In this edition of Take 5, we're shining a spotlight on world-renowned violin soloist and longtime Cedille recording artist Rachel Barton Pine. Celebrated as a leading interpreter of classical works, her performances and studio recordings combine her innate gift for emotional communication and her scholarly fascination with historical research. Rachel's next Cedille release, J.S. Bach: The Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord, explores Bach's accompanied violin sonatas as trio sonatas with equally important roles for the violin and the harpsichord’s treble and bass lines. Along with harpsichordist Jory Vinikourthe album sets a new standard for a body of work that Bach’s son, C.P.E., considered among his father’s finest compositions (available now for pre-order; all CDs and downloads ship May 11). 

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?

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This edition of Take 5 features an interview with Chicago composer James M. Stephenson! Stephenson came late to his full-time composing career, having first earned a degree from the New England Conservatory in trumpet performance, and then going on to perform for 17 seasons in the Naples Philharmonic in Florida. As such, the composer is largely self-taught, making his voice truly individual and his life’s work all the more remarkable. The Boston Herald raved about his “straightforward, unabashedly beautiful sounds,” suggesting “Stephenson deserves to be heard again and again!” Cedille is thrilled to record his works for the first time on Liquid Melancholy — Clarinet Music of James M. Stephenson (available April 13, 2018!). The album features virtuoso clarinetist John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of Stephenson's works for clarinet along with the Lake Forest Symphony with maestro Vladimir Kulenovic, Grammy-winning ensemble Chicago Pro Musica, oboist Alex Klein, and pianist Patrick Godon.  Read More »


Best of 2017!

by Dan Hickey

Cedille recordings made a big impact in 2017! The artistry of Chicago's finest classical musicians reaches music fans and critics nationwide and around the world thanks to the support of listeners like you. Overwhelming critical acclaim landed our most recent recordings on "Best of 2017" lists across the country! We can't make to make a splash in 2018 with our first release of the year, Paddle to the Sea by Third Coast Percussion (available February 9).  Read More »

Our first release of 2018 comes from "one of the country's finest new music ensembles" (Chicago Reader), Grammy-winning Third Coast Percussion! Paddle to the Sea, the group's second album on Cedille Records, is out February 9 and transports listeners into a realm of imaginative sounds and world-premiere recordings evoking the aquatic world. It's an eclectic collection of works including a new group composition from TCP titled Paddle to the Sea (conceived as a live soundtrack to the charming, Oscar-nominated 1966 film of the same name), Jacob Druckman’s Reflections on the Nature of Water, new arrangements of selections from 12 Pieces for Ballet by Philip Glass, and Chigwaya, a traditional Shona call to water spirits arranged by Zimbabwean composer Musekiwa Chingdoza. We interviewed ensemble member Sean Connors for our first Take 5! of the year. Enjoy!  Read More »

Cedille's Grammy-nominated recording engineer Bill Maylone gave us an up-close look at one of his oldest, finest microphones: an RCA model dating from 1932! He used it to record superstar baritone Thomas Hampson at the Merit School of Music's Gottlieb Hall for his upcoming album Songs from Chicago (available August 2018). Watch the exclusive interview below:  Read More »

We're excited about Eighth Blackbird's newest album! Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak is an innovative collaboration with Irish vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird, composer/fiddler Dan Trueman, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon that puts a modern twist on the ancient Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge. The music is a unique combination of contemporary chamber music, fiddling, and traditional Irish singing that is truly genre-defying — not quite song, not quite modern classical, not quite folk. Eighth Blackbird, called  “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” by the Chicago Tribune, is hardly a stranger to the term "genre-defying." For our November Spotify playlist, 8BB flutist Nathalie Joachim contributed some of the non-classical tunes that inspire and influence her and Eighth Blackbird's cutting-edge performances, recordings, and commissions. Take a listen below and read about why she chose each track! Olagón is available HERE on November 10.  Read More »

This edition of "Take 5" features Eighth Blackbird flutist Nathalie Joachim. “One of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune), the new-music sextet will release its ninth Cedille album Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak on November 10.

The project is a collaboration with vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird of the Irish supergroup The Gloaming; Princeton-based composer-fiddler Dan Trueman; and Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon. A modern retelling of an ancient Irish epic, Olagón depicts — not without irony and humor — a privileged “power couple” mired in envy, greed, and adultery, descending into criminality and addiction as Ireland’s “Celtic-Tiger” economy collapses in the early 21st century. Trueman’s score combines elements of the traditional music of Ireland, Norway, and America with the raw urgency and sonorities of contemporary classical music while Muldoon’s text interweaves verses in English and Irish Gaelic, seasoned with word-play and wit.   Read More »

This edition of Take 5 features an interview with Dover Quartet cellist Camden Shaw. Called “the young American string quartet of the moment” (The New Yorker), the ensemble will release its second album on Cedille Records titled "Voices of Defiance" on October 13.

The album explores three tragic yet beautiful WWII-era string quartets, the most well-known of them being Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet no. 2. Accompanying this piece are lesser known but emotionally powerful works: the third string quartet by Polish composer Szymon Laks, who survived multiple concentration camps during the war; and the third quartet by Viktor Ullmann, who composed and was killed at Auschwitz.
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Every year Cedille Records presents the Musical Partnership Award to an organization that has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the classical music community in Chicago. Through their support of the Chicago musical community’s most valuable asset — its musicians and composers — Cedille’s Musical Partners complement our mission of promoting the work of Chicago’s world-class musical artists. This year at Soirée Cedille 2017, we will honor the Merit School of Music for its outstanding contributions to the city's classical music scene. Its commitment to excellence and inclusion in music education distinguishes the school, and Cedille has enjoyed recording its alumni and faculty on multiple occasions. We asked Merit's President and Executive Director Charles Grode to answer a few questions about the school and to tell us why Merit is an excellent Musical Partner.  Read More »


Last week, we concluded our recording session with the Civitas Ensemble, a Chicago-based chamber group comprised of Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians Yuan-Qing Yu (violin), Kenneth Olsen (cello), J. Lawrie Bloom (clarinet), and Winston Choi (piano). This is the ensemble's recording debut, and the concept for the album is an exciting one: an exploration of Roma (aka Gypsy) music’s influence on classical repertoire. For this, Civitas joins forces with Prague’s Gipsy Way Ensemble, comprising internationally renowned violinist Pavel Šporcl and three Gypsy jazz musicians. The program is genre-defying and really highlights the richness of Romani musical heritage.  Read More »

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