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A & E

NIU’s Cor Cantiamo to present ‘The Seven Heavens’

The Northern Illinois University School of Music ensemble in residence, Cor Cantiamo, will premiere the chamber version of “The Seven Heavens: The Life of C.S. Lewis in the Planets of the Middle Ages,” at 8 p.m. Nov. 3, in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, on the NIU campus.

“The Seven Heavens” was written by British composer James Whitbourn. This multi-movement work is scored for chamber choir and seven instrumentalists and portrays the life of C. S. Lewis in the imagery of the medieval planets. Though Lewis is best known as the author of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and other theological fiction, he spent almost 30 years as professor of medieval and renaissance English at the University of Cambridge.

According to British scholar Michael Ward, “Lewis had a deep interest in the old view of the cosmos ... in which Earth was central and surrounded by the seven heavens, each heaven with its own planet.” Lewis described these planets as “spiritual symbols of permanent value.”

James Whitbourn is an internationally renowned composer recognized by The Observer as “a truly original communicator in modern British choral music.” He is a graduate of Magdalen College, University of Oxford. His compositional output is admired for its direct connection with performers and audiences worldwide and for its ability to expand the experience of classical music beyond the edges of the traditional map of classical styles.

In this chamber version, Cor Cantiamo will be joined by seven professional instrumentalists including pianist and NIU alumna Marianne Kim and NIU faculty Kelly Langenberg (French horn), Blaise Magnière (violin) and Cheng-Hou Lee (cello).

The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a pre-concert lecture given by composer James Whitbourn. The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and students. Children 5 and younger get in free. Tickets can be purchased at https://corcantiamo.ticketleap.com/thesevenheavens or at the door.

For information about Cor Cantiamo, visit www.corcantiamo.org.

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