Have you ever left a performance of contemporary music feeling that if only you could hear the piece again, your appreciation and understanding would deepen – that the music would come even more alive for you?
We created ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING! to give you that second listen on the same night, and to reveal the oftentimes subtle layers of a new piece through on-stage conversations with the composers. These live interactions with the composer illuminate the subtleties of and inspirations for the music, and you, the audience, are able to ask questions in the moment – making any worries or preconceptions about “not getting it” disappear.
Upcoming ‘Once More, With Feeling!’ Concerts
We are certainly not alone in our affection and admiration for composer Shulamit Ran, whose illustrious career includes a kind of unofficial deanship of the Chicago new-music community. Despite a Pulitzer Prize win and a list of commissions that reads like a who’s-who of the world’s top orchestras, Shulamit’s generosity as a collaborator – regardless of an ensemble’s age or station – is peerless. Every time we have the good fortune to work with her, we’re reminded of just how effortlessly she walks the line between rigor and encouragement.
An essential element in developing an infatuation for an unfamiliar work is to peek behind the curtain, so to speak. Behind the Wallpaper is an alluring musical suite, composer Alex Temple is an irresistible musical creator and thinker, and vocalist Julia Holter is one of the most enchanting singers we’ve come across. Why not get everyone in the same room together to explore just how this wide-ranging piece morphed from an idea to a composition, and what ingredients are synthesized to create such a convincing musical narrative?
Once More, With Feeling! on the Blog
We have a brand-new record with saxophonist Miguel Zenón – Yo Soy La Tradición – dropping on September 21st, but this album release show is actually a benefit for the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria... a chance to celebrate new music and help out our fellow citizens!
With the date fast approaching, memories of our rehearsals and recording session have resurfaced. We'll delve into Miguel's experience with the fallout from the hurricane – which hit just days before we started working together – but today we'd like to share the rehearsal photos taken by our friend and supporter, Bob Watson.
There are certain artists with whom you dream of coming into orbit, and Wadada Leo Smith is finally in our galaxy. Clara and I went to see his trio play Constellation a while back, when the Cubs were winning at sportsball or whatever – so it was a small house – and both of us were struck by the patience and nuance with which he infused his performance. Every note felt purposeful and considered, and more importantly, honest.
I suppose returning to Eliza Brown’s String Quartet No. 1 is getting me all nostalgic.
Remember that, at the time we first performed this piece, less than a year had elapsed since we were just a weirdo bro-down that bought sixers of beer and sightread quartets. We titled the concert Break Right Through That Line as a nod to our (well, 3 out of 4 of us, anyway) alma mater’s fight song, and we even had a cake made with the concert poster edibly printed on the fondant.
Past ‘Once More, With Feeling’ Concerts
One reason we are enamored with composer LJ White is that his Zin Zin Zin was one of our breakout new-music pieces, with this feverish, Mos Def-inspired number eventually included on our debut album, Chambers. Because of his borderless approach to music, LJ was our first choice when we got it in our collective head to commission a cover of perhaps the most notorious of all cult classics: The Shaggs’ 1969 head-spinner, My Pal Foot Foot. It’s music so seemingly disorganized that it reaches a new dimension entirely.
The theatricality of Lisa Coons’s new work for us is as adventurous as anything we’ve attempted, and this evening offers a rare opportunity to witness creativity still very much in process–and even influence the final production.
Lisa Coons – The Space Between
Discover how a composer transfigures the extraordinary legacies of visionaries like Rosa Parks and Angela Davis into a string quartet with one of the most brilliant composer-performers who’s ever set our minds set ablaze–Wadada Leo Smith.
Wadada Leo Smith – String Quartet No. 9
We peel back the curtains on our brand-new, multiple-listen, deep-dive series with one of our favorite tracks from the Spektral rep list, penned by a seriously engaging public speaker, composer Eliza Brown.
Eliza Brown – String Quartet No. 1