Present Music
Press Release

Present Music’s Annual Musical Meditation on Gratitude Thanksgiving concert melds tradition with the best of what’s new and inspiring.

Sunday, November 20, 2016 - 5 p.m. at Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

By - Nov 1st, 2016 12:00 pm

Hearing Voices Ensemble and the Arrowhead High School Choir. The evening ends with a hymn sung by the audience and performers, followed by the time-honored Friendship Dance.

Other program highlights include Henry Brant’s Mass in Gregorian Chant, Fly Away I by Caroline Shaw, solo works played on the St. John’s Cathedral organ, and a mash up of Charles Ives’ songs (concocted by Kevin Stalheim and originally played at the THANKSGIVING concert in 2012), which segue into America the Beautiful.

Commissioned by the Present Music Commission Club for its landmark 35th season, the world premiere of Book of Hours takes its inspiration from an artist book stitched on tissue paper by Laura Grey. Loosely following the structure of a medieval book of hours, the project reimagines the ancient prayer book as a large, hand-stitched, table-sized book. Several texts from various sources are collaged together, creating a narrative that references the structure of the original, while offering a contemporary perspective on the practice of daily devotion. “When looking inward we sometimes encounter a volatile and turbulent space: memories, worries, visions, and dreams clash with wide-ranging emotions of great intensity. Book of Hours enters this space,” explained Robert Honstein.

Artistic Director Kevin Stalheim added, “I’m absolutely thrilled with the brand new piece of music, Book of Hours that we will premiere at our annual THANKSGIVING concert. Composer Robert Honstein has set texts from living poets, philosophers, Shakespeare, and the Catholic liturgy to some of the most gorgeous and deeply felt music that I have ever encountered.”


  • Pre-Concert Talk with Composer Robert Honstein | Sunday, November 20 at 4pm
    Join us at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist prior to the concert to hear visiting composer Robert Honstein discuss his piece, Book of Hours. This event is free and open to the public.
  • Present Music will be collecting food donations at the concert to benefit Hunger Task Force. Patrons who donate three non-perishable food items will receive a $5 off ticket voucher for the April 29 concert at Milwaukee Public Museum.


Single tickets are available for $15/$25/$35 (prices dictated by seating) and are on sale now. Student tickets are half-price with a valid student id. Tickets will be available by phone and online until Saturday, November 19 at noon. To purchase tickets go to or call 414-271-0711.

Present Music 2016/17 season subscriptions are still available and include admission to this concert (if selected). Subscriber benefits include exclusive invites to special events, better prices for better seats, free transferable ticket vouchers, free ticket exchanges, and 25% off additional single ticket purchases. Subscriptions for the current season will no longer be available after this concert.


Present Music is Milwaukee’s internationally acclaimed new music ensemble. Celebrating 35 years of new music, Present Music commissions, performs, records and tours the music of living composers. In the past quarter century, more than 55 new works, by composers from around the world, have come into existence because of Present Music. Founded by Kevin Stalheim, Present Music works closely with many of the world’s most exciting and significant composers while supporting the talents of emerging voices. It nurtures the next generation of composers through its education program, the Creation Project.

Present Music is a member of the United Performing Arts Fund, which provides major financial support. This season is supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by CAMPAC and by the generosity of foundations, corporations and individuals. PM has won the ASCAP/Chamber Music America’s Adventurous Programming Award an unprecedented six times and can be heard on nine compact disc recordings on the Argo, Albany, Aoede, Northeastern, Naxos and Innova labels. Present Music engages artists and audiences in imaginative and provocative experiences with new music through ensemble performance, education, and commissioning.

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