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A year full of uncertainty developed into an inspirational push for 20-year-old singer and Hyde Park native Mikayla Gilles, who released her debut single, "Away," on December 4. Writing and recording the four-minute-long alternative R&B track provided catharsis for Gilles during a time o…

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The happiest memories of Christmas frequently involve children. Sometimes it is the joy they bring others, sometimes it is the vicarious pleasure we take in their joy. The Hyde Park Youth Symphony (HPYS) has done something that offered a little bit of both in a pair of Zoom streaming events.

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Lyric Opera of Chicago’s latest virtual concert celebrated singers and composers from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Spain, Guatemala, Argentina and the US. Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center, which sponsored the concert, assembled an array of fine singers, most of whom are members or alums of the Ryan C…

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These are difficult times for opera presenters. Chicago Opera Theater (COT) had hoped to provide a streamed version of the complete opera “Kashchej the Immortal” by Rimsky-Korsakov this weekend, but tighter coronavirus restrictions made that impossible. The organization was able to pivot and…

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Since having to cancel all fall concerts with audiences, University of Chicago Presents has turned to local artists and streaming to bring music to their subscribers. Last Friday, they introduced a new series, "Sounds/Sites," which allows artists to perform in locations not always available …

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The Dame Myra Hess Memorial concerts mounted by the International Music Foundation (IMF) have been a staple of the Chicago cultural landscape since 1977, and the coronavirus pandemic has not changed that. But it has changed the method of presentation, with the effect that considerably more p…

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Haymarket Opera Company, now celebrating its tenth anniversary, has entered the pandemic-inspired streaming age with a luscious production of Handel’s “Acis and Galatea”. This 90-minute work is perfect for a small company because the cast is small — three principals, one additional soloist, …

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Music organizations large and small, both across the world and in Chicago, have developed ways of reaching audiences without having them in physical proximity to those making the sound. In the beginning this predominantly meant streaming events: concerts, very small operas, and the like.

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The University of Chicago Presents offered a streamed concert Friday night featuring a Hyde Park favorite, the Pacifica Quartet. Early in their career, they were resident performing artists for 17 years at the University of Chicago, offering numerous concerts, and they developed a substantia…

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It’s not news that small businesses are struggling in the time of COVID-19. Sadly, this applies to small arts groups as well. Yet Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, a very small and rather young Chicago opera company, has persevered, and this weekend offered a low-budget, high-impact streaming even…

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new, paid and online series "CSO Sessions" continues to offer high-quality performance combined with expert audio and visual presentation, making it the next best thing to being there.

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Last week, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra began its series of weekly paid concerts online with a one hour performance. Part of the “CSO Sessions,” the main portion of the concert featured five CSO principals, while a middle section featured two other members of the orchestra. 

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The final Rush Hour concert of the season, which streamed online last week, was a fitting and splendid way to end the summer season for the International Music Foundation. The Kontras Quartet — made up of Eleanor Bartsch and Francois Henkins, violins; Ben Weber, viola; and Jean Hatmaker, cel…

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Both Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have announced further details about the upcoming season and their responses to pandemic conditions that will not allow live performances before large audiences for some time to come.

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Chicago Opera Theater opened its 2020–2021 season, where every performance will be streamed online, with a concert version last week, of the new opera “The Transformation of Jane Doe.”

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Hyde Park Jazz Festival artistic and executive director Kate Dumbleton has spent years bringing international jazz stars and local heroes to a growing neighborhood audience. The COVID-19 pandemic made her completely reverse course and discourage mass numbers from gathering while still presen…

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Lyric Opera of Chicago formally kicked off its 2020–21 season Sunday night with a free online gala concert. Lyric had originally planned a cabaret-type event but when coronavirus restrictions made large events impossible, it pivoted and created a virtual concert instead.

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With performances before large live audiences still considered unsafe, some of Chicago’s biggest music makers are moving forward with digital offerings either for the rest of the year or for the entire season. Both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Opera Theater have just made impor…

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The Rush Hour Concert Series, hosted by the International Music Foundation, continues their weekly free summer concert streams on Tuesdays, concluding Sep. 22. This past week they featured a talented and exciting trio from Nexus Chamber Music.

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Chicago Opera Theater teamed up with the Refugee Orchestra Project to offer four performances overlooking Lincoln Park this past weekend, two performances each on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the Chicago History Museum’s Uihlein Plaza. Matching up these two groups was natural to Lidiya …

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Fulcrum Point New Music Project had an idea that would allow them to perform live music in public with an audience and which would maintain physical distance among listeners. They found large park spaces where several dozen folks could space themselves out and still enjoy the music. And what…

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Two principal players from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — both relatively recent appointments by music director Riccardo Muti — and a talented freelance pianist joined forces for a marvelous concert of trios last week.

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Fundraisers are a time to put a group’s best foot forward, brag a little, and offer tempting examples of the kind of performances your organization is known for. There was all that and more for the Chicago Sinfonietta’s online fundraiser this past weekend. 

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The opera and classical music communities continue to grapple with coronavirus restrictions that make live performances nearly impossible. Planning for future performances remains a tricky enterprise because no one knows when venues will be able to reopen.

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The Rush Hour concerts began 20 years ago as a brief respite of music between the end of the Chicago workday and the beginning of a warm summer evening. The International Music Foundation (IMF), the organization putting on these concerts, knew that government coronavirus rules wouldn’t allow…

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and WFMT have announced the extension of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra radio broadcast series launched in April of this year. The programs air under the somewhat bulky title, “From the CSO’s Archives: Maestro’s Choice—For All Music Lovers in These …

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The University of Chicago Presents continues at the forefront of classical music here in Chicago during the pandemic. While venues remain closed to live audiences, UCP has kept its audiences engaged with top-quality online streaming concerts. Last week they joined with several other organiza…

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A composer based in Hyde Park has written what may be the first work based on the coronavirus pandemic, which has been released on YouTube with a fascinating video.

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In the world of opera and classical music the biggest effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been the shutting down of all live performances with an audience. But another huge effect has been the uncertainty of what will follow in not just the days and weeks ahead, but the months and years a…

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Because the Hyde Park Youth Symphony could not have a live spring concert as they would normally do, they decided to have an online one. On May 20, they unveiled a 20-minute video that featured both music and spoken word. Both of the leaders of the organization, Matthew Sheppard and Lindsay …

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University of Chicago Presents has been a local leader in offering Chicagoans alternative ways to experience classical music during the pandemic. Late last month they joined with the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, the Academy of Early Music (Ann Arbor), and WFMT to present a free livestre…

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Hyde Parker August Tye is a ballet dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She is ballet mistress at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the founder of the Hyde Park School of Dance (originally, the Hyde Park School of Ballet, which expanded its offerings and necessitated a name change). She began winnin…

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Classical music fans received bad news only days ago when the Ravinia Festival announced on May 1 that it was cancelling its entire 2020 season. Ravinia is the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, so all those concerts will be lost along with the other concerts at the leafy, north …

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Luther Vandross soundtracking a Greater Grand Crossing block party. Kids rollerblading over Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” A young couple sitting and laughing with each other while Curtis Mayfield sings “I wanna go back, to the sweetness of time/I wanna go back, and reminisce what was mine.” 

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Katherine Davis has been learning the piano at home the last month. In fact, she’s been learning the piano for years, despite the fact that, as a blueswoman, she’s tended to stay downstage with the audience during her performances. “I let the musicians play the music, and they let me sing an…

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This week was the scheduled opening of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung,” the final opera in the Ring Cycle. But the three full Ring Cycles as well as two performances of “Götterdämmerung” were cancelled due to restrictions on large gatherings enacted by G…

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For over 60 years the Hyde Park Youth Symphony has served the South Side of Chicago by offering an orchestral experience for kids. Saturday afternoon at the Logan Center a good-sized audience was on hand for the HPYS’s spring concert that featured three different ensembles: the Preparatory S…

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A stream of perplexed and dismayed patrons filed out of the Lyric Opera House last Saturday, after Lyric unveiled a new-to-Chicago production of Tchaikovsky’s “Pikovaya dama” (“The Queen of Spades”). Pushkin’s short story, on which the opera is based, is about greed. The composer’s brother M…