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[Access Contemporary Music] 2019-2020 Concert Series Announced

- Integrating musical creativity into everyday life
2019-2020 Concerts Announced

Access Contemporary Music is committed to showcasing the exciting developments in contemporary classical music by bringing dynamic music by diverse living composers to life through concerts in Chicago, Milwaukee and New York.

Our current production season includes the Thirsty Ears Festival, our popular classical music street fest, Open House events in Milwaukee, New York and Chicago, an exciting four-concert series at the Davis Theater in Chicago, the Concept Lab series in New York and the fifteenth anniversary of our Sound of Silent Film Festival.
Here is the season at a glance:
September 9 Threads (Chicago)
September 15 Concept Lab (New York)
September 21 Composers With Drinks (New York)
September 29 Doors Open Milwaukee
October 19 Open House Chicago
December 8 Concept Lab (New York)
December 16 Inner Worlds (Chicago)
February 9 Specific Gravity (Chicago)
March 8 Concept Lab (New York)
March 28 Sound of Silent Film Festival (Chicago)
May 11 Blue Hour (Chicago)
More info on each event below!

Live at the Davis
We’re excited to present a third season of concerts at the beloved Davis Theater in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. Featuring a wide range of innovative pieces from composers around the world performed in a casual setting, Live at the Davis is a don’t-miss series.  Grab a beer at the and bar and join us for music you won’t forget.
September 9, 7:30 PM
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 as soloist.

Inner Worlds
December 16, 7:30 PM
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.

Specific Gravity
February 10, 7:30 PM
ACM performs an array of music inspired by physics including Lois Vierk’s astonishing work Red Shift, Paul Lansky’s wild ride of a chamber piece Horizons, Olga Neuwirth’s austere but spellbinding Quasare/Pulsare and the piece that inspired the whole show, Lansing McCloskey’s rollicking ball of fun Specific Gravity.

Blue Hour

May 11, 7:30 PM
We’ll close out Live at the Davis with a dizzying (in a good way) display of new works inspired by the color blue. Pieces to be performed include Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe’s Blue Dress, the Full Range of Blue by Laura Kaminsky, Devil in Blue Blue Sea by Clara Latham and The Blue-Footed Booby by Avant-French composer Tristan Murail.



Composers With Drinks
September 21, 6:30 PM
Michiko Studios, New York
Presented in collaboration with Composers Concordance. Composers are invited to listen to an open rehearsal by a great chamber ensemble, and are encouraged to submit a short piece of music to the ensemble, as they sight-read and discuss it.
In this instance, composers are instructed to bring short compositions (ie. 30 seconds or less) for the specific instrumentation of trumpet, electric guitar, contrabass, and drum set. Sound Liberation: Franz Hackl – trumpet, Gene Pritsker – guitar, Jay Elfenbein – bass, and Max Pollak – drum set, will sight-read and discuss the scores.
Drinks provided!

Doors Open Milwaukee
September 29, 10:00 – 3:00
We’ll be collaborating with Doors Open Milwaukee again to commission three composers to write music inspired by three unique spaces in Milwaukee.  On the day of the event we’ll have musicians in each of the spaces to perform the pieces every fifteen minutes as part of guided tours. 
The Grain Exchange

Music by Debra Kaye
The Grain Exchange Room located in the Mackie Building, showcases beautiful “Simple Italian” architecture, soaring ceilings, hand painted frescoes, gold leaf and over 10,000 sq. feet of usable event space in an outstanding and historical location.

The three story “cathedral of commerce” was closely linked with the early commercial history of Milwaukee, when for a brief time, the city was the world’s largest primary wheat market for trading, exporting and inspecting grain.
Milwaukee’s lake port was near vast acres of wheat so the Milwaukee Grain Exchange made its home in the Chamber of Commerce building, inventing and utilizing the very first octagonal trading pit.


WE Energies                             

Music by Shanan Estreicher
Construction of The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company’s (now known as We Energies) Public Service Building began in 1902, as the company replaced horse-drawn trolleys with electric interurban trains.
Electric trains rolled through the building’s first floor when it was completed in 1905. This 112 year old, neoclassic gem, with matched Italian marble walls and a second-floor art deco auditorium, played an important role in changing Milwaukee with trains, buses, electricity, natural gas, steam heat and even appliances sales, serving as the utility’s headquarters the entire time.

Milwaukee Ballet
Music by Gene Pritsker
Be among the first guests to see this new 52,000-foot, state-of-the-art facility for the organization’s professional dancers, School & Academy classes and Community Engagement Programs. Hear from Milwaukee Ballet artists as you tour the costume shop, rehearsal studios, performance studio and its space dedicated to the community.

Open House Chicago
Music by Trevor Patrick Watkin
This year marks our eighth year collaborating with Open House Chicago to commission composers to write new music inspired by different landmark buildings in Chicago.  We’ve worked with iconic buildings like the original Sears Tower, Union Station and many others.
This year we’ll be in the historic Bronzeville landmark, the Forum.  Built in 1897, the structure contains one of the most important assembly/performance halls in the city and possibly the oldest hardwood ballroom dance floor in Chicago. 
This imposing red brick building played a significant role in Chicago’s cultural scene by hosting performances of music luminaries—including Nat King Cole—and by providing space for civic groups and political meetings.

Concept Lab
Concept Lab is an exciting new exploratory music series featuring finished works, works in progress, improvised works and collaborative and multi-disciplinary projects in all stages of completion.
Created by composers Seth Boustead and Will Rowe and run as a collective, Concept Lab is a showcase of the newest of the new and an exciting sneak preview of mainstays on the upcoming New York performance scene.
Concept Lab takes place at the Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3.
185 Orchard St.
New York, NY


September 15, 5:30
December 9, 5:30
March 8, 5:30


‘Activate ACM’ Campaign in the Final Stretch!

ACM is embarking on an ambitious campaign to radically improve our Ravenswood school facility.  We are 90% of the way there!  A donation in any amount will help us to reach our goal.

The school has grown quickly over the last twelve years, from one storefront to three and from seven students to nearly three hundred but it’s grown haphazardly without any kind of plan and the existing space badly needs an overhaul.

The rooms are not soundproofed, they are small and cramped, the heat vents run across them making them very hot and the placement of the rooms was never designed well so they block visibility.  All of this means that the space is not as inviting as it should be and teaching is not as effective as it should be.

Architect Carly Cannell has crafted a vision of what the space could be that is consistent with our mission of accessibility and includes several space improvements like:

  • Soundproof rooms
  • Better visibility from the street
  • Coffee bar in the waiting area, with any revenue going toward scholarships
  • Increased teaching capacity
  • Better heat and AC flow to rooms and waiting area
  • Cutting edge visual design consistent with our brand identity

ACM is a non-profit organization with the mission of integrating musical creativity into everyday life.  Our goal is to raise $20,000 between now and August 11 and we’re nearly there.  We hope you’ll help us Activate ACM with a donation in any amount!


OHNY Videos Posted
ACM collaborated with Open House New York in June to commission four composers to write music inspired by Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Flight Center, recently reopened as the swanky TWA Hotel. 
As part of their annual gala we performed all four works in the hotel, one with choreography and dance from the New York City Ballet.  Check out all four videos below!
Eero by Stephanie Ann Boyd
Uplift by Seth Boustead
Elision Fields by Ed Windells
Palimpsest: Thin Shell Structure by Anthony R. Green
Thirsty Ears Festival in Pictures
ACM’s Thirsty Ears Festival is Chicago’s only classical music street festival.  We  rocked it out this year with performances by a record twenty-three ensembles and soloists and nearly 3,000 people in attendance over the two days.  Here’s a look back in photos!

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