Author Archives: Ryan Libel

Recorder and Harp at the Cultural Center

Outside of elementary school music rooms, the heyday of the recorder was in the baroque era, prior to the ascension of the modern flute.  Laura Osterlund, one of the Musician’s Club of Women scholarship award winners, is a rare modern musician who has specialized in the instrument.  Her talents, which were showcased alongside collaborative harpist […]

John Cameron Mitchell and The Origin of Love

When I was in my early 20s a subcultural phenomenon emerged, a rarified entry into the ranks of cult classics like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Hedwig and the Angry Inch was the brainchild of John Cameron Mitchell and songwriter Stephen Trask, conceived, as I learned on Friday night, after a transcontinental flight during which […]

Rachmaninoff 3, Tchaikovsky 1: a Sunday at the Symphony

Two guests from Europe led a program of Russian music at Symphony Center over the weekend – I was happy to make it out for the final concert, this past Sunday’s matinee, snatching up the very last seat on the main floor available online about four hours prior to showtime.  The Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado […]

Beethoven Bonanza

The 2019-2020 Chicago Symphony Orchestra season was announced via e-mail on one of our crazy cold Chicago days last week.  When I started paging through the PDF guide I could barely contain my glee – the season is a tribute to Beethoven, my favorite, who, in 2020, will turn 250 years old. The CSO has […]

Goldberg Variations, by Vogt

Monumental pieces for the piano occupy a special place in the repertoire – recently I saw Oliver Messiaen’s epic Visions de l’Amen duet played by Aimard and Stefanovich, for example.  Players treat these pieces differently than they do orchestral works, program music or chamber pieces.  My experience is extremely limited, but Lars Vogt’s performance of […]

Duet and Progress

The Bach Concerto for Two Violins is supposed to be a duet, so yesterday Teacher and I started on that part of the project.  We played through the first page or so twice, and I think it went well!    Playing duets with her is always fun, enabling me to appreciate my progress on the instrument […]

New Year Slowdown

I had my first lesson yesterday after a break of over a month – the longest hiatus to date that Teacher and I have passed in our five years.  During that time, travel for a funeral and for the holidays and other end-of-year happenings conspired to keep my practice at bay.  I probably only practiced […]