MusicNOW: Ear Taxi Festival

Oct 10

7:00 PM

Monday, October 10, 2016

As the capstone event of the Ear Taxi Festival—a celebration of Chicago’s thriving contemporary music scene—the opening concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 2016/17 MusicNOW season will feature four works by Chicago-based composers. Co-curated by conductor Stephen Burns and a curatorial committee of Chicago’s leading artists and intellectuals, the Ear Taxi Festival is a joyride through Chicago’s new music scene. This program will include two new commissions as well as a collaboration with Manual Cinema, a local video production company, design studio and performance collective that examines the intersection between shadow puppetry and cinema.

Collect your limited-edition MusicNOW poster, specifically designed for this program, in the lobby after the concert. Only 100 posters will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.

Paper by Mohawk Paper
Printing by Artistry Engraving and Graphic Arts Studio


Mellits Splinter
Young where the moss glows [MusicNOW Commission, World Premiere]
Pluta Tile Mosaic (After Chagall)
Manual Cinema with music by Kyle Vegter Monday or Tuesday [MusicNOW Commission, World Premiere]


Musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Cliff Colnot conductor
Samuel Adams Mead Composer-in-Residence
Elizabeth Ogonek Mead Composer-in-Residence

Manual Cinema
Julia Miller director
Lizi Breit, Julia Miller and Kyle Vegter devised by
Lizi Breit and Julia Miller designer
Alexis Atwill, Lizi Breit, Dan Kerr-Hobert and Diane Mair performers

To create Tile Mosaic (After Chagall), New York City-based composer Sam Pluta echoed the methods of a modernist in another field. "The first thing I did was to create a series of sounds," he said. "I made these individual colors — these little tiles of music — and then fit them together into the piece." Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories

Chicago-based composer Marc Mellits modeled his reed quintet Splinter after a Baroque-style suite, and not perhaps not surprisingly, the new-music innovator regards "Vivaldi, Bach and Corelli [as] probably my strongest [influences], believe it or not." Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories

Inspired by a prose poem by Virginia Woolf, Monday or Tuesday is a 10-minute work scored for clarinet, bass clarinet, cello, percussion and piano, and accompanied by visuals and shadow puppetry by members of Manual Cinema. Vegter, who composed the music, says that Woolf's poem "just jumped off the page for me in terms of its style and its colors." Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories

Written for strings, winds, electric guitar and percussion, where the moss glows was inspired by a short story by Kelly Link. The element of surprise drives the work: "I’m always hoping to find something through the process of making the piece that not only surprises other people — the listeners or the players — but also surprises me." Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories


This concert is part of:

Major support for MusicNOW is generously provided by the Irving Harris Foundation, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, the Julian Family Foundation, Cindy Sargent and the Zell Family Foundation.

Media sponsors:



Beverage sponsors: