Discover America Returns!

The second program in The Chicago Ensemble’s “Discover America” concert series takes place Saturday, February 2 at 4:00 pm at PianoForte, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue. Winning works selected from 430 submissions to the Ensemble’s “Discover America IX” competition for new chamber music comprise the series of four 2018-19 programs.

The concert holds works by Matthew Browne, a young New York based composer; Roger Zare, who has the distinction of being the only composer who has been a winner in The Chicago Ensemble’s “Discover America” competitions three times; Alexander Timofeev, based in Philadelphia on the faculty of Rowan University; Joyce Wai-Chung Tang, who lives in Hong Kong; and Swiss composer Luzia von Wyl.

Browne’s On the Immortality of a Crab (a Spanish idiom meaning “to let one’s mind wander”) is in three short movements, in an incisive style akin to Stravinsky. Zare’s Telescopic Variations presents several highly contrasting virtuosic variations on a short original theme. Timofeev’s Phoenix shows the influence of jazz syncopations. Tang’s Reflections on Arirang utilizes fragments of Arirang folk melodies in a distinctly Asian style. Von Wyl’s Autumn is a hard-driving work – belying the serenity suggested by the title – built on a recurring jazzy motive.

Performers in the program are Gerald Rizzer, piano, the group’s artistic director; Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, clarinet; Eleanor Bartsch, violin; and Alexa Muhly, cello.

The Chicago Ensemble is in its 42nd season. Often praised for its unusually diversified repertoire, The Chicago Ensemble has also had a long commitment to the discovery and encouragement of contemporary composers. The first “Discover America” call for scores took place in 1992. Pieces selected in Discover America I through VIII were presented in special new music concerts, as part of the regular subscription series and on live radio broadcasts. Several works were reprogrammed in subsequent seasons.  This season is the first time that an entire series of winning works is being presented, offered concurrently with a series of programs holding an eclectic repertoire of works from different style periods.

Individual tickets are $30. Subscribers can attend the four Discover America programs and the four eclectic programs. Each program has a different combination of piano, strings, woodwinds, and voice.

Dates of the remaining programs are:
Discover America: March 30, April 20
Eclectic: March 10/12 and June 4/9

Click here for the Discover America program book for the entire series with composer bios, photos, and description of their pieces.

For full details, view the current season.

The group’s Artistic director and pianist is Gerald Rizzer. The Chicago Ensemble presents “Chicago’s most venerable and reportorially adventurous chamber music series,” according to Lawrence Johnson in Chicago Classical Review.

Programs I, II, III, and IV are presented Sunday afternoons at 3:00 at International House on the University of Chicago campus and Tuesday evenings at 7:30 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, a block from the Water Tower on North Michigan Avenue. Programs A, B, C, and D are presented Saturday afternoons at 4:00 (2:00pm April 20) at PianoForte in the south loop. Concerts are preceded by a complimentary reception. Gerald Rizzer offers verbal commentary about each piece.

Tickets are $30 ($10 students). Subscriptions available: Eight ticket subscription for $150 or Five ticket subscription for $120. For further information, contact The Chicago Ensemble at (773) 558-3448 or

Purchase tickets online at Brown Paper Tickets.


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Financial Contribution to Support the Chicago Ensemble

If you wish to make a contribution to The Chicago Ensemble, please contact us:

Phone: (773) 558-3448


Address: PO Box 409048, Chicago, IL 60640


(The Chicago Ensemble will not have to pay a processing fee to PayPal if you indicate that you are making a gift. This is accomplished by marking the button on the PayPal form noting that it is being sent as a gift to a friend. Additionally, please note that while the recipient name should say The Chicago Ensemble, your receipt may come from the email of Bonniejean Alford, who is our website/social media manager.)


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An Overview of what's to come in the 42nd Season

Winning works from The Chicago Ensemble’s “Discover America IX” competition are to be featured in the programming of the group’s 2018-2019 season. The pieces were selected from 430 submissions.

For recent media coverage on The Chicago Ensemble, view this article:

Ticket Information for Performances

For tickets or to receive a brochure:
Phone: (773) 558-3448
Online: Click the event date on our season details page to buy tickets, or visit our Brown Paper Tickets overview page.
Or see our order form to print out and mail your order.

Single Tickets: $30 general, $10 students/Subscriptions: $120 5-ticket
Ticket includes free reception beginning 30 minutes before each concert.

Each program in The Chicago Ensemble's concert subscription series is presented at Fourth Presbyterian Church, a block from the Water Tower, and at International House, on the University of Chicago campus. "Discover America" concerts are presented Saturday afternoons at 4:00pm (2:00pm on April 20) at Pianoforte in the south loop.

A complimentary reception precedes each program. The Artistic Director, Gerald Rizzer, introduces the works on the program with informative comments.

Not sure of your schedule? Tickets are good for any concert, whenever and wherever you want to experience The Chicago Ensemble.