The Grammy-winning ensemble presents its latest production, "Ghostlight," as part of its residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art. One element that sets these new-music dynamos apart is imaginative staging, and with the darker corners of ritual, vengeance and death explored through the lenses of such compositional VIPs as David Lang, Ted Hearne, Bryce Dessner and David T. Little, "Ghostlight" is poised to sell out.
$10-$30 | Museum of Contemporary Art | 220 E. Chicago Ave. | 312-397-4010
Referring to the oeuvre of the Necks as classical is as ludicrous as calling it jazz or pretty much any other genre. There is no shortage of living composers who cite the group as an inspiration. Immersive, long-form improvisation and sonic excavation are in store for those who snag a ticket to this Constellation show, which, given the rarity of Necks appearances here, will no doubt disappear quickly.
$15-$20 | Constellation | 3111 N. Western Ave. | No phone
FIFTH HOUSE ENSEMBLE
Fifth House, celebrating its 10th anniversary, offers a reimagined and recontextualized "Verklarte Nacht" featuring the video art of Adebukola Bodunrin and an expert arrangement of Schoenberg's score by MusicNow conductor Cliff Colnot. Complementing the multimedia treatment of this seminal work are lively numbers from Fifth House composer conspirators Dan Visconti and Stacy Garrop.
$10-$45 | Ravinia Festival | 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park | 847-266-5100
Photo by Simon FowlerSusanna Malkki
CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
MARCH 31-APRIL 2
A clamor of disappointment was heard across social media when composer Susanna Malkki wasn't named to take the reins of the New York Philharmonic this year. Chicagoans should not miss the opportunity to witness the Finnish maestra's superlative artistry at Symphony Center. Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" might be the classical music equivalent of Adele's "Hello" in terms of oversaturation, but the fact that Gil Shaham is on deck for Bartok's torrid Violin Concerto No. 2 with Malkki directing traffic makes this an undeniable CSO season highlight.
$34-$221 | Symphony Center | 220 S. Michigan Ave. | 312-294-3000
CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
As one if not the leading interpreter of Verdi's music, Riccardo Muti delivers the final entry in his cycle of the Italian composer's Shakespearean operas in April with "Falstaff." Featuring the CSO, the CSO Chorus and baritone Ambrosio Maestri in the title role, "Falstaff" scratches the opera itch in a big way as the Lyric Opera season winds down.
$36-$255 | Symphony Center | 220 S. Michigan Ave. | 312-294-3000
The Avalon Quartet residency remains one of the best decisions the Art Institute has ever made in its concert programming, and the outstanding ensemble returns with one of its more intriguing programs to date. Fans of Shostakovich will be drawn to Mieczlaw Weinberg's Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 18, as the piece, like a good deal of Weinberg's output, was heavily influenced by the Russian composer. Also on the bill is Benjamin Britten's curious String Quartet No. 2, which we are particularly keen on hearing Avalon dig its bows into.
Free with museum admission | Art Institute of Chicago | 111 S. Michigan Ave. | 312-443-3600
The Pacifica Quartet has positioned itself as one of the choicest American interpreters of Shostakovich's chamber music catalog, and for the group's return to the sterling UChicago Presents series, audiences will get a chance to take in the gripping Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 122. Pacifica can be counted on for an equal dose of guts and grace, and while its execution of Mozart's Quartet in G major, K. 387, will no doubt be enticing, make no mistake—the real reason to head out to Hyde Park is to hear Beethoven's peerless Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131.
$5-$30 | Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts| 915 E. 60th St. | 773-702-2787
Like so many artistic disciplines, classical music—and in particular, contemporary classical music—is wrestling with the pervasive exclusion of African-American voices in the so-called canon, so we are eager to hear Fulcrum Point New Music Project's offering, "Proclamation: The Black Composer Speaks." Featuring compositions and improvisations by Alvin Singleton, Jessie Montgomery, Olly Wilson, Jeffrey Mumford and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Fulcrum Point's production trains the spotlight on inventive, must-hear-live-music creations at one of Chicago's most forward-leaning music hubs.
$15-$25 | The Promontory | 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West | 312-801-2100
INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ENSEMBLE
The path-carving ensemble is back with a music marathon at the Promontory, with soprano Tony Arnold, violinist David Bowlin, cellist Katinka Kleijn and pianists Jacob Greenberg, Craig Taborn and Cory Smythe on the marquee. Bowlin and Kleijn, collaborators for almost 15 years now, are slated to create extemporaneous musical portraits of each other, which could go either way, depending on how robust the drinks are that evening.
Free | The Promontory | 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West | 312-801-2100