Ear Taxi: Covering the Press — CACOPHONY

Ear Taxi: Covering the Pressby Deidre Huckabayphotos by Jeff Kimmel Ear Taxi is underway. Since last Wednesday, the Festival has offered dozens of performances featuring hundreds of Chicago artists. Events wrap up tonight: musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra play the music of Mark Mellits, Katherine Young, Sam Pluta, and Kyle Vegter at the Harris Theater at 7:00 pm. The program should be very good.I admit it is difficult to achieve perspective on the Festival from this vantage, more than halfway through the event while it is happening. And even if I could attain a view from above it all, I’d still feel reluctant to simplify. Is Ear Taxi a success? Is it good? Am I enjoying it? Or, what is it? What is it, actually?Each day of activity at Ear Taxi culminates in a program at the Harris Theater shared by two or more ensembles. The sets are brief and feature mostly world premiere performances. Premieres are not collectible teaspoons or girl scout badges, but I can see a reason to count ‘em up at Ear Taxi: its curators programmed six days of music that was, at the time the lineup was selected, unknown to all parties. And the Festival hasn’t just been an occasion for Famous Composers to write string quartets but also a time for students and recent graduates from our city’s universities to write for harp quartet, piano plus electronics, vocal ensemble, solo flute, and mixed-instrumentation chamber groups. The spectacle is impressive, but in being dazzled, it’s easy to overlook the risk of programming mostly unheard works by many different composers for many different performers when the stakes seem so high—and the risk a listener takes in attending, in sustaining the solitude of listening.

Source: Ear Taxi: Covering the Press — CACOPHONY