Written by Lauren Carrane

It’s 2016! If one of your goals this year is to broaden your classical music horizons and attend more live concerts, Civitas Ensemble has you covered.

We are excited about our spring season that is filled with new works, time-honored favorites, and hidden gems from composers you love.

Here is a look at some of the pieces we programmed this season. We look forward to seeing you at one or more of these performances!


Feb. 28 — Merit School of Music
Jacques Offenbach – Cello duos, performed on Cello and Bass Clarinet
Johann Nepomuk Hummel — Clarinet Quartet in E-flat Major
Anton Arensky — String Quartet No. 2

At this concert, we will be exploring the works of three composers, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, born in Bratislava (Slovakia), Anton Arensky of Russia, as well as Jacques Offenbach of Germany. Hummel (b. 1778) was an exceptional violinist and studied with Mozart at a tender age of 7. He became a little assistant to Mozart, playing four-hands with him and experiencing all the musical activity that went on at a time that Mozart was composing Don Giovanni and other masterpieces. Arensky (b. 1861) studied under Rimsky-Korsakov at St. Petersburg’s Conservatory when he was 18. His compositions have stylistic traits from a variety of influences, including Chopin and Tchaikovsky. Offenbach (b. 1819) was born in Cologne, and studied at the Paris Conservatory. He was known for his operettas. You will hear Lawrie Bloom playing one of the cello parts on his bass clarinet.

This concert will also feature two guest artists. Violist Wei Jing will be back, and we will also feature a surprise guest cellist. $20 Early Bird tickets for our this performance are on sale now through January 31. Visit our Eventbrite page here to get yours!

March 20 — Valparaiso University
Alban Berg — Adagio from Chamber Concerto
Johann Nepomuk Hummel — Clarinet Quartet in E-flat Major
Franz Schubert — Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat major

In March, we will return to Valparaiso University, performing and coaching chamber music groups. This is the fifth year of our residency, and it’s always a pleasure working with the students and the dedicated professors there. Join us for a Viennese program, and indulge on a sacher torte afterwards.

May 1 — The Merit School of Music
Stacy Garrop — Little Bits
Peter Schickele — Quartet for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano
Bernard Herrmann — Souvenirs de Voyage
Aaron Copland — Sextet

Works by living composers are important to us, as well as compositions by American composers. This spring, we will bring to you “Little Bits,” a piece written in 2000 by Chicago composer Stacy Garrop, who is an associate professor of composition at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

We will also present three other American composers: Bernard Herrmann, most famous for his film music, including the theme for Psycho; Peter Schickele, best-known as his comedic alter-ego P.D.Q. Bach, who does parodies of the great composers; and Aaron Copland, one of the most quintessentially American composers of all.

May 23 – Live from WFMT

Want to listen to us from the comfort of your own home (or car)? Tune in to 98.7 FM or stream online at www.wfmt.com on May 23 at 8 p.m. to hear our performance broadcasted live as a part of the Live from WFMT series. We will also talk about the highlights of the 2016-17 season.

June 5 – Art Institute of Chicago (AIC)
Charles Ives – Largo for Clarinet, Violin and Piano
Quincy Porter – Clarinet Quintet
Aaron Copland – Sextet
Johannes Brahms – Piano Quintet

We are pleased to be back as part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber at the AIC series. The intimate setting of the Art Institute’s Fullerton Hall is an ideal venue for a chamber music concert. The transcendent experience of performing Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” in that space still stays with us. At this concert, the first half of the program is selected to support AIC’s special exhibit “America After the Fall”, which opens the day of our concert. Both the Ives and Porter pieces were composed during the Great Depression, which is the focus of this exhibit. Come to experience the sounds and the sights of this period.

We are eager to present to you our season, and hope to see and meet you after one of the concerts! Be sure to check out this video of clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom and violinist Yuan-Qing Yu sharing their personal highlights for the upcoming concerts:


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