Take a Trip to Northwestern University for a Concert at Pick-Staiger

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If you enjoy good music and have a sense of history, take a trip to Evanston for a concert at Northwestern University's Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

It's hard to believe, but Pick-Staiger, which seems like it opened just a few years ago, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special series of concerts this weekend.

The hall, at 1977 S. Campus Drive, just off Sheridan Road, was designed by the late architect Edward D. Dart on a late-1960s, 84- acre Lake Michigan landfill. It was dedicated Oct. 26, 1975.

Pick-Staiger, which seats 1,003, totals 40,600 square feet with an adjustable, 2,400-square-foot stage capable of accommodating performance groups ranging from vocal soloists to large orchestras and choral groups.

In the past quarter century, more than 1.25 million patrons have attended thousands of events. On average, the Pick-Staiger Concert Office presents 525 public performances per year with an average of 2,000 music-lovers attending events there each week.

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall's acclaimed acoustics were engineered by R. Lawrence Kirkegaard of Kirkegaard and Associates of Downers Grove. Kirkegaard also was the acoustical consultant for the renovation of Symphony Center/Orchestra Hall.

Over the years, Pick-Staiger has hosted the world's finest musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, John Cage, Philip Glass and numerous visiting orchestras and chamber music ensembles. That's in addition to the wide selection of performances by students and faculty of the Northwestern University School of Music, which keep the hall busy several days each week throughout the school year.

The type of events have ranged from master classes by visiting artists to concerts, recitals, dramatic presentations and recording sessions.

The hall was made possible through gifts from Albert Pick Jr. and Charles G. Staiger, with the facility dedicated to their wives, Corinne Frada Pick and Pauline Pick Staiger.

Even though it is part of Northwestern University, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall is a self-supporting not-for-profit business that pays all its own operating expenses and artist fees. Although ticket revenue covers only part of these costs, NU funding provides less than 40 percent of the hall's operating budget.

This weekend's music events, titled "Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Celebrating 25 Years," kicked off Thursday with the School of Music's annual jazz night, and continues with several other concerts this weekend:

- At 7:30 p.m. today, the Northwestern University symphonic wind ensemble and symphonic band, conducted by NU director of bands Mallory Thompson, will play Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and Karel Husa's "Music for Prague 1968," among other works.

- At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the NU symphony orchestra and symphonic choir, conducted by Victor Yampolsky, will perform Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The concert will also feature the Chicago-area premiere of Libby Larsen's Symphony No. 3 ("Lyric"), with the composer (celebrating her 50th birthday) in attendance. …