EVANSTON, Ill. --- The 2008 Winter Chamber Music Festival, now in its 12th year at Northwestern University, proves that the intimacy and warmth of Pick-Staiger Concert Hall continues to draw classical music lovers in January, one of the coldest months of the year.

The 2008 chamber music series begins Jan. 11 and runs through Jan. 27. All six concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Northwestern’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.

Directed by Northwestern School of Music faculty member Blair Milton, a Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) member, the festival will feature other members of the CSO, and renowned guest artists such as violinist Joseph Silverstein, cellist Zuill Bailey, pianist Navah Perlman, the Pro Arte Quartet and distinguished School of Music faculty, including hornist Gail Williams, clarinetist Steven Cohen and violinists Gerardo Ribeiro and Milton.

The festival gets under way Friday, Jan. 11, with the Pro Arte Quartet, which is comprised of violinists David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violist Sally Chisholm and cellist Parry Karp, performing classical string chamber favorites. The program includes the Haydn String Quartet in F Major, the Shostakovich String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73 and the Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810, “Death and the Maiden.”

During the second concert of the series, which takes place Sunday, Jan. 13, cellists Zuill Bailey, Stephen Balderston and Kenneth Olsen; violinists Yuan-Qing Yu and Blair Milton; violists Yukiko Ogura and Lawrence Neuman; and pianist Navah Perlman (Itzhak Perlman’s daughter) will showcase their instrumental combinations. The artists will perform Mendelssohn’s Concert Variations for cello and piano in D Major, Op. 17; Brahms’ Sonata for Cello and Piano in E Minor, Op. 38; Massenet’s “Meditation” from the opera “Thaïs;” and the Brahms String Sextet in G Major, Op. 36.

The Friday, Jan. 18, program features numerous musicians, including several Northwestern faculty members. Various combinations of artists will play Brahms’ Clarinet Trio, Op. 14; Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major, Op. 94a; and the Spohr Nonet in F Major, Op. 31 for flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, violin, viola, violoncello and double bass. Performing that evening are pianist Alan Chow, clarinetist Steven Cohen, cellists Stephen Balderston and Kenneth Olsen, violinist Gerardo Ribeiro, violist Catherine Brubaker, bassist Michael Hovnanian, flutist Mathieu Dufour, oboist Scott Hostetler, bassoonist Lewis Kirk and hornist Gail Williams.

The Lincoln Quartet -- comprised of four members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (violinists Lei Hou and Qin Hou, violist Lawrence Neuman and cellist Brant Taylor) -- will highlight the Sunday, Jan. 20, program. Oboist Michael Henoch and hornists Gail Williams and William Barnewitz will join the Lincoln Quartet. They will perform Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major K. 251 for oboe, two horns and string quartet; Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp Minor, Op. 108; and Brahms’ String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major, Op. 67.

Friday, Jan. 25, pianists James Giles and Northwestern University School of Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery, violinist Mathias Tacke, flutist Camille Churchfield, oboist Jelena Dirks, bassoonist Christopher Millard, clarinetist Steven Cohen, bass clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom, trumpeter Barbara Butler and hornist Gail Williams will grace the stage for another Winter Chamber Music Festival performance. They will present Hindemith’s Septet for woodwind quintet, bass clarinet and trumpet; Tzontakis’ Horn Trio, “Dust;” Schubert’s Sonata for violin and piano in A Major; and Poulenc’s Sextet for piano and winds.

The festival concludes Sunday, Jan. 27, with a grand performance featuring guest violinist Joseph Silverstein in Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1, “Ghost;” Franck’s Sonata for violin and piano in A Major; and Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 26. Performers will include various combinations of pianists Andrea Swan and Lori Kaufman, violinists Silverstein and Blair Milton, cellist Stephen Balderston and violist Yukiko Ogura.

Northwestern University School of Music’s 2008 Winter Chamber Music Festival is made possible in part by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

Subscription prices for the January 2008 six-concert series, which include reserved seating and a savings of up to 15 percent, are $112 for the general public; $108 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $54 for students with a valid ID.

Single-ticket prices for each of the six concerts are $22 for the general public; $20 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for full-time students.

The subscription renewal deadline is Nov. 6; the new subscriber deadline is Nov. 20; and single tickets go on sale both at the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office and online Nov. 26.

  • Blair Milton
  • Gail Williams
  • Gerardo Ribeiro
  • Michael Henoch
  • J Lawrie Bloom