I’ve noticed of late that there seems to be an increased focus on young people in our contemporary lives, going beyond the usual cultural obsession with youth and the ubiquitous consumer marketing to that demographic. The national dialogue of the last many months in the political campaigns seems to include the presence of young adults in unprecedented ways. Equally, they are referenced and involved in some of the most pressing issues of our times, whether economic, educational or environmental. As founder and artistic director of an arts organization grounded in the reality of contemporary life, it has always been most gratifying to me to witness the role young adults have played from the beginning.

Our ’08 season is a fine example: Our artistic roster spanned the generations – from high school to internationally acclaimed veteran artists, including young composer Clancy Newman. 20% of our regular, weekly audiences were under the age of 40. This is a stunning statistic for a new arts organization devoted to great classical music. Many of these folk were so excited about Rush Hour and its mission that they formed an auxiliary board – the Fanfare Committee – to help spread the word of RH to their contemporaries and contribute to the annual work of keeping RH’s entire season free and open to all. Their presence at our weekly summer series and their work year-round is an important part of the RH engine.

The presence of young people in RH reflects an inclusive vision of community, with the power of great music identifying common human qualities in need of regular inspiration and nourishment. The music is powerful and the energy contagious.

Before I offer my concert recommendations for this month, I’d like to share the thoughts of author David W. Barber from his humorous book, If It Ain’t Baroque… More Music History As It Ought To Be Taught, on the challenges of the term “classical music”:

“The problem is no one’s been able to come up with a better term, or at least a better term people are willing to accept. Some people call it “art” music, to distinguish it from “popular” music – as if to imply that Bach shouldn’t be popular, or that there’s no artistry in the Beatles… Some people will tell you there are a lot of different types of music. But there are really only two: good music and bad music.”

And, at Rush Hour, there is “Great Music for Busy Lives.”

In your busy lives this month, you might want to make time for these great concerts:

Thursday, November 13 – 7:00 p.m.
St. James Cathedral
The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra
David Katz, music director and conductor
Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor
Free admission

Monday, November 10 – 12:15 p.m.
Preston Bradley Hall (Chicago Cultural Center)
Third Coast Percussion
Music of Cage & L. Ligeti
Free admission

Wednesday, November 19 (Symphony Center), Thursday, November 20 (Evanston), and Saturday, November 22 (Hyde Park) – 7:30 p.m.
Baroque Band
The Temple of Apollo
Tickets: $30 (regular)/ $27 (seniors)/ $15 (student)

Saturday, November 8 and Sunday, November 9 – 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier
The Chicago Chamber Musicians
November 8-9 Family Concert – Leaping Leopold! The Mozart Show
Tickets: $18 (adult) / $15 (12 and under)

Sunday, November 16 (Evanston) and Monday, November 17 (Merit School of Music) – 7:30 p.m.
The Chicago Chamber Musicians
November 16-17 Subscription Series
Böhme: Sextet for Brass in E-Flat Minor, Op. 30
Bruce Broughton: Hudson River Valley
Dvorák: Piano Trio in F Minor, Op. 65
Tickets: $16 – 40 (adult)/ $10 (student)

Wednesday, November 12 – 7:30 p.m.
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Fulcrum Point
Soundtracks in New-Art Music
Tickets: $50 – 75 (adult) / $25 (students & seniors)

And don’t forget the following two regular events:

The Dame Myra Hess weekly free lunchtime series at The Chicago Cultural Center, every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m., presented by the International Music Foundation.

The Chicago Chamber Musicians’ First Monday lunchtime concerts, also at the Chicago Cultural Center at 12:15 the first Monday of each month.

– Deborah Sobol
Artistic Director

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