Who We Are

Founded in 2011, Civitas is a chamber music ensemble with a threefold mission: to present engaging live performances of new and traditional works; to inspire a young generation of classical musicians; and to bring the healing power of music to those with limited access to live performances. To that end, Civitas Ensemble performs in hospitals, retirement living facilities, and in the Chicago schools. The Ensemble presents repertoire spanning four centuries of music history and numerous genres and styles. The musicians also nurture relationships with living composers to add new works to their repertoire. This season, Civitas Ensemble participated in Chicago’s inaugural Ear Taxi Festival and gave the world premiere of a piece written for them by David Clay Mettens. This piece marks the Ensemble’s fifth world premiere.

Recognized for its quality of performances as well as its community engagement efforts, Civitas Ensemble was invited to perform with Yo-Yo Ma at the 2012 Chicago Humanities Festival, and participate in the panel discussion on the topic of “Artist and Citizenship.” Civitas was named the Artists in Residence for the Chinese Fine Arts Society. Civitas has been invited by the City of Chicago to perform at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, as part of the City’s Loops and Variations series, and was invited to perform two world premieres
at Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival, a new music festival curated by Augusta Read Thomas and Stephen Burns. Civitas Ensemble’s performance on WFMT was selected for the station’s “Best of Live Broadcasts…” distinction. The Ensemble continues to receive rave reviews from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Classical Review, and Chicago on the Aisle.

This season marks the 6th year of Civitas Ensemble’s tenure as the Ensemble-in- Residence at Valparaiso University’s Department of Music, where its members perform concerts, coach students in the many aspects of music making, and act as role models for these aspiring young musicians.

This season, Civitas Ensemble will present a season-long exploration of Czech music, culminating in the presentation of a collaborative project with Czech musicians Pavel Šporcl and the Gipsy Way Ensemble, including arrangements and new musical works that combine classical chamber music with Gypsy music. Sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund, these concerts will take place in both the Czech Republic (January 2017) and Chicago (May 2017). Other Plans for this season include an All-American program on February 26th featuring local composer Stacy Garrop, along with works by Peter Schickele, Bernard Herrmann, and Aaron Copland and appearances on CSO Chamber at AIC and WFMT.

Civitas Ensemble also receives generous grants from the, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Driehaus Foundation MacArthur Arts Fund, Dolores Kohl Education Foundation, Albert Pick Jr. Fund, Sage Foundation, and the Leslie Fund. Programs are also supported in part by the Illinois Arts Council.

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