By John von Rhein
If the name Gyorgy Ligeti doesn’t ring an immediate bell in the minds of local classical music buffs as do the names of Pierre Boulez, John Cage or other avant-garde composers working in the mid-20th century, a major series of events at the University of Chicago over the next six months could well upend that situation.
Thanks to the initiative of Amy Iwano, executive director of the University of Chicago Presents concert series, audiences will be exposed to a wide cross-section of the pioneering Central European composer’s music, in a thoughtfully planned series of events to be presented over the coming months.
Precisely where that music falls within the spectrum of modern and postmodern composition is just one area to be explored in the Gyorgy Ligeti Series. Iwano’s brainchild will launch Friday night in Mandel Hall with a concert by the Arditti Quartet, a top European ensemble long identified with 20th-century repertory. Ligeti’s two string quartets will share the program with quartets by his Hungarian countryman Bela Bartok.