Organist of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in recital
Friday January 5 | 8 pm
Simon Johnson plays Edward Elgar’s incomparable Organ Sonata, with music of J.S. Bach and Jean Langlais, on the magnificent E.M. Skinner organ.
Simon Johnson is the organist and assistant director of music at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, where he plays for the daily round of services as well as for events of national and historic importance. Most recently, he has played for worldwide audiences on the occasions of Her Majesty the Queen’s diamond jubilee and her 90th birthday. He performs as soloist and continuo for Britain’s premier orchestras, and regularly plays solo recitals throughout Europe and in the United States. He was also the organist on the Oscar and Grammy-winning soundtrack for The Grand Budapest Hotel. He was the recipient of the Baker, Harding, and Durrant prizes at the Royal College of Organists, from which he graduated in 2001. Tickets for this concert are $10 at the door, free to students.
Boston Camerata: The Play of Daniel
Sunday January 21 | 2 pm
A Medieval Masterpiece Revisited
The Play of Daniel is a powerful medieval mystery play composed eight centuries ago in Beauvais, France. Under Anne Azéma’s direction (music and staging), this ambitious production combines old and new, bringing together music and movement, theater and liturgy, light and shadow, to retell the biblical story of the young prophet for today’s audiences. With the Rockefeller Chapel Choir, directed by James Kallembach, and the trebles of St. Luke’s, Evanston, directed by Andrew Lewis. Tickets $39, students $11, under-18s $1, at tickets.uchicago.edu.
Silent Film: Hamlet
A New Score for the 1921 Hamlet: Music by the Sons of Bach
Sunday February 4 | 7 pm
What if Hamlet were a woman? That is the central premise of this touring music and media project featuring the recently restored 1921 German silent film Hamlet, starring Asta Nielsen, Denmark’s most famous film actress, in the lead role. With master organist Dennis James and harpsichordist Michael Tsalka presenting their new live score, darkly built upon the work of the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach, featuring mezzo soprano Angela Young Smucker. $20 at the door, free to students.
Sacred Powers of Animals
Friday February 23 | 7:30 pm
A concert of music celebrating the wisdom and ways of animals: George Crumb’s Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale), with Russell Rolen CELLO, Timothy Munro FLUTE, and Daniel Pesca PIANO, and R. Murray Schafer’s whimsical and rarely heard A Medieval Bestiary, along with music of John Tavener and other music celebrating animals. Sung by the Rockefeller Chapel Choir, conducted by James Kallembach. $20 at the door, free to students.
Fifth House Ensemble: Degenerate Art
Sunday April 15 | 4 pm
Throughout history, art has maintained the power to threaten the social order. Delving into music that was censored, banned, and propagandized as “degenerate,” Fifth House Ensemble sheds new light on works by artists facing oppression under three different oppressive regimes: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and McCarthyism here in the United States where individuals, ideas, and art were deemed un-American. 5HE collaborates with the American Civil Liberties Union, Holocaust Community Services, the Spertus Institute, Artists at Risk, and the University of Chicago to share and illuminate poignant historical and present day stories of artists from around the world. Discussion after the performance. $20 at fifth-house.com; free to students (first 50 online, first 50 with ID at the door).