Critic: Ear Taxi Festival reflects Chicago’s energized contemporary-music scene

Posted on: October 14, 2016

“What a joyride the Ear Taxi Festival has been!” writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (10/12) Chicago Tribune. “From the Patricia Barber song cycle that launched the event Wednesday, to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW program that concluded it Monday night, Chicago’s largest-ever festival of contemporary classical music proved itself to be all that it aspired to be—a grand idea in a grand city at a grand time [comprising] … 32 concerts, discussions, sound installations and other events … new or recent works by 88 Chicago-based composers, performed by more than 350 local musicians…. The performance level was remarkably high … as was the flow of energy radiating from the performers to the audience and back to the stage…. When I arrived at the Chicago Tribune almost 40 years ago, there was just about only one full-time professional new music ensemble—the Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago—and one dedicated presenter of new music—Contemporary Concerts. Now there are some two dozen local ensembles paying regular attention to contemporary classical music, and several times that number of composers driving that proliferation. Ear Taxi was a reflection of that proliferation.”

Posted October 14, 2016

Pictured (clockwise from top left): Stephen Burns conducts Fulcrum Point (photo by David Cortez); composer, trombonist, and Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians member George Lewis (photo by John J. Kim); bassoonist and composer Katherine Young (photo by Peter Gannushkin); composer Drew Baker (photo by Kathleen E. Marshall); and keyboardist Winston Choi (photo by Chad Johnston).