The free Chamber Mondays Series hosts an interesting variety of musicians and musical styles. Concerts are held every Monday at 12:15 pm in the breathtaking Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center. Concerts are sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Chamber Monday concerts are a great lunch break if you work or attend school downtown. These concerts are also an excellent opportunity for music students to network, watch and learn from professional musicians.

Classical music needs to evolve in order to stay relevant and attract new, younger audiences. Ensembles like Picosa help expand the definition and perception of “classical” music. Picosa looks forward by choosing to play the works of contemporary composers using contemporary technologies. Picosa links the present and future with the past through it’s performance of standard works composed by the “masters” of classical music. Visit to learn more about Picosa.

Picosa played to a receptive and appreciative audience. Picosa’s performances were well rehearsed and professionally presented (even though the room seemed unusually cold). I enjoyed the diversity of music they performed. It’s always exciting to discover something new during my exploration of Chicago’s music scene. Picosa performed works by a number of contemporary composers I had not previously heard of. Jonathon Kirks arrangement of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun worked very nicely for the Picosa ensemble. My wife and I both enjoyed the concert. I highly recommend you schedule time to see a Picosa performance.

Mondays performance included a unique opportunity to hear flutist Jennie Brown perform “Wraith” accompanied by the composer Jonathon Kirk. Jonathon Kirk used contemporary digital effects technologies to interact and react in real time to Jennie Browns live, electronically modified flute performance. What makes this type of performance especially unique and interesting is it can never be performed exactly the same way twice. Cool! They both did a great job.


  • Jennie Brown, flute
  • Andrea R. DiOrio, clarinet
  • Elizabeth Brausa Brathwaite, violin
  • Sara Sitzer, cello
  • Jeffrey Panko, piano
  • Joann Cho, piano
  • Jonathon Kirk, composer, electroncs

Picosa performed:

Hospital Suite for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano by Felipe Perez Santiago
– Vesiculobiliar
– Neurocardiogenico

Wraith for flute and electronics by Jonathon Kirk

Circulo, op. 91 for violin, cello, piano by Joaquin Turina
– Dawn
– Midday
– Dusk

Three Miniatures for clarinet and piano by Krzysztof Penderecki
– Allegro
– Andante cantabile
– Allegro ma non troppo

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano by Claude Debussy. Arranged by Jonathon Kirk.


I’m incredibly grateful to the many listeners of my new CD “Looking Back: Flute Music of Joseph Schwanter” (Innova Recordings #919, 2015) and for the following enthusiastic responses.  To purchase a copy, please click on the album cover image below.

“As evidenced by this album, Jennie Oh Brown really understands Schwantner’s compositional intent, and her playing reflects the beauty, intensity, rawness, and virtuosity his music requires. She excels in changing characters rapidly, and her beautiful, expressive sound is perfectly suited to Schwantner’s emotional, lyrical, and acrobatic music.” Jennifer Slaughter, National Flute Association, Flutists Quarterly, Fall 2016

“Superlative performances…”  Christian Carey, Sequenza 21, 2015

Featured on Relevant Tones, 2016, WFMT, with host Seth Boustead

Honorable Mention, Best Classical Music Recordings of 2015 , George Grella, The Big City Blog, 2016

“Brown plays Schwantner with firm technique and clear soaring sound. She understands the music and plays with conviction and joy!” Barbara Siesel, The Flute View, 2015.

“[C]ontemporary pieces ranging from melodic, ethereal to forceful. All interesting!” WRUV, Burlington, VT, 2015.

“In Looking Back, for flute and piano, the outer movements affect a rhythmic pulse, constant and gradually changing, which brings a dynamism that does not obscure, but rather is combined with catchy melodies, subtly tinged with melancholy, intertwined with balanced and pungent interplay of the two musicians. In the slow middle movement the flutist sings with an even voice, a mournful and virtuosic singing.” (translated from Italian) Filippo Focosi, Kathodik, 2015

“Brown, the flute professor at Elmhurst College, is to be applauded for assembling these musicians to beautifully perform the works of Schwantner.  If you are looking for new repertoire, this CD offers several excellent choices.”  Patricia George, Flute Talk, 2016.

“The musicians care about the music, and they put a lot of energy and expression into it.” Stephen Estep, American Record Guide, 2016.