American Music Project to present a full 2024 season with three concerts 

February 22, 2024
By David Fleshler
David Diamond’s Symphony No. 2 will receive its belated Midwest premiere this fall in the American Music Project’s 2024 season.

The American Music Project will mark its 10th anniversary in ambitious fashion by expanding to a three-concert Chicago series in 2024.

“This has really been the dream since I launched the foundation a decade ago,” said Lawrence A. Johnson, writer and founder of AMP, Chicago Classical Review and associated websites. “We will be doing a chamber concert, piano recital and collaborating on an orchestral concert, with all three programs presenting some terrific, neglected American music.”

“I’m hoping that by taking this leap we can garner enough donor support to make a full AMP season a regular reality going forward.”

Kontras Quartet

The American Music Project’s 10th anniversary season will open June 1 at Ganz Hall with the Kontras Quartet in their third consecutive AMP appearance. The program will include Bernard Herrmann’s Echoes for String Quartet, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Voyage (Quartet No. 3), Arthur Foote’s String Quartet No. 1,  and works by Quincy Porter and Jonathan Blumhofer. “For the first time we will be doing a 19th-century American work with the Foote quartet,” said Johnson. “And I’m delighted that we can mark the 85th birthday of Ellen Zwilich with her wonderful Voyage.”

The AMP season will continue with a concert by the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra led by Stilian Kirov on September 21 in Palos Heights. The program, titled “Three Great American Symphonies,” will offer John Vincent’s Symphony in D, William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 3  (“Sunday Symphony”) and David Diamond’s Symphony No. 2. The Still and Diamond works will be belated Midwest premieres. 

Stilian Kirov

“I am beyond excited for this collaboration and celebration of great American music,” said Kirov, music director of the IPO. “AMP and the IPO share an extremely important mission to bring to the concert stage and celebrate some of the greatest American composers, whose music may also be a fabulous discovery for many. I cannot be more happy that we have the opportunity to partner in this exciting program as we present three great American symphonies!”

“The Diamond Second is an epic wartime work and, arguably, the great American symphony,” said Johnson. “I’m delighted that Stilian feels as strongly about this piece as I do and that we will be able to bring this music, as well as the Still and Vincent symphonies, to a local audience.”

Emiko Edwards

The American Music Project season will conclude in October (date TBA) with a recital by pianist Emiko Edwards. The program will include Aaron Copland’s Piano Variations, Leon Kirchner’s Piano Sonata No. 1, William Grant Still’s A Deserted Plantation and works by Paul Creston, Meredith Monk, George Rochberg, Leo Ornstein and Jennifer Higdon.

“I was impressed with Emiko’s all-Copland recital in New York last fall and she has come up with a rich and wide-ranging program of American piano music for Chicago,” said Johnson.

Tickets for the June 1 Kontras Quartet concert are now on sale. Tickets are $20, $10 for students. To reserve tickets for the entire three-concert series and for information about making a tax-deductible gift to AMP, please email [email protected];;; 

David Fleshler has been a critic for South Florida Classical Review since 2009. He grew up in a musical family, with his mother playing violin and his father viola in the Buffalo Philharmonic. He is a full-time newspaper reporter, having covered the environment for the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where he is now an investigative reporter. He has won many journalism awards and shared in a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland school shooting.

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