verdant cycles

Saturday August 6, 2022 - 7:30pm
St James Cathedral

65 E Huron St | Chicago



Jeffrey Mumford | Christine Wu, soloist

verdant cycles of deepening, concerto no. 2 for violin & orchestra

(in memoriam Robert Mann)
My concerto verdant cycles of deepening spring was made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation, for which I am enormously grateful.

Much of the basic material for this piece grows out of a solo violin piece written in 1979, entitled linear cycles vii (cambiamenti ii ), and subsequently revised in 1993. Over the years, many ideas suggested themselves and inspired me to revisit, and recast the earlier piece. As I expanded the opening, this eventually led to a completely new vision of the original idea, out of which a concerto grew, as these new ideas required an orchestral framework.


The concerto is dedicated to the memory of violinist, teacher and composer, Robert Mann, who was a significant source of inspiration for me and my work, and his support was incalculable.


In this piece, I wanted to pay homage to the enduring legacy of Mr. Mann, who helped and inspired so many musicians and music lovers: as a founding member of the Juilliard Quartet as well as his work as a teacher, mentor, composer and solo artist.


I want to also express my deep appreciation to violinists Caroline Chin (who studied with Mr. Mann at Juilliard) and Lauren Cauley for their insightful and wise counsel during the composition of this piece.
The present performance by Christine Wu (who studied with Robert Mann's son, Nicholas) and the Chicago Composers' Orchestra is one for which I am enormously grateful.


Duration: ca. 18 mins. 


About the soloist:

Violinist-violist hybrid, Christine Wu, performs internationally with recent appearances in Dallas, Cleveland, New York City, Magdeburg, and Köthen, Germany. She has been heard as a soloist with several orchestras ranging from one of America’s top orchestras – the Dallas Symphony Orchestra – to the community-based Mesquite Symphony Orchestra. She performed Elgar’s Violin Concerto in Severance Music Center, home of The Cleveland Orchestra, as the top prize winner of the 2016 Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition. She was also named winner of the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition, Juanita Miller Concerto Competition, and at the Aspen Music Festival and School’s Low Strings Concerto Competition as a violist and performed Martinu’s Rhapsody-Concerto with the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra in 2018. 



Ben Zucker | Sonder Trio

Angelus Loci, concerto for trumpet, harp, cello & orchestra

Angelus Loci came about as a concerto for the Sonder Trio, for a concert themed after “deserts”. The desert that came to mind at that time wasn’t natural, but instead the  barren landscape of Salvador Dali’s “Archeological Reminiscence of Millet's ‘Angelus’ ” -- its colossal mysterious figures suggested unfolding awe and density, to be understood from various angles of approach. The tripartite nature of the trio with harp further suggested of some kind of angel (the old weird “be not afraid” kind), and then Walter Benjamin’s ‘angel of history’, who sees history not as an unfolding of events, but a gathering pile of debris, violently propelled into the future by the ‘storm’ of progress. It’s an enticing metaphor to adapt to musical form, which has a history yet breaks down into sounds, not stories, to paraphrase Benjamin.


The “angel” trio is moved over the orchestral “landscape”; they refract and reshape each other around an unseen sound-image-icon-landmark both formal and topological. This is where the second part of the title comes in: “genius loci”, the ‘spirit of place’ which tends to the landscape via cooperative and agonistic changes. In a cadenza, the center is ‘blasted out of time’ (ala Benjamin), and experienced in its still fragments. But “progress” kicks in again, and the storm moves the form in reverse, as another form of debris. These are all jumbled and imprecise concepts at player here, but hopefully in a productive, creative tension in the ‘drama’ of a concerto setup.



Gilbert Galindo

Hymns of the Sky for Orchestra

Upon taking trips to New Mexico the past few summers (near my home region of the Permian Basin in west Texas), I have been taken back by the beauty and true enchantment of the land. In particular, I find the sky in New Mexico expansive and delightfully mysterious. "Hymns of the Sky" is my musical response to the expansiveness of that sky, setting the stage for it to divulge its secret celestial melodies.


Next in our 2022-2023 Season:

Friday, August 26, 2022 6pm

Ten x Ten Closing Party – Chicago Art Department, 1926 South Halsted St

Sunday, October 23, 2022 2-5pm

Martinis that Matter - Marty’s Martini Bar - 1511 W Balmoral Ave

Saturday January 28, 2023 at 7:30pm

Orchestral Concert - St James Cathedral

Saturday April 29, 2023 at 7:30pm

Orchestral Concert - St James Cathedral



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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.

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