An ensemble of a different color: For more than a decade, England's Guildhall String Ensemble has been performing without a conductor. The result hasn't been chaos, but beautiful music. That's because the 11-member ensemble, which comes to the University's Mandel Hall on February 9, approaches a musical work in the manner of a string quartet: Its members bring their own interpretations to the piece, with each interpretation helping to develop the piece as a whole.
One of only two English orchestras without a conductor, the ensemble is also unusual because, with the exception of its two cellists, it performs standing up, forming a semicircle on the stage. Just large enough to handle most string-orchestra repertoire, the group has a reputation for being especially gifted at 20th-century music, and performs a number of works written for it by such contemporary composers as Richard Rodney Bennett, John McCabe, Nigel Osborne, and John Woolrich. Formed in 1981 by David Takeno, a teacher at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the ensemble shared its first rehearsal space--a house being renovated in Norfolk--with cows wandering through the living room. Despite such distractions, the ensemble began winning international awards in its very first year.
The Guildhall String Ensemble has performed all over the world, including concerts in Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Greece, Algeria, India, and Sri Lanka. In its Mandel Hall debut, the orchestra will share the stage with classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco, performing works by Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Telemann, Giuliani, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, and John Shaker.--Q.J.
Albert Oehlen, through December 30. German artist Albert Oehlen's first solo show at the Renaissance Society features a series of recent paintings, including some based on computer-generated graphics. Renaissance Society; call 702-8670.
Building Collections: Celebrating 25 Years of the Joseph Regenstein Library, through January 5. This exhibition highlights 25 notable book, manuscript, and archival collections acquired by the University Library since the Regenstein opened its doors in 1970. Special Collections; call 702-8705.
Montaigne in Print, through February 2. Featuring editions of 16th-century French philosopher Michel de Montaigne's Essais, this exhibition explores the relationship among author, editor, printer, and the book as a physical object. Special Collections; call 702-8705.
Portrait Sculpture from the Permanent Collection, through March 10. Sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Jacob Epstein highlight this exhibition. Smart Museum; call 702-0200.
View, January 14-February 25. This first American museum presentation of the work of Chicago artist Julia Fish features a selection of work spanning her career. Fish's paintings examine the boundaries of abstraction by identifying the limitations of the static painted image. Renaissance Society; call 702-8670.
Mark Rothko: The Spirit of Myth, Early Paintings from the 1930s and 1940s, January 18-March 17. Though Rothko is best known for his large-scale color field paintings, his early works consist of landscapes, still lifes, figure studies, and portraits painted in an expressionistic style. The exhibit was organized by the National Gallery of Art. Smart Museum; call 702-0200.
Works of the Mind Lecture Series, 2 p.m. January 21: Edward W. Kolb, astronomy and astrophysics professor, on "How Aristotle Lost his Grip on Science." February 18: history professor Charles Gray, "On Hobbes's Leviathan." Judd Hall; call 702-1722.
Winter Band Benefit, January 12-13 at 8 p.m. University Theater presents this concert to benefit the Woodlawn Project. F. X. Kinahan Theater; call 702-3414.
Musica Antiqua Köln, January 19 at 8 p.m. Musica Antiqua Köln, a period instrument ensemble, is joined by soprano Christine Schäfer for an evening of Heinichen and Bach as part of the Howard Mayer Brown International Early Music Series. Mandel Hall; call 702-8068.
Berlin Philharmonic Quartet, January 26 at 8 p.m. The Berlin Philharmonic Quartet--the string- section leaders of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra--makes its first appearance in the Chamber Music Series, performing works by Beethoven, Berg, and Shostakovich. Mandel Hall; call 702-8068.
Winter Pops Concert, January 27 at 8 p.m. Barbara Schubert conducts the University Symphony Orchestra in a program that includes Leonard Bernstein's Fancy Free. Mandel Hall; call 702-8069.
Schwanengesan, February 3 at 8 p.m. Baritone Bruce Tammen, AM'74, and pianist Kit Bridges perform this work by Schubert. Goodspeed Recital Hall; call 702-8674.
Guildhall String Ensemble with Manuel Barreuco, February 9 at 8 p.m. England's Guildhall String Ensemble performs with guitarist Manuel Barrueco as part of the Chamber Music Series. The evening features works by Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Telemann, Corea, and Adams. Mandel Hall; call 702-8068. (See "Center Stage.")
University Chamber Orchestra, February 10 at 8 p.m. Antoinette Arnold conducts. Goodspeed Recital Hall; call 702-8069.
University Wind Ensemble, February 18 at 3 p.m. Wayne G. Gordon conducts. Mandel Hall; call 702-8069.
New Music Ensemble, February 18 at 8 p.m. Barbara Schubert conducts contemporary chamber works and Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire. Goodspeed Recital Hall; call 702-8069.
King Henry IV: The Shadow of Succession, January 5-February 14. Artistic director Charles Newell and U of C Shakespearean scholar David Bevington created this original adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts I and II. Their play focuses on the "coming of age" story and the pivotal relationship among King Henry IV, his son Hal, and Falstaff (played by Court founding director Nicholas Rudall). Court Theatre; call 753-4472.
Off-Off Campus: Winter Quarter Revue, Fridays at 9 p.m., January 26-March 1. The group presents original sketches and improv. University Church, second-floor theater; call 702-3414.
Dance Studio '96, February 1-2 at 8 p.m. and February 3 at 2 and 8 p.m. University Theater presents this evening of ballet, modern, jazz, and tap. F. X. Kinahan Theater; call 702-3414.
Three One-Act Plays, February 9-10 at 8 p.m. UT presents Stephen Boykewich's Down with Love, Martha Brown's Providence, and Julie Bovasso's Schubert's Last Serenade. F. X. Kinahan Theater; call 702-3414.
Woman in Mind, February 14-17 at 8 p.m. Reynolds Club, first-floor theater; call 702-3414.
Antigone, February 21-24 at 8 p.m. UT presents Jean Anouilh's allegory of France under the Vichy government. F. X. Kinahan Theater; call 702-3414.
Six Degrees of Separation, February 29-March 2 and March 7-9 at 8 p.m. In John Guare's play, a New York City couple are visited by a young man claiming to be one of their children's Harvard friends. After learning that he is not who he claims to be, their investigation leads them to reevaluate their lives. Reynolds Club, first-floor theater; call 702-3414.
The Dreamer Examines his Pillow, March 4-5. F. X. Kinahan Theater; call 702-3414.
Martin Luther King Birthday Commemoration, January 15 at 12 p.m. This event, cosponsored by the Coordinating Council on Minority Affairs, Rockefeller Chapel, and the Martin Luther King Day Committee, celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Rockefeller Chapel; call 702-2100.
36th Annual Folk Festival, February 2-4. The long-running festival features folk music, crafts, workshops, and performances. Performers include Ginny Hawker, Tracy Schwarz, and John Williams. Ida Noyes/Mandel Hall; call 702-9793.
First Friday Lecture Series, first Friday of every month at 12:15 p.m. January 5: Basic Program staff member A.P. David lectures on "Homer's Iliad: On Hector's Women." February 2: Basic Program staff member Cynthia Rutz, AM'94, lectures on "Shakespeare and Fairy Tales: The Comedies." Chicago Cultural Center, Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street; call 702-1722.