Ben Bolter

"Bolter spotlighted the showiest aspects... and made it look easy." (National Symphony Orchestra, Washington D.C.)

- Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post

News:

See reviews from last week's Ear Taxi Festival!

“Bolter also led Northwestern University's Bienen Contemporary Music Ensemble in the Chicago premiere of Hans Thomalla's 'Wonderblock,' a sometimes mesmerizing exploration of resonance. Movement from watery long-sustained tones to ones clipped and dry repaid significant concentration.”

 -Alan Artner, Chicago Tribune

“…Conductor Ben Bolter was all business as he wove together Balter’s imaginative soundscape, cuing the young musicians at every entrance. The members of ICE were as intriguing to watch as they were to listen to.  Moving from side to side during the second movement’s rhythmic ostinato, they became one with the music.  As mentioned in his note, Balter sought to create a union between ICE and the youth ensemble, and, in that goal, the music was successful.”  

 

-Tyler Krause, Chicago Classical Review

“As things progressed, Bolter, standing in the only illuminated spot in the entire auditorium, was swinging his arms wildly, pointing in every direction, increasing excitement as the music got louder and louder. It felt like Michelangelo’s Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel had come alive and the end was finally upon us. When it came, the music was screeching, practically ear-splitting. Bolter slowly lowered the volume, and it all ended abruptly.

When silence was restored, I discovered I had been perspiring and my body had been trembling. In the few seconds before the thunderous applause, I was enveloped in a sense of total awe. I quickly looked around and noticed that everyone was in a state of wow and disbelief, as if we had all come to the same realization: we had just witnessed the extraordinary, greatness defined, truly one of a kind. We could only pray that, maybe, just maybe, we could live long enough to experience something this great once again.”

-Louis Harris, Third Coast Review

“The culminating event of the evening concert, the world premiere of Drew Baker's ‘NOX’, made listeners feel as if they were living inside a giant loudspeaker, surrounded by an otherworldly continuum of sound.

Conductor Ben Bolter, presiding from the rear of the darkened stage, coordinated the far-flung performers by means of semaphore cues. The aural environment began as unpitched, barely audible murmurs and rustlings before coalescing into sustained, slowly evolving sonic planes. The graded crescendo built to an ear-piercing climax before dying away in flurries of strings, winds and percussion.

"NOX" made an altogether striking close to an absorbing, eclectic program, quite the best of the Ear Taxi events I had witnessed up to then.”

     -John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

Upcoming Performances

Thursday October 6 at 7:30

EAR TAXI FESTIVAL

Marcos Balter Violin Concerto - CHICAGO PREMIERE  

David Bowlin, violin | International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) Marcos Balter Divertimento Concertante - WORLD PREMIERE   ICE with The People's Music School Youth Orchestra

Hans Thomalla Wonderblock CHICAGO PREMIERE
Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble

Harris Theater at Millennium Park; Chicago, IL

Saturday October 8 at 7:30pm

Drew Baker NOX -- WORLD PREMIERE

With Third Coast Percussion, Spektral Quartet, Acromusical Berimbau Sextet, and 40 other Chicago based performers

Harris Theater at Millennium Park; Chicago, IL

Saturday October 22 at 7:30pm

Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble

Hans Thomalla Wonderblock
Marcos Balter Growth
Hunter Hanson, New Work
Kaija Saariaho IO

Galvin Recital Hall: 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL

Saturday November 19 at 7:30pm

Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble

Steve Reich Proverb
Helmut Lachenmann Mouvement
Alex Mincek Chamber Concerto
Andrew Norman Try

Ben Bolter and Alan Pierson, Conductors

Galvin Recital Hall: 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL

Saturday December 17 at 3pm

Merit String Orchestra and Merit Philharmonic

Edvard Grieg Suite for Strings "From Holberg's Time"
Giuseppe Verdi I Vespri Siciliani Overture
Johannes Brahms Symphony #2 in D Major, Op. 73

Gottlieb Hall: Merit School of Music - 38 South Peoria St. Chicago, IL

Wednesday February 1, 2017 at 7:30pm

Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble 

Derek Bermel Canzonas Americanas
Iannis Xenakis Jalons
Wesley Levers, New Work- TBD

Galvin Recital Hall: 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL

Thursday March 2, 2017 at 7:30pm

Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble w/ Tony Arnold

George Aperghis A Shot in the Dark
Clint Needham Urban Sprawl

Ryan Opera Theater: 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL

Recent Past Performances

Friday July 29, 2016 at 7:30pm

Festival Youth Orchestra at New England Conservatory

Shostakovich Festive Overture
Berlioz Hungarian March
Brahms Symphony #4 in E Minor

Jordan Hall: 290 Huntington Ave, Boston M

Friday May 20, 2016 at 7:30pm

Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble

Timo Andres Checkered Shade
Nick Cline water-witching for solo tenor sax, ensemble and electronics (world premiere)
Simon Steen-Andersen Chambered Music
Louis Andriessen Workers Union

Ryan Opera Theater - Evanston, IL

Tuesday May 17, 2016 at 12pm

Merit Conservatory Symphony Orchestra

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor (Irene Castillo, violin)
Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis

Chicago Symphony Center- Orchestra Hall - Chicago, IL

Saturday May 14, 2016 at 3pm

Merit School of Music- The Conservatory Symphony and String Orchestras

Grieg Two Elegiac Melodies
Mozart Divertimento in Bb
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor (Irene Castillo, violin)
Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis

Gottlieb Hall- Chicago, IL (West Loop)

Sunday April 17, 2016 at 4pm

Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble and Bienen Early/Contemporary Vocal Ensemble (w/ Donald Nally and Alan Pierson)

All David Lang Program
Forced March
Increase
I Never
A House (World Premiere)

Galvin Recital Hall- Evanston, IL

Saturday April 16, 2016 at 7:30pm

Claire Chase and the Northwestern Bienen School of Music Presents The Chicago Premiere of: Salvatore Sciarrino's Cutting the Circle of Sounds for 104 flutes

With Northwestern University Flute studio, NU composition studio, students from The People's Music School, Merit School of Music, and many other Chicago-based flutists

Read more about it HERE

Thursday March 10, 2016 at 7:30pm

Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble

Witold Lutoslawski Chain I
George Friedrich Haas In Vain

Ryan Opera Theatre - Evanston, IL

Saturday February 27, 2016 at 3pm

Merit School of Music- Conservatory Chamber and String Orchestras PERFORMATHON

Mozart Divertimento for Strings in Bb Major (k.137)
Saint-Saens Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah

Merit School of Music, Gottlieb Hall- Chicago, IL

Thursday February 4, 2016 at 7:30pm

Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble
Alex Mincek Poco a poco (2008)
Luis Fernando Amaya en mi caminar en el desierto (2015: world premiere, conducted by Vincent Povazsay)
Matthew Peterson Tumult and Flood (2016: world Premiere)
Julia Wolfe Tell Me Everything (1994)

Galvin Recital Hall - Evanston, IL

View Past Performances of 2015

View Past Performances of 2014