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 pre­mière of a piece writ­ten for them by David Clay Met­tens. This piece marks the Ensemble’s fifth world première.

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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