer John Luther Adams, and British composer Gabriel Prokofiev. CCO continues to fulfill its mission to solicit and promote the work of Chicagoans by presenting works of two Chicago composers: the world premiere of Open Arms, by Kyong Mee Choi, which was commissioned by the organization, as well as a piece by composer and clarinetist James Falzone. A work by Edward Smaldone, who is based in upstate New York, will also be presented on the program.

John Luther Adams has been called “one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century” by Alex Ross (The New Yorker). CCO’s January concert will feature Adams’ The Far Country of Sleep (1988), which was composed in memory of the late Morton Feldman. Adams says of the work: “Although he was an unrepentant urbanite, Feldman’s music is, for me, haunted by the idea of the sublime landscape, imaginary or real. The title of this homage to him is borrowed from a poem by John Haines. It evokes in my mind both the distant dreamscapes of the Arctic and that ultimate wilderness, through which we all must pass.”

Gabriel Prokofiev composes music that both embraces and challenges western classical traditions, and has emerged at the forefront of a new approach to classical music. Prokofiev’s own distinctive sound is informed by his background as a producer of hip-hop, grime, and electro records, as well as his earlier involvement in electroacoustic music. His Concerto for Turntables was performed at the BBC Proms in August 2011 to critical acclaim. Spheres started as a sketch for a violin concerto, and evolved into a stand-alone piece for solo violin and strings. Maria Storm is the featured soloist for the January 19th performance.

Kyong Mee Choi has received several prestigious awards and grants and is an Associate Professor of Music Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she teaches composition and electro-acoustic music. Open Arms, for orchestra and electronics, grew from the idea of embracing life fully, and saying farewell to life with full acceptance.

The New York Times has called James Falzone a “tremendously likable, alert, no-nonsense improvising clarinetist from Chicago. Taking its title and aesthetic sensibilities from a 17th century Haiku, in a world of one color…the sound of wind was adapted for CCO from its original version specifically for the Garfield Park Conservatory environment. The audience will walk amongst the performers, taking part in bringing the music to life.

Dr. Edward Smaldone’s The Beauty of Innuendo explores the beauty found in the memory of something that is not experienced directly. It takes its title from a line in Thirteen Way of Looking at a Blackbird, by Wallace Stevens: “I do not know which to prefer/ the beauty of inflections/or the beauty of innuendoes/ the blackbird whistling/or just after.” Smaldone is a Professor of Music, and the Director of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, City University of New York.

Music director Matthew Kasper, a conductor who has led orchestras at venues including the Pierre Monteux School, Queens College, Chicago College of Performing Arts and the CUNY New Music Festival, returns to the podium this season to lead a collection of the most talented and dedicated young professional musicians in the region. These musicians have performed with orchestras all over the Midwest including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as with various new music groups in the city including Dal Niente, Anaphora, and Palomar.

Chicago Composers Orchestra at Garfield Park Concert on January 19th, 2014 is FREE. Please visit for more information.

The Chicago Composers Orchestra is dedicated to the performance and advocacy of orchestral music by living composers. The orchestra works to expand the art form and engage the Chicago community through innovative programming, low cost concerts, and a vibrant and welcoming concert atmosphere. It brings the best in contemporary orchestral music to its audiences by connecting with the next generation of emerging artists. In doing so, it seeks to reinvigorate the orchestra experience for performers, composers, and audiences alike, and to create a sense of excitement around contemporary orchestral music throughout Chicago.



CCO Jan 19 2014 Press Release



September 12, 2012
Wellspring by David Vayo Headlines Chicago Composers Orchestra Fourth Season Opening Concert.  Also Featured, A World Premiere by Rob Deemer, and Works by Ian Dicke, Paul Kerekes.
CHICAGO (Septmeber 12, 2012) – Chicago Composers Orchestra presents the opening concert of its 2013-2014 season on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. at St. James Cathedral, 65 E Huron Street. Keeping with its mission to showcase the music of homegrown composers, the fourth season opens with a world premiere by Illinois native, Rob Deemer, Head of Composition in the School of Music at CUNY Fredonia, and a work by Illinois composer, David Vayo, who currently serves as the Fern Rosetta Sherff Professor of Composition and Theory and head of the composition department at Illinois Wesleyan University. Other featured composers include Fulbright winner Ian Dicke, and Paul Kerekes, who is currently pursuing an M.M.A. at Yale School of Music, studying with Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang.  DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE

December 21, 2012
Chicago Composers Orchestra Presents FREE Garfield Park Conservatory Concert ‘Amidst Lush Plantlife,’ Featuring Composer Lawrence Axelrod and Clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom
CHICAGO (December 20, 2012) – The Chicago Composers Orchestra returns to the Garfield Park Conservatory, located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue in Chicago, to present the second concert of its season on Wednesday, January 9 at 6:30 p.m. Featuring Lawrence Axelrod’s world premiere for solo bass clarinet (J. Lawrie Bloom) and several pieces exploring the spatial boundaries of music (including Byron Au Yong’s Occupy Orchestra), the concert is free for the public to enjoy a truly unique experience amidst lush plant life. DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE

August 22, 2012 
“Popular Influence,” Chicago Composers Orchestra’s Third Season Kickoff Concert, To Feature Stacy Garrop’s Thunderwalker
CHICAGO (August 22, 2012) – The Chicago Composers Orchestra (CCO) kicks off its third season with “Popular Influence,” a fall concert featuring Stacy Garrop’s awe-inspiring Thunderwalker, on Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Ganz Hall, located at 430 S. Michigan Avenue (7th Floor) in Chicago. Also on the program are exciting works by emerging composers Steven Snowden, Alex Temple (featuring vocalist Jenna Lyle), Liza White and William C. White.  DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE

January 13, 2012
Midwest Premiere of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Bass Drum Concerto Featuring Joby Burgess Highlights Chicago Composers Orchestra Winter Concert 
CHICAGO (January 13, 2012) – The Chicago Composers Orchestra delivers the Midwest premiere of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Bass Drum and Orchestra at its Winter Concert on Tuesday February 21, 6:30 p.m. at the Ruth Page Theater, located at 1610 North Dearborn Street in Chicago.  DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE

May 3, 2011
Chicago Composers Orchestra Inaugural Season Culminates With Spring Concert, Featuring Entirely Chicago-based Composers
CHICAGO (May 3, 2011) – Chicago Composers Orchestra presents the third and concluding concert in its inaugural season on Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Merit School of Music’s Gottlieb Hall located at 38 S. Peoria Street.  DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE

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