Classical Music and Jazz Top 10 in Chicago: Some winter 2022 highlights in a highly musical town

By Hannah Edgar, Chicago Tribune
January 06, 2022

In times like these, what’s missing from a season preview might say as much as what’s on it. For one, this list overrepresents large venues, many of which have planned their bookings well in advance. That’s not to undersell any of the highlights therein, but merely to offer an all-too-familiar disclaimer: Now more than ever, smaller organizations are planning as they go. Watching omicron buffet the world, who can blame them?

As always, the following events are worthy of your time, but far from the final word on live music this winter, should the center hold. Check in with venues directly for the most up-to-date information and safety protocols.

Overlooked composer takes center stage: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges might have been 18th century France’s most interesting man: He was not only a virtuoso violinist and composer who championed nascent forms like the string quartet and symphonie concertante, but an expert fencer, strident abolitionist and military hero. But, like so many Black composers, his accomplishments have been relegated to the margins of history. “The Chevalier,” a partly staged concert theater work jointly presented by Music of the Baroque — whose musicians will play music by Bologne and his contemporaries — and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, dramatizes his story. In the play’s Midwest premiere, actor R.J. Foster and violinist Brendon Elliott both play Bologne; playwright and director Bill Barclay, former music director at Shakespeare’s Globe, appears as novelist (and Bologne’s onetime librettist) Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Kehrein Center for the Arts, 5628 W Washington Blvd.; free; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie, tickets $20-$55; 8 p.m. Feb. 20 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.; tickets $25-$100;