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CHAI Collaborative Ensemble is a collective of musicians dedicated to performing mixed vocal and instrumental chamber music. Since our inception in 2015, we have performed throughout the city of Chicago and environs. Through our programming and artistic collaboration with other community-based organizations, we strive to create a space for camaraderie and courageous conversations, in addition to sharing beautiful music. We were incorporated in September of 2015, and we received our 501(c)3 status in November 2015. 


The repertoire we have performed has included beloved classics, newly commissioned works, and music of lesser-known composers from the past. We also commissioned three new works by Marc LeMay, Eric Malmquist, and Dale Trumbore during our 2017-18 Season. In our 2017-18 and 2018-19 Seasons, we participated in musical collaborations for social good. First, in November 2017, we raised awareness about homelessness in Chicago and funds for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, in partnership with Latitude 49. In March 2019, we collaborated with the Chicago Chamber Choir in a series of concerts that benefited the Night Ministry. 

Our 2019-20 Season was a continuation of this work. We paid tribute to the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, and we also performed classics in the chamber music canon by composers such as Maurice Ravel and Ralph Vaughan-Williams, and we also performed works by living composers including Scott Gendel, Ned Rorem, Juliana Hall, and Kamala Sankaram. In March 2020 we collaborated with Lyriq Music School for a two-day residency, where we presented a full concert on a Saturday evening, followed by an educational event with Lyriq Music students the following afternoon. We are excited to expand our programming to include more of this kind of work.


In looking forward to future seasons, CHAI Collaborative Ensemble has plans to continue performing repertoire from all eras, in addition to commissioning new works and collaborating with other organizations in and around the city of Chicago. We are actively seeking opportunities to perform in various festivals and present masterclasses, both in and out of Chicago. We also recently became members of New Music Chicago, and later in the year 2020 we are slated to have our debut performance at the Chicago Cultural Center, from their generous sponsorship. 


We are now in the planning stages for our 2020-21 Season. We are co-commissioning a work by Michigan-based composer Griffin Candey with two other ensembles, and we also plan to record the three works which we commissioned and premiered during our 2017-18 Season. We will continue to use our music to give back to our communities, as well as explore repertoire that lies outside the traditional chamber music canon.

For more information about the repertoire we have performed, please see our full Repertory list.

Photo Credit: Ryan Bennett

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