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The Lira Ensemble, known for its excellent performances of Polish music, song and dance, brings a new holiday concert to suburban Chicago, titled: “Polish Carols, Song & Dance.”


Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 3pm

at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in suburban Chicago

9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL


This holiday concert, which features the Lira Singers, Lira Dancers and Lira Symphony, is also a celebration of Polish and Polish-American culture. It presents some of the most beloved Polish holiday music and offers the rare opportunity to hear Polish carols in arrangement for symphony orchestra. The Lira Ensemble will also perform works by Polish master composers such as Frederic Chopin, Stanislaw Moniuszko and Witold Lutoslawski – one of the most respected Polish composers of the 20th century. The concert includes folk song and dance from various regions of Poland presented in colorful, authentic folk costumes. Some American carols and folk songs complete the program.


The Chicago Tribune is among the many metropolitan newspapers that have given high praise to the Lira company. The Tribune wrote: “Chicago’s Lira Ensemble…gorgeous music and sharply choreographed folk dance.”


Lira’s guest artist will be 13-year-old Daniel Szefer – a piano prodigy who will perform music of Frederic Chopin including the Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brillante. Earlier this year, this Polish-American was the youngest finalist in one of the most challenging youth piano competitions in the United States – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions. Daniel played Beethoven’s Concerto Nr. 5 and placed second (1st Alternate). Despite his young age, he has already performed around the US.

The concert will be conducted by Lira’s resident conductor, Mina Zikri, who was born in Cairo, Egypt and came to the United States in 1999. In addition to his duties with Lira, he is a guest conductor for the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in Egypt and is founder and music director of the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra of Chicago. Mr. Zikri, who is also a violinist, has performed with the Lira Symphony for the past 5 years and has been a member of Daniel Barenboim’s West Eastern Divan orchestra since 1999.


As with all Lira performances, the concert will be narrated in English by Lucyna Migala of WCEV/1450am, who is artistic director and general manager of the Lira Ensemble. Ms. Migala will share some Polish holiday traditions and will offer a bit of the history and tradition behind the music and dance performed.


The Lira company is artist-in-residence at Loyola University Chicago and is the nation’s only professional performing arts company specializing in Polish music, song and dance. The mission of the company is to bring the best of Polish culture into American life.


“Polish Carols, Song & Dance” is co-sponsored by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Chicago and by the Lira Society-Group 816 of the Polish Women’s Alliance of America and is funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council – a state agency. The work of the Lira Ensemble is supported by grants from the Alphawood Foundation, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the MAcArthur Foundation.


There is free parking adjacent to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. The theater opens at 2:30pm. Lira recordings will be available for purchase in the lobby before and after the performance.

Tickets for “Polish Carols, Song & Dance” are reasonably priced so that families can attend – from $35 to $55, with discounts for groups of 20 or more and half price tickets for children under age 16 in all price ranges. All seats are reserved. Tickets can be ordered by calling the Lira Ensemble at 773-508-7040 or 1-800-547-5472.


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