Performance: John Zorn at the Art Institute of Chicago

Live Arts


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Renowned composer and multi-instrumentalist John Zorn leads 12 different ensembles in 12 different gallery performances in a program that pairs his acclaimed compositions with iconic artworks from the museum’s collection. This daylong performance features Bill Frisell, Erik Friedlander, JACK Quartet, the American Brass Quintet, Kenny Wollesen, and many more.


Grand Staircase
American Brass Quintet

Gallery 240
The Gnostic Preludes in response to Claude Monet
Bill Frisell (guitar), Kenny Wollesen (vibraphone), Carol Emanuel (harp)

Gallery 396
Freud in response to Salador Dalí
Chris Otto (violin), Jay Campbell (cello), Michael Nicolas (cello)

Sculpture Court
Frammenti del Sappho in response to artwork in the Sculpture Court
Rachel Calloway, Kirsten Sollek, Sarah Brailey, Eliza Bagg, Elizabeth Bates (voices)

Gallery 292
Naked Lunch in response to Andy Warhol
Sae Hashimoto (vibes), Shanir Blumenkranz (bass), Ches Smith (drums)

Gallery 397
Bagatelles in response to Joseph Cornell
Erik Friedlander (cello), Michael Nicolas (cello)

Gallery 291
Improvisation in response to Jackson Pollock
John Zorn (saxophone), Kenny Wollesen (drums)

Gallery 50
Shanir Blumenkranz (oud) in response to artwork in the Islamic Galleries

Gallery 144
Blue Stratagem in response to Marc Chagall
American Brass Quintet

Gallery 393
Zeitgehöft in response to Paul Klee
Chris Otto (violin), Jay Campbell (cello)

Gallery 391
Midsummer Moons in response to Pablo Picasso
Julian Lage (guitar), Gyan Riley (guitar)

Gallery 392
The Unseen in response to Wassily Kandinsky
JACK Quartet

About the Artist

John Zorn (born 1953) has been a central figure in New York’s downtown music scene since 1975. Drawing upon his experience in jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, and klezmer, as well as film, cartoon, popular, and improvised music, he has created an influential body of experimental work that incorporates a range of styles and compositional formats. His experimental works in rock and jazz with bands such as Naked City, Painkiller, and Masada have earned him a cult following, and his music has been performed worldwide by rock bands, improvisers, jazz musicians, and classical ensembles alike. Zorn established the Tzadik label in 1995, opened the Stone performance space in 2005, and has published and edited five volumes of musicians' writings under the title Arcana. He is the recipient of commissions from the Kronos Quartet, the New York Philharmonic, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, and pianist Stephen Drury, among others. In addition to a MacArthur fellowship, Zorn has been awarded the William Schuman Award for composition from Columbia University and the Cultural Achievement Award from the Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Visitors who would like to request an accessibility accommodation for an Art Institute program are encouraged to email as far in advance as possible.

Please see the museum’s Accessibility page for more information.


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