Now in its 49th year, Contempo continues as the vanguard of adventurous new works and cutting-edge programs. Under the direction of Artistic Director Shulamit Ran, Contempo introduces audiences to the bold visions of today’s most innovative composers.
Dedicated exclusively to the performance of contemporary classical music, Contempo is one of the oldest and most successful professional new music groups in the nation. Over its 49-year history, Contempo—formerly known as the Contemporary Chamber Players—has earned an enviable reputation for its outstanding performances of music by living composers. Since its inception, Contempo has dedicated itself to the performance of works by the University’s own doctoral candidates in composition, as well as countless other composers whose name recognition may not yet equal their talent, a practice that has greatly enhanced the living art of composition. Contempo has given over eighty world premieres, and even more Chicago premieres, of works by both established and emerging composers, including Roger Sessions, John Harbison, Ralph Shapey, George Perle, Pulitzer Prize-winning faculty member Shulamit Ran and MacArthur fellow and former University of Chicago faculty member John Eaton.
A program of Chicago “firsts.” A recent work by Australian composer Brett Dean, Old Kings in Exile is a “masterly achievement” (Daily Telegraph) and co-commissioned by the Nash Ensemble, the Australia Ensemble and eighth blackbird. Performed by the pioneering Anubis Quartet, Lei Liang’s work for saxophone quartet is “a 15-minute tour de force: a dense example of profound cross-culturalism.” (James Keller, Chamber Music Magazine) Tuesday, February 2, 2014 at 7:30 pm.