Coffee + Composer
FREE Pre-Concert Event!
Join Present Music and visiting composer, 31-year old Christopher Cerrone, as we partner with Colectivo Coffee for a FREE, fun event. In this pre-Thanksgiving concert talk, Cerrone will be discussing the world premiere of his piece, The Branch Will Not Break (inspired by the poetry of James Wright) at the annual Present Music Thanksgiving concert, how he works through the composition process, and more, with a chance to chat afterwards.


Sunday, November 22, 2015
  4:00 pm FREE Pre-Concert Lecture
  5:00 pm Concert

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
812 N. Jackson St.
Milwaukee WI 53202

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Shepherd Express
Urban Milwaukee
Milwaukee Magazine - Friday Five
Shepherd Express
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Magazine

Single tickets are $40, $30, and $20.

Students are ALWAYS 50% off.


Subscriptions still available!


RSVP HERE, email or call 414.271.0711 so we know how many to plan for!
6:00pm | Thurs. Nov 19
Colectivo @ Prospect Cafe
2211 N Prospect Ave
Milwaukee WI
FREE and open to the public – RSVP HERE

Concert Description

Communities connect once again for this traditional but always-changing Milwaukee event. 2015 Rome Prize winner Christopher Cerrone joins us for the world premiere of his new work* about the meaning of home. With the soulful and expansive From Rivers by 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, the celebratory American melting pot piece Apartment 1776 by John Cage, the tour de force Litanies by Alain, and collaborations with the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming group, PM’s Hearing Voices vocal ensemble, Arrowhead High SchoolShorewood High School, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Collegium Ladyes, a PM Thanksgiving is a little different every year, but always familiar.
(This concert is not intended for children under 8. Program and collaborations subject to change.)
*Commissioned by John Shannon and Jan Serr



world premiere - The Branch Will Not Break by Christopher Cerrone (based on the poems of James Wright)


From Rivers by Caroline Shaw


Apartment House 1776 by John Cage


Litanies by Jehan Alain


Shir Hashirim by Yehudi Wyner


De Apostolis by Robert Honstein





Christopher Cerrone

Hailed as “a rising star” byThe New Yorker and singled out as “the program’s highlight” by The New York Times, Christopher Cerrone is a Brooklyn-based composer of works ranging from chamber music, orchestral works, and fully staged operas to multimedia projects, ambient electronic works and collaborations with visual artists. His diverse catalog synthesizes modernist and minimalist influences, sound design, and evocative orchestration into a lyrical and expressive whole. Recent collaborations include performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, eighth blackbird, New York City Opera, Tulsa Opera, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Ensemble ACJW.

Caroline Shaw
Caroline Shaw, originally from North Carolina, is a musician appearing in many guises. She performs primarily as violinist with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and as vocalist with Roomful of Teeth. She has also worked with the Trinity Wall Street Choir, Alarm Will Sound, Wordless Music, Ensemble Signal, AXIOM, The Yehudim, Victoire, Opera Cabal, the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble, Hotel Elefant, the Knights the Oracle Hysterical, Red Light New Music, the Yale Baroque Ensemble, and in collaboration with tUnE-yArDs, Glasser, The National, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, John Cale, Max Richter, and Steve Reich.

Caroline’s original music has been described as “dazzling, emotionally generous” (New York Times) and “a tour de force of vocal mischief-making” (eMusic). Her works have been performed by Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion, ACME, the Brentano Quartet, the Knights, New Morse Code, and others. Caroline has been a Yale Baroque Ensemble fellow and a Rice University Goliard fellow (fiddling in Sweden), and she was a recipient of the infamous Thomas J. Watson fellowship, to study historical formal gardens and live out of a backpack. She is currently a doctoral fellow at Princeton. Caroline lives in New York City, where she can sometimes be found kayaking on the Hudson.

John Cage

How to sum up John Cage in less than 4'33"? An experimental music composer and writer, an early writer of aleatoric music, one who used instruments in non-standard ways and an electronic music pioneer. Famously challenging the very notion of what music is, Cage remained on the leading edge of both playful and profound experimentalism for the greater part of his career, collaborating with and influencing generations of composers, writers, dancers, and visual artists. One of his best-known and most sonically intriguing innovations, the prepared piano, had become an almost commonplace compositional resource by the end of the twentieth century. Years before the invention of the synthesizer, he was in the forefront in the exploration of electric and electronic sound sources, using oscillators, turntables, and amplification to musical ends. Born in Los Angeles, he he pursued both formal and informal musical studies that ranged from classes at Pomona College to cultural excursions throughout Europe to lessons with American composer Adolph Weiss. The most important aesthetic development in Cage's career came as a result of his studies of Eastern philosophies, especially Zen Buddhism, in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. The result was music derived, at least in part, from quasi-random decisions determined by the I Ching (the Chinese Book of Changes). Instead of imposing an inviolable order upon the conventional elements of Western music, Cage endeavored "to make a musical composition[,] the continuity of which is free of individual taste and memory (psychology) and also of the literature and 'traditions' of the art."

Robert Honstein

Celebrated for his “roiling, insistent orchestral figuration” (New York Times) and “glittery, percussive pieces” (Toronto Globe and Mail), composer Robert Honstein is a composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music.
His works have been performed throughout North America by ensembles such as the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble ACJW, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Mivos quartet, the Del Sol Quartet, Concert Black, TIGUE, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, among others. He has received an Aaron Copland Award, multiple ASCAP awards and other honors from SCI, Carnegie Hall, and New Music USA. He has also received residencies at Copland House, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, I-Park, the Bang on a Can Summer Institute, and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Robert co-produces Fast Forward Austin, an annual marathon new music concert in Austin, TX and is a founding member of the New York based composer collective Sleeping Giant. Upcoming projects include commissions from cellist Ashley Bathgate, a consortium of pianists for a solo piano work, and a new work for Eighth Blackbird as part of a collaborative project with Sleeping Giant. He is also composer-in-residence, along with his Sleeping Giant colleagues, with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, as part of a Music Alive grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. He studied composition at the Yale School of Music with Martin Bresnick, Chris Theofanidis, and David Lang.
Awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for his Piano Concerto, “Chiavi in mano”, Yehudi Wyner (b.1929) is one of America's most distinguished musicians. Born in Western Canada, Yehudi Wyner grew up in New York City. He came into a musical family and was trained early as pianist and composer.  His father, Lazar Weiner, was the preeminent composer of Yiddish Art Song as well as a notable creator of liturgical music for the modern synagogue. After graduating from the Juilliard School with a Diploma in piano, Yehudi Wyner went on to study at Yale and Harvard Universities with composers Paul Hindemith, Richard Donovan, and Walter Piston.  In 1953, he won the Rome Prize in Composition enabling him to live for the next three years at the American Academy in Rome, composing, playing, and traveling.

Wyner has also had an active career as a solo pianist, chamber musician collaborating with notable vocal and instrumental colleagues, teacher, director of two opera companies, and conductor of numerous chamber and vocal ensembles in a wide range of repertory. Keyboard artist of the Bach Aria Group since 1968, he has played and conducted many of the Bach cantatas, concertos and motets. He was on the chamber music faculty of the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center from 1975-97. Mr. Wyner was a Professor at the Yale University School of Music from 1963-1977 where he also served as Chairman of the Composition faculty. He became Dean of the Music Division at State University of New York, Purchase, in 1978, where he was a Professor for twelve years. A guest Professor at Cornell University in 1988, Mr. Wyner has also been a frequent Visiting Professor at Harvard University since 1991.


Media support provided by 88Nine, WPR and WMSE.