Fifth House Ensemble

“You have to admire the sheer imaginative chutzpah these young performers bring to their envelope-pushing enterprise.” -John Von Rhein, Chicago Tribune


The Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble is a versatile and dynamic group praised by the New York Times for its “conviction, authority, and finesse.” Fifth House’s innovative programs engage audiences through their connective programming and unexpected performance venues.

5HE is defined by its limitless imagination and energy, and an insatiable desire to bring chamber music to audiences of all types. 5HE harnesses the collaborative spirit of chamber music to create transformative cross-media performance experiences that bring together elements as diverse as storytelling, physical theatre, graphic novels, and fashion design. With humor and joy, 5HE breathes life into repertoire both established and emerging, equally at home on the most prestigious stages and unexpected venues including aquariums, train stations, and bars.

Continuing to pioneer the art of narrative chamber music, Fifth House collaborates with writers/directors Rebekah Scallet and Lindsey Marks to present its fourth annual subscription series, titled “The Weaver’s Tales,” for the 2010-2011 season. Based on Grimm’s fairytales, “The Weaver’s Tales” is a unique multi-media theatrical adventure that seamlessly weaves together three storylines by combining fairy tales, physical theatre, dance, high fashion and music, in a three-part work that will captivate audiences with a full-sensory experience.

Other performances this season include appearances at the Morton Arboretum, Pike Performing Arts Center, Concordia University, Mayne Stage Theatre/WFMT, Metropolis Theatre, Green Mill, Rush Hour Concerts at St. James, and the Point CounterPoint Festival.

Having established itself as a regular on the Chicago chamber music scene, Fifth House has performed on some of the city’s most well-regarded series and venues including the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Mostly Music Series, Waukegan Chamber Music Society, Pritzker Pavilion, Byron Colby Barn, PianoForte Chicago, Live from the Morse/WFMT, WFMT Impromptu, Sunday Salon Series at the Chicago Cultural Center and Rush Hour Concerts at St. James. Through a generous program grant, Fifth House was the first chamber ensemble to train and present a program on the Recital Theater Series of New Triad for Collaborative Arts in New York in June of 2007, and returned to NYC for a performance on the Miller Theater’s Composer Portraits Series in November, 2009. In addition to public performances, Fifth House Ensemble reaches out to those unable to make it to the concert stage through its MusiCare series, presenting concerts at the Self Help Center and Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Bringing its signature connective programming from the stage to the classroom, 5HE develops young audiences through curriculum-integrated interactive concerts and residencies for students grades K-12. A member of the Illinois Arts Council’s Arts-in-Education Roster, 5HE presents performances and residencies at Chicago public schools and the Chicago Cultural Center in partnership with the International Music Foundation, the Chicago Teachers’ Center, and Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play program. Programs are customized to the curriculum of each school, with the goals of promoting active listening skills and connecting music to a wide variety of subjects. This season’s residency sites include Chicago’s Mather High School, Bridge Elementary School and Suder Montessori School, and will explore subjects including social justice, poetry, and body systems.

Currently Ensemble in Residence at Carthage College and the Metropolis School for the Performing Arts, Fifth House also frequently performs for college audiences, including workshops, residencies, and performances at Yale College, Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Illinois-Chicago and the Colburn School.

Members of Fifth House Ensemble are also active as orchestral musicians, having performed with ensembles including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Also active as educators, members of Fifth House serve on the faculties of Carthage College, the Merit School of Music, Trinity University, and DePaul University.