Adam Neiman | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Adam Neiman 

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Musicians may need engagements at big venues to bolster their careers, but it seems to me that most of them get more pleasure from playing intimate spaces. The same goes for connoisseurs of chamber music, many of whom can't abide a large hall and the resulting physical and emotional distance between audience and performer. In 1992, when Fredda Hyman started the "Music in the Loft" series in her West Loop home, she doubtless hoped to capitalize on this--but even she didn't foresee the magnitude of her success. Most if not all the young musicians and composers she's showcased have proved eager to return, and many of the acts she's helped introduce to Chicago, including the Ying and Corigliano string quartets, are now sought-after regulars on the concert circuit. And the loft regularly fills to near capacity, with turnout topping 100 (it certainly helps that tickets, at just $20, are a bargain compared to most Symphony Center and Ravinia shows). This weekend Hyman is hosting pianist Adam Neiman. The 23-year-old California native debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in May, where his rendition of the Grieg concerto breathed new life into that old warhorse; he's a composer as well as a musician, which helps explain the avid attention he bestows on the architecture of the scores he interprets. Though the classical repertoire was the core of his training, for the past couple of years Neiman has been playing more pieces from the Romantic period--he idolizes Rachmaninoff, another pianist-composer, and in fact he'll tackle the Russian's daunting and deeply moody Sonata no. 1 at Sunday's recital. Also on the program will be a handful of pieces by Chopin, whom Rachmaninoff emulated, and Beethoven's Sonata no. 31, itself an important influence on Chopin. It will be up to Neiman to connect the dots. Sunday, October 21, 3 PM, 1017 W. Washington; 312-243-9233.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/J Henry Fair.

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