In this community arts partnership residency, Chicago Q Ensemble will work together with HCL staff to develop programming that fosters a deeper connection between the ensemble and its community in Chicago. This programming will aim to develop connections with ordinary Chicagoans — who may not consider themselves fans of classical or contemporary music — through informal concerts, pop-up performances, open rehearsals, one-on-one interviews, and group discussions.
The quartet is keenly aware of the shrinking presence of live chamber music in our society, yet also optimistic about the art form’s ability to move and inspire everyday listeners. The ensemble hopes to create settings that demystify the ritual of classical performance and give new audiences an approachable, personal point of access.
Classical music ensembles and presenters have long struggled to connect with a broad audience. By engaging new listeners in intimate conversation, Chicago Q Ensemble hopes to gain a deeper understanding of this question on a “micro” level. They will seek to learn about the role music plays, or could play, in the lives of ordinary Chicagoans. Q’s blog will document their journey with blog posts, photographs, and video.
Since their founding in 2010, Chicago Q Ensemble has been heard in concert throughout Chicago, including recitals at the Green Mill, Empty Bottle, Chopin Theater, Northwestern University, DePaul University, and the Music Institute of Chicago. In addition to performing great classical works, the quartet is committed to interdisciplinary collaboration and the work of living composers. In their 2011-12 season, they recorded two albums of contemporary music and premiered works by Brian Baxter, Eric Malmquist, Kyle Vegter, and Amy Wurtz. Major collaborations include Talking Back to Beethoven, a multimedia concert piece with composer and video artist Patrick Liddell (aka Ontologist) and Fjords, a full-length show produced and performed with shadow puppet company Manual Cinema, composer Kyle Vegter, and poet Zachary Schomburg.
The quartet was the 2011 fellowship ensemble at the Worcester Chamber Music Society. In the summer of 2012, they made their debut at the Gesher Festival in St. Louis. Their 2012-13 season includes collaborations with composers Amos Gillespie, Seth Boustead, and Shawn Jaeger, as well as performances at the Chicago Cultural Center and on the Unfamiliar Music Series at the Empty Bottle.