Civitas Ensemble

"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.