Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival to showcase Bienen School prominently

More than 100 alumni, faculty, and current students of the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University will participate in Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival September 15 through October 4, held in venues across Chicago.

A presentation of New Music Chicago, Ear Taxi Festival celebrates new, contemporary classical, experimental, creative, electronic, and other kinds of music and sound-practice that are composed by, improvised by, and performed in Chicago by Chicagoans.

The Bienen School’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, co-directed by Lecturers Ben Bolter and Alan Pierson, and Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, led by Professor Donald Nally, will perform Monday, October 4, at 7:15 p.m. at Kehrein Center for the Arts, 5628 West Washington Boulevard, Chicago, IL, 60644. Their program will feature meltDown UpShot by Marcos Balter ’08 DMus, as well as Ayanna Woods’s SHIFT and David Lang’s stateless. Admission is free.

Information about registration for in-person attendance, as well as live streaming details, will be shared on the festival website later in September.

“Ear Taxi Festival promises to be a world-class celebration of Chicago’s brilliant new music community,” said Jennie Oh Brown ’91, executive and artistic director of the Ear Taxi Festival and a Bienen School alumna. “We’re emerging out of the devastation and isolation of the pandemic with strength, renewed vision and creativity, and a profound appreciation for our community of artists and audiences.”


Events featuring Bienen School alumni, students, and faculty are outlined below. For more details, including the full lineup of events, visit

September 18

Quijote Duo will premiere Outdifferencing by Ben Zucker, a PhD composition candidate. (7:00 p.m., DCTorium)

September 19

Fifth House Ensemble—with DMA piano student Byeol Kim and flutist Jenny Shin ’14 MMus—will perform works inspired by water and nature. (2:00 p.m., Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods)

Soprano Sarah van der Ploeg ’12 MMus, tenor Ace Gangoso ’12 MMus, and bass-baritone David Govertsen ’11 MMus of Fourth Coast Ensemble will present the world premiere of A Brush With Our Time, from composer Andrea Clearfield and librettist Doreen Rao ’75 MMus, 88 PhD. The program will be staged by Chicago director and Bienen lecturer George Cederquist(3:00 p.m., Newberry Library, Ruggles Hall)

Pianist Koeun Grace Lee will present a program of works by Chicago composers, including the late David Burge ’51, ’52 MMus. (3:00 p.m., Nevermore Performance Space)

A concert celebrating LGBTQ musicians in Chicago will feature Microphages by Alex Temple ’17 DMA and look after you by LJ White ’17 DMA. Violist Ammie Brod ’06 MMus performs on the concert. (7:30 p.m., Elastic Arts)

September 21

Percussionist Przemyslaw Bosak ’03 will perform works composed for newly made instruments with MAVerick Ensemble. (11:00 a.m., Chicago State University Breakey Theatre)

September 23

Jenna Lyle ’16 DMA will perform Louise, a work for sonic fabric garment with electronics, voice, and movement. (8:00 p.m., The Neo-Futurists)

September 24

Beyond This Point, with percussionist John Corkill ’08, will perform Michael Gordon’s Timber(7:00 p.m., Rebuilding Exchange)

September 25

Ensemble Dal Niente will present the world premiere of Last Trane to Clover 5 by Roscoe Mitchell, along with music by George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, and Fred Anderson. Ensemble members include violist Ammie Brod ’06 MMus; pianist Winston Choi ’02 CERT, ’08 DMus; guitarist Jesse Langen ’96, ’97 MMus; harpist Ben Melsky ’18 DMA; oboist Andrew Nogal ’07, ’10 MMus; hornist Matthew Oliphant ’07, ’12 MMus; violinist Tara Lynn Ramsey ’11; cellist Chris Wild ’18 DMA; violinist Austin Wulliman ’08 MMus; and violinist MingHuan Xu ’03 MMus, ’04 CERT. (7:15 p.m., Logan Center for the Arts)

September 26

Soprano Liza Sobel, a DMA composition student, and pianist Jonathan Hannau will perform a program of music focused around George Crumb’s song cycle Apparition in celebration of his 90th birthday. (8:30 p.m., Constellation)

September 27

Two works by Julia Miller ’93 MMus, ’04 DMus will be featured in a concert presented by Delmark Records. KAIA string quartet will perform 4twenty for quartet and 4-channel recording and Trevor Patrick Watkin will perform Princes for solo flute. (7:00 p.m., Delmark Records)

September 28

Augusta Read Thomas’s ’87 Ripple Effects for two carillon players will be performed by Joey Brink and Joseph Min. (5:00 p.m., Rockefeller Memorial Chapel)

September 29

Flutist Erin Kendall Murphy ’04 MMus will perform with Lakeshore Rush in a concert exploring the influence of the sun and its cycles. (6:00 p.m., online from Garfield Park Conservatory)

September 30

A Picosa concert will feature Meteore D’Inverno (Winter Meteors) by Jonathan Kirk ’08 DMus. Performers on the program include flutist Jennie Oh Brown ’91, clarinetist Andrea R. DiOrio ’03 MMus, cellist Paula Kosower ’07 DMus, pianist Kuang-Hao Huang ’05 CERT, mezzo-soprano Chelsea Lyons ’17 MMus, and tenor Ryan Townsend Strand ’14 MMus. (12:00 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

Pianist Clare Longendyke will perform Augusta Read Thomas’s ’87 Love Twitters, based on Irving Berlin’s “They Say it’s Wonderful.” (12:45 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

Fonema Consort will perform works by PhD composition candidates Luis Fernando Amaya and Matthew Arrellin. Performers includes soprano Nina Dante ’10; clarinetist Emily Beisel ’14 MMus; guitarist Jesse Langen ’96, ’97 MMus; percussionist John Corkill ’08; and Pablo Chin ’13 DMA on electronics. (1:45 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

A program by flutist Lisa Goethe-McGinn will include Sometimes the City is Silent by Janice Misurell-Mitchell ’87 DMus and Angel Shadows by Augusta Read Thomas ’87. (2:30 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

Quince Ensemble will perform Shoshana by David Reminick ’16 DMA along with two pieces by LJ White ’17 DMA, Space and Labor Day(3:45 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

Blue Violet Duo—violinist Kate Carter ’11 DMus and pianist Louise Chan ’11 DMus—will perform Amos Gillespie’s Spin-off. (4:15 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

October 1

Cellist Nick Photinos ’14 MMus will perform with violinist Sarah Plum. (11:30 a.m., DePaul Art Museum)

Ogni Suono—a saxophone duo with Noa Even ’06 and Phil Pierick—will perform Walking After Midnight by David Reminick ’16 DMA and Chroma by Chris Fisher-Lochhead ’16 DMA. (12:15 p.m., DePaul Art Museum)

Cellist Nick Photinos ’14 MMus will present a solo recital of works, including his own untitled piece. (3:15 p.m., Holtschneider Performance Center, Gannon Hall)

Trombonist Paul Von Hoff ’00 will perform with the Bach + Beethoven Experience. (3:30 p.m., Holtschneider Performance Center, Allen Recital Hall)

Chicago Wind Project—with doctoral clarinet student Zachary Good; oboist Andrew Nogal ’07, ’10 MMus; hornist Matt Oliphant ’07, ’12 MMus; and bassoonist Ben Roidl-Ward ’21 DMA—will perform a concert featuring Ezra’s Nursery by Aaron Holloway-Nahum ’05. (4:15 p.m., Holtschneider Performance Center, Allen Recital Hall)

Fat Pigeon will present a program of collective improvisation. Performers include clarinetist Emily Beisel ’14 MMus and doctoral composition candidates Luis Fernando Amaya on percussion and Craig Davis Pinson on electric guitar. (4:30 p.m., Holtschneider Performance Center, Gannon Hall)

Harpist Alison Attar ’92, ’93 MMus, ’03 DMus and violist Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff ’88 MMus will perform with Fulcrum Point New Music Project. (5:15 p.m., Holtschneider Performance Center, Gannon Hall)

Zafa Collective—with violinist Hannah Christiansen ’17 MMus—will perform Five Scenes for String Quartet by DMA composition student Liza Sobel(5:30 p.m., Holtschneider Performance Center, Allen Recital Hall)

F-PLUS will perform Liza Sobel’s Trio for Violin, Clarinets and Percussion. (6:15 p.m., Holtschneider Performance Center, Allen Recital Hall)

Flutist Jennie Oh Brown ’91 will present a solo recital of George Lewis’s Emergent(7:30 p.m., Holtschneider Performance Center, Allen Hall)

October 2

Pianist Susan Merdinger will perform Aaron Alter’s ’75 Piano Sonata. (12:15 p.m., Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Performance Penthouse)

Jay Alan Yim, associate professor of composition and music technology, will perform electronics on his own work, The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself With Her Shadows, with bass flutist Shanna Pranaitis. (1:15 p.m., Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry)

Trombonist Paul Von Hoff ’00 will perform with Gaudete Brass in a program of seven world premieres by Chicago composers. (2:00 p.m., Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Performance Penthouse)

DMA clarinet student Zachary Good will premiere his own composition with Tonia Ko, Up High, an Ear Taxi Festival commission. (6:00 p.m., Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Performance Penthouse)

Composer and saxophonist Alex Mincek, assistant professor of composition and music technology, will perform with Wet Ink Ensemble in a program featuring the world premiere of Mincek’s Glossolalia(7:30 p.m., Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Performance Hall)

October 3

a•pe•ri•od•ic—with Bienen lecturers Robert Reinhart ’08 DMus and Kenn Kumpf ’13 DMus and alumni Nomi Epstein ’08 DMus and Matthew Oliphant ’07, ’12 MMus—will perform Epstein’s communications (3): language. (1:00 p.m., Epiphany Center for the Arts)

Pianist Talar Khosdeghian ’13 and violinist Caroline Rothstein ’12, ’14 MMus will perform will CHAI Collaborative Ensemble. (3:45 p.m., Epiphany Center for the Arts)

Violinist Yelley Taylor ’19 MMus will perform in concert with D-Composed. (5:00 p.m., Epiphany Center for the Arts)

A.J. Keller ’14 MMus, ’20 DMA, lecturer in conducting and ensembles, will conduct the world premiere of Resistant Noise by Janice Misurell-Mitchell ’87 DMus, an Ear Taxi Festival commission. The performance will feature countertenor Carl Alexander ’17 MMus, tenor Paul Hunter ’19, saxophonist Jeremy Ruthrauff ’90, and violinist Jeff Yang ’97 MMus. (7:30 p.m., Constellation Chicago)

~Nois saxophone quartet—Julian Velasco ’20 MMus, Hunter Bockes ’18 MMus, Jordan Lulloff ’18 MMus, and János Csontos ’18 MMus—will present Metasomatic V by PhD composition candidate Mathew Arrellin(8:30 p.m., Constellation Chicago)

The Wurtz-Berger Duo will perform In Winter by Lawrence Axelrod ’82 MMus and Love Obsession by Mischa Zupko ’94. (9:45 p.m., Constellation Chicago)

DMA bassoon student Ben Roidl-Ward will perform his own works with Ted Moore, including for Dana and feed, the latter of which he co-composed with Moore. (11:00 p.m., Constellation Chicago) 

October 4

Guitarist Jesse Langen ’96, ’97 MMus, one half of Hasco Duo with Amanda DeBoer, will join vocalist Elenna Sindler for a presentation of Sindler’s compositions. (11:00 a.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

The Chicago Composer’s Consortium will present a program including Of Wind and Sky by Lawrence Axelrod ’82 MMus. Performers include violinist Hannah Christiansen ’17 MMus and harpist Autumn Selover ’17, ’19 MMus. (1:45 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

Saxophonist James Baum ’12 MMus, a member of Heisenberg Uncertainty Players, will perform John Dorhauer’s Functions with the ensemble. (6:15 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

The Contemporary Music Ensemble and Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble will perform Marcos Balter’s ’08 DMus meltDown UpShot, along with works by Ayanna Woods and David Lang. The ensembles are directed by Ben BolterAlan Pierson, and Donald Nally(7:15 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

Jon Deitemyer, lecturer of percussion, will perform in the final concert of the festival, featuring works by trumpeter/composer Chad McCullough. (8:15 p.m., Kehrein Center for the Arts)

For the full schedule of events, visit