Alongside the adventuresome concerts, lectures, and artist receptions being presented at the first-ever Ear Taxi Festival, October 5-10, 2016, will be five innovative sound installations created by award-winning Chicago composers and mounted around the city throughout the Festival. These free and open-to-the-public installations incorporate video, virtual reality and live performance, and showcase the contemporary classical compositions of Steve Everett (Out of the Frame, World Premiere, at Mana Contemporary Chicago); Jay Alan Yim & Marlena Novak, aka localStyle (Naming Things, U.S. Premiere, Harris Theater for Music and Dance); Julia A. Miller, Elbio Barilari & Ian Schneller (Two Hundred Years of Solitude – Doscientos años de soledad, U.S. Premiere) and Peter Gena (New Atlantis) both at School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Christopher Preissing (SUS; the long thin wire, Harold Washington Library Center).

Steve Everett

Steve Everett


“Chicago is no ‘second city’ when it comes to its deep and diverse tradition of experimental music. From our distinguished academic institutions to the citywide community organizations there is no shortage of talent in all genres. I look forward to witnessing Ear Taxi Festival as it takes its place among a long list of Chicago’s celebrated festivals,” said Gena.

Spearheaded by GRAMMY®-winning composer and University of Chicago Professor Augusta Read Thomas, Ear Taxi Festival showcases Chicago’s vital new music scene and celebrates the differing styles of new music today with performances from Chicago’s top chamber music ensembles and soloists.

“Ear Taxi Festival is a six-day musical joyride through the creative landscape of emerging and established composers, performing ensembles, and sound installation artists. It includes 32 events, more than 300 musicians, 88 composers, 53 world premieres, and community engagement opportunities. In the spirit of mutual support, there are no overlapping activities, so one can enjoy every fascinating detail throughout the trip!” added Read Thomas.

Sound installation roster

Naming Things (2015-16) *U.S. Premiere

Artists: Jay Alan Yim (sound) & Marlena Novak (video), aka localStyle

Mounted for entirety of Festival, October 5-10 / Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Lower Lobby Screen, 205 E. Randolph Street

Jorge Luis Borges once wrote about a fictional encyclopedia entitled The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. This is the point of departure for Naming Things, interrogating the arbitrary authority of how culturally-specific systems compartmentalize knowledge. In localStyle’s piece, three kinds of representations of animals are juxtaposed: real animals, animal-inspired objects, and imaginary virtual creatures. Intermingling them is their way of proposing an alternate system of zoology, and like Borges, playfully subverting the certitude of how we taxonomize the world

  • Out of the Frame (2016) * World Premiere

Composer: Steve Everett

October 5, 5-8pm; October 6, 3-6:30pm; October 7-9, 2-6pm / High Concept Labs at Mana Contemporary Chicago, 4th Floor, 2233 S. Throop Street

Out of the Frame is an interactive installation on Ophelia, the young girl portrayed in 2012 U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey’s poetry collection, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002). Music and video are drawn from Everett’s opera, Ophelia’s Gaze (2008) for soprano, string quartet and interactive audio-video. The work is a narrative sequence of tableaux vivants in which viewers are asked to engage with the imagined thoughts and perceptions of a young mixed-race prostitute in the Storyville section of New Orleans in 1912.

  • SUS: the long thin wire (2015)

Composer: Christopher Preissing; with Carrie Frey, viola; Myra Hinrichs, violin; Lia Kohl, cello

October 6, 2-3pm / Harold Washington Library Center, Popular Library, First Floor, 400 S. State Street

SUS: the long thin wire is a performance-installation for suspended string trio, long tuned wires and piano resonator. Short for SUStain – to support or bear up from below; SUSpend – to hang by attachment from above; and SUSpension – to sustain one note or harmony while another changes, SUS places the spectator, not to mention the performers, in the precarious position of ascent and descent.

  • New Atlantis (2011-)

Composer: Peter Gena

Mounted October 10, 12-1:15pm / School of the Art Institute of Chicago, LeRoy Neiman Center, 37 S. Wabash Avenue, Sharp Building Ground Floor

The ongoing collaborative virtual reality project, New Atlantis, is a shared (multi-user) online virtual world dedicated to audio experimentation/practice with the aim of showcasing the relationship between sound, virtual 3D image and interactivity. Its name comes from the title of a Utopian novel by Francis Bacon (1627) that describes a legendary island dotted with extraordinary audio phenomena, perhaps premonitory of today’s electronic and digital techniques. In New Atlantis, spaces resonate, surfaces reflect, and collisions activate the multiple sounds of the objects involved.

  • Two Hundred Years of SolitudeDoscientos años de soledad (2016) * U.S. Premiere

Composers: Julia A. Miller, Elbio Barilari & Ian Schneller

Mounted October 10, 3-4pm (three showings) / School of the Art Institute of Chicago, LeRoy Neiman Center

Two Hundred Years of SolitudeDoscientos años de soledad is an electronic fable about solitude, riffing on Gabriel García Marquez who once described a solitude that lasted a hundred years. The video for Two Hundred Years…, with images from the 1930 Brazilian silent movie Limite, was created to accompany the 2016 release of Electro Parables/Electro Parabolas, a duo record by Volcano Radar (Elbio Barilari and Julia A. Miller). The 8-channel surround remix will be broadcast via the handmade amps and speakers of Ian Schneller.


Ear Taxi Festival celebrates the vibrant and booming contemporary classical music scene in Chicago with concerts, lectures, marathons, webcasts and artist receptions. Co-curated by Thomas and conductor, composer & trumpet virtuoso Stephen Burns alongside a curatorial committee of Chicago’s leading new music artists and intellectuals, and managed by Reba Cafarelli, the festival will be a joy-ride through Chicago’s contemporary classical music scene.

Ear Taxi Festival takes place October 5-10, 2016 at multiple venues throughout Chicago, including the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago Cultural Center, Constellation and Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. Performances will be presented at over 30 festival events, scheduled in 30 – 90 minute sets. Single event tickets range from $5-$26 and multiple event passes start at $36. Festival passes and tickets are currently available at

In addition, more than 50% of the Ear Taxi Festival programming is free and open-to-the-public, including the sound installations; other non-ticketed events include performances at the Chicago Cultural Center, Rockefeller Chapel at University of Chicago and Curtiss Hall.


The Ear Taxi Festival is made possible through generous support from Lead Sponsor: Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University; Presenting Sponsors: Harris Theater and the University of Chicago; Platinum Medallion Sponsors: the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), The Chicago Community Trust, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Cynthia Mead Sargent; Gold Medallion Sponsor: The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Silver Medallion Sponsors: The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Helyn Goldenberg & Michael Alper, New Music USA and The Sally Mead Hands Foundation; Bronze Medallion Sponsors: Susan & Nick Yasillo; and Driver’s Seat Sponsor: MacArthur Foundation. Additional support for Ear Taxi Festival has been provided through the partnership of Chicago-based foundations, WFMT-FM, WBEZ-FM, Vocalo, Curb Chicago, Cedille Records, PianoForte Foundation, Sharing Notes, Constellation, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, New Music Chicago, countless ensembles and composers and with the support of individual and anonymous donors.

For more information, including the full Ear Taxi Festival schedule and artist bios, please visit