"In a city like Chicago that boasts its innovative cultural events, Ear Taxi finds its perfect venue. With the downtown architectural display as the backdrop, Ear Taxi sparks synergy by uniting Chicago's best performers and composers. This unique festival will create a lasting ripple effect for the artistic scene in Chicago."
- Yuan-Qing Yu
Civitas Ensemble was founded in 2011. Interested in the integration of classical music with other creative disciplines, Civitas Ensemble works with visual artists, dancers, theatre groups, and other performers to develop programs that underscore the power of cross-disciplinary arts.
Civitas seeks to serve the people of Chicago and beyond by bringing live performances both to standard concert venues and to unusual spaces, for those who would benefit from the power of live classical music but have limited access. To that end, Civitas Ensemble performs in hospitals, retirement living facilities, and in the Chicago schools. The Ensemble presents repertoire spanning four centuries of music history and numerous genres and styles. The musicians also nurture relationships with living composers to add new works to their repertoire. To date, Civitas Ensemble has commissioned and performed three world premieres.
Recognized for its quality of performances as well as its community engagement efforts, Civitas Ensemble was invited to perform with Yo-Yo Ma at the 2012 Chicago Humanities Festival, and participate in the panel discussion on the topic of “Artist and Citizenship.” Civitas was named the Artists in Residence for the Chinese Fine Arts Society. Civitas has been invited by the City of Chicago to perform at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, as part of the City’s Loops and Variations series. Civitas Ensemble’s performance on WFMT was selected for the station’s “Best of Live Broadcasts…” distinction. The Ensemble continues to receive rave reviews from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Classical Review, and Chicago on the Aisle.
This season marks the 5th year of Civitas Ensemble’s tenure as the Ensemble-in-Residence at Valparaiso University’s Department of Music, where its members perform concerts, coach students in the many aspects of music making, and act as role models for these aspiring young musicians.
Currently, Civitas Ensemble has begun planning for its next season’s collaborative project with an ensemble in the Czech Republic to arrange new musical works that combine classical chamber music with Gypsy music. Sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund, these concerts will take place in both Chicago and the Czech Republic.
Civitas Ensemble receives generous grants also from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Driehaus Foundation MacArthur Arts Fund, Dolores Kohl Education Foundation, Albert Pick Jr. Fund, Sage Foundation, and the Leslie Fund.