The Chicago Philharmonic Society will present its third of four concerts in its 32nd season, Fanfare Chicago, on March 27, 2022 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E Randolph, Chicago). Led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Scott Speck, the acclaimed orchestra features US premiere Pulitzer Prize winner and three-time Grammy Award winner Jennifer Higdon, as well as world premieres by Reinaldo Moya and Nicholas Hubbell, as well as Gli uccelli and Trittico botticelliano by Ottorino Respighi. Single tickets ranging from $10 to $75 are now available at harristheaterchicago.org, and include a red carpet pre-concert experience outside the Harris Theater sponsored by Continental AutoSports Ferrari, one of North America’s oldest and most trusted Ferrari dealerships.
Fanfare Chicago features Jennifer Higdon, one of today’s most performed living composers. Among Higdon’s many achievements are the Pulitzer Prize (for his violin concerto, written for Hilary Hahn in 2009) and three Grammy Awards (for concertos for percussion, viola and harp). His mandolin concerto, written for and partly commissioned by Avi Avital, premiered with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra to great acclaim. Avital’s performance of the concerto with the Chicago Philharmonic marks the second performance of the piece worldwide and the first in America.
“For me, composing a concerto is like constant discovery,” Higdon said of his Violin Concerto. “You try to find out what other concertos are doing, and you look at the person you’re writing for, and you can kind of personalize it.”
Also during the concert, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra Donna Milanovich Composer-in-Residence Reinaldo Moya will present the world premiere of his piece Polo Romanesco inspired by the Baroque era in Latin America, as it incorporates the Baroque chord progression Romanesca and his Venezuelan descendant, the popular song Polo Margariteño. .
Nicholas Hubbell, winner of the 2019-2020 Chicago Philharmonic Fanfare Competition, will premiere his piece Chicago Fanfare which celebrates the beauty and vibrancy of Chicago and gives each instrumental section a performance. A large panoramic photo of the Chicago cityscape at night, taken off Lake Michigan, served as the visual inspiration when Hubbell wrote the article.
For the safety of patrons and musicians, all audience members, musicians and staff must present proof of vaccination to enter the Harris Theater. Masks will be worn by everyone throughout the show.
ABOUT AVI AVITAL
The first mandolin soloist to be nominated for a Classical Grammy, Avi Avital has been compared to Andres Segovia for winning his instrument and Jascha Heifitz for his incredible virtuosity. Passionate and “explosively charismatic” (New York Times) in live performance, he is one of the driving forces behind the revitalization of the mandolin repertoire. Over 100 contemporary compositions have been written for him, including 15 concertos by Anna Clyne, Avner Dorman and Giovanni Sollima.
An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, he has made five recordings for the label, the most recent solo Bach (2019). He has also recorded for Naxos and SONY Classical. Increasingly in demand as a concerto soloist, Avital has performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Tonhalle Zurich, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra , Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, Norwegian Radio, Orpheus, The Knights, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Montreal Symphony Orchestra under conductors such as Mehta, Nagano, Vänskä, Sado, Jonathan Cohen, McGegan, Koopman and Antonini.
Born in Beer Sheva in southern Israel, Avital began learning the mandolin at the age of eight and soon joined the thriving youth mandolin orchestra founded and led by his charismatic teacher, the Russian-born violinist Simcha Nathanson. He studied at the Academy of Music in Jerusalem and at the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini in Padua with Ugo Orlandi. Winner of the prestigious Aviv Israel Competition in 2007, Avital is the first mandolinist in the history of the competition to be so honored. He plays a mandolin made by Israeli luthier Arik Kerman.
ABOUT JENNIFER HIGDON
Jennifer Higdon (born in Brooklyn, NY, 1962) learned to play the flute at the age of 15 and began formal musical studies at 18, with an even later start in composition at the age of 21 years old. Despite these obstacles, Higdon has become a major figure in contemporary classical music. His works represent a wide range of genres, from orchestra, chamber, wind ensemble, voice, choir and opera. The League of American Orchestras reports that she is one of America’s most performed female composers. Higdon’s list of curators is extensive and includes the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as groups such as the Tokyo String Quartet, the Lark Quartet, Eighth Blackbird and the President’s Own Marine Band. She has also written works for artists such as baritone Thomas Hampson, pianists Yuja Wang and Gary Graffman, violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Jennifer Koh and Hilary Hahn. Her first opera, Cold Mountain, won the prestigious International Opera Award for Best World Premiere in 2016; the first American opera to do so in the award’s history.
Higdon received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Violin Concerto, with the committee citing the work as “a deeply engaging piece that combines fluid lyricism with dazzling virtuosity”. She has also received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, American Academy of Arts & Letters, Koussevitzky Foundation, Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Independence Foundation, NEA, and ASCAP. In 2018, Higdon received the Eddie Medora King Award from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Higdon received a Bachelor of Music from Bowling Green State University, an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, as well as Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has received honorary doctorates from The Hartt School and Bowling Green State University. In 2019, Higdon was inducted into the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States. Higdon currently holds the Rock Chair in Composition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. His music is published exclusively by Lawdon Press.
ABOUT NICHOLAS HUBBELL
Nicholas Hubbell graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory, studying composition with Randolph Coleman; and electronic and computer music with Gary Lee Nelson. He was involved in some of the first computer-generated music on the now iconic IBM 360. After college, he immersed himself in New York’s fusion and experimental jazz scene, composing and playing guitar.
Hubbell established Just Music, a music production house, where he produced hundreds of soundtracks for film, television and radio. Among his many children’s soundtracks, the best sellers are Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Series for Random House, and the very popular Anne of Green Gables. He has also composed numerous documentaries, including: The Men Who Brought the Dawn (Documentary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), shown at the Smithsonian Museum; Pitching Man (biography of great baseball pitcher, Satchel Page, hosted by Billy Dee Williams) presented to the Baseball Hall of Fame. His music also appears on a number of national and international networks, such as CBS, NBC, ESPN and Nickelodeon. Throughout his career, Hubbell balanced the “business” side of composition with the personal side. He has composed for a wide variety of instrumental combinations which often include an electronic component (fixed medium). His work is performed all over the world.
ABOUT REINALDO MOYA
Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of the El Sistema music education system in Venezuela. He graduated from the Juilliard School with an MA and Ph.D., studying with Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. He is the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letter, the 2015 McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship from Meet the Composer, and the Aaron Copland Award from Copland House. He was the first winner of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer’s Prize, which earned him the commission for his Piano Concerto, which will be premiered by Joyce Yang and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra in October 2021. As a composer in residency at the Schubert Club in Minnesota from 2017 to 2019, he was commissioned to write his chamber opera Tienda in May 2019. His opera Memory Boy, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, was commissioned by Minnesota Opera and premiered in 2016. His violin concerto Vestida de mar a has been performed by Francesca Anderegg as a soloist with the Lakes Area Music Festival Orchestra, Greenwood Music Camp and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Gemma New, Benjamin Rous and Delta David Gier, respectively. His orchestral piece Siempre Lunes, Siempre Marzo was conducted by Emmanuel Siffert, Benjamin Rous, JoAnn Falletta and Carlos Miguel Prieto respectively. In 2016, his Passacaille for orchestra was chosen by the public and the musicians of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra as the winner of the Earshot Composers Competition sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra. Moya has taught at St. Olaf College and Interlochen Arts Camp, and is currently an assistant professor of composition at the University of Augsburg in Minneapolis.