piano

2018 in Portraits

Look at all these wonderful people making the world better with beautiful art! Thanks to all for their trust and enthusiasm. Plus, I joined in and got a new headshot myself. Hair and makeup by Angela Brasington, Christine Sciortino, Kimberly Cox, and Andrea Samuels. Photos © copyright 2018 by Elliot Mandel. All rights reserved.

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Supermoon and Symphonies: Early Highlights of 2018

If there's a way to sum up the start of 2018, it's that I photographed some pretty awesome and beautiful things. The year started off with a Supermoon in sub-zero temps. After the feeling returned to my fingers, I drove out to the Mississippi River to watch the bald eagles before concert season picked up again. I spent a dress rehearsal with the Lake Forest Symphony; covered the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra's final concert before its China tour; and shot the Chicago Philharmonic (with two pianos!). The Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra - with Victor Goines and Don Vappie - blew out the best Mardi Gras tunes north of New Orleans. I shot my first concert for the Harris Theater on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, and watched in amazement while pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard performed Ligeti and Beethoven before a rapt audience at the University of Chicago. Fulcrum Point New Music Project closed March with a rollicking performance of music by Wynton Marsalis. Now, on to spring! 

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

2017 in Music Photos

Here is a selection of my year in music photography, leading off with an image from the Chicago Children's Choir that sums up 2017 in general. It's a pretty awesome privilege to be able to do this for a living.  

All photos © copyright 2017 by Elliot Mandel. All rights reserved.

Three days with the Music Institute of Chicago

In November, I had the great fortune of spending three days on three different campuses of the Music Institute of Chicago. From a roomful of musical toddlers to the New Horizons senior band, there was music from everyone, reminding me of my own days of Suzuki cello.  The enthusiastic students, teachers, MIC staff, and parents gave me a rich and memorable experience. The future of music is in good hands.  

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

A Great Distance: CD Launch Recital

One of my favorite recitals of 2015 came on November 6 when soprano Juliet Petrus and pianist Lydia Qiu gave the Chicago launch of their debut CD of beautiful and rarely performed Chinese art song.  I was thrilled to have shot the cover (my first album cover!) and additional artwork; check out the original photo. Our collaboration inspired me to do some of my best work of the year.  Juliet and Lydia gave an intimate and eloquent performance that night at PianoForte Chicago. As a bonus, the event featured two galleries of my work: some black-and-white studies of the staircase at the Art Institute where we did the cover shoot, and an exhibit of 15 scenes of Chicago cityscapes and new work from Chinatown. 

You can watch the entire recital here.  And you can buy A Great Distance on Amazon, CDbaby, or itunes.  

Photos © Copyright 2015 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.

CAIC's Spring Lieder Lounge

Baritone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan gave one of the most beautiful and memorable recitals I've had the privilege to shoot. With poignancy and grace, Brancy and Dugan performed a program of World War I British composers against an evening backdrop from the 9th-floor penthouse at the University of Chicago's Logan Center, a venue perfectly suited for the intimacy of the music.  

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

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.

New Year's Eve 2014 in music and pictures

I spent New Year's Eve 2014 in much the same way I spent most of the year: photographing great music. During Evanston's First Night celebration, I hopped from one downtown cathedral to another, in and out of the cold, to catch some killer jazz ensembles, as well as slam poet extraordinaire Marc Smith doing his thing. Here are some of my favorite shots from the evening, the last pictures I took in 2014, and some of the first of 2015.  

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.  

Saturday night with a soprano

The Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago is quickly changing the way Chicago audiences listen to vocal music.  No fancy halls or microphones; just intimate venues and soloists singing the long neglected form of art song.  On Saturday, CAIC held its Spring Lieder Lounge in the Dixon-Stein studio on the 8th floor of the Fine Arts Building.  Perched above Michigan Avenue, the Dixon-Stein space was a perfect salon-style setting to listen to songs by Schubert, Fauré, Sibelius, and American composers Libby Larsen and Tom Cipullo, performed by renowned soprano Deborah Selig and pianist Shannon McGinnis.  This was the fifth event I've shot for CAIC, and my appreciation for vocal music grows with every performance.  As an added bonus, CAIC announced its 2014-15 season with a brochure that features my photos.  

Soprano Deborah Selig and pianist Shannon McGinnis 

Soprano Deborah Selig and pianist Shannon McGinnis 

The Dixon-Stein instrument shop doubles as a performance salon on the eighth floor of the Fine Arts Building.

The Dixon-Stein instrument shop doubles as a performance salon on the eighth floor of the Fine Arts Building.

Violins hanging in the Dixon-Stein studio.

Violins hanging in the Dixon-Stein studio.

CAIC's attractive new brochure for its 2014-2015 season.

CAIC's attractive new brochure for its 2014-2015 season.