Chicago Composers

Liquid Melancholy — Clarinet Music of James M Stephenson

Liquid Melancholy, featuring virtuoso clarinetist John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, exudes a kaleidoscope of colors and moods while showering listeners with attractive melodies in a program of music by James M. Stephenson, one of America’s most popular and prolific present-day composers.

Eclipse: Chamber Music by Mischa Zupko

Eclipse encompasses world-premiere recordings of inventive, virtuosic, and impassioned chamber works, written in a present-day musical language by the strikingly original American composer and pianist Mischa Zupko. Joining him are two close friends and accomplished colleagues, the sublime violinist Sang Mee Lee, who chairs the string department at the Music Institute of Chicago, and internationally renowned cellist Wendy Warner, a protégé of Mstislav Rostropovich.


Enterprising chamber group Fifth House Ensemble, noted for its “conviction, authority, and finesse” (New York Times), joins forces with swinging and virtuosic Mediterranean folk band Baladino and 2014 Rome Prize-winning composer Dan Visconti for an exhilarating, boundary-breaking collaboration.

Mythology Symphony: Orchestral Works by Stacy Garrop

Flourishing American composer Stacy Garrop’s first album of orchestral music features the world-premiere recording of her Mythology Symphony, a five-movement work inspired by famous female figures from Greek mythology. Characterized by Garrop’s talent for lyricism and vivid storytelling, the symphony receives a typically vibrant and compelling performance by Billboard-charting international conductor Alonda de la Parra leading the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) Symphony Orchestra of Roosevelt University.


2016 GRAMMY winner for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

Celebrated new-music sextet eighth blackbird, whose last three Cedille Records albums garnered Grammy awards, continues to soar with Filament, a sizzling selection of four-world premiere recordings, plus a concert performance of Philip Glass’s influential Two Pages.

INTERSECTION: Jazz Meets Classical Song

Acclaimed lyric soprano Patrice Michaels, "a formidable interpretative talent" (The New Yorker), conceived and headlines this inventive, wide-ranging two-disc project of 26 songs where classical music and jazz find common ground in ways that will delight fans of both musical genres.


Visionary chamber-music group Fifth House Ensemble of Chicago aims for the stratosphere with Excelsior, its adventurous debut album on Cedille Records. The title refers to an experimental, extreme-altitude U.S. Air Force project of the Cold War era, reimagined as music by noted contemporary composer Caleb Burhans.

Two x Four

2014 GRAMMY Nominee for Best Contemporary Classical Composition (Anna Clyne)

Renowned violinists Jennifer Koh and her distinguished mentor Jaime Laredo illuminate captivating connections between student and teacher, and composers across the centuries, in Two x Four, an album of four double-violin concertos, performed with the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble conducted by Vinay Parameswaran.

Chicago Moves

Gaudete Brass makes its Cedille Records debut with Chicago Moves, an album of new and diverse American works for brass quintet, all but one are world-premiere recordings written expressly for this Chicago-based ensemble of young brass virtuosos.

Songs of Smaller Creatures and Other American Choral Works

Conducted by Christopher Bell, Chicago's Grant Park Chorus is "as fine a symphony chorus as any to be found anywhere in the nation" (Chicago Tribune). Celebrating its 50th season, the chorus makes its a cappella CD debut with an all-American program of eight imaginative, moving, and sometimes whimsical works written between 1975 and 2005, including four world premieres.

Notable Women: Trios by Today's Female Composers

This imaginative program, devised by the dynamic Lincoln Trio, features works by six celebrated contemporary American female composers. Four of the pieces are world-premiere recordings: Lera Auerbach's Trio, Stacy Garrop's Seven, Laura Elise Schwendinger's C'è la Luna Questa Sera?, and Joan Tower's Trio Cavany. Chicago Sun-Times critic Wynne Delacoma called the program "an afternoon of bracing, highly varied music written by some of contemporary music's most talented composers — male or female."

In Eleanor's Words: Music of Stacy Garrop

In Eleanor’s Words: Music of Stacy Garrop offers world-premiere recordings of three works by “a rising composer who . . . excites the enthusiasm of performers and audiences alike” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).

The Billy Collins Suite: Songs Inspired by His Poetry

Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, has been hailed as the first American poet since Robert Frost to garner great critical acclaim and broad popular appeal in equal measure. Musical settings by five contemporary American composers — some sung, some narrated over instruments — shed new light on Collins's delightfully witty poetry.

Rhapsodic Musings

On Rhapsodic Musings, Koh brings her "deep musicality and an ear for the fine points of composers’ styles" (The New York Times) to works from the dawn of the 21st century by Elliott Carter, John Zorn, Augusta Read Thomas, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

American Choral Premieres

American Choral Premieres is the latest testament to the choir’s mission and stellar reputation.
With its music director and conductor Paul French, the mid-size, mixed-voice ensemble performs world-premiere recordings of sacred and spiritual pieces by nine recent and contemporary composers including Alan Hovhaness’s Four Motets, Op. 268; George Rochberg’s Behold, My Servant; Easley Blackwood’s A King James Magnificat, Op. 44; and William Ferris’s Lyrica Sacra.

Christmas a cappella

Chicago a cappella returns to disc with Christmas a cappella: Songs From Around the World, a sparkling selection of seasonal songs by contemporary composers and arrangers, including seven world premieres.

Composers in the Loft

Chicago's acclaimed Music in the Loft series showcases chamber music's stars of tomorrow. Composers in the Loft presents five diverse works - four in world premiere recordings - by the series' former composers-in-residence: Ricardo Lorenz's Afro-Cuban flavored Bachangó for solo piano; Carter Pann's eclectic Differences for cello and piano; Pierre Jalbert's in turns rhythmically driven and mysterious Trio for violin, cello, and piano; Stacy Garrop's String Quartet No. 2: Demons and Angels, tracing a true-life descent into madness and murder; and Vivian Fung's Miniatures for clarinet and string quartet, inspired by the music of China's Uighur people.

Robert Kurka: Symphonic Works

2004 GRAMMY Nominee for Best Engineered Album, Classical

American composer Robert Kurka was on the threshold of a major career when cancer cut his life short in his mid-30s. "[A] splendid sampling of Kurka's orchestral works. . . . The pieces recorded here reveal a prodigious imagination coupled with relentless energy." (La Scena Musicale)

Chicago Duos for Flute

Each of the composers represented on this recording is a Chicago composer, but you won't find a "Chicago School" here. These are seven unique individuals whose lives have been touched in different ways by this heartland center. Some were born and educated here, then moved away; others came from abroad and adopted Chicago as their home; still others spent virtually their entire productive lives in this city. All write music that is imaginative and earnest. Their subject in these works is the flute paired with another instrument. Throughout the recording, the flute (or piccolo), like a gracious hostess at a party, moves with suppleness between its musical guests, entering into dialogues on widely disparate topics.

American Works for Organ and Orchestra

American Works for Organ and Orchestra offers a sonic extravaganza of neglected masterpieces by noted American composers. Here are four works that showcase the spectacular sonority of full organ combined with large symphonic ensemble.

Robert Kurka: The Good Soldier Schweik

More than four decades after its posthumous 1958 debut, American composer Robert Kurka's hilarious, satirical opera The Good Soldier Schweik returns to active duty with a complete, world premiere recording on Cedille Records.

String Quartets by Easley Blackwood

The youthful Pacifica Quartet makes its recording debut with new and vintage quartets by veteran American composer Easley Blackwood. Formed in California in 1994, and now based in Chicago, the quartet is ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago and the Music Institute of Chicago. The Pacifica Quartet received the coveted Naumburg Chamber Music award in 1998 and made its Naumburg-sponsored debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in March 1999. Of that performance, the New York Times wrote, "Its sound, individually and as a group, is pure, lyrical, and educated . . . They all move on the same strong, supple band of time."

American Flute Concertos

The flute takes center stage on this CD of orchestral works by five American composers of the twentieth century, including the world-premiere recording of a 1996 piece by Chicago's Lita Grier, an award-winning composer who recently began writing music again after a long absence.

Leo Sowerby: Symphony No. 2 - Other Works

The roaring '20s cover photo for Cedille Records' disc of American composer Leo Sowerby's symphonic music shows bumper-to-bumper traffic heading south on Michigan Avenue in the direction of Orchestra Hall, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. If any of those motorists in their now-classic cars were headed to a symphony concert, the odds are high they would hear something by Sowerby (1895-1968).

Blackwood Plays Blackwood

American composer and pianist Easley Blackwood continues to branch out in attractive new directions. On this CD, Blackwood Plays Blackwood, he performs world premiere recordings of his own recent piano compositions. Challenging to perform yet easy to listen to, these new works blend traditional forms with inventive harmonies.

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