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Chicago Ustvolskaya Festival

Chicago, IL

The Chicago new music community joins together to present the powerful and intense music of Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006). Named “the woman with the hammer, (Elmer Schonberger)” for her use of heavy homophonic blocks of sound, Ustvolskaya’s music is rarely performed in Chicago, and never before presented here in a portrait festival. This festival will feature three concerts of her solo, small chamber, and large chamber as well as a short, musicological symposium. 

The festival organizers are composer/curator Nomi Epstein and new music flutist Shanna Gutierrez.

Nomi Epstein, D.M.A, is a Chicago-based composer, curator, performer and music educator. She has been featured in the Chicago Tribune for her works as a composer, curator, teacher, and performer. Epstein is an active and passionate curator and producer, founding and leading a.pe.ri.od.ic, the critically acclaimed experimental music performance collective devoted to notated, acoustic, post-Cagean experimental music.  In 2012, she curated and produced the 5-concert John Cage centennial festival in Chicago involving performers, sound artists, dancers, and multi-media artists from around the Midwest. In 2014, Epstein co-organized The Chicago Wandelweiser Festival which brought Jürg Frey, Eva-Maria Houben, and R. Andrew Lee to Chicago for the 4 festival events.  The festival featured a.pe.ri.od.ic’s debut album release concert, a cd of ensemble works by Jürg Frey on which Epstein performs.

As a specialist in contemporary performance practice and techniques, flutist Shanna Gutierrez is dedicated to promoting and advancing contemporary music in cultural life today through innovative performances and educational projects. She appears throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist, clinician, and in various chamber collaborations, including Collect/Project and Sonic Hedgehog. She was a founding member of Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, with whom she received the 2012 Kranichstein Prize for Interpretation. Premieres and performances of pieces written specifically for her have led to appearances at such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Sonic Fusion Festival, Darmstadt New Music Courses, BEAMS Marathon, and Omaha Under the Radar.

Sonata for Violin and Piano

Reinbert De Leeuw, piano
Vera Beths, violin
These are Ustvolskaya’s favorite performers of her music. recorded at the Ustvolskaya Festival 2011 in Amsterdam.

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Composition No. 3 for 4 flutes, 4 bassoons, and piano

Recorded at Amsterdam Ustvolskaya Festival 2011

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Composition No. 2 (Dies Irae) for 8 contrabass, percussion, piano

Recorded at Amsterdam Ustvolskaya Festival 2011

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