Ensembles:

New Chicago Chamber Orchestra

Edward Benyas, Music Director
David Tuttle, Personnel Manager

Drawing on over 60 years of tradition as the second oldest professional orchestra in America’s Second City, the New Chicago Chamber Orchestra brings great music to people of Illinois and music lovers around the world. In addition to regular admission-free concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, for radio and television broadcasts and on commercial recordings.

The Orchestra, under its now retired founder, Maestro Dieter Kober, was among the first of Illinois’ cultural service organizations to reach across cultural and economic lines, bringing the heritage of great classical music to people from all walks of life, backgrounds and ages. Its “Music for Young Listeners” programs throughout Illinois, have introduced thousands of youth to classical music. The massive repertoire of 5000 compositions from the Baroque to the present, through countless performances featuring internationally renowned soloists, have drawn universal praise, including multiple ASCAP awards and the Orchestra of the Year award from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. Throughout its history, the Orchestra has received kudos from Illinois Governors (famous and infamous), Chicago Mayors, the American Federation of Musicians, and many others:

“One of the most notable success stories in Chicago music.” ---Chicago Tribune

“Winning prestige for Chicago abroad.” ---Chicago Sun-Times

“The entire performance has style, pure intonation, accuracy and a good sense of proportion” ---Grammophone, London

“The orchestra displayed a brilliant musical technique, transparency, flexibility, expressiveness and passion.” ---Speyer Tagesspiegel

“An impressive orchestra with virtuosity and temperament.” ---Ruch Musicny, Warsaw

“The sound of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra is beautiful, refined and always in accurate rhythm and intonation.” ---Korea Times, Seoul

Now sponsored by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, the New Chicago Chamber Orchestra operates under the musical and administrative direction of Professor Edward Benyas. Named Music Director Designate in 2002, Maestro Benyas will now lead this internationally acclaimed orchestra into its second century.

For more information: www.newcco.org

New Arts Jazztet

Bob Allison, Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Dick Kelley, Reeds
Phil Brown, Bass
Jimmy Beers, Drum Set and Percussion
Mel Goot, Piano


The New Arts Jazztet has long been regarded as southern Illinois' premier jazz group, regularly presenting a select repertoire—engaging original works as well as choice standards—forged in the energy of hard bop and the eclecticism of contemporary jazz. With its hip, approachable character and sound, the cross-generational group—saxophone, trumpet, piano, bass and drums—convincingly helps to sustain jazz into the 21st Century.

The NAJ’s club dates have included Cincinnati’s Blue Wisp, Chicago’s Pops for Champagne, and other nightspots around the Midwest. Its concert, clinic and festival engagements have comprised a number of universities and other performance venues throughout the Heartland. The group has opened twice for Stanley Jordan, and has shared the stage with numerous other jazz artists—most recently, the iconic Charles McPherson.  In 2010, the NAJ was invited to perform at the inaugural Jazz Education Network Conference in St. Louis.  The group has also performed as part of a live statewide television broadcast, Arts Across Illinois: CenterStage at PBS affiliate, WTTW/Channel 11, Chicago.  And it is regularly included on the Illinois Arts Council ArtsTour Roster.    

Arkadia (a caldera productions, 2014), the latest release by NAJ bassist, Phil Brown, features the New Arts Jazztet.  The group also enjoyed nationwide radio airplay and attention on Brown's previous recording, Bright Side (a caldera productions, 2009).  And the New Arts Jazztet, along with the duo, FourOnSix, was featured as well on Brown's Darkness Into Light (a caldera productions, 2006).

The NAJ is in residence at Southern Illinois University, where all but two of its members are School of Music faculty.  Its current line-up is Dick Kelley, reeds; Bob Allison, trumpet/flugelhorn; Mel Goot, piano; Phil Brown, bass; and Jimmy Beers, drums/percussion.  Annually, for one week in June, New Arts Jazztet members staff a jazz improvisation camp at SIU.  Each fall, the group presents a formal concert of standards, and each spring, a formal concert of original music.  The NAJ is also a headline ensemble at the Southern Illinois Music Festival each summer.