News & Events

IWU School of Music Hosts Guest Artists Lawrence Axelrod and Craig Hultgren

March 19, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Illinois Wesleyan University’s School of Music will present performances by guest artists Lawrence Axelrod and Craig Hultgren Thursday, March 22 at 8 p.m. at Westbrook Auditorium in Presser Hall (1210 N. Park St., Bloomington). The concert is free and open to the public.

Axelrod is an internationally acclaimed pianist, conductor and composer whose music career has brought him to concert halls across four continents. In recent seasons, The Chicago Composers Orchestra and The Verdi String Quartet, among other notable orchestral groups, have performed Axelrod’s compositions. “Six Brandenburg Fantasias,” a collection of compositions by Axelrod that reworks instrumentation from Bach’s famous works, was released in October 2013 and was considered for Grammy nomination.

Currently, Axelrod leads Opera Adventures, an opera appreciation class in which he and his students travel to famous cultural capitals in America and Europe each year. He is also a founder and the current president of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium (c3). A non-profit organization, c3 invites distinguished musicians, composers and ensembles to give performances in a push to create new music in Chicago. As a composer, Axelrod is consistently creating new music of his own, such as “In Winter” for violoncello & piano and “Sonata Breve” for solo piano, both of which will be featured in the program.

Cellist and improvisatist Hultgren has performed solo concerts and chamber music across the country, including at Carnegie Hall for Dorothy Hindman's chamber music retrospective in 2016. Hultgren is featured in three solo CD recordings, including The Electro-Acoustic Cello Book on Living Artist Recordings. For over thirty years, he played with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and has taught at Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Alabama Birmingham and the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

Hultgren is a founding member and former President of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, a nonprofit organization that highlights music by Alabama composers and presents concerts around the Birmingham area. For ten years, he also produced the Hultgren Solo Cello Works Biennial, an international competition that recognized new, high-quality compositions for the cello. Throughout his career, over 200 compositions have been written specifically for Hultgren, including Axelrod’s recent “In Winter,” which both artists will perform as a duet. Featured in the program will also be Axelrod performing an improvisation.

This program will be presented as part of the IWU New Music Series. For more information about the Series, please contact Fern Rosetta Sherff professor of music David Vayo, Series coordinator at dvayo@iwu.edu.

By Rachel McCarthy ’21