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Music & Comedy

Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago Presents Avant Garden

The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago presents its final concert of the season on June 10, 2022, at 8pm under the direction of Music Director Mina Zikri. This concert is the launch of Avant Garden, a new initiative created with composer/curator Thomas Nickell, aiming to provide the Oistrakh audience with a variety of unique musical experiences. For this first performance, soprano Kaori Williams will perform three poems from Maurice Ravel’s Scheherazade. The program also includes four compositions by Thomas Nickell, Unstuck in TimeSyncRust Cannon, and Three for Orchestra. 

The concept introduced in the first phase of Avant Garden is centered around the idea of time. The Ravel Scheherazade presents the struggle of Shahrazad attempting to extend time as much as possible to avoid execution.

Thomas Nickell‘s four compositions present different ways of thinking about time and realizing it from different angles. At the Unstuck in Time composition music is written in clear meters but yet not restricted by them, while in Rust Canon each note is liberated completely from any influence of a meter. This concert is the world premiere performance of each of Thomas Nickell‘s works.

The performance venue is the Gannon Concert Hall, Holtschneider Performance Center, DePaul University School of Music, 2330 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL. For tickets, please visit

Kaori Williams is an international artist who attracts and delights audiences around the world with her vibrant lyric soprano voice and touching musicality.  Her versatility and repertoire – including Western and Japanese Opera, symphonic pieces, and traditional Japanese music have brought her to many international stages.

Thomas Nickell, an inventive young composer and pianist steeped in the classical music tradition with an ear for contemporary soundscapes, has already garnered recognition throughout Europe and the United States for his thoughtful explorations of various musical genres.

The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago was founded in 2005. The orchestra draws young professionals and recent graduates from major music programs in the Chicago area, in particular the DePaul University School of Music, with whom it has a strong professional relationship. The mission of the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago is to offer audiences and musicians exposure to a broad classical repertoire performed at the highest level.

An internationally acclaimed conductor, Mina Zikri is the founder and Music Director of the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, is the Resident Conductor of the Lira Ensemble, Music Director of the Northbrook Symphony, and is on the faculty of the Community Music Division of the De Paul University School of Music. Maestro Zikri frequently travels as Assistant Conductor to Daniel Barenboim with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra on their annual tours to major music festivals and concert halls world-wide.


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