Mark Konewko | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Mark Konewko 

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Mark Konewko is a church organist by trade and a new-music advocate on the side. It's not surprising, then, that in programming the first concert in Saint Josaphat Church's new series he's combined both loves. The church's 1924 48-rank Kilgen organ is the star of the show: Konewko, who's played on it for almost 18 years, has picked a gamut of works that go well with its warm, brilliant sound. In chronological order, they include four sonatas for trumpet and organ by Baroque journeyman Girocamo Fantini; Puccini's Suor Angelica aria and Bizet's Agnus Dei (both sung with organ accompaniment); and Arabesque, a whiff of French Romanticism from master organist Louis Vierne. Equally intriguing--because nonceremonious organ music is so seldom performed--are the contemporary entries: a sonata for valve trumpet and organ by prolific New Englander Alan Hovhaness; a processional for trumpet and organ by the late Welsh conservative William Mathias; and, oddest of all, Philip Glass's 1979 Mad Rush for keyboard, trumpet, and voice--here tailored to the organ by Konewko and danced to by Kast and Company (who also swing to Arabesque in the aisles). Konewko, a DePaul grad who learned his stuff from Robert Lodine of Rockefeller Chapel and heightened his avant-garde sensibility as a member of Ensemble Noamnesia, has developed into an accomplished organist over the years. His other partners in this concert are trumpeter Robert Rieder and soprano Linda Bruske. Sunday, 7 PM, St. Josaphat Church, 2311 N. Southport; 327-8955.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Yael Routtenberg.

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