Programming details for one of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s most popular offerings, the free All-Access Chamber Music Series, have just been released. The 2018-19 season, with six concerts featuring CSO musicians in chamber-music settings, begins Oct. 16 and concludes June 9. Three concerts will be offsite, at the Columbus Park Refectory, South Shore Cultural Center and Beverly Arts Center, with the rest at Orchestra Hall.
The series dates to more than a century, when CSO musicians would present Saturday morning chamber music concerts in historic Grainger Ballroom. These programs have continued to offer CSO musicians an opportunity to expand their creativity and artistry outside their performances of symphonic repertoire. Throughout the series’ history, CSO musicians have highlighted a diverse selection of chamber music repertoire from all eras, performed in settings that allow for a more immediate connection to the music and performers. Often the selected works represent repertoire that may have a particular connection to one or more musicians in the group. The ensembles include string quartets, mixed string and woodwind ensembles and other small groupings with strings and piano.
The 2018-19 season lineup:
Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.: music803 ensemble at Orchestra Hall
Ernest Chausson’s Quartet for Strings and Piano, Op. 30, highlights the expressive capabilities of the ensemble. The Czech composer Josef Labor, whose powerful Quintet for Strings and Piano, Op. 3, will be heard on this program, was close to the famous Wittgenstein family, including the pianist Paul and his philosopher brother Ludwig. The latter once called Labor “one of the six truly great composers” along with Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms.
Rachel Goldstein violin
Wei-Ting Kuo viola
Gary Stucka cello
Stephen Lester bass
Mio Nakamura piano
Chausson Quartet for Strings and Piano, Op. 30
Labor Quintet for Strings and Piano, Op. 3
Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.: Lincoln String Quartet at the Columbus Park Refectory, 5701 W. Jackson Blvd.
The program features Mozart’s String Quartet in C Major No. 19, K. 465, nicknamed for its unusual introduction, and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130. This profound, six-movement-long composition was one of Beethoven’s last.
Lei Hou violin
Qing Hou violin
Lawrence Neuman viola
Kenneth Olsen cello
Mozart String Quartet in C Major No. 19, K. 465 (Dissonant)
Beethoven String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130
Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.: Civitas Ensemble at Orchestra Hall
Beginning this all-Russian program is Mikhail Glinka’s Trio Pathétique in D Minor, with its unsettled character reflected in the piece’s structure as the first three movements are played through without breaks. Next up is Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano by Aram Khachaturian. Sergey Taneyev’s Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 30, offers warm lyricism.
Yuan-Qing Yu violin
Ni Mei violin
Wei-Ting Kuo viola
Kenneth Olsen cello
J. Lawrie Bloom clarinet
Glinka Trio Pathétique in D Minor
Khachaturian Trio for Violin, Clarinet and PIano
Taneyev Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 30
March 19 at 7 p.m.: Wabash Avenue Music Collective Ensemble at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.
The program opens with the familiar French melody in Mozart’s Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman,” followed by Mozart’s whimsical Quartet in D Major for Flute and Strings, K. 285. The second half features CSO violist Max Raimi’s Havenu Sholem Aleichem: Variations and Theme, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Quartet No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 3, with its ruminating and anxious character.
Emma Gerstein flute
Rong-Yan Tang violin
Max Raimi viola
Karen Basrak cello
Daniel Paul Horn piano
Mozart Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman”
Mozart Quartet in D for Flute and Strings, K. 285
Raimi Havenu Sholem Aleichem: Variations and Theme
Mendelssohn Piano Quartet No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 3
April 10 at 7 p.m. at Orchestra Hall
Written for clarinet, violin and piano in three movements that contrast in tempo, the Bartók was inspired by Hungarian and Romanian dance melodies. First performed in a World War II prisoner-of-war camp in 1941, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was inspired by the Book of Revelation, the final chapter of the New Testament.
Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson flute
Stephen Williamson clarinet
Robert Chen violin
John Sharp cello
Kuang-Hao Huang piano
Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time
June 9 at 3 p.m.: Chicago Pro Musica Ensemble at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.
The season finale features three works composed during the early 1920s. Nielsen once described his Wind Quintet as an attempt “to render the characters of the various instruments. At one moment they are all talking at once; at another they are quite alone.” Hindemith’s signature wry sense of humor underscores each movement of his Kleine Kammermusik, and the Schoenberg Quintet features dissonant intervals and anxious energy.
Jennifer Gunn flute
Michael Henoch oboe
John Bruce Yeh clarinet
William Buchman bassoon
Oto Carrillo horn
Nielsen Wind Quintet, Op. 43
Hindemith Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2
Schoenberg Quintet, Op. 26
Tickets for All-Access Chamber Music concerts are free but required, and may be reserved in advance by calling (312) 294-3000, visiting the Symphony Center Box Office (220 S. Michigan Ave.) or online via cso.org. Tickets also may be available on the day of the concert at each venue on a first-come, first-served basis.
The All-Access series is generously underwritten by an anonymous donor. The Beverly Arts Center is a community partner for the All-Access series. All-Access at South Shore Cultural Center and Columbus Park Refectory is presented in partnership with the Chicago Park District. The Advisory Council of South Shore Cultural Center is a community partner for All-Access at South Shore Cultural Center.
TOP: The Wesley Chamber Players perform an All-Access concert last season in Orchestra Hall. | Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018