CCM concerts are stimulating, broadening in terms of going beyond the usual composer suspects and perfectly performed.
You would be wise to check them out.
Pros: Best Classical Music Concerts at a reasonable price
CCM knows its stuff. Whether it is performing the classics of chamber music (I will never forget it's performance of the Brandenberg 3rd in 2007) or a newer piece it's clear that everyone on that stage is completly comfortable being there. While not always a fan of diversity in chamber music programming I have really enjoy its concerts and have discovered some pieces that which I loved and had previously not heard. And with $20 tickets its one of the best deals for classical music in Chicago.
Cons: Parking/No coat check
Do you love classical music? Go to a CCM concert.
Do you love new/contemporary/modern music? Go to a CCM concert.
Are you afraid of those "stuffy" symphony/opera concerts? Go to a CCM concert.
Are you new to classical music and haven't the slightest idea of where to begin? Go to a CCM concert.
So, here's why I choose to go to CCM concerts:
Music = Going to a CCM concert is like having my Ipod on shuffle. I get one piece that's straight up classical (like Beethoven or Mozart), but then I get a crazy cool modern piece like the Dorman one they played in October (Jerusalem Mix). Happiness = variety. AND, if you are predisposed to a certain type of music, their subscriptions are super cool and let you pick which concerts you want to go to. (P.S. I get the student discount...wahoo!)
Musicians = I go to a lot of other concerts, whether they be rock or symphonic, and I usually get a little nervous watching the musicians play (I'm a musician myself - afraid to hear mistakes, I guess). But I'm never nervous when I hear their musicians. That means they must be pretty good.
Concert Halls = I've been to both of their halls and they are quite comfortable. The balcony at Pick - Staiger is pretty cool to sit in - you can see everything that goes on on stage. I would recommend the main floor or first row of the balcony for Gottlieb.
Best reason to come? Especially at Gottlieb, you feel like you're on stage with the musicians! It's such a cool experience to see the musicians' faces, see them move, and yes, see them sweat! HA! There may not be a mosh pit, but it's just as cool :O)
Pros: amazing music + amazing musicians = one helluva concert!
Cons: Parking at Gottlieb can be a little tricky.
I was at the February 8 concert and it was such a wonderful concert. CCM concerts always make me feel so good. They are always so interesting and the musicians are just so good. I especially loved Clancy Newman's string quartet, just wild and terrific. It's amazing that he is so young and such an amazing cellist and to think he's a composer too. It was just fabulous.
Pros: the musicians
Cons: never seem to be enough toilets for ladies at Pick-Staiger!
The Chicago Chamber Musicians is a leader in presenting new music to Chicago audiences. They have been doing this for some time now as other larger, more well-known groups are doing the same. The craftsmanship of the artists is second-to-none. If you're looking for something beyond the "classics" of classical music in Chicago, this is your ticket. The upcoming Mason Bates concert at the Chicago Cultural Center promises to be a unique musical event.
Pros: The artists, the price
What do I love most about CCM? The programming. CCM chooses such an interesting blend of the classics, the lesser-known but still jewel-like oldies, the moderately contemporary that will eventually be huge, and the brand new. Some concerts are heavy in one genre - like all Beethoven, buy your tickets early, folks - and some give you a surprising taste of everything.
Like many young musician/arts lovers in Chicago, I am always looking for the next best thing in classical music. CCM's Freshly Scored series is swanky but by far the most accessible contemporary series in the city, musically and environmentally. If you are scared of really contemporary music, CCM's programming is likable, beautiful, interesting! It completely goes against the oft-cited stereotype that contemporary music is ugly and harsh and unmusical. You can't imagine how happy and shocked I was to hear that they are hosting Mason Bates this year - he's this hot-shot DJ from Berkley I found on Myspace who does a fantastic meld of electronica, classical and jazz. And it's a FREE concert. Seriously CCM, I love you.
Pros: Chicago and Evanston venues, EXCHANGE POLICY IS SO FRIENDLY! NO FEES! Prices are very very affordable (I always sit in the back of the balcony at Pick-Staiger and the accoustics are fantastic)
Cons: Parking in Chicago is sometimes a little difficult if you don't want to pay for a lot...be prepared to walk a few blocks