June 09, 2010

Music Festival coming to Sesser, Du Quoin

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois Music Festival, a project based at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, returns to the Sesser Opera House this summer as the multi-venue, nearly month-long music festival brings classical and jazz music to the area.

First up is a chamber music concert set for 7:30 p.m. on June 22 at the opera house. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $4 for students.

Chamber music performances -- that is, music performed with fewer instruments than a symphony and intended for a smaller, more intimate audience -- is an important Southern Illinois Music Festival tradition. This year, special guests, the Acadian New Music Ensemble, join the festival for chamber music concerts.

The program for the June 22 performance includes Beethoven and Bach, as well as two works by Julius Chajes, in honor of his centenary. Chajes (1910-1985) was a Jewish refugee to America. Born in what is now Poland, Chajes began composing at the age of 9. He studied Jewish music in Palestine, and came to the United States in 1938. His compositions include chamber music, symphonic music and concert choral music. The chamber music concert also includes original work by SIUC pianist and composer David Lyons.

A Klassics for Kids program, featuring a wind octet, comes to the Sesser Opera House at 10 a.m. on June 24. That performance, intended to introduce classical music to young listeners, is free.

Klassics for Kids also comes to the Du Quoin Middle School at 10 a.m. on June 22. This free program features a string quartet.

The Southern Illinois Music Festival, now in its sixth season, is an annual SIUC School of Music event. The multiple venues are part of the community outreach that is integral to the festival. Edward Benyas is the festival founder and the artistic director for the event. For a full schedule of events, visit www.sifest.com.