A week or so ago, we had Groundhog Day, which forecast six more weeks of winter. Despite the bad news of the little furry creature, I was optimistic: I had only to look at the tips of the maple trunks outside my studio window and the sky at 4:30 p.m. to know that spring is indeed around the corner. In fact, it’s been well underway since December 22, when we gained a millisecond more daylight than on the shortest day of the year, December 21!

Here in the land of Rush Hour, we all know what spring means: that summer is not far behind. Remember summer? The azure waters of Lake Michigan, the volleyball leagues on the beaches off Lake Shore Drive, folk walking down Michigan Avenue toward Oak Street beach in their swim togs, and, of course, Tuesdays! Tuesdays at 5:15 p.m.–every Tuesday from June through August–Rush Hour will be bringing you great music for busy lives.

I am happy to report that Rush Hour’s 10th anniversary season is off to the printers! As promised last month, I have posted it here for all to see first hand.

Our 2009 season holds the potential to top all previous seasons in variety, scope and number of artists. Our repertoire ranges from French Baroque to compositions created in honor of Rush Hour’s 10th anniversary. The season opens with clarinetist Larry Combs at the helm of Mozart’s “Gran Partita,” the woodwind serenade for 13 instruments (made famous in the movie Amadeus) and closes with the dynamic and innovative Third Coast Percussion. In between, we will travel to France, Germany and Switzerland with our consulate sponsors, including Couperin on Bastille Day, Bach with Bruce Barber–back by popular demand–and an eclectic program for tenor saxophone and organ featuring two of Switzerland’s most spirited composer/performers.

Ravel’s ravishing Piano Trio, Poulenc’s raucous Sextet for piano and winds, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in d minor, and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 12 arranged for brass quintet reflect the “bread and butter” of classic chamber music repertoire.

Chicago poet Kevin Coval, now renowned for his Chicago-centric, social justice artistry will pair with pianist James Giles in a program celebrating “Everyday People,” as Kevin reads from his book of the same title, to the music of George Gershwin and Charles Ives. WIRED, the flutes of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), will be bringing us a dynamic combination of classic and contemporary duos. And, CSO principal oboist Eugene Izotov will be joining CSO cellist Katinka Kleijn and organist David Schrader for a program of baroque music.

Last but not least, the program voted most popular by RH audiences last summer to be repeated in celebration of our 10th anniversary year: An encore of 2007’s “A Cello Celebration,” now expanded to 8 celli and soprano in Villa Lobos’ arrestingly beautiful Bachian Brasileira, No. 5 with members of the CSO and Lyric Opera cello sections and soprano Maire O’Brien, conducted by Michael Mulcahy.

As the snow continues to melt, let us think about bulbs sprouting, temperatures warming, and the vibrancy of summer in Chicago just a few months away. Dust off your sunscreen and mark Tuesday evenings from 5:15-6:15 in your calendars now!

– Deborah Sobol
Artistic Director

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