Ear Taxi Festival

By Stephen Burns

The State of the Union…of New Music in Chicago…is Strong!

Did you know there are dozens of composers, hundreds of performers and over 30 ensembles specializing in new music in the Windy City? This fall you can take a musical joyride through Chicago’s contemporary music scene during the Ear Taxi Festival October 5-10, 2016.

Celebrating the vibrant and robust classical contemporary music scene in Chicago, Ear Taxi was created with seed money from the Alice M. Ditson Fund at Columbia University. Co-curators Augusta Read Thomas and Stephen Burns have assembled a creative committee of curators, intellectuals and supporters to shape the festival and nurture its content. With the fiscal partnership of New Music Chicago Ear Taxi has been able to apply for grants and receive tax-deductible donations in order to establish a production team headed by Festival Manager Rebecca Cafarelli.

Searching for a central location that shares Chicago’s reputation for innovation and contemporary style, the curators approached Michael Tiknis at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance who immediately and enthusiastically offered the Harris Theater as presenting sponsor and host for the main-stage concerts, forums, performances in their newly renovated lobby bar and interviews with artists—for up-close and personal conversations with composers, nothing can beat New Music Box who’ll bring their show to Chicago during the festival. Upon hearing the scope of the programs, Michelle Boone Chicago’s Commissioner of Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) committed the Chicago Cultural Center for two days of concerts, free to the public.

With over 300 performers, 75 composers, and 25 ensembles Ear Taxi features the creativity of Chicago’s emerging and established composers with over 50 world premieres, 4 sound installations, daily artist receptions, forums, and a 2-day marathon. From Mana Contemporary and the University of Chicago on the south side to a blowout Sunday party/performance at Constellation on the north side, take the Ear Taxi ride through the whole city and hear the future of classical concert music.


Co-curator of the Ear Taxi Festival with Augusta Read Thomas, Stephen Burns is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project in Chicago. An internationally acclaimed solo trumpeter, conductor, and composer Prof. Burns is a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University and the Amici della Musica Firenze. Winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and the Maurice André International Trumpet Competition, Stephen is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s