Surprise a Chicago Classical Music Fan with an Album by a Local Ensemble

With Christmas just a few days away, are you still scratching your head trying to think of a gift for a Chicago classical music aficionado? Fret no longer. Below is a list of albums by local artists which will satisfy even the most discerning fan. Click on the titles for more information.

Chicago Moves by Gaudete Brass. This is the debut album from the Chicago area brass quintet. All of the works on the album were composed in the last six years, and five of them are world premieres written for Gaudete. Some of the compositions include David Samson’s Chicago Moves, Robert Deemer’s Brass, and Stacy Garrop’s Helios.

An English Fancy by Trio Settecento. Trio members Rachel Barton Pine (violin), John Mark Rozendaal (viola da gamba), and David Schrader (harpsichord and positiv organ) play English Baroque chamber works. In particular, they focus on the musical form known as the fantasy. The album includes works by William Byrd, Matthew Locke, and Henry Purcell.

Bach & Beyond Part 1 by Jennifer Koh. The Chicago-born violinist explores the history of solo violin music in the first of what will be a three-part CD series. The album includes J.S. Bach’s violin partitas in E Major and D minor and Bach-inspired works by Eugene Ysaye, Kaija Saariaho, and Missy Mazzoli (read my review of the album here).

Meanwhile by eighth blackbird. This album from Chicago’s premier new music ensemble has been nominated for a Grammy. meanwhile includes world-premiere recordings of works by Stephen Harkte, Missy Mazzoli, and Roshanne Etezady.

Notable Women: Trios by Today’s Female Composers by Lincoln Trio. The Lincoln Trio Desiree Ruhstrat (violin), Marta Aznavoorian (piano), and David Cunliffe (cello) perform works by six celebrated contemporary American female composers. Four of the pieces are world premiere recordings by Lera Auerbach, Stacy Garrop, Laura Elise Schwediner, and Joan Tower.

Lincoln: Music Composed and Conducted by John Williams by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra played music for the film score of Lincoln, appropriately enough, since they are from the land of Lincoln.

For even more gift ideas, check out my post on

Photo credit: Hansjoerg Scneider via Flickr

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