classical music

Scenes from the Chicago Philharmonic's Poland 2018 Festival

The Chicago Philharmonic opened its 18-19 season with a multi-night festival celebrating Polish music and the 100th anniversary of Polish independence. I began my fifth season as the Philharmonic’s photographer and had the pleasure/challenge of shooting in some unique and grand spaces around Chicago. Here’s a gallery of my favorite shots from the festival. Pictured: the Silesian Quartet at Fourth Presbyterian Church; jazz pianist Piotr Orzechowski at the Polish Museum of America; director Scott Speck, pianist Łukasz Krupiński, and the Chicago Philharmonic at the Copernicus Center; and Marek Mos conducting the Philharmonic in Wojciech Kilar’s Mass for Peace for 1700 people at St. Hyacinth Basilica.

All photos © copyright 2018 by Elliot Mandel. All rights reserved.

Scenes from the 2015 Collaborative Works Festival

My third season shooting for the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) kicked off last week with the 2015 Collaborative Works Festival and four days of fantastic singing. It's an incredible privilege to have such close access to these singers; here are some of my favorite images.  

Photos © Copyright 2015 by Elliot Mandel. All rights reserved.   

Season finale with the Chicago Philharmonic

Part 2 of a two-day concert shoot, in which I shot the Chicago Philharmonic's season finale at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.  Maestro Scott Speck conducted vibrant performances of Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and La Mer, and pianist Jorge Federico Osorio played with commanding power and intensity in De Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Ravel's Piano Concert for the Left Hand.  What a thrill to shoot this concert up close.  

All photos © Copyright 2015 by Elliot Mandel. All rights reserved.

Cedille's 25th Anniversary Showcase

Part 1 of a two-concert day for me, in which I photograph four fantastic ensembles in two hours during the Cedille Records showcase performance at the Chicago Cultural Center.  Pictured: Patrice Michaels with bassist Larry Gray, violinist Jeff Yang, pianist Elizabeth Doyle; Fifth House Ensemble with Baladino; the Avalon Quartet performing music by Stacy Garrop; and Gaudete Brass Quintet. 

All photos © Copyright 2015 by Elliot Mandel. All rights reserved.

Nothing better than an all-Bach concert

Photographing a concert of Bach music makes me a happy boy, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to shoot the opening concert of the Bach Week Festival at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston last week.  A beautifully varied program began with Desiree Ruhstrat and Mathias Tacke playing the Double Violin Concerto, followed by the Cantata No. 82 with bass Douglas Anderson.  Brandenburg Concertos 2 and 5 closed the concert before a post-concert candlelight performance of early music with Mirja Lorenz (recorder) and Joel Spears (theorbo). 

All photos © Copyright 2015 by Elliot Mandel. All rights reserved.

The Avalon Quartet at the Art Institute

"I'm with the band" is becoming my favorite cliche.  It was particularly true when I photographed the Avalon Quartet at the Art Institute, getting 360-degree access onstage during rehearsal - something that is impossible during a concert.  Fullerton Hall is a perfect venue for chamber music, and the Tiffany glass overhead makes it a visual stunner.  Program: Berg's String Quartet, Op. 3; Brahms' String Quartet, Op. 51, No. 1 in c minor.  Blaise Magniere, Marie Wang, violins; Anthony Devroye, viola; Cheng-Hou Lee, cello.

Stefan Jackiw and Anna Polonsky at Mandel Hall

Back in Hyde Park for UChicago Presents on February 6, this time in Mandel Hall (no relation).  The recently renovated hall is now a brilliant space for intimate chamber music with great acoustics. Here is a gallery of shots from the concert with violinist Stefan Jackiw and pianist Anna Polonsky.

Global Transcendence with Chicago a cappella

The light, the venue, the music - it was all perfect back on October 19 when I photographed Chicago a cappella at Rockefeller Chapel.  The program blended sacred and spiritual music from ancient vocal traditions, performed flawlessly by the ensemble of nine singers.  The late-afternoon autumn light streamed through Rockefeller's giant stained-glass windows; the crystal-clear singing filled the building, making an otherwise huge venue feel intimate, and, well, perfect. 

Fulcrum Point's Concert for Peace

For its 16th annual Concert for Peace, Fulcrum Point New Music Project showed off some serious chops.  The first set went from Somei Satoh's meditative "Hikari (Light)" to Louis Andriessen's taut and racing "Hout (Wood)."  The second set filled the South Shore Cultural Center with Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver.  A little yoga on a windswept lakefront ended the afternoon.  Looking forward to working with Fulcrum Point again on its November 1 concert, featuring Indian classical music alongside Messaien and Mingus. 

Collaborative Works Fest, part 2: Michelle DeYoung

Yes, the Michelle DeYoung who has won multiple Grammys and performed in every major opera house in the world.  What an honor to photograph her beautiful recital with pianist Kevin Murphy at the Harold Washington Library last Friday.  

Collaborative Works Festival 2014, part 1

A year ago, the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) became my first official photography client.  Last week, I marked that anniversary by once again shooting CAIC's annual Collaborative Works Festival.  The four-day festival opened at the Poetry Foundation with a quartet of wonderful singers - Joshua Hopkins, Susanna Phillips, Kelley O'Connor, and CAIC's Artistic Director Nicholas Phan - in music by Robert and Clara Schumann.  Pianist and accompanist Myra Huang opened the concert with Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G Major.  It was an honor to photograph these artists, and a pleasure to hear them perform in such an intimate venue.  As a bonus, my photo accompanied Andrew Patner's review in the Sun-Times.  Here is a small gallery from the concert: 

A gallery of singers.

I love photographing singers - it's the perfect combination of drama and music.  

Wrapping up a summer at Rush Hour Concerts

Hard to believe the season has ended, but the 15th Summer Concert Series presented by Rush Hour Concerts was another good one filled with a variety of music.  Here is a gallery of fantastic artists whom I had the pleasure of photographing throughout the summer.  

Photographing the Thirsty Ear Festival

One of the highlights of July was the opportunity to photograph WFMT's Thirsty Ear Festival at City Winery.  Thirsty Ear is the annual showcase concert for the weekly new music show, Relevant Tones with Seth Boustead.  This year's concert featured two Chicago-based ensembles - Fonema Consort and Gaudete Brass Quintet - and the renowned composer/pianist Graham Reynolds.  The two-hour concert and live broadcast was packed with music ranging from vocal-instrumental fusion from Fonema, new music for brass quintet, and arrangements of Reynolds's film scores for string quartet and piano.