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"Music and the Search for Meaning"

Saint Xavier University, Chicago Composers Forum and the Beverly Arts Center Announce Concert Series Featuring 21st Century Music

Chicago (Feb. 24, 2006) -- To celebrate the link between the arts, creativity and the spiritual life, the Center for Religion and Public Discourse at Saint Xavier University and the Chicago Composers Forum will launch a four-part concert and discussion series featuring contemporary composers on Tuesday, March 28. The Beverly Arts Center is a co-sponsor of the series.

This is the first program of its kind on the city's South Side. The concerts, which continue through Thursday, Nov. 6, are open to the public and will take place at either Saint Xavier's McGuire Hall or the Beverly Arts Center.

"Music and the Search for Meaning" builds on Saint Xavier's highly successful series during the 2004-05 academic year, "Poetry and the Search for Meaning," which brought Pulitzer Prize-winning poets W.S. Merwin and Lisel Mueller; Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein and longtime Poetry magazine editor Joseph Parisi to the campus. 

"Through our poetry series, and now our new music series, Saint Xavier University is proud to stand in a collaborative effort with the Beverly Arts Center and the Chicago Composers Forum as a beacon of the arts on the South Side for the entire city of Chicago," said University President Judith A. Dwyer, Ph.D. 

"Catholic institutions have a long tradition of seeking the sacred through the creative arts. Here at Saint Xavier University, we hope to encourage people to look at the arts as an important tool for deepening the inner life, whatever one's faith tradition," said Sister Susan Sanders, RSM, Ph.D., director of the Center for Religion and Public Discourse and vice president of University Mission and Heritage.

Augusta Read Thomas, a recent composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will headline the inaugural concert on Tuesday, March 28, at Saint Xavier's McGuire Hall, 3700 W. 103rd St. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a meet-the-artist reception and continues at 7 p.m. with a performance of three of Thomas's compositions. 

Thomas will discuss her creative process as a composer at a program dedicated to "Inspiration and Creativity." The acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble, a Chicago-and-New York-based chamber ensemble, will perform Thomas's works, "Pulsar," "D(i)agon(als)," and "Rumi Settings." 

Each concert in the series also will feature original musical compositions by members of the Chicago Composers Forum, an organization dedicated to the creation and performance of new music by composers from the greater Chicago area. This past fall, the Chicago Composers Forum organized the first presentation in Chicago of John Cage's world-renowned "Musicircus" at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Other concerts in the series will include compositions by William Brooks, esteemed reader-in-music at The University of York in Great Britain and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, on Friday, May 12, at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.; Shulamit Ran, winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for music, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Saint Xavier University; and James Mobberly, composer-in-residence of the Kansas City Symphony, whose works reflect the leading edge in computer-generated music technology, on Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Beverly Arts Center.

Chicago Composers Forum president Christopher Preissing called the series "a rare opportunity for audiences to hear cutting-edge music, particularly music created by a new generation of Chicago composers." 

Each concert in the series will explore a different step in the creation of a musical composition. "The first one, 'Inspiration and Creativity,' looks at what happens before the first note of music is put on paper -- what is the idea behind it?" Preissing said.

"In the second program, we look at shaping a musical work, getting the notes on paper. Our third program explores the relationship between the work and the audience: how an audience pulls out its own meaning from a work. Finally, we will look at the realization of a work on stage: how does a particular performer or the use of technology affect the notes a composer has put on the page," Preissing said.

Michael Nix, executive director of the Beverly Arts Center, called "Music and the Search for Meaning" an "excellent example of how artists, educational institutions and community groups can band together to promote the creative arts. This series presents an array of new music to audiences in a way that is both stimulating and accessible."  

General admission for all performances is $10. Discounted tickets at $5 are available for Saint Xavier University students and staff, Beverly Arts Center members, Chicago Composer Forum members and senior citizens. Tickets are available at the door or online at www.beverlyartcenter.org.  

CONCERT SCHEDULE:

Program I: Tuesday, March 28
McGuire Hall, Warde Academic Center, Saint Xavier University        
3700 W. 103rd St. Chicago
Program title: Inspiration and Creativity
Featured composer: Augusta Read Thomas
composer-in-residence, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Featured Performers: International Contemporary Ensemble, Claire Chase, executive director                                  
6-6:30 p.m. Meet the Composer, McGuire Hall
7 p.m. Performance, McGuire Hall
*        "Pulsar" -- solo violin (Thomas)
*        "D(i)agon(als)" -- clarinet (Thomas)
*        "Rumi Settings" -- violin/cello (Thomas)
*        Selected works by Chicago Composers Forum members

Program II: Friday, May 12
Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago
Program title: The Creative Process and Meaning
Featured composer: William Brooks
reader-in-music, University of York
Featured performers: MAVerick Ensemble
William Jason Raynovich, artistic director
Jacqueline Bobak and Paul Berkolds, singer-actors
7 p.m. Performance, Beverly Arts Center Auditorium
*        "Metamorphoses," for two singer-actors, video projections and electro-acoustic surround sound  (Brooks)
*        Selected works by Chicago Composers Forum members

Program III: Tuesday, Sept. 19
McGuire Hall, Warde Academic Center, Saint Xavier University
3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago
Program title: Interpreting the Signs and Symbols of Meaning 
Featured composer: Schulamit Ran
Pulitzer Prize winner and professor of composition, University of Chicago
Featured performers: International Contemporary Ensemble
Claire Chase, executive director
6-6:30 p.m. Meet the Composer
7 p.m. Performance, McGuire Hall
*        To be announced (Ran)
*        Selected works by Chicago Composers Forum members
 
Program IV: Thursday, Nov. 2
Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago
Program title: Performers, Technology and Meaning
Featured composer: James Mobberly
composer-in-residence, Kansas City Symphony and the New Ear Ensemble
Featured performers: MAVerick Ensemble
William Jason Raynovich, artistic director
7:00 p.m. Performance, Beverly Arts Center Auditorium
*        To be announced (Mobberly)
*        Selected works by Chicago Composers Forum members
*        Meet the Composer -- immediately following performance

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact: Deborah Snow Humiston
773-298-3325 or snowhumiston@sxu.edu

Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

Saint Xavier University Media Relations: 773-298-3325
3700 West 103rd Street, Chicago Ill. 60655 * 18230 Orland Parkway, Orland Park, Ill. 60467
online faculty expert guide: www.sxu.edu/relations/faculty_experts.asp
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