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Sound of Silent Film Festival

ACM’s popular Sound of Silent Film Festival features newly commissioned scores performed live to modern silent films.
 

This is our seventeenth year presenting this exciting event. We’ll present it live at the Music Box Theater and also virtually.

In-Person!
Saturday, April 16, 7:15PM
Music Box Theater
3733 N. Southport Ave.

 

EVENTS & CURRENT PRODUCTIONS

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

    • Collaborative Projects
    • Festivals
    • Past Productions
    • Performances
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    Performances

    Concept Lab: Volume XIII

    Concept Lab is an exciting exploratory music series featuring works-in-progress, improvised works and collaborative and multi-disciplinary projects in all stages of completion. Presented at the Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan four times a year.

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    Collaborative Projects

    Composer Alive: Arshia Samsaminia

    Composer Alive is an innovative commissioning project in which we work with a composer to write a new piece in installments.
    Each installment is sent to us as the composer writes it and then rehearsed, recorded, and posted by our musicians in front of a live audience.

     

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    Festivals

    Sound of Silent Film Festival

    ACM’s popular Sound of Silent Film Festival, now in its 17th year, is a unique event featuring new short silent films in every conceivable genre screened with newly-composed musical scores performed live.

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    Performances

    Molto Tutti Student Film Festival

    Molto Tutti is a unique event in which students from the ACM School of Music write and record original pieces and then create a video to accompany it.  We’ll be showing the final works at the North Center Town Hall.

    Molto Tutti is an explosion of creativity. Don’t miss it!

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    Past Productions

    ‘Songs About Buildings and Moods’ at Open House Chicago

    The First Church of Deliverance in Bronzeville was designed by Walter T. Bailey, Chicago’s first licensed Black architect. Join us for an exciting conversation about this unique space that will culminate in a sneak peak at ACM’s video series Songs About Buildings and Moods.

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    Past Productions

    Relevant Tones Tenth Anniversary Festival

    For ten years ACM’s award-winning podcast Relevant Tones has covered the most exciting time in classical music history: right now.  We celebrate this exciting milestone with an ambitious three-day live-taped festival.

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    Past Productions

    Sonic Walkabout: Lakeview

    Sonic Walkabout: Lakeview is a unique audio walking tour combining narrative discoveries with original music inspired by cultural and historic spaces in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

    At each site you’ll hear about its history, often firsthand, and then how the site inspired the composer plus a short piece of music.

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    Past Productions

    Sonic Walkabout: Wicker Park

    Sonic Walkabout: Wicker Park is a unique audio walking tour combining narrative discoveries with original music inspired by cultural and historic spaces in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

    At each site you’ll hear about its history, often firsthand, and then how the site inspired the composer plus a short piece of music.

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    Collaborative Projects

    Songs About Buildings and Moods

    Songs About Buildings and Moods is a new video series exploring the intersection of music and architecture by commissioning composers to write short pieces inspired by different landmark buildings. The series avoids a scientific approach and instead focuses on the emotional impact architecture and music both have in our lives.

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    Festivals

    Thirsty Ears Festival

    ACM is proud to present the seventh annual Thirsty Ears Festival: Chicago’s only classical music street festival!  For two days Wilson street between Hermitage and Ravenswood will be closed to feature seventeen stellar ensembles and soloists performing music from Beethoven to Shostakovich to Reich and everything in between on the main stage.

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    Past Productions

    Classical Excursions: Round Two

    ACM announces a four-part virtual lecture series on classical music given by our Executive Director Seth Boustead.  Each talk is designed to be fun, informative and is tailored for classical music experts and newbies alike.

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    Past Productions

    Classical Excursions

    ACM announces a four-part virtual lecture series on classical music given by our Executive Director Seth Boustead. We’re working very hard to pay our musicians for canceled events and to pay our teaching artists for lessons canceled because of Covid-19.  All proceeds from this series go to support those efforts. Each lecture is $10 or you can buy the package of four for $30.  You will be sent a link and password for each lecture, and an accompanying Spotify playlist, once you have registered.

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    Past Productions

    Specific Gravity

    From deep in the earth to the furthest reaches of outer space, Specific Gravity features music inspired by our physical universe.  The event will pair informal conversation with Ashley Hamer, host of the popular podcast Curiosity Daily, with performances of the pieces.

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    Past Productions

    Inner Worlds

    Featuring a wide array of new pieces meant to be played entirely inside of the piano, Inner Worlds takes you on a fascinating sonic journey.  Encompassing a range of special effects, the music for this concert ranges from eerie to playful to dramatic and everything in between.  GoPro cameras inside the piano send the image to the big screen in real time.

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    Past Productions

    Threads

    Our first concert of the season features colorful, rhythmic music from Gabriela Lena Frank inspired by travels in her native Peru, a powerful piece by Jonathan Russell inspired by the global meltdown called Full Faith and Credit and a stunning new viola concerto by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy featuring Meet the Composer podcast host Nadia Sirota and Liam Byrne as soloists.

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    Past Productions

    Indigenous Instruments

    ACM’s last concert of the season pairs Steven Mackey’s piece Indigenous Instruments with three pieces combining western instruments with actual indigenous instruments from around the world. Featuring three world-renowned soloists James Schleffer on shakuhachi, Tim Porcelli on didgeridoo and Yang Wei on pipa.

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    Past Productions

    Speaking in Tongues

    Speaking in Tongues features music inspired by and incorporating language in fascinating ways.  From Martin Bresnick’s Ishi’s Song, inspired by an endangered indigenous American language, to Steve Reich’s classic Different Trains and more, this concert is a must-see.

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    Past Productions

    Songs About Buildings and Moods Live

    Songs About Buildings and Moods features music we’ve commissioned over the last several years to be performed in various and sundry historical, offbeat, interesting and generally awesome spaces in Chicago as part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago project.

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    Past Productions

    Vanishing City at Lincoln Center

    In his book Vanishing New York, Jeremiah Moss argues that gentrification and rising income inequality are causing the city to slowly lose its soul.  Moss joins Seth Boustead plus Vishaan Chakrabarti, Greg Wessner and Frank J. Oteri for a conversation about these issues followed by a concert of “vanished” New York composers.

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    Past Productions

    Machine Language

    ACM’s last concert of the season features music inspired by machines, gears, toys and mechanisms and will be held in the beautifully restored Davis Theater in Lincoln Square. We’ll perform the World Premiere of David Smooke’s The Mechanical Bird Museum, a piece we commissioned as part of our Composer Alive program.

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    Past Productions

    Relevant Tones Live at LPR: Modern Mexico

    ACM presents Relevant Tones live at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan!  This enchanting evening features a tasting of rare mezcals not available in the United States and a concert of music by Mexican composers all live-taped for an episode of Relevant Tones.

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    Past Productions

    In Stereo

    The evening features a musical depiction of a magical island, a haunting reinterpretation of an iconic interview with trumpet virtuoso Chet Baker, a hilarious evocation of a Texas cattle auction, reimagined Tuvan throat singing, spatial sound sourcing and so much more, all brought to you In Stereo.

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    Past Productions

    Late Night at National Sawdust: Steven Stucky Portrait

    Podcast and live radio collide as ACM teams up with Open G Records the final Late Night concert of 2017: an intimate portrait of Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steven Stucky. Stucky was one of the country’s most prolific and most performed composers, a talented educator, esteemed mentor and an indispensible part of twentieth century classical music.

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    Past Productions

    Inner Worlds

    Into the Mystic features music by composers from around the world inspired by religion, spirituality and altered states of consciousness. From Xiaogang Ye’s evocative depiction of the hallucinogenic datura plant to James Primosch’s sparse, intensely religious, hymn-like string quartet to Jing Zhou’s musical evocations of Chinese Buddhism, Into the Mystic is a transportive concert experience

     

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    Past Productions

    Live at National Sawdust: Chaos Theory

    Podcast and live radio collide in an evening of music inspired by fractals, dynamic systems, feedback loops and nature. The broadcast will be preceded by the Discovery Series, a process-oriented exploration of musical creativity led by composer/pianist Jeremy Gill.  The three composers to be performed, chosen from a pool of more than five hundred, are Henrique Coe, Adina Dumitrescu and Ryan Homsey.

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    Past Productions

    Open House Barcelona

    Barcelona was one of the first cities to join the Open House program which is not a surprise considering its incredible legacy of jaw-droppingly amazing architecture. We are very excited to be working with Open House to have composers write music inspired by two amazing buildings in Barcelona. On October 22nd we’ll have musicians in each building to play the music every fifteen minutes between 12:00 and 15:00.

     

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    Past Productions

    Global Connections: Ireland

    Irish composer David Fennessy’s 5 Hofer Photographs is a highly imaginative musical depiction of five seminal pictures by twentieth century photographer Evelyn Hofer, including her most famous work Gravediggers, seen at right. ACM’s resident ensemble Palomar is thrilled to give the U.S. Premiere of this work and to perform music by six other contemporary Irish composers.

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    Past Productions

    Global Connections: Korea

    Global Connections is a global network of festivals, ensembles, composers and contemporary music organizations around the world.  As part of this exciting program we’ll be presenting three concerts of music from different countries in partnership with the International House at the University of Chicago.

    We’ll kick off the series with a concert of dynamic music from Korea in partnership with the Korean Composer’s Association.

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    Past Productions

    Goblin Market

    First published in 1862, the narrative poem the Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti, ostensibly a poem for children, was immediately hailed for its rich symbolism, vivid imagery and multiple layers of meaning. The poem is still influential today and is the basis of a wonderful work for narrator and large ensemble by Pulitzer prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. ACM is proud to present a performance of the Goblin Market alongside two other pieces incorporating spoken word in a chamber music setting.

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    Past Productions

    Composer Alive: Brazil Concert

    The culmination of our months-long collaboration with Brazilian composer Alexandre Lunsqui, this concert featured the World Premiere of his new piece Toy. Written over a six month period in short installments which we recorded as he sent them to us, Toy is a virtuosic, energetic, fun piece for our resident Palomar ensemble. The rest of the concert featured music by other living Brazilian composers and Mr. Lunsqui traveled to Chicago to be present.

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    Past Productions

    Vanishing Point

    In Geometry textbooks we’re told that parallel lines never meet but, from our visual perspective, they do meet at the horizon or the vanishing point as it’s called. Similarly in music it seems that singer/songwriters and composers have very little in common. But, as in geometry the truth depends on our perception.  Vanishing Point will reveal the fascinating intersection of pop music and contemporary classical that is a emerging as a major trend.

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    Past Productions

    Ten x Ten Album Release

    We teamed up with Homeroom and Spudnik Press for their third Ten x Ten project partnering musicians with visual artists to create collaborative multi-media works.  This time ten ACM composer members will partner with ten printmakers to jointly create the pieces.

     

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    Past Productions

    1001 Afternoons in Chicago

    We partner with one of Chicago’s most renowned storefront theater companies, Strawdog Theater, to adapt several stories by legendary Chicago journalist Ben Hecht into a radio play for live music and voices.

    We’ll give the world premiere of the new piece at Architectural Artifacts.  Music by Seth Boustead and Amos Gillespie.

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    Past Productions

    Light Games

    An evening featuring our violin virtuoso Jeff Yang in several transcendent but highly demanding new works including Wolfgang Rihm‘s gorgeous Lichtes Spiel or Light Games.  Other works to be performed range from soul-searching and starkly beautiful, to the upbeat bluegrass-infused joyous melodies of Evan Chambers and Vivian Fung.

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    Past Productions

    Best of Weekly Readings

    We’re very excited about this concert! And not surprisingly considering that ACM was formed around the Weekly Readings project. For the last eight years we’ve recorded a different piece by a living composer every week and posted it to our website!  Before music streaming was popular, well before podcasting, there was Weekly Readings. Now Palomar will perform some of the very best pieces out of the more than 300 that have been submitted over the years.

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    Past Productions

    Architectonics

    Lewis Spratlan‘s whirling dervish of a perpetual motion piece When Crows Gather anchors a program of insightful, rhythmically compelling and just plain interesting music by composers from around the world.

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    Past Productions

    Gnarly Buttons

    Hailed by the New Yorker as “the most vital and eloquent composer in America,” Pulitzer prize winner John Adams is a towering figure in modern music. Rooted in minimalism and the American vernacular, with a generous helping of his own off-beat sensibility, Adams has forged a unique and deeply influential musical identity.  ACM celebrates the 65th birthday of this landmark composer with a concert of his large-scale chamber works.

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  • TESTIMONIALS

    Every year ACM's programs reach thousands of people

    It's breathtaking to hear music composed for particular buildings. It's a moment of celebration of a kind of mythology that we've lost because buildings used to be infused with music. I'm all for this beautiful project that you've created.

    Daniel Libeskind

    Architect

    Thanks ACM for a weird, wonderful night at the Davis Theater!

    Karen Shields

    Concert-goer

    I love the Thirsty Ears Festival! Thanks to ACM for putting on this magical event every year.

    Jake Cowell

    Thirsty Ears Attendee

    Relevant Tones is my favorite music podcast! I love the balance between interviews, live events and themed shows. Keep up the great work!

    Nicole Lismith

    Student
    ARTISTS & COMPOSERS

    Meet Our Artists & Composers

  • Joenne Dumitrascu

    Violinist | New York City

    Agnieszka Stulginska

    Composer | Warsaw

    Gabriela Ortiz

    Composer | Mexico City

    Tatev Amiryan

    Composer | Chicago

    Isak Björn Hedlund

    Composer | Sweden

    Angel Bat Dawid

    Composer | Chicago

    William Jason Raynovich

    Composer | Chicago

    Chris Ramaekers

    Music Director | Chicago

    Regina Harris Baiocchi

    Composer | Chicago

    Henry Zheng

    Violinist | Chicago

    Amy Wurtz

    Pianist/Composer | Chicago

    Ford Fourqurean

    Clarinetist/Composer | New York City

    Alyson Berger

    Cellist | Chicago

    Jane O’Leary

    Composer | Galway