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Is there anything more fascinating than hearing the music of a composer who was deaf? Something about that idea - of creating something whose purpose is to be heard, but not by you - is fascinating, is beautiful and, in a way, is selfless. 

My love for the city of Chicago is pretty serious, and a big part of that is its modern classical music scene. The first time I visited the city as an adult I had the ridiculously good fortune of going to a concert at Constellation, a performance space with a bar (and excellent cocktails), and witnessing a program by the Spektral Quartet. On the program: a few movements of a Beethoven quartet, highlights from their Mobile Miniatures project, and the centerpiece of their new album, "Serious Business": The Ancestral Mousetrap by David Reminick.

Today we celebrate Gioachino Rossini, born in Pesaro, Italy in 1792. By normal math, the famed opera composer and eccentric would be 224 years old today. But with Rossini it’s not so simple. Because he was born on February 29, i.e. leap day, we need to employ some special math to calculate his birthday. So today, instead of 224, we say that Rossini is 54.

Commonly analogized as "a conversation among friends," chamber music invites the listener in to a conversation between the musicians.

John Field. The name may not mean much to you, but if you’re like me and absolutely love Chopin’s nocturnes, you’re in luck: there’s another composer who pulls off something similar to that sound. And not to burst your bubble, but I’m here today to tell you Chopin was not first; as the hipsters would say, John Field wrote nocturnes before it was cool.

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