Contempo’s new artistic director continues season with return of Contempo-Jazz Double Bill

Contempo, the University of Chicago’s renowned music collective, continues its 51st season, and its first under new artistic director Marta Ptaszyńska, with a return of the Contempo-Jazz Double Bill.

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on April 16, in the Performance Hall at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street.

Established in 2004, the Contempo-Jazz Double Bill highlights the similarities between contemporary music and jazz and encourages music lovers to try something new. “We are very happy to bring back Grazyna Auguscik,” said Ptaszyńska, the Helen B. and Frank L. Sulzberger Professor of Music, “and to welcome Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, Marek Choloniewski, Maniacal 4, Jarek Bester and Matt Ulery to present a fascinating program that unites the best of jazz and avant-garde music.”

The program is divided into two sets, with the first set, “Mondrian and More,” featuring works and performances by renowned audiovisual composers Jaroslaw Kapuscinski and Marek Choloniewski. It begins with Kapuscinski’s award-winning Mondrian Variations, an audiovisual exploration of Piet Mondrian’s artwork, coupled with striking artwork on the same subject by visual artist Julie Rafalski.

The program continues with Oli’s Dream, an experimental work that captures the hesitation and flurry of the poetic process in stark black and white type, and Juicy, a work for piano with computer-controlled image and sound. Choloniewski’s innovative Waves, which incorporates the performer’s brainwaves in the composition, concludes the first half.

The second set, “Chopin Can Swing,” features improvisatory riffs on pieces by Polish composer Frédéric Chopin, performed by vocalist Grazyna Auguscik, accordionist Jarek Bester, bassist Matt Ulery and trombone quartet Maniacal 4.

Dedicated exclusively to the performance of new music, Contempo—formerly known as the Contemporary Chamber Players—is one of the most successful new music collectives in the nation, with a reputation for outstanding performances of music by living composers.

Contempo’s new artistic director, Ptaszyńska, is one of the most internationally renowned Polish composers today. She is the author of such works as the Concerto for Marimba, Winter’s Tale, Sonnets to Orpheus and Moon Flowers, as well as numerous compositions for percussion, which have been performed around the world.

Ptaszyńska has received commissions from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia and the National Opera in Warsaw. She is the composer of four critically acclaimed operas: Oscar of Alva, Mister Marimba, Magic Doremik and The Lovers of the Valldemosa Monastery, the latter commissioned for the Chopin Bicentennial in 2010.

A panel discussion with Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, Marek Choloniewski and Julie Rafalski at 6:30 p.m. will precede the concert.

Single tickets are available at UChicago Arts Box Office in the Logan Center. Call 773.702.ARTS or visit their site for tickets. More information about Contempo’s events and history can be found on their website.

This concert is partially sponsored by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland and Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.