April 28, 2014

Loops and Variations Contemporary Classical and Electronica Series Returns to Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, May 29—July 3

Jamey Lundblad    312.744.2493 Jamey.Lundblad@cityofchicago.org

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is pleased to announce the line-up of the Millennium Park summer music series Loops and Variations beginning Thursday, May 29 at 6:30pm at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The FREE music series will continue on Thursday evenings at 6:30pm through July 3.

With an inimitable combination of contemporary classical and electronica, Loops and Variations was named “Best New Music Series” by Chicago Magazine. Highlights include the pairings of electronic music artists with new music ensembles, including local acts.

Loops and Variations is curated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Memorial Day through September, DCASE will mark the 10th anniversary of Millennium Park – Chicago’s showplace for cutting-edge art, architecture, landscape design, music and more. The Millennium Park 10th Anniversary Summer Celebration will feature dozens of FREE events and exhibitions including new, monumental sculptures by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, designer of Crown Fountain; indie rock, electronica, jazz, classical and world music; films, simulcasts and documentaries shown on an outdoor, 40-foot LED screen; family activities; workouts and more.

May 29: YACHT + Hauschka with Q Ensemble

LA-based conceptual pop group YACHT has played on boats, in caves, in bathrooms and in art galleries, not to mention tours with LCD Soundsystem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hot Chip, Architecture in Helsinki, Vampire Weekend, The Dirty Projectors, the Breeders and Phoenix. Their live set, named “Temporary Autonomous Zones,” features uncluttered, anarchic, inspiring sessions of damaged dance moves and coded ritualism, backed by constantly changing elements—PowerPoint presentations, audience Q&A sessions and shamanistic video environments. Prepared piano innovator Hauschka will open the show displaying his modern methods of creating unsuspected electronic sounding tones from the instrument. He will be supporting his latest album release Abandoned City and will be joined on stage by renowned local Chicago all-female string players, Q Ensemble.

June 5: Christopher Willits + Civitas Ensemble

San Francisco-based artist Christopher Willits uses his self-designed software tools to “paint with his guitar” (Pitchfork), creating “mesmerizing, intricate electronic soundscapes” (Nowness) and lush audiovisual performances of weaving patterns, texture, and harmony. Working solo and in collaboration with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Matmos, Zach Hill (Hella/Death Grips), and Taylor Deupree, Willits will present a new sound and image performance improvised with inspiration drawn from Millennium Park itself. Civitas Ensemble, founded by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2011, will open. Heralded by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Classical Review and Chicago on the Aisle for its quality of performances as well as its community engagement efforts, the musicians will perform Augusta Read Thomas’ Toft Serenade, among other selections.

June 12: Third Coast Percussion + Ghost Beach

Hailed by The New Yorker as “vibrant” and “superb,” Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion has gained national attention with concerts and recordings that meld the energy of rock music with the precision and nuance of classical chamber works. Currently the Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame, Third Coast Percussion will be performing a program of music all by acclaimed Chicago composers. Resounding Earth, by internationally-renowned composer Augusta Read Thomas, features over 300 bells and other ringing metal objects from around the world. The piece was recently hailed by the Chicago Classical Review as “one of the most powerful new music experiences I've felt in years.” The program will also feature Marc Mellits’s rapturous new work, Gravity, and works by TCP-member David Skidmore and former TCP-member Owen Clayton Condon. Tropical grit pop band Ghost Beach opens, infecting listeners with contagious ear-candy offerings from their recent Nettwerk Records release, Blonde.

June 19: eighth blackbird

The entire Grammy®-winning cast of eighth blackbird will take the stage with special guest Michael Ward-Bergeman. The blackbirds have been called “a new breed of super-musicians” (Los Angeles Times) and “stage animals” (The Sunday Telegraph). Ward-Bergeman, a respected composer from New Orleans with commissions by Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and performances as a hyper-accordionist at diverse venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Gainesville Correctional Facility, will join 8bb for a program that zings, zooms and zips with verve and wit. Included will be the rambunctious Murder Ballades by rock & roll band The National’s, Bryce Dessner.

June 26: Oneohtrix Point Never: featuring video artist Nate Boyce + Spektral Quartet

Acclaimed electronic music composer Daniel Lopatin, who records and performs under the moniker Oneohtrix Point Never, has always deftly balanced the experimental with the accessible. On his latest Warp Records release, Commissions I, the artist outlays his commissioned music for artwork, performance and film from years past. This music will be on full display when video artist Nate Boyce joins the lineup. Boyce, like Lopatin and his live soundscapes, creates improvised visuals and CGI forms, mutating and morphing found-text in disorientating virtual space. No strangers to the art museum circuit the duo have toured together extensively, performing at venues including MoMA/PS1, the Walker Art Center and Wexner Center for the Arts. Ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago, Spektral Quartet opens. Widely regarded as one of the city’s most magnetic and forward-thinking chamber ensembles, their 2013/14 season saw the critically-acclaimed release of the group’s debut album, Chambers, with two more recordings set to launch in the new year on Azica Records and Warner Classics. For this concert the quartet presents Steve Reich’s modern masterpiece Different Trains.

July 3: Alarm Will Sound + Taught Abroad

Alarm Will Sound’s Chicago debut features the music of Aphex Twin, Steve Reich, Tyondai Braxton and John Orfe. The large ensemble has been described as “the SEAL Team Six of new music” by New York Magazine and as “one of the most vital ensembles on the American music scene” by the New York Times. In this show, AWS transforms the electronica of Aphex Twin into live performance on acoustic instruments, putting machine-made music into the hands of human players. Steve Reich’s newest work, Radio Rewrite, based on the music of Radiohead, and Tyondai Braxton’s Fly By Wire, both written specifically for Alarm Will Sound’s adventurous virtuosos, explore the relationship between popular and classical music. Chicago-based producer/songwriter Chris Sadek’s outré electro-pop solo project, Taught Abroad, opens with new material from his sophomore release Ripe Hours.

The music of Grammy® Award-winning composer Augusta Read-Thomas will be highlighted this season at a number of Loops and Variations concerts, specifically on June 5 as performed by Civitas Ensemble and on June 12 where her recent crowning achievement, Resounding Earth, will be presented in stunning fashion by Third Coast Percussion. The Chicago connection runs deep among all of the above, with Thomas being the 16th ever University Professor (currently, one of five) at the University of Chicago. A composer the New Yorker Magazine called “a true virtuoso,” she has become one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American Music.

Loops and Variations is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored by Southwest Airlines and Millennium Garages.

Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open 6am–11pm daily. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and Grant Park North. For the latest news and events, visit millenniumpark.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, @Millennium_Park.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.

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Working media seeking to review or photograph Loops and Variations concerts should submit their requests in writing to Jamey Lundblad at Jamey.Lundblad@cityofchicago.org. Please identify the concert, the media outlet for which you are reviewing or photographing – plus contact information, including phone and email. News crews are limited to shooting only five minutes of music performance.

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