Jul 1st 2021

Thursday, July 1 7:00 p.m. CDT Buy Tickets Members: $20, Adults: $25

A YouTube link to the program will be emailed to you the week of June 28.

This program will be available to you through the month of July.

Following the artistic trend of late 19th century American artists like Louis Comfort Tiffany, composers began creating uniquely American sounds in classical music that would reach the “common man” and lift the spirits of everyone who encountered this new music. Join us for this special kick-off to the 4th of July weekend as we celebrate the making of Aaron Copland’s American masterpiece Appalachian Spring. Learn about Jonathon Kirk’s brilliant adaptation of this classical American anthem and then sit back for a performance by Picosa in the Drawing Room of the Nickerson Mansion.

Influenced by Aesthetic Movement decorative arts and design of the late nineteenth century, American composers like Copland entered the post-war, post-depression twentieth century anxious to uplift a hopeful nation by capturing the transformative power of beauty in nature and design in their musical scores. The story of Appalachian Spring illustrates this movement in American classical music, the acts of patronage that accompanied it, and the clever fusion of great European-style classical music with the modern American spirit found in ragtime and jazz that made these melodies more popular amongst the masses.

The work was originally commissioned in 1942 by Chicago philanthropist, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge as a ballet for famed choreographer Martha Graham. The ballet debuted in 1944 with sets by renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi and Graham as the lead dancer. Copland’s musical contribution received critical acclaim, widespread popularity, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Presented in partnership with Picosa, a premier Chicago chamber ensemble, we join Jennie Oh Brown, Executive and Artistic Director, and Jonathon Kirk, Composer-in-Residence, in conversation as they unfold Copland’s popular masterpiece. Then, we will transport you to the vast, bucolic terrain of a young pioneering country with Picosa’s exhilarating performance of Kirk’s adaptation of Appalachian Spring. Your best headphone attire is recommended for this romantic interlude with Copland’s America and our salute to the red, white, and blue.

For your convenience, after the presentation a link to a recording of the lecture will be made available to all ticket holders for the month of July.

This program is dedicated to our founder, Richard H. Driehaus.

To make a donation to the Museum in memory of Richard H. Driehaus, please click here.

Jennie Brown
Jennie Oh Brown is flutist and Executive and Artistic Director of Picosa and Ear Taxi Festival 2021, a citywide celebration of Chicago-centric 21st century music. Additionally, she launched and curated the New Music Chicago Presents series at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2019 as the first recipient of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ArtSpace grant. Brown is the founder and director of Credo Flute, now entering its seventh season, where she serves on faculty with Bonita Boyd (Eastman School of Music) and Elizabeth Ostling (Boston Symphony Orchestra). Her upcoming seventh appearance at the National Flute Association annual convention will feature the professional premiere of the solo flute commission by Sungji Hong Vidimus Stellam. Brown is an active performer in Chicago and has performed numerous times on WFMT, including an interview with Narimon Safavi for WBEZ’s Worldview discussing her Midwest premiere of Valerie Coleman’s powerful Hair, Cloth, Thread for flute and percussion. Brown serves on the boards of Chamber Music America and New Music Chicago and on the faculties of Wheaton College and Elmhurst University. Please visit JennieBrownFlute.com.

Jonathon Kirk
Jonathon Kirk (b. 1975) is a composer, sound artist, and educator currently based in Chicago. Jonathon has collaborated with numerous ensembles and solo musicians in the United States and Europe, and his multimedia have recently been presented at the Tate Modern in London, the London and Melbourne International Animation Festivals, the Los Angeles Short Film Festival, the Santa Fe Currents International New Media Festival, and the Festival Internazionale di Musica Elletroacustica del Conservatorio S. Cecilia in Rome. His compositions have recently been performed by the Spektral Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, Harvard Collegium Musicum, and members of Champ D’Action, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Ensemble Modern. In 2000 and 2001 he held a residency at the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium and in 2009 was an artist-in-residence at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. He is currently an Associate Professor of Music at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois and the composer-in-residence with Picosa.

Picosa is a Chicago-based ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and composer-in-residence presenting compelling performances that reimagine the traditional classical music concert. Please visit PicosaMusic.com.


  • Jennie Oh Brown, flute
  • Andrea R. DiOrio, clarinet
  • Elizabeth Brausa Brathwaite, violin
  • Paula Kosower, cello
  • Kuang-Hao Huang, piano
  • Jonathon Kirk, composer-in-residence

Header Image, Left: Agnes F. Northrop (American, 1857-1953). Landscape, date unknown. Gouache and oil on board. Photograph by John Faier, © The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.

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