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All-New Loops and Variations Music Series Begins June 7 in Chicago's Millennium Park


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Chicago’s Millennium Park’s summer concerts continue with the all-new innovative series, Loops and Variations, a mix of new music and electronica. The series of six free concerts will take place on select Thursday evenings June 7 through July 12 and Sunday, August 26, 2012. Start times vary.

Highlights of the series include the pairings of electronic music artists with new music ensembles; local companies such as eighth blackbird and Third Coast Percussion bringing electronic elements to their programs, utilizing the state-of-the-art sound system of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion to its full capacity; and the Chicago premiere of Inuksuit, a large-scale percussion work featuring 100 musicians which will be performed throughout Millennium Park, utilizing the Great Lawn, the BP Bridge and the Lurie Garden.

Loops and Variations is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in collaboration with Wordless Music. The series is programmed in part by Lacey Capps of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.

The complete lineup includes:

Thursday, June 7, 6:30 pm: Chris Clark, Jan Jelinek and Andrew Pekler and Casino Versus Japan: Loops and Variations kicks off with a triple bill of international electronic music luminaries, including a rare live solo appearance by Chris Clark after opening sets by the Louisville ambient techno composer Casino Versus Japan, and the Berlin duo of Jan Jelinek and Andrew Pekler performing music of synthesizer pioneer Ursula Bogner.

English electronic musician Chris Clark’s meticulous production style manipulates live drum samples which are used to construct complex beats. His most recent album Iradelphic was released by Warp in April 2012.

Casino Versus Japan is the recording name for electronic musician Erik Kowalski. Kowalski, a native of the Midwest, produces intelligent dance music with haunting, baroque melodies and distorted trip-hop beats. His brand of minimalist listening techno provides an ambient pace to an often dance-focused genre.

Jan Jelinek’s approach is about the transformation of sound into abstract, reduced and textural electronics. Utilizing both improvisation and composition Andrew Pekler integrates elements of jazz, pop, electronic music, exotica and modern classical into his own looping and sampling-based musical sensibility.

Thursday, June 14, 6:30pm: Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente: San Francisco/Tokyo noise-pop band Deerhoof teams up with 14-piece Chicago new-music ensemble Dal Niente for a world-premiere of arrangements for chamber orchestra of Deerhoof songs by the young Chicago composer Marcos Balter. Dal Niente opens the night with recent works by contemporary composers Franco Donatoni ("Hot") and Fausto Romitelli ("Professor Bad Trip," Lessons II-III).

San Francisco’s Deerhoof mixes sugary melodies and an experimental spirit into sweetly challenging and utterly distinctive music. The year 2011 saw the release of their studio album, Deerhoof Vs. Evil, their tenth studio album since forming in 1994.

Ensemble Dal Niente is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of contemporary music through concerts, commissions and educational activities. Through innovative programming, they explore the wealth and diversity of music composed in the past century.

Thursday, June 28, 6:30pm: eighth blackbird: Chicago-based, Grammy® Award-winning sextet eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band, and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The group’s musical aerobatics have delighted, provoked and entertained audiences around the world in programs highlighting the colorful, virtuosic and humorous music of American's compositional young guns. Tonight’s performance features a dynamic evening of new music by Phillip Glass, Anna Clyne, Steve Reich, Jacob TV, Nico Muhly, Tristan Perrich and David Lang.

During the 2011/12 season eighth blackbird will tour Australia twice, making debuts at the Sydney Opera House and the Brisbane Festival, with the symphony orchestras of Melbourne and Tasmania. Additionally, they can be seen in New York (SONiC festival), Kansas City, Ithaca, Mexico City and in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Last year, they performed in Millennium Park as part of the Dusk Variations series.

Thursday, July 5, 6:30pm: A Winged Victory for the Sullen and Acme Jazz Garage: ACME (The American Contemporary Music Ensemble) opens the evening with works by contemporary composers Giacinto Scelsi and Andrew Norman, and selections from Bach’s “Art of the Fugue.” They then join ambient duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen to perform music from the group's self-titled debut album of last year, as well as older hits by Arvo Part and Gavin Bryars.

Dustin O'Halloran and Adam Wiltzie of A Winged Victory for the Sullen mix classical, ambient and post-rock sounds to create classical and electronic music should that is delicate, meditative and soaring all at once.

Led by artistic director and cellist Clarice Jensen, ACME is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers. Known for their work with the Wordless Music Series as well as indie music icons such as Grizzly Bear, ACME’s dedication to cutting-edge contemporary music extends across genres, and has earned the group a reputation among both classical and rock crowds.

Thursday, July 12, 7:30pm: NOTE LATE START TIME: Third Coast Percussion: Third Coast Percussion uses an impressive array of percussion instruments to create a performance experience like no other by combining the energy of a rock concert with the precision and sophistication of classical chamber music. They present a concert featuring the electronic and acoustic music of Owen Clayton Condon, David Skidmore and Paul Lansky.

Third Coast Percussion presents concerts for all audiences, from the percussion novice to the contemporary music aficionado. They have introduced percussion music to chamber music series in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and self-present a full season of concert music each year in Chicago. In 2011, they performed in Millennium Park as part of the Dusk Variations series. Third Coast Percussion members include Owen Clayton Condon, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and David Skidmore.

Sunday, August 26, 5:30pm: John Luther AdamsInuksuit: John Luther Adams’ large-scale percussion work features 100 musicians from New Music Chicago and beyond in the first musical event to utilize the entire space of Millennium Park. This hour long immersive performance is designed to heighten awareness of the sights and sounds that surround individuals every day, energizing the experience of one’s own environment. Presented by eighth blackbird and directed by Doug Perkins.

Written for an incredible array of instruments — conch shells, airhorns, sirens, gongs, maracas, drums, cymbals, and glockenspiels — the piece was premiered in the forests of Banff, Canada and has been performed several times in the United States.

For more information about Loops and Variations and all of the events in Millennium Park this summer, call 312.742.1168, visit Millennium Park on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @Millennium_Park.

Millennium Park: Millennium Park is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is bordered by Michigan Ave. to the west, Columbus Dr. to the east, Randolph St. to the north and Monroe St. to the south. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and at the Grant Park North and East Monroe Garages, all located within a short walking distance of Millennium Park.

Millennium Park, managed and programmed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers. Among Millennium Park’s prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa; the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture.

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to promoting and supporting Chicago’s arts and culture sector. This includes, but is not limited to: fostering the development of Chicago’s nonprofit arts sector, independent working artists, and for-profit arts businesses; presenting high-quality, free or low-fee cultural programs accessible to residents and visitors; and marketing the City’s cultural assets to local, regional, and global audiences. DCASE produces nearly 2,000 public programs, events and support services annually, generating millions in economic benefits for the City of Chicago.

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