With winter now officially behind us, the incentive to “get out and about” increases. The next several weeks are rich in excellent musical and cultural events. Here are a few of my favorites:

A lush afternoon of music from three of the great French composers of the late 19th and 20th centuries:

A Lenten Choral Concert
The Cathedral Choir, Soloists, and The Chamber Orchestra of St. James
Bruce J. Barber II, conductor
Sunday, March 22, 3 p.m.
St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St.
Requested donation: $15 (Children under 12 are FREE)

Maurice Durufle: Quatre Motets Sur Des Thèmes Grégoriens
Francis Poulenc: Litanies à la Vierge noire
Gabriel Fauré: Requiem

A lunchtime interlude of 18th century Italian music:

The Chicago Chamber Musicians’ First Monday Series
Monday, April 6, 12:15 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington
FREE

Francesco Geminiani Sonata for Oboe in E Minor
Michael Henoch, oboe
Thomas Wikman, harpsichord

Domenico Cimarosa Quartetto No. 6 in a minor
Michael Henoch, oboe
Jasmine Lin, violin
Rami Solomonow, viola

Poetry reading and discussion with Inaugural Poet Elizabeth Alexander, presented by RH community partner The Poetry Foundation:

Poetry Off the Shelf: Elizabeth Alexander
Wednesday, April 8, 6 p.m.
Rubloff Auditorium – Art Institute of Chicago
280 South Columbus Drive (Enter on Columbus at Monroe)
FREE

Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and professor. The author of five books of poems, including The Venus Hottentot (1990) and the Pulitzer Prize finalist American Sublime (2005), she’s been awarded the 2007 Jackson Prize for Poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, the George Kent Award, given by Gwendolyn Brooks, and a Guggenheim fellowship. During President Barack Obama’s 2009 Inauguration, she read her poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” now available as a chapbook by Graywolf Press. She currently teaches in the Department of African American Studies at Yale University.

Finally, for those of you who appreciate sacred music at this time of year—whether for historical or religious purposes—the music programmed by Bruce Barber at St. James Cathedral for the week of April 5 – 12 (Palm Sunday – Easter in the Christian tradition) is always remarkable, informative and uplifting.

– Deborah Sobol
Artistic Director

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