top of page

notation + documentation

Saturday April 29, 2023 - 7:30pm
St James Cathedral

65 E Huron St | Chicago


notation + documentation is partially supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and sponsorship by the Katherine L. Griem and Anthony G. Montag Charitable Fund.


Andrew McManus

one idea of heaven

If you’re wondering what electroclash artist Casey Spooner could possibly have to do with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and his song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn, then compare some of the text of “Das Himmlische Leben”, one of the Wunderhorn songs:


"We revel in heavenly pleasures,

So we shun all that is earthly,

No worldly turmoil

Is heard in Heaven,

Everyone lives in sweetest peace;

We lead an angelic existence,

And yet we are perfectly happy,

We dance and leap,

We skip and sing,

Saint Peter in Heaven looks on…” (trans. Richard Stokes)


…to some of “Butterscotch Goddam”, a 2018 song by Fischerspooner (Casey Spooner’s old band):


“I jump off the mountain, I hang off the cliff 

Listen to you shower sing love scene shift 

Light it up with your weedy spliff 

Lovers tiff, dance around, plead the fifth 

Kiss me…” 

“I brought you sake and plums from Kyoto 

Gift shop stickers from the Bishōnen show… 

And that is just one idea of heaven…”


I find “Butterscotch Goddam” difficult to describe as anything other than an alternate queer universe - the near-nonsense lyrics, the dystopian erotic imagery and sexuality of the music video. And I’m reasonably sure St. Peter and the other saints in the Wunderhorn text - St. Cecilia, St. Martha, St. Ursula - wouldn’t exactly be the biggest fans of Fischerspooner’s work, of disco or electroclash music. But both of these texts are making the same fundamental promise: an escape to paradise.

I know I’m not only speaking for myself when I say that LGBTQ people, no matter what their sexuality or gender identity, struggle to feel safe in the world today. This fear comes from atrocities past and present, such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL in 2016 and the Colorado Springs nightclub shooting in 2022, or arson attacks on New Orleans gay bars in the early 1970s. But it also comes from ongoing threats, like the escalating right wing moral panic surrounding transgender people today, and over four decades of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. One idea of heaven is an attempt to create a joyous inward retreat from a disjunct, nightmarish reality of violence, hatred and chaos, one where music and imagery as incompatible as “Das Himmlische Leben” and “Butterscotch Goddam” can coexist as they provide the escapes they both promise.  - Andrew McManus



Alican Çamci 

copy-paste diptych for chamber orchestra


What did you hear? I heard my phone imitating a typewriter. What did you hear? I heard a voice message and thought about the people who listen to voice messages by holding the phone to their ear and the people who instead play them through the speaker. What did you hear? I heard that sound “is not the object but the medium of our perception. It is what we hear in.” What did you hear? Last year, I heard a performance of a piece by George Lewis that inspired me to write this one. What did you hear? I heard the sound my finger makes touching the screen (pıt, pıt, pıt) and realized this letter doesn’t exist in the English alphabet. I don’t know how an Anglophone refers to this sound. What did you hear? I heard the phone recordings I made of the detuned piano in Mete’s old apartment (the piano was there before he moved in and stayed there after he moved out) and thought of sending him a voice message. What did you hear? I heard that “sound is simply another way of saying ‘I can hear.’” - Alican Çamci


Quotations from Timothy Ingold, “Against Soundscape”; Ultra-red, “Organizing the Silence”




Laura Schwendinger | Christopher Taylor, piano

Second Sight for piano & orchestra

Second Sight is a dreamlike work that explores ethereal material that floats in and out, returns and is transformed. The melodic and rhythmic material once heard, is then repeated kaleidoscopically - except for a central dance section - to evoke a feeling of déjà vu, or musical “clairvoyance”.


This dreamlike landscape features various colors and textural characteristics of the soloist and seeks to feature the beauty of the instrumental registers. - Laura Schwendinger


About the Soloist:

Hailed by critics as “frighteningly talented” (The New York Times) and “a great pianist” (The Los Angeles Times), Christopher Taylor has distinguished himself throughout his career as an innovative musician with a diverse array of talents and interests.  He has concertized around the globe, with the most recent international tours taking him to Italy, Germany, Korea, China, and Singapore. In the U.S. he has appeared with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic,  Detroit Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, and the Milwaukee Symphony.  Mr. Taylor has undertaken various unusual projects. Recent examples include: performances of the complete Beethoven symphonies as transcribed by Franz Liszt;  performances and lectures on the complete etudes of György Ligeti; and a series of performances of the Goldberg Variations on the unique double-manual Steinway piano in the collection of the University of Wisconsin. 


Numerous awards have confirmed Mr. Taylor’s high standing in the musical world, among them an American Pianists’ Association Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Bronze Medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, first prize in the William Kapell International Piano Competition, and an Irving Gilmore Young Artists’ Award.


Mr. Taylor owes much of his success to several outstanding teachers, including Russell Sherman and Maria Curcio-Diamand. In addition to his busy concert schedule, he currently serves as Paul Collins Professor of Piano Performance at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He pursues a variety of other interests, including: mathematics (he received a summa cum laude degree from Harvard University in this field); computing; linguistics; and biking, which is his primary means of commuting.



About CCO

The Chicago Composers Orchestra presents music by living composers, extending the orchestral tradition to be open and vibrant, to speak to contemporary live and bring diverse people together.

We envision the orchestra as a powerful vehicle for contemporary music, filled with energy and purpose for composers, performers, listeners, and their communities.




Conductor, Music Director

Allen Tinkham


Violin 1

Dan Galat*   concertmaster

Katie Klocke

Rebecca Faber

Violin 2   

Diana Ortiz*

Tony Krempa

Ruben Lopez



Traci Huff*

Kelsey Hanson

Christina Karakos



Meghan Lyda*

Roxanne Fritton


Bradley Modjeski


Lesley Swanson


Becca Dora



Alessandro Tenorio-Bucci


John Pope


Stephanie Diebel


Shane Courville


Matt Flanagan


Alec Rich


Savanna Cardenas


Amy Wurtz


Lauren Hayes

*denotes principal




Thanks to you, we are able to bring orchestral music by living composers to the Chicago community. The CCO is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization. Support the CCO with a tax deductible at


The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)

The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Driehaus Foundation

National Endowment for the Arts




The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation

The Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation

Aaron Copland Fund for                Music

The Alice M. Ditson Fund

The Katherine L. Griem and Anthony G. Montag Charitable Fund

Kathleen Guarna

Brandon Harrington

Illinois Arts Council Agency

Louis Mallozzi

Rachel Manigault

The Saints



Daniel Jarzynski

Geoffrey F. Lory

Jayne Swanson



Nathan Bethell

Seth Boustead

Cynthia Cheski

Jessica Duffy

  In honor of Lesley Swanson

Mark Ferguson

Geoffrey Fichtl

Derek Fitting

Steve and Colleen Galat

Laural Harrington

Christine and Glenn Hayes

Gustavo Leone

Daniel Lory

Josette Lory

Jackie Majdov

Srdjan Majdov

Paul Marusek

Philip & Patricia Morehead

Dr. James Orr

Michael Putin

Aaron Rodgers

Scott Scharf and Dalia Chin

Beci & Debu Tripathy

Nicole West

Randall West



Anonymous (3)

Linda Berna

Steve Davis

Hans DeKok

Deb DeVoe

Layla and Eva Doss

Alena Frey

Paul Giallorenzo

Richard Harrington

Jennifer Henaghan

Libby Johnson

Janis Johnson

Jennifer Johnson

Matt Johnson

Michael Kiatkowski

Dawn Konrady

Daniel Le

Christine Leahy

Weiwen Ma

Marty McLeod

Jake Mullen

Pilar Ortega

Jaerin Son

Allyson Swanson

Kiku Taura

Stephen Todd



Anonymous (2)

Facebook Matching Gift Program

Stephen Anderson

Alisa Asu

Benjamin Babbitt

Kimberly Benson

Katherine Cavanaugh

Erica Celis

Michelle Campbell

Aleksandra Ciric

Matthew Corso

Patrick Cummings

Kathleen Giotta Delano

Dionté Durham

Jane Faber

Shaun Flynn

Laurie Fujimore

Alex Guerrero

Daron Hagen

Ashley Harrington

Christine and Glenn Hayes

Ayako/Nanae Kikuchi

Lewis Kirk

Andrew S. Kohler

Mabel Kwan

Ilya Levinson

Andrew McManus

Anthony Moaton

Tim Myers

Isidora Nojkovic

Erica Ocampo

Patrick Owen-Leary

Oscar Pan

Terry Park

James Parker

Alex Reyes

Justin Schmidt

Elizabeth Shaffer-Velluto

Andrew Stock

Maureen Thurman

Alissa Voth

Catherine Wolter

Jenny Wu

Amy Wurtz

Debii Wittrig


Board of Directors

Brandon Harrington, President

Daniel Jarzynski, Treasurer

Kate Guarna, Secretary

Paul Johnson

Derek Fitting


Randall West, Artistic Director

Allen Tinkham, Music Director

Erica Bittner, Development Director

Lesley Swanson, Operations Director


Interested in sponsoring your favorite section, an upcoming concert, or CCO’s season? Contact for details.





Interested in getting involved with CCO? We would love for you to join us whether as a composer, performer, volunteer or board member, you name it! Email us at


Supporting Organizations

We thank these organizations for their generous support:


bottom of page