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Get Cultured, Buzzed

By Alexander Hough in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 25, 2009 10:30PM

2009_02_cso.jpg This Thursday the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is presenting the latest installment of their ClassicEncounter series, where they sweeten the concert-going deal by adding book-learnin' and booze.

The concert of 20th and 21st century music begins at 8 p.m., but arrive at 6:30 p.m. for the lecture and reception. Feed your brain with a talk called "Where Rock Meets Bach" by WXRT DJ Terri Hemmert and CSO VP Martha Gilmer connecting new and old music. Feed your face with free cocktails and finger foods.

Stick around for the show, though, as Pierre Boulez leads the CSO in a stacked program. Of particular interest are the works by Edgard Varèse: Ionisation, one of the first (and best) pieces written solely for percussion; and Amériques, Varèse's ode to his adopted homeland that requires so many musicians they'll need a shoehorn to get them all on stage. Be prepared for walls of what Varèse called "organized sound," delivered by the modern music maven Boulez and the incomparably loud Chicago brass.

And if you're a student, don't forget to grab your discounted ticket - $10 online, $15 at the door.

Symphony Center, 222 S Michigan, 6:30 p.m. lecture, 8:00 p.m. concert, $10 and up

Photo by Alexander Hough