Winter Weekend Classical Music Festival: New Chicago Wind Quintet, with Kara Benyas, Piano
Area musicians and internationally acclaimed guest artists hope to warm you up with a Winter Weekend Classical Music Festival, February 4 through 6, presented by the SIU School of Music and Carbondale Community Arts, with support from the SIU Foundation, Alumni Association, Student Fine Arts Activity Fee, Southern Illinois Music Festival, Southern Arts Fund and the Illinois Arts Council. The Festival opens Friday night with a voice recital featuring world famous SIU alumna, Emily Fons, with music from the Baroque to the 21st century. On Saturday night, the New Chicago Wind Quintet with pianist and SIU alumna, Kara Benyas, perform music by Dvořák and others. The Festival concludes Sunday afternoon with the Eunoia String Quartet from Vanderbilt University performing music by Haydn and Prokofiev.
SIU Alumna and Grammy-nominated internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Emily Fons, returns to Carbondale to perform a recital with SIU Associate Professor, Dr. Yuko Kato. They have chosen works that focus on the lives of individual women – from Joan of Arc to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and even the Statue of Liberty. These works by Gioacchino Rossini, Henry Purcell, Benjamin Britten, Lee Hoiby, and Jake Heggie display Fons at her finest. The duo will perform on Friday, February 4th at 5pm in the OBF Recital Hall. Admission is free.
A highly distinguished graduate of the SIU School of Music, Ms. Fons was hailed by Opera News as one of opera’s rising stars and one of the best singing actresses of her generation, and premiered at the Santa Fe Opera. Ms. Fons has been lauded for her virtuosic abilities in Baroque and Bel Canto repertoire, her winning portrayals of opera’s traditional “trouser roles”, and the dramatic commitment and musicality she brings to modern works. In the past few seasons Ms. Fons has sung with Canadian Opera Company, Seattle Opera, Berlin Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the International Händel Festspiele, Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Omaha, Boston Lyric Opera, Florentine Opera, Madison Opera, Opéra de Lille, the Ongaku-Juku Festival, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
The Winter Weekend Classical Music Festival then moves up US 51 to ArtSpace 304, home of Carbondale Community Arts, with a Saturday night concert featuring SIU Oboe Professor Edward Benyas’ New Chicago Wind Quintet along with SIU alumna, pianist Kara Benyas. The highlight of this program is one of Benyas’ sabbatical projects, transcribing Antonín Dvořák’s monumental Piano Quintet for a sextet of piano and winds. Also on the program is music by the father of the wind quintet, Franz Danzi. Members of the New Chicago Wind Quintet have performed with major ensembles and music festivals from across the United States, Europe and Asia, including the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony, Grant Park Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, Tianjin and Shenzhen Symphonies, and the Banff, Spoleto and Carmel Bach Festivals.
The Winter Weekend Classical Music Festival concludes at ArtSpace 304 Sunday afternoon when the Eunoia String Quartet from Vanderbilt University performs quartets by Haydn and Prokofiev, and a rhythmically driving new work by the young African-American composer and violinist, Jesse Montgomery.
Adult tickets for the Saturday and Sunday ArtSpace 304 concerts are $30, include two free alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and are only available at the door, by cash or check payable to SIU. All artists and staff are fully vaccinated. Concert patrons must comply with Illinois regulations regarding mask wearing. The Festival hopes all performances will take place as planned, but reserve the right to cancel any or all of them in the event of a Covid outbreak among one or more artists.
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