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Power in Sound: The Music of Galina Ustvolskaya

  • Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts 915 East 60th Street Chicago, IL, 60637 United States (map)

Power in Sound: The Music of Galina Ustvolskaya
The Chicago New Music Community presents the first Multi-Day Ustvolskaya Festival and Conference in the United States October 5-7, 2017

One of the Ten Best Arts Events in Chicago this Fall:

Power in Sound: The Music of Galina Ustvolskaya Festival is a 3-day immersion into Galina Ustvolskaya's powerful and intense music. Named "the woman with the hammer,” (Elmer Schonberger) for her use of heavy, homophonic blocks of sound, Ustvolskaya's music is rarelyperformed in the Unites States. 

Organized/curated by Nomi Epstein and Shanna Gutierrez, this will be the first major multi-day festival celebrating the music of Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006) in the United States. The festival unites some of the city’s most prestigious musicians: Seth Parker Woods, Liz Pearse (Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble), Shanna Gutierrez (Collect/Project), DePaul University's Ensemble 20+ led by Michael Lewanski, Kevin Harrison (Axiom Brass), Jeff Kimmel (, Andrew Rosenblum (Memoria Nova), Christopher Wendell Jones, Tara Lynn Ramsey (dal niente), Kuang-Hao Huang (Fulcrum Point New Music Project), and more. 

The Ustvolskaya Festival will feature 3 concerts of her solo, small and large chamber works, in connection with a 3-day conference, ‘Found in Time: Forgotten Experiments in Soviet Art, 1940-1960’ open to the public ( With pre-concert talk by Maria Cizmic at the third concert, performances will be presented at The Logan Center for the Arts, the University of Chicago Music Department and PianoForte Studios. Providing a dialogue between Ustvolskaya’s work and music by an emerging Russian composer, the festival will also feature two US Premieres by the acclaimed Marina Khorkova (b. 1981) and Dariya Maminova (b. 1988).

This is a rare and important opportunity for a city’s artistic and scholarly community to unify in the presentation and discussion of something new to the ears of Chicago audiences. Ustvolskaya’s music is presciently relevant in today’s climate of concerns regarding gender and artistic expression in a difficult political environment.

"I am convinced that the music of G. I. Ustvolskaya will achieve worldwide renown, to be valued by all who perceive truth in music to be of paramount importance.” (Dmitri Shostakovich)

Galina Ustvolskaya’s unique composlitional voice was too far from the Soviet ideals to gain wide-recognition during her lifetime. Almost completely unknown outside of Russia until the fall of the iron curtain, Ustvolskaya’s music entered Western Europe/USA in more recent years and is said to ‘burn’ ‘with an inhuman intensity and a spiritual strength, as though it is broken away from musical substance and exists independently, like radiation or gravity.’

October 5, 2017, 8pm
Power in Sound: The Music of Galina Ustvolskaya
Concert talk by Richard Taruskin
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Free

DePaul Ensemble 20+
with Liz Pearse (voice)
Michael Lewanski, conductor

Also featuring:
Kuang-Hao Huang, Kevin Harrison, Andrew Rosenblum, Shanna Gutierrez.

Composition No. 1 Dona Nobis Pacem
Composition No. 3 ‘Benedictus’’
Symphony No. 4 ‘Prayer’
Symphony No. 5 ‘Amen’
Piano Sonata No. 3

October 6, 2017, 8pm
Then/Now: Ustvolskaya and the Next Generation
Concert talk by Olga Panteleeva
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Free

Featuring: Seth Parker Woods, Jeff Kimmel, Shanna Gutierrez, Tara Lynn Ramsey, Andrew Rosenblum, Chris Narloch.

Trio for clarinet, violin, piano
Grand Duet for cello and piano
Khorkova: a_priori
Manimova: Déjà vu

October 7, 2017, 3pm
Power in Sound: The Sonatas Concert talk by Maria Cizmic
PianoForte Studios $15/10

Featuring: Kuang-Hao Huang, Chris Narloch, Andrew Rosenblum, Christopher Wendell Jones, Tara Lynn Ramsey.

Piano Sonatas # 2, 4, 5, 6
Sonata for Violin and Piano

For more information see:

Power in Sound: The Music of Galina Ustvolskaya was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Aaron Copland Fund for Music. Additionally, this project is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.