Unity Chamber Music Series kicks off Oct. 16

  • The 2020-2021 Unity Chamber Music Series will begin Friday, Oct. 16, with  "Celebrating Beethoven" featuring the Beethoven Quintet for Winds and Piano.

    The 2020-2021 Unity Chamber Music Series will begin Friday, Oct. 16, with "Celebrating Beethoven" featuring the Beethoven Quintet for Winds and Piano. Courtesy of Unity Temple Restoration Foundation

Updated 10/14/2020 1:08 PM

The Unity Temple Restoration Foundation announces its 2020-2021 Unity Chamber Music Series season, a hybrid year of virtual performances, online Q&A with musicians, and plans to return to Unity Temple as soon as players and audiences can safely gather to share music.

Re-launched in 2019, the Unity Chamber Music Series is hosted in partnership with artistic directors, Winston Choi and MingHuan Xu, and is part of its cultural and educational programming. Like many other arts organizations, they had cancelled or postponed programs due to the COVID-19 crisis.


During these unprecedented times, this offering of online concerts gives the organization an opportunity to continue serving people not only in the Chicago area, but across the world while live concerts aren't possible.

"We are excited to provide these three streamed events through the rest of this year, and hope that they will be a source of enrichment and joy for our audience within the safety and comfort of their homes," said Heidi Ruehle, UTRF executive director.

The first concert on Friday, Oct. 16, will be professionally filmed at the Nineteenth Century Club in Oak Park. The remaining two concerts in November and December will be filmed at Unity Temple.

Event registration is $20, with a reduced rate of $10 for students. More information and online registration are available at unitychambermusicseries.org. Proceeds from the Unity Chamber Music Series will benefit UTRF's mission to preserve Unity Temple and provide quality public programming.

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"During this incredibly challenging time, it is even more important and vital for us to feed our souls with the vibrancy, intimacy and profound beauty of chamber music. We believe that these virtual performances can bring some much-needed comfort and nourishment," state UCMS artistic directors Xu and Choi. "We cannot wait to see all of you in person, experiencing live music at the glorious Unity Temple, but we hope that these musical performances can provide some solace and inspiration to you all."

Upcoming online events:

• Friday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m.: "Celebrating Beethoven" Beethoven Quintet for Winds and Piano, Op. 16, performed by pianist Kuang-Hao Huang and musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra

• Saturday, Nov. 7: Avalon String Quartet Florence Price: Five Folksongs in Counterpoint Beethoven: Grosse Fugue, Op. 133

• Saturday, Dec. 12: Candlelight Holiday Concert Duo Diorama plays arrangements, transcriptions and new renditions of holiday favorites

As the season unfolds, UTRF plans to announce a gradual -- and safely planned -- return to Unity Temple in combination with virtual options. Anticipated events in 2021 include a Valentine's Day concert and a performance by Third Coast Percussion.