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Wheaton College Artist Series to Livestream Events for Free to the Public

September 25, 2020

The internationally renowned Artist Series will offer top-quality performances as a gift of healing and joy to the community.

Black Oak Ensemble

This year, due to COVID-19, Wheaton College has been unable to host scheduled Artist Series events with a live audience. However, the show will go on! Wheaton College is pleased to announce that they will be livestreaming the events to the public for free on www.wheaton.edu. All members of the public need to do is register here to get the link.

The Wheaton College Artist Series has a long history of providing internationally renowned, top quality performances for audiences in the Chicago area. This season features four livestreamed concerts in the brand new, state-of-the-art Armerding Concert Hall: the Black Oak Ensemble, the world premiere of Danielpour's Seven Mysteries featuring pianist Daniel Paul Horn, a Young Artist’s Showcase, and Fifth House Ensemble.

“Moving performing arts events to livestream is one of the biggest challenges we have faced in my long career,” says Tony Payne, Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Special Programs and the Artist Series. “But there are so many musicians struggling to survive right now that I felt it was critical to do my part and engage our audience in some way.”

The Artist Series has been a core cultural institution at Wheaton and in the surrounding areas for decades. Despite the limitations of COVID-19 on large gatherings, organizers of the Artist Series were determined to continue to make this important cultural offering to the community.

Payne says that “the ultimate goal is for events like this to contribute to the healing of our communities and restore joy. The immediate goal is to provide experiences that undergird our educational mission in music and arts education and offer some means to hear live music in our beautiful new 650-seat concert hall, just opening this fall.”

Previous years have featured groups such as the Chicago Symphony, the Canadian Brass, the Yamato Drummers of Japan, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and many more. Typically the Artist Series operates under a subscription model, although individual concert tickets are also available. But in a special concession to these difficult times, the college College has decided to offer the concerts for free as a gift to the community.

On Friday, September 25, the Black Oak Ensemble will make its Artist Series debut as the first professional ensemble to perform livestream from Armerding Concert Hall. Praised for their “insightful, committed and masterful performances 10/10” (Classics Today), and their “fierce eloquence” (The Times), Black Oak is establishing itself as one of the premier chamber ensembles in the United States.

“We welcome music lovers from all over the world to enjoy this performance by Black Oak Ensemble of Chicago,” says Payne. “And we strongly encourage you to contribute financially to organizations like the Wheaton College Artist Series and others that are trying to preserve the performing arts for their communities in these challenging times.”

A second concert featuring Wheaton Conservatory professor and widely respected pianist Daniel Paul Horn will premiere Seven Mysteries on Saturday, October 10. The work was commissioned and composed for him by long-time friend Richard Danielpour, whose music has been performed around the globe by some of the world's most celebrated artists. The program also includes works by Mendelssohn and Beethoven.

On Saturday, October 24, a Young Artists Showcase will feature up-and-coming artists you should know and hear.

And finally, Fifth House Ensemble will perform Rivers Empyrean on Friday, November 6. The piece traces the life cycle of water from its metaphorical descent from the heavens as rain, to its long journey in streams and rivers informed by conservation experts and ecologists. With its organizational partners Friends of the Chicago River, the American Indian Center, Wild Mile, Chicago Wilderness, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Fifth House Ensemble will share a stellar program featuring music by Mason Bates, Dan Visconti and Wheaton College’s own Shawn Okpebholo.

Anyone can watch these concerts online by filling out this form to register.

Learn more about the Black Oak Ensemble

Learn more about all the fall livestreams.

-- Lori Quicke