July 31, 2023


Massachusetts - New York

28 artists and 9 series premieres

conclude 24th season of Classical Music Chicago’s

Chicago-based Free Summer Festival

Avalon String Quartet, Oksana Ezhokina, piano; Shelby Yamin, violin and Lillia Woolschlager, piano; Axiom Brass and Stephen Buzard, organ; Kyle Orth, piano; Marian Mayuga and Brent Taghap, violins, Larissa Mapua, viola, Ezra Escobar, cello, and Magnus Villanueva, piano, for Violins of Hope and FilAm Foundation; Mon-Puo Lee, cello and Anna Han, piano; Trio Diorama; Rainer Crosett, cello and Kuang-Hao Huang, violin; and Amir Hoshang Farsi, flute and Yun Janice Lu, piano.


Classical Music Chicago celebrates the last month of summer with afternoon and evening concerts in short, lively and engaging formats divided between two acclaimed series - the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts and the Rush Hour Concerts, which together comprise one of Chicago's longest running free-to-the-public summer festivals. The spirit of sound flows through the 2023 August concerts, featuring four duos, three ensembles, artists from two foundations, and one piano recital.

August artists include Avalon String Quartet, violinist Shelby Yamin and pianist Lillia Woolschlager, Axiom Brass and organist Stephen Buzard, pianist Kyle Orth, Violins of Hope and FilAm Foundation artists, cellist Mon-Puo Lee and pianist Anna Han, Trio Diorama, cellist Rainer Crosett and violinist Kuang-Hao Huang, and flutist Amir Hoshang Farsi and pianist Yun Janice Lu.

Among the many offerings are the Deborah Sobol Memorial Concert, a concert of all-woman composer works, two Rush Hour Concerts comprising all-series premieres - one by the celebrated Axiom Brass with organist Stephen Buzard and the other by a mesmerizing group of musicians from Violins of Hope and FilAm Foundation, an all-Franz Liszt program, and works by modern composers including Reena Esmail, Jennifer Higdon, Florence Price and Lowell Liebermann. In addition to a variety of composers, works by Schumann, Schoenberg, Respighi, Mendelssohn and Debussy round out the musical menu.

The Dame Myra Hess Concerts take place in the early afternoon and offer a musical respite at lunchtime. Founded by the late Deborah Sobol 23 years ago, Rush Hour Concerts in the early evening allow audiences to relax after a long workday and experience a variety of beautiful music before heading home. The best musicians and ensembles in the city – and beyond! - perform in these renowned series that comprise one of the oldest free summer festivals in the country.


“Creating a relaxed but high-quality concert experience…. 

And they do very well at it.” – Chicago Tribune

Classical Music Chicago Summer 2023

Rush Hour Concerts

Tuesdays from 5:45 - 6:30 pm

St. James Cathedral – 65 E Huron Street, Chicago


Wednesdays 12:15 - 1:00 pm

Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago - 55 E. Wacker Drive


August 1, 2023

Deborah Sobol Memorial

Rush Hour Concert - 5:45 pm


Piano Quintet (RHC Premiere)


Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44

Avalon String Quartet

Blaise Magnière and Marie Wang, violins;

Anthony Devroye, viola; Cheng-Hou Lee, cello;

and Oksana Ezhokina, piano

August 2, 2023



Romance for violin and piano, Op. 23 



Ingeborg von BRONSART

Phantasie, op. 21


Sérénade Espagnole for Violin and Piano, Op. 150,

arr. F. Kreisler


Three Romances for Violin and Piano Op. 22 

Shelby Yamin, violin and Lillia Woolschlager, piano


August 8, 2023

Ceremonies and Celebrations

Rush Hour Concert - 5:45 pm

(All works on the program are RHC Premieres)


Fanfare on Amazing Grace

Maddalena CASULANA

Suite of Madrigals for Brass Quintet

Jennifer HIGDON

Selections from Ceremonies


Te Deum for solo organ


Festival Musick

Axiom Brass

Dorival Puccini, Jr. and Christopher Scanlon, trumpet;

Abby Black, French horn; Corey Sansolo, trombone;

Kevin Harrison, tuba;

and Stephen Buzard, organ


August 9, 2023


All - Franz LISZT Program

Soirée de Vienne No. 6, S. 427/6ii 

Nuages gris (Trübe Wolken), S. 199 

En rêve (Nocturne), S. 207

 Anneès de pèlerinage III, S. 163: Les jeux d’eau à la villa d’Este  

Anneès de pèlerinage II, S. 161: Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi sonata

Kyle Orth, piano 

August 15, 2023

Violins of Hope and FilAm Foundation

Rush Hour Concert - 5:45 pm

(All works on this program are RHC Premieres)


String Quartet in D Major

Florence PRICE

Quintet for Piano and Strings, No. 2


Piano Quintet in F minor

Marian Mayuga and Brent Taghap, violins;

Larissa Mapua, viola; Ezra Escobar, cello;

Magnus Villanueva, piano

August 16, 2023



Suite in the Old Style for cello and piano


Suite Italienne (from Pulcinella) 


Five Pieces on Georgian Folk Themes

Mon-Puo Lee, cello and Anna Han, piano

August 22, 2023

Season Finale: Song and Dance

Rush Hour Concert - 5:45 pm


Two Nguni Dances (RHC Premiere)


Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor

Trio Diorama

MingHuan Xu, violin; Nick Photinos, cello; Winston Choi, piano

August 23, 2023

 Dame Myra Hess Concert - 12:15 pm


Three Pieces for Cello and Piano 

Manuel de FALLA; arr. Maurice Maréchal

Suite populaire espagnole 



Maurice RAVEL; trans. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

 Alborada del Gracioso from Miroirs, M. 43 

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO; arr. Jascha Heifetz


Rainer Crosett, cello and Kuang-Hao Huang, violin

August 30, 2023

 Dame Myra Hess Concert - 12:15 pm



Charles T. GRIFFES

Poem for flute and piano, A. 93

William Grant STILL

Songs for Flute and Piano 

1. Bayou Home

2. If You Should Go

3. Song for the Lonely


Sonata for flute and piano, Op. 23

Amir Hoshang Farsi, flute and Yun Janice Lu, piano

About Classical Music Chicago

Since 1976, Classical Music Chicago (CMC) has offered a variety of unforgettable classical music performances by up-and-coming and established artists throughout the Chicago community. A celebrated innovator from the very beginning and one of the first to focus on the importance of accessibility, presenting engaging concerts in various formats and venues free of charge, CMC is the 2016 union of two distinguished Chicago music institutions: the International Music Foundation (IMF), founded by Chicagoan Al Booth in 1977, and Rush Hour Concerts (RHC) founded by pianist and civic leader Deborah Sobol in 2000. Over the next few seasons, CMC will celebrate landmark anniversaries of each of its acclaimed series, beginning with the year-long 25th anniversary of the Rush Hour Concerts in 2024-2025, the 50th Anniversary of the Do-It-Yourself Messiah concert in 2025, and the 50th anniversary of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in fall 2026.


IMF, composed of the Do-It-Yourself Messiah at Orchestra Hall, begun in 1976, and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, begun in 1977 and modeled on the series launched by Dame Myra Hess during World War II, to provide young artists with a performance outlet and present top caliber concerts free to the public. Such acclaimed musicians as sopranos Elizabeth Frutal, June Anderson and Jo Ann Pickens; baritone Richard Cowan; oboist Alex Klein; guitarists Eliot Fisk and Paul Henry; violinists Rachel Barton Pine, Jennifer Frautschi, Jennifer Koh, Robyn Bollinger, and Tessa Lark; cellists Steven Isserlis, Nathanel Rosen, Jeffrey Solow and Bion Tsang; pianists David Shrader, Jeffrey Kahane, Angela Hewitt, Barry Douglas, Daniel Trifonov, and Max Levinson; and ensembles including the Vermeer Quartet, the Chicago Bassoon Quartet, His Majesties Clerkes, the Ensō String Quartet, and Orchestra Sinfonica Haydn di Bolzano e Trentoto, to name a few, have graced the Hess stage. In 1982, Live Music Now! - currently Young People’s Concerts - was founded by Booth with the assistance of his friend Yehudi Menuhin to bring professional musicians into the Chicago Public Schools. Students in grades K – 8 experience live performances, which have grown to reach more than 90 Chicago Public Schools annually.

Rush Hour Concerts, begun in 2000 as a welcoming summer concert format that removed accessibility barriers, in 2011 introduced Make Music Chicago, a citywide, daylong celebration of music making held on the summer solstice. It was followed by the addition of a professional ensemble residency program in Chicago’s neighborhoods in 2012. The 2023 Rush Hour Concerts at the beautiful St. James Cathedral begin in June.

The latest addition to Classical Music Chicago’s roster of offerings is The Concerts for Well-being and Rejuvenation, bringing the healing power of music to people and places who do not have access to live performances. CMC partners onsite with health care facilities, community centers, meals programs and other organizations where music can make a vital difference. promoting community, creative interaction and therapeutic benefits through 45-minute interactive performances followed by a Q & A with the artists.

Classical Music Chicago livestreams every concert through its website, offering free concerts to music lovers around the globe. Excerpted performances are often broadcast on 98.7 WFMT radio, with whom CMC has enjoyed a relationship for almost 50 years


Press Contact:
Laura Grant
Grant Communications