CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW
UC serves up an engaging tribute to Ralph Shapey
By Wynne Delacoma
From the mid-1960s until his death in 2002 at age 81, composer and conductor Ralph Shapey was a fiercely vital figure on Chicago’s musical scene. Based at the University of Chicago, he fought the good fight for contemporary music—his own and that of other composers he considered worthy. A composer of international stature, he could be combative, and his own music was often gnarly and difficult to grasp on first hearing.
But on Friday at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center, the New York-based ensemble Nunc presented a Shapey tribute concert that was immediately engaging. In four of his chamber pieces, violinist Miranda Cuckson and her gifted colleagues took us far beyond the stereotype of a prickly composer defying the audience to understand what he is saying.
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