Quire & Place concert announced as part of Chicago Shakespeare 400
Shakespeare 400 Chicago – the yearlong international festival that will run throughout 2016, and is designed to commemorate the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616 – has announced the events planned for January through March, 2016. The full line-up of the year’s productions and other events will be announced in January.
Musical tributes to the victims of the Holocaust are plentiful, but likeminded tributes to the musical culture that the Holocaust nearly destroyed are more rare.
Such a tribute took place Sunday afternoon in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Co-organized by James Kallembach and Cantor David Berger as part of the University of Chicago’s Quire & Place series, the concert was titled “Voices of Kristallnacht,” marking the atrocities of November 9-10, 1938.
The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago is the world’s second largest musical instrument. The largest is its sister carillon (also named for Laura Spelman Rockefeller) at the Riverside Church in New York City.
This year, the University of Chicago marks half a century of carillon festivals. The 50th annual festival, titled “The Bells of Summer,” runs through August 23. Every Sunday beginning at 5 pm, there is a free, one-hour performance open to the public. Most folks sit on the spacious lawn of Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., while some sit inside the chapel to enjoy the music and the interior architecture at the same time. There is also a large screen television that offers a view of the carillonneur, who performs from the bell tower, 271 steps high into the chapel.
This summer, the Rockefeller Chapel carillon will ring out in celebration of the 50th anniversary of a beloved tradition: the annual carillon concert series Bells of Summer.
Since 1965, visitors have come to Rockefeller Chapel with blankets and picnic baskets in hand to spend a summer afternoon listening to the music of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon, the world’s second-heaviest musical instrument. The event features weekly performances from June to August by guest artists from around the world.
Johann Sebastian Bach's music is ever with us and, indeed, was much in evidence over the weekend in Chicago, what with Bach Week Festival performances at North Park University and at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, all of them involving ensembles of modern instruments.
But the relatively rare chance to hear Bach's Mass in B minor done with a chamber orchestra of period instruments and correspondingly reduced choral forces lured me to Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago on Saturday night to catch this monument of Western sacred music as performed by the Rockefeller Chapel Choir and Orchestra under James Kallembach's direction. It turned out to be a pilgrimage well worth undertaking.
“Intimate” is an unlikely word to describe a space as large and austere as Rockefeller Chapel, and an even unlikelier one to extend to its historic, 8,565-pipe E.M. Skinner organ. Fortunately for us, the Brian Gerrish Organ Performance Series is committed to reclaiming the intimacy of the organ, demystifying the instrument and introducing its magic to a new generation.