April 14, 2023
Massachusetts - New York

30-plus soloists, 1 quintet, 2 quartets, and a trio
to appear on
Classical Music Chicago’s
Summer 2023 Rush Hour Concert Series
24th season of popular free-to-the-public Chicago-based
summer festival includes 20 series premieres,
and works by composers spanning four centuries

Opening June 6, 2023 and running through August 22, 2023, Classical Music Chicago’s (CMC’s) long-running summer staple once again offers free concerts by acclaimed musicians at the city’s St. James Cathedral. Founded by the late Deborah Sobol 23 years ago, Rush Hour Concerts are specifically curated to allow music lovers a welcoming atmosphere to relax after a long workday and experience a variety of beautiful music in a short but lively and enjoyable format. The best musicians and ensembles in the city – and beyond! - perform in this renowned series that is one of the oldest free summer festivals in the country.
2023 Summer artists include: Michael Tran, Susan Warner, clarinets; Gabriela Vargas, flute; Scott Hostetler, oboe; David Cooper, horn; Lei Hou and Qing Hou, Janet Sung, Yuan-Qing Yu, violins;​ Diane Mues, Larry Neuman, violas; Karen Basrak, Kimberly Jeong, cellos; Rob Kassinger, bass; Victor Asuncion, Marta Aznavoorian, Kuang-Hao Huang, Florence Mak, Oksana Ezhokina, pianos; Stephen Buzard, organ; Hailey Cohen, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Ward, baritone; Grant Park Music Festival String Fellows and members of the orchestra; Trio Diorama; Ars Musica Chicago; Avalon String Quartet; Axiom Brass; Violins of Hope and FilAm Foundation artists.
The 2023 Rush Hour Concerts offer a wide and varied selection of works. From Musicians of the Grant Park Music Festival String Fellows and members of the GPMF orchestra performing Chicagoan Clarice Assad’s Impressions  -“Lushly film-score-ish, with echoes of black spirituals, dances from Brazilian salons of yore — and Vivaldi’s sunshine.“ (San Jose Mercury News) to multi-Grammy nominated Chicagoan Marta Aznavoorian, a “pianist of exceptionally finished technique and purity of musical impulse.”(Boston Globe) performing Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano and Clara Schumann's Three Romances, Op. 22 with violinist Janet Sung, to mezzo-soprano Hailey Cohen, baritone Nicholas Ward, clarinetist Michael Tran, cellist Kimberly Jeong, and pianist Florence Mak playing music by composers commissioned to set the words of autistic youth to song in The Lynx Project ,and Trio Diorama performing South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen’s - Two Nguni Dances and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, to everything in between, there is music for every style and taste.
Although based in Chicago, the reach of Rush Hour Concerts is much farther. Classical Music Chicago livestreams every concert on the 11-week series 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.

“Creating a relaxed but high-quality concert experience…. 
And they do very well at it.” – Chicago Tribune
Rush Hour Concerts
Tuesdays June 6 - August 22, 2023 from 5:45 - 6:30 pm
St. James Cathedral – 65 E Huron Street, Chicago
Tickets: Free
June 6, 2023 - Season Opener: A Night of Firsts
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - Piano Quintet, Op. 1 (RHC Premiere)
Antonin Dvorak - Piano Quintet No. 1, Op. 5 (RHC Premiere)
Lei Hou and Qing Hou, violins
Larry Neuman, viola
Karen Basrak, cello
Victor Asuncion, piano
 June 13, 2023 - Master Performers: Janet Sung and Marta Aznavoorian
Claude Debussy - Sonata for Violin and Piano (RHC Premiere)
Clara Schumann - Three Romances, Op. 22
Maurice Ravel - Sonata No. 2 in G for Violin and Piano (RHC Premiere)
Janet Sung, violin
Marta Aznavoorian, piano
 June 20, 2023 - A Little Circus Music
Kat Souponetsky - Wandering Through Night (RHC Premiere)
Sergei Prokofiev - Quintet, Op. 39 (RHC Premiere)
Scott Hostetler, oboe
Susan Warner, clarinet
Yuan-Qing Yu, violin
Diane Mues, viola
Rob Kassinger, bass
June 27, 2023 - Lynx Project
Program to include music by composers commissioned to set
the words of autistic youth to song. (RHC Premiere)
Hailey Cohen, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Ward, baritone
Michael Tran, clarinet
Kimberly Jeong, cello
Florence Mak, piano
July 11, 2023 - Scenes and Souvenirs
Mel Bonis - Scènes de la foret, Op. 123
Eric Ewazen - Ballade, Pastorale and Dance
Franz Doppler - Souvenir du Rigi
Gabriela Vargas, flute
David Cooper, horn
Kuang-Hao Huang, piano
July 18, 2023 - Impressions
Clarice Assad - Impressions
Xavier Foley – String Quartet
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70
Musicians to include the Grant Park Music Festival String Fellows
and members of the orchestra
July 25, 2023 - Ars Musica Chicago
(All works on this program are RHC Premieres)
G.F. Handel - Singe, Seele Gott zum Preise, HWV 206
G.F. Handel - Süße Stille, sanfte Quelle, HWV 205
G.P. Telemann - Trio for Violin, Cello and Continuo in F Major, TWV 42:F1
Antonio Caldara - Risoluto son già tiranno amore
G.F. Handel - Violin Sonata in A Major, HWV 361
G.F. Handel - Meine Seele hört im Sehen, HWV 207
Ars Musca Chicago
Hannah De Priest, soprano; Shelby Yamin, violin;
Morgan Little, cello; Jason J. Moy, harpsichord
August 1, 2023 - Deborah Sobol Memorial
Reena Esmail - Piano Quintet (RHC Premiere)
Robert Schumann - 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 8, 2023 - Ceremonies and Celebrations
(All works on the program are RHC Premieres)
Adolphus Hailstork - Fanfare on Amazing Grace
Maddalena Casulana - Suite of Madrigals for Brass Quintet
Jennifer Higdon - Selections from Ceremonies
Jeanne Demessieux - Te Deum for solo organ
Leo Sowerby - 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 15, 2023 - Violins of Hope and FilAm Foundation
(All works on this program are RHC Premieres)
Arnold Schoenberg - String Quartet in D Major
Florence Price - Quintet for Piano and Strings, No. 2
Ottorino Respighi - Piano Quintet in F minor
Marian Mayuga and Brent Taghap, violins;
Larissa Mapua, viola; Ezra Escobar, cello;
Magnus Villanueva, piano
August 22, 2023 - Season Finale: Song and Dance
Bongani Ndodana-Breen - Two Nguni Dances (RHC Premiere)
Felix Mendelssohn - Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor
Trio Diorama
MingHuan Xu, violin; Nick Photinos, cello;
Winston Choi, 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.
Press Contact:
Laura Grant
Grant Communications