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ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble)
John Zorn Retrospective


MCA Stage is pleased to continue a deepening partnership with ICE in the 2013/14 season. ICE and MCA Stage share an entrepreneurial approach to music by originating work and devising rehearsal and concert performance in ways that actively engage composers and open the process to the public in myriad settings. The partnership is also distinguished by a commitment to develop special projects in nontraditional formats, intimate settings, and new technology.

ICE returns to MCA Stage in a performance portrait of saxophonist/composer/provocateur John Zorn in honor of his 60th birthday. Zorn's singular musical voice reflects the trust and enthusiasm he carries for the musicians he collaborates with. This concert, conducted by David Fulmer, showcases ICE's close friendship and admiration for Zorn and his music, including a recent work based on Shakespeare's The Tempest and the world premiere of a new work for ICE. Zorn is in Chicago to attend this event as the composer.


  • the steppenwolf

(for madmen only! price of admission: your mind)


  • Occam’s Razor

canons, interludes and fantasies


  • the tempest

a masque


  • Walpurgisnacht

A Witches’ Sabbath in three movements


  • Canon to Stravinsky

in memoriam


  • Baudelaires
  • part I. Paris Spleen
  • part II. Flowers of Evil

part III. Artificial Paradises


Running time: 90 minutes

International Contemporary Ensemble

Photo © Armen Elliott

About the Artists

John Zorn is a musician, composer, and long-time leader of American avant-garde music in New York City's Downtown Scene since 1975, incorporating musicians into a variety of compositional formats. Zorn has composed string quartets, vocal music, chamber music, operas, symphonic, and dance works, has released more than 100 CDs under his own name, has led and written music for dozens of bands {bio: (Naked City, The Dreamers, Moonchild, Painkiller), scored over 50 films, and written more than 600 tunes for his popular Masada project.

Zorn is a firm believer in community and a tireless champion of experimental music, film, art, poetry, and theater, organizing festivals, recordings, and concerts, and helping to establish venues and opportunities for performance. He founded the Tzadik label in 1995 (which has released over 700 recordings of new and adventurous music); runs the East Village performance space The Stone (which has presented more than 5,000 concerts and 60 musical workshops since 2005)} and has edited and published six volumes of musicians’ writings under the title ARCANA. Honors include the Cultural Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the William Schuman Prize for composition from Columbia University. He was inducted into the Long Island Hall of Fame by Lou Reed in 2010 and is a MacArthur Fellow.

ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) was founded in Chicago in 2001, and since that time has established itself as one of the leading musical ensembles of its generation, as well as one of the most innovative young arts organizations in the United States. Described by theNew York Times as “one of the most adventurous and accomplished groups in new music,” ICE performs more than 50 concerts a year throughout the United States and abroad and has commercially released six acclaimed albums. A champion of music by young composers, ICE has also given more than 400 world premieres by composers under the age of 35. On October 2, 2012, ICE's Artistic Director Claire Chase was named a MacArthur Fellow. The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.