Community Calendar


Hidden Gems - Southern Illinois Music Festival

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From Thursday, May 25, 2023
To Sunday, June 11, 2023
by bdust

hidden gems siu 850

Hidden Gems’ will be easily found at Southern Illinois Music Festival, May 25 - June 11

For the past 18 years, the nationally recognized  Southern Illinois Music Festival (SIFest) has given the region the finest professional singers and instrumentalists from the United States and Europe, mixed in with SIU Carbondale faculty and students.  The 19th annual festival, which runs May 25 - June 11, will feature orchestral and chamber music, opera, jazz, and educational programs, and promises to not disappoint during its nearly three-week run.

Edward Benyas, SIFest artistic director and conductor, said the “Hidden Gems” theme is to highlight lesser-known works that are still beautiful.  “In the spirit of 21st century openness, let’s expand our musical palette a little:  This is still really good music, full of beautiful melodies and harmonies,” Benyas said.  “I predict that many patrons will discover with delight a composer or a piece that they’ve never heard before.”  

The festival features the works of well-known composers, including Alexander Glazunov, Karl Goldmark, George Frideric Handel, Vasily Kalinnikov, Franz Liszt, Camille Saint-Saëns, Robert Schumann, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Giuseppe Verdi, and Richard Wagner.  Audiences both young and old will have myriad opportunities to be immersed in classics performed by wind trios, string quartets, wind and brass quintets, and more. 

Artist biographies and the full schedule of concerts are available on the festival website:

The festival kicks off May 25 with a free voice and cello recital featuring mezzo soprano and Carbondale native Emily Hughes and William Cernota, an assistant lecturer in SIU’s School of Music, at Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, 105 N. Parrish Lane, Carbondale.  The concert begins at 7 p.m. with donations accepted to benefit the Carbondale Warming Center.  Other performances will be held in Carterville, Cairo, Anna, Marion, and Murphysboro.

Tickets to most festival events are $20 for general admission and $10 for students of any age, with some performances being free.  A season pass is available for $150 and includes an SIFest program booklet.  

Advance tickets are available by contacting Benyas at or 312-560-2094.  Checks for the total amount payable to “Southern Illinois Music Festival” may be sent to Edward Benyas, SIU School of Music, Mailcode 4302, Carbondale, Illinois 62901.

Patrons will receive an email confirmation of their order and instructions.


Thursday, May 25
7pm: Cernota-Hughes Recital at Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship
(Donations accepted to benefit the Carbondale Warming Center)

Saturday, May 27
4pm: Chamber Music Soirée at Guyon Home ($50)
Farrenc Trio; Fermi Quartet; Tchaikovsky and Verdi Excerpts

Sunday, May 28
2pm: Antigone and Fermi Quartets at First United Methodist Church of Carbondale ($20/10)
Farrenc Trio; String Quartets by Boccherini, Piazzolla and Debussy 

Tuesday, May 30
7pm: Orchestra Concert at Carterville High School ($25/10)
Glazunov Autumn; Goldmark Rustic Wedding Symphony; Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Wednesday, May 31
3pm: Chamber Music in Lutes Gallery at University Museum (Free)
Music for flute and violin (Kelly Sulick, flute; Kiril Laskarov, violin)

Thursday, June 1
3pm: String Chamber Music at Liberty Estates, Carbondale (Free)
Hummel String Trio, Emilie Mayer String Quartet

4pm: Chamber Music at Harold Jones Fine Arts Center in Cairo (Free)
Debussy and Florence Price String Quartets

Friday, June 2
7pm: Verdi’s Ernani at Carterville High School ($25/10)

Saturday, June 3
7pm: Orchestra Concert at Carterville High School ($25/10)
Haydn Sinfonia Concertante; Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso

Liszt Les Preludes; Kalinnikov 1st Symphony

Sunday, June 4
2pm: Chamber Music Concert at First United Methodist Church, Carbondale ($20/10)
Martinu Revue de Cuisine, Brahms String Quintet

6pm: Chamber Music at Chandra Chateau (Invitation only)
Hummel String Trio, Emilie Mayer String Quartet

Monday, June 5
5pm: Chamber Music at Harold Jones Fine Arts Center in Cairo (Free)
Martinu Revue de Cuisine; Fermi String Quartet

7pm: Chamber Music at Anna Arts Center ($10/5)
Ewazen Wind Quintet; Schumann String Quartet; Verdi String Quartet

Tuesday, June 6
10am: Jive with Jazz at Anna Arts Center (Free)
7pm: Chamber Music at Artspace 304 ($20/10)
Verdi String Quartet; Ewazen Wind Quintet; Florence Price String Quartet

Wednesday, June 7
1pm: Jive with Jazz at Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale (Free)
3pm: Semiatin Collection Dedication Chamber Concert (Morris Library) (Free)
Chamber music from the Lionel Semiatin Collection

7pm: Chamber Music at Anna Arts Center ($10/5)
Hummel String Trio, Mayer and Borodin String Quartets

Thursday, June 8
1pm: Jive with Jazz at Boys and Girls Club Marion (Free)
3pm: Fermi String Quartet at Liberty Estates, Carbondale (Free)
Boccherini and Beethoven String Quartets

7pm: Young Artists with Orchestra Concert at Carterville High School ($25/10)
Operatic arias and ensembles from Handel to Wagner

Friday, June 9
Noon: Jive with Jazz at Murphysboro Youth and Recreation Center (Free)
7pm: Puccini’s La Rondine at Shryock Auditorium ($25/10)

Saturday, June 10
Noon: Klassics for Kids at Artspace 304 (Free)
2pm: American Music Orchestra Concert at Marion High School (Free)
7pm: Maestro at 60 Party (ArtSpace304) ($60)

Sunday, June 11
2pm: Puccini’s La Rondine at Shryock Auditorium ($25/10)