Monday, February 5, 2018

Press Release: Bach Week to Stage 'Gallery Gala' Benefit Feb. 18

Fundraiser for Spring Concert Series to Feature
Chamber Music by Black Oak Ensemble
With Contemporary Art Exhibits

Evanston-based Bach Week Festival's first “Gallery Gala” fundraiser will feature the North Shore's Black Oak Ensemble in music of J.S. Bach and other composers, plus viewings of contemporary art, at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 18, 2018, at the Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central St., Evanston.

Proceeds from the Gallery Gala, which includes wine, beer, and light hors d’oeuvres, will support the 45th annual Bach Week Festival April 27 to May 4, 2018. The festival’s board is hosting the fundraiser.

“Gala guests will hear music of J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Erno Dohnanyi, Bela Bartok, Astor Piazzola, Fritz Kreisler, Vittorio Monti, and a piece by Black Oak guitarist Goran Ivanovic,” says Richard Webster, Bach Week’s longtime music director and emcee for the fundraiser. “They’ll also have the opportunity to view two intriguing contemporary art exhibits curated by the center. So, it’s going to be an evening of musical and visual delights.”

Founded in 2011, the Black Oak Ensemble has performed for the Stradivari Society and appeared at the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Cultural Center, Art Institute of Chicago, and other prestigious venues in the U.S. and Europe.

Black Oak Ensemble members are violinist DesirĂ©e Ruhstrat, violist Aurelien Pederzoli, cellist David Cunliffe, and Serbian classical and jazz guitarist Ivanovic. Ruhstrat and Cunliffe are founding members of the 2017 Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio. Pederzoli was a founding member of 2017 Grammy-nominated Spektral Quartet and the Anaphora Ensemble. The Chicago Sun-Times has praised Ivanovic for a “stirring style” that incorporates jazz, traditional Balkan, flamenco and classical elements.

In a program they call “From Bach to Balkan,” Black Oak plans to perform the Aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations; Variations from Beethoven’s Serenade in D Major, Op. 8; Rondo (Finale) from Dohnanyi’s Serenade in C Major, Op. 10; Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances; Ivanovic’s Kalajdzisko Oro, based on a Macedonian folk song; Piazolla’s La Calle 92 and Libertango; Kreisler’s “Danse Espagnole” from La Vida Breve by Manuel de Falla; and Monti’s Czardas.

Guests can view two art exhibits during the event, both reflecting the Evanston Art Center’s focus on showing contemporary art, particularly new work and new artistic ideas and forms.

“Janina Monkute Marks” is an exhibit of the Lithuanian-born artist’s fiber tapestries, paintings, and prints, inspired by her native country’s folklore. Her work shows experimentation with collage and gesso priming. Her prints combine the rough shaping of individual forms and geometric ornaments. Marks (1923–2010) used road and journey motifs to represent a quest for meaning.
“Barry Lorberbaum” is an exhibition of the Chicago-area artist’s works on paper. His geometric drawings, created with colored pencils, are simple yet striking. Each depicts beauty that can emerge from negative emotions.

Tickets for Bach Week’s Gallery Gala benefit are $60 per person and are available online at and by phone, (800) 838-3006. For additional information, phone the festival’s office at 847-269-9050.

Bach Week Festival concerts in 2018 will take place April 27 and 29 in Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston and May 4 Anderson Chapel at North Park University, Chicago. The festival is a collaboration between Bach Week and North Park’s School of Music, Art, and Theatre.

A musical rite of spring on the North Shore, Bach Week is one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festivals. The event enlists musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and other top-tier ensembles, while featuring some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists and distinguished guest artists from out of town.

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