Thirsty Ears Festival


Relevant Tones Festival 2021

Songs About Buildings and Moods

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8/13 & 8/14

Thirsty Ears 2022

Thirsty Ears is Chicago’s only classical music street festival and takes place on Wilson Ave. between Ravenswood and Hermitage.


Explore our upcoming
festivals / concerts

We produce a variety of festivals and concerts throughout the year designed to serve our mission of bringing musical creativity to life.

Learn More


School of music
explore our classes

The ACM School of Music teaches musical creativity along with fundamentals to students age 4 through adult in three locations in Chicago and virtually.

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Film scoring class

About ACM

ACM or Access Contemporary Music is a non-profit organization with the mission of bringing musical creativity to life every day. We do this through our award-winning podcast Relevant Tones, by producing concerts of music by diverse living composers, by teaching musical creativity in our ACM School of Music, through exciting multi-disciplinary festivals like Sound of Silent Film and Thirsty Ears, the Sonic Walkabout musical audio walking tours, process-based innovative collaborations like Composer Alive and digital media productions like Songs About Buildings and Moods. We commission new music for each of these programs and work with our talented musicians to bring it to life.

Get To Know Us

We commission dozens of composers every year
We produce events in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee and Mexico City
We teach musical creativity to more than 300 students


  • We Need Volunteers for Thirsty Ears

    Chicago’s only classical music street festival returns to Ravenswood on August 13 and 14 but we need your help!  We’re looking for volunteers to help us at the entrances, in… Read More »We Need Volunteers for Thirsty Ears

    Now Available On All Platforms!

    Our maiden release on ACM’s own Invisible Cities label is a wide release of 2014’s 1001 Afternoons in Chicago! Featuring the seminal work of Ben Hecht, with music by ACM… Read More »Now Available On All Platforms!

    We Need Volunteers for Thirsty Ears

    Relevant Tones: Cross Roads