University of Chicago Presents embarked on a wonderful musical journey throughout the 2010/2011 season. October 2010 marked the launch of the Soviet Arts Experience, a citywide showcase of the artists who created for and in response to the Soviet Politburo. UCP spearheaded this unparalleled interdisciplinary collaboration, and hosted spectacular performances by the Tokyo String Quartet, Ani Aznavoorian, Lera Auerbach, Simon Trpčeski and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Other memorable evenings in Mandel Hall featured the Chicago recital debut of mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, the return of the unparalleled Emerson String Quartet and the exquisite viol ensemble, Fretwork. UCP also bid farewell to some dear friends this year, when the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra ended its 6-year residency with the University. Not only did they bring their wealth of artistic excellence to the concert hall, they also reached out to thousands of school children in our community and provided unique experiences for our composition students to have their works read and performed by a world-class ensemble. Their presence will be greatly missed!
Looking forward, UCP has an amazing lineup to look forward to in the 2011/2012 season. The Soviet Arts Experience forges on through January 2012 with performances by the Borodin Quartet, the Irish Chamber Orchestra with Leon Fleisher, and Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan. Our artist-in-residence, Pacifica Quartet, will return with a fantastic three concert series after taking a break last year to pursue their critically acclaimed Shostakovich cycle. Other exciting events include UCP’s first-ever Holiday Concert featuring the Tallis Scholars, an evening with pianist Peter Serkin and the Mandel Hall debut of jazz singer Gretchen Parlato. The not-to-be-missed event of the year is Contempo’s celebration of Sofia Gubaidulina, who recently received an honorary degree from the University. Contempo has commissioned a new work, A Pilgrimage of Four, which will receive its world premiere at the Harris Theater on February 15, 2012. We can’t wait to see you at these and many more events throughout the season!
Finally, on a sad note, we recently said goodbye to our Excecutive Director, Shauna Quill, who is taking on a new role as Executive Director of the New York Youth Symphony. Her impact on the organization and arts at the University will be felt for many years to come!