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Neighbors of DuPage

Picosa presents songs of the earth, a vibrant program of chamber music that celebrates the beauty of nature

Aug 28, 2017 08:42AM ● By Ben Scott

Oak Brook & Chicago, IL - Picosa brings a vibrant concert program to the stage on September 21st at 7:00pm at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st Street, Oak Brook; and October 1st at 7:00pm at PianoForte Chicago, 1330 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago.   Music lovers will enjoy experiencing Picosa’s signature symphonic sound and welcoming community at every program of virtuosic chamber music.  General Admission tickets for the concert and dessert reception are $25 with discounts available for seniors and students.  Picosa is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. To purchase tickets, visit:

Picosa presents a varied program of chamber music in celebrating the beauty and experiences of our world.  This Vale of Tears is an original composition created for Picosa in 2016 by Howard Whitaker, Professor Emeritus of Composition at Wheaton College.   Visually complementing this work, Picosa will also showcase a series of Whitaker’s photography while performing.  The title “This Vale of Tears” is a reference to the trials and tribulations of life, a concept referenced in the Book of Psalms, that Whitaker further explains also as “appearing in the popular Medieval hymn, Salve Regina.  Its poignant realism has become increasingly relevant in recent years as I have explored the difficult histories of the Middle East, Africa, and the early American West.  Its language is mostly dissonant and dark in tone, a lament over the tenacious power of evil, with hints that beauty, joy and hope can persist even in the face of horrific, ineradicable evil.”

Francis Poulenc’s charming Clarinet Sonata in B flat offers a contrast to the profound inspiration of Whitaker’s work, although they share references to American jazz.  Written in 1962 and premiered by clarinetist Benny Goodman and pianist Leonard Bernstein, the Poulenc sonata is filled with a charming Americana style.  Moving further into an elegant French style, Picosa presents Philippe Gaubert’s Trois Aquarelles for flute, cello, and piano (1921).  Gaubert was a legendary french flutist, Conservatoire de Paris faculty member, conductor, and composer.  His lovely trio brings a gentle respite in this robust concert program. 

Augusta Read Thomas’ numerous accolades and posts include University Professor and founder of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago, former Mead Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Spearhead of the recent Ear Taxi Festival.  Much like her visionary and dynamic career, Read-Thomas’ ...a circle around the sun (2000) is a fiery and contemporary tour de force for string trio (violin, cello, piano).   

The concert closes with an American classic, Appalachian Spring, which was transcribed by Picosa’s Composer-in-Residence Jonathon Kirk and adapted from Aaron Copland’s original 13 piece chamber orchestra version to the quintet version presented in this concert.  Copland’s masterful work sets the popular Shaker Hymn Simple Gifts and won the distinction of the 1945 Pulitzer Prize.

Finally, we are particularly excited to welcome Picosa’s newest core member Kuang-Hao Huang, piano.  Picosa is pleased to offer the Interludes Chamber Ensembles program inviting student and amateur chamber ensembles to present pre-concert performances at our Mayslake Peabody concert events. Following this concert, audience members are invited to stay for the Meet the Musicians Gourmet Dessert Reception to chat with all the performers and enjoy some treats.

Tickets are $25.  High school students and younger are free, and accompanying parents receive a discounted ticket of $10.  College student and senior discounts are also available.  Please visit to purchase tickets and for information about locations and parking.