Building the Future
From the Artistic Directors June 2021
Happy summer, everyone! We are eagerly planning the live concerts for our upcoming season and hope to see many of you at our Welcome Back fund-raiser at the Halim Museum Oct. 30. Watch your email for announcements about that and our lineup of programs including A Mexican Christmas, back by popular demand.
This season will be special for another reason: in May 2022, David and Ellen will be stepping down as Artistic Directors after 15 years of service. It’s been an honor to hold this dream job, to create all these programs and to work with our stellar roster of musicians and our generous and supportive Board of Directors and amazing audience. While we will stay with the Consort in an advisory capacity, we are ready for other challenges and are delighted to pass the baton to the next generation.
After a careful and lengthy search, we are happy to announce that the Board has selected Liza Malamut to take the reins beginning with the 2022-2023 season. Liza is one of the brightest stars in the Early Music world, and as a wind player, will bring new sounds and perspectives to the Consort’s offerings. Liza will be introduced in person at our Oct. 30 gala, where she’ll be performing as well as having the chance to meet our audience. You’ll hear her in our Mexican Christmas program this year, and we hope that you’ll take the opportunity to greet her there or at the October gala to welcome her to Chicago and to the Consort. You can read more below in our Board of Director’s announcement.
Stay tuned for announcements of our great programs for next season, some new venues, and the participation of old and new friends. We’re back and can’t wait to see you all again!
David and Ellen
New Artistic Director Announcement
From the Board of Directors of The Newberry Consort, June 2021
Over the last 15 years, The Newberry Consort’s Artistic Directors, Ellen Hargis and David Douglass, have steered the Consort—one of the nation’s oldest enduring early music groups— from strength to strength. They are truly giants of the early music scene, here in Chicago, nationally, and throughout the world. After decades of performing, directing, teaching, and writing, they have chosen to retire as artistic directors after the 2021-2022 season. Our gratitude to them is inestimable.
Ellen and David’s achievements as our Artistic Directors are many. Needless to say, their performance skills and scholarship have always been first-rate, leading to consistent rave reviews, but their accomplishments are so much more. They led the Consort to safe shores after its separation from the Newberry Library during the 2008 financial crisis; created innovative concerts that introduced thematically rich graphics, supertitles, and semi-staging; encouraged young artists through teaching and inclusion in the Consort’s programs; and expanded relationships with recording companies in issuing critically acclaimed recordings. Their focus on outreach to the local community included two programs of Polish music and A Mexican Christmas, which broke new ground in featuring previously unheard early Mexican music of profound beauty. And they were critically important in nurturing young early music artists in Chicago. Some examples of their creative touch include the Queen Christina program (focusing on a woman’s importance as a patron of Renaissance music); Kemp’s Jig (featuring the plays and music of Shakespeare’s “clown”); and Heloise and Abelard (which incorporated new scholarship about the doomed lovers, integrating their letters into a musical context).
Fortunately, Ellen and David are leaving the Consort at the height of its strength and reputation and in very good hands. Their successor, Liza Malamut, who takes the reins in the 2022-23 season, is a superstar in her own right. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, with a master’s degree and a Doctorate from Boston University, Liza has focused on historical performance, research, and education for 15 years. In that time, she has built an international performance career, produced her own concerts, presented and published her research, coached students throughout the United States, and co-founded the ensemble Incantare. Liza will certainly maintain our high standards of creative programming and scholarship, and, as a historical trombonist, enrich performances with wind and brass instruments. The continuing involvement of Ellen and David with the Consort in both advisory and board-level roles will ensure that the Consort has the benefit of their experience as well.
There will be many opportunities for you to join us in wishing Ellen and David the best in their new endeavors, and welcoming Liza as our new leader, including on October 30, 2021, at our “Welcome Back” musical gala (more details to come), and throughout the coming season. We are excited and confident about the Consort’s future and know it will continue to wow you!
The Board of Directors
The Newberry Consort