Throwback Tale of Gratitude


It’s 2010, I tell myself “You’re living the dream, how could you be so down?!”, and it’s true. In a beautiful small town of Italy, I wake up daily to stroll through cobbled streets, chat with locals, enjoy my fresh pastry with a marocchino, and then proceed to rehearse and make music with delightful colleagues. Weekly, we perform warmly received concerts somewhere within the breathtaking architecture of town. Seriously, the dream.

But I cannot shake this feeling of being so alone. It’s gotten so bad I can’t even enjoy this whimsical existence, let alone feel like a quality musician, which of course makes me feel all the more guilty. What is my problem?!


An altogether proactive person, I am determined to solve this issue: Sunrise jogs around the town’s borders, a perfectly picturesque omnimax experience of the horizon; practicing my repertoire harder, learning music faster and cleaner each day, conversing longer in Italian, tasting every new gelato flavor (avocado is amazing). Nothing works, but damnit, I’m going to enjoy this experience if it kills me.

Almost a month passes. I cannot believe how much I have accomplished: my Italian is finally different than my Spanish, my capacity to drink wine and eat gelato has grown admirably, I have watched every full length Michael Jackson music video projected nightly in town, and I have at least 5 performed works of repertoire freshly under my belt.

That’s how I feel.

My colleagues and I are concluding lunch with a daily trip to the gelateria, there’s happy chatter about this or that. I blurt out:

“Guys, I just realized it’s been three weeks since I got a hug.”

Um, yikes. Hello Awkward. As I blush from the suddenly unbearable heat, trying to reclaim my words out of the air, I can’t breathe.

Not a panic attack, my airflow was indeed constricted. But it’s because of the crushing bear hug that so rapidly enveloped me, snapping me out of this crazy funk and affirming all this work to make the dream. Someone heard me. Who knew. A hug.


Fast forward: 2017

Bow & Hammer is our dream now.

Consistently presenting shows that are that click for people in just the way they need. Collaborating with other artists and businesses as collective humans to provide more affirmations than exclusions between us.

But amongst the rush and hulaballoo of providing others with this human affirmation, we can often feel like I did in 2010, needing a hug ourselves. As a small organization, it’s almost embarrassing to admit how much each dollar counts. We put on a good face, truly love this dream, and work to the bone to make it happen, but we can’t do it alone.


Your financial support would be the biggest hug to us right now. Whether through Patreon, a one-time donation, buying a million tickets, telling all your friends to do the same, it all means we might actually make this dream last for a while. And hopefully all of us can benefit from that.

Living the arts career can feel like such a saga, every trek worthwhile for the dream. Thanks for your consideration to support us in this time critical to our growth and survival.

Much Love,


PS. Thank you to Elizabeth for that hug in 2010, and all the hugs since. I don’t know where I’d be without them.


Teamwork = Dreamwork

Last week we had our first Élevé of the season. Tickets sold, people purchased our newly available coffee roast, there were smiles all around! Yasmin’s work was stunning (as always), and Ovation and Rhine Hall were (again, as always) spot on for supporting a beautifully received evening. After finally decompressing for a day (amazing and rare to have a day off), I was able to reflect on everything this means and how it exemplifies us as a duo. The actual event is just the tip of the iceberg, and for Élevé to happen, we needed to navigate so many moving parts.

Rather than bore you with the details of everything we did (though I am a sucker for spreadsheets, agendas, and timelines, and am very proud of all of the meetings and documentation from Élevé), I am more impressed by the “how” of our functioning, and I think it’s a great snapshot of Bow & Hammer as a whole.


Elizabeth and I are admittedly a great team. This may seem a rudimentary comment, as we have been playing together for 5 years now, but each year we strengthen that statement. There are so many ways this statement applies (musically, professionally, personally), but I think it (sort of) boils down to a single fact: We’re really different.

There are so many benefits to having a partner-in-crime who is very different: We constantly refresh each other’s perspectives, curate diverse programs, tag team being supportive and leading, and are, overall, good at presenting well-rounded projects. It’s a constantly spinning top of productivity and progress. But what is really mind blowing to me is how we have learned to value our differences, and everything that comes from being different. One observer might notice that we don’t agree on most things during a meeting/rehearsal, that there is often a point or few of tension. Someone else might think that we don’t argue at all.


Both are true. There is rarely a topic of discussion without disagreement. But we don’t argue that much anymore. Trusting that we both want to communicate effectively as performers, we are able to value our disagreements as necessary for becoming more effective together, and reach more people.

It takes trust that neither of us would knowingly jeopardize the other out of mutual respect.

It takes patience and confidence to explain our side in times of conflict, without condescending or patronizing the other, and vulnerability in hearing about our blind-spots or weaknesses.


It takes the admittance that we make something really great as Bow & Hammer, and that we’re equal parts in that duo no matter how different we can be.

I’m not sure ours is the most popular interpersonal plan floating around these days, but it sure works for us, and I think it shows through everything B&H creates. Each time we put it to the test, whether it be for Élevé, Industry Night, Patreon, launching a non-profit, rehearsing, traveling, or getting lunch, I am increasingly grateful and reassured, and can’t imagine Bow & Hammer without it.

So, thanks to all who came! We’d love to see you November 7 for IndustryNight with Dearborn Denim. We need you guys, and hopefully provide you with something you need too.


Élevé: the Finale, Myths, and HAROLD GREEN

it's the finale...

We have quite a line up to end our first season of Élevé. This series has been an awesome platform for us to invite colleagues from several disciplines to collaborate with us for an evening of artistry, beautiful aesthetics, and one heck of a good time. 

For the finale, we'll be performing the MYTHES by K. Szymanowski. Arethusa, Narcissus, and the Nymphs and Pan are the mythical characters that inspired the 3 movements of the MYTHES. You'll for sure hear quite the soundscape that explores the stories, emotions, and trajectories of each mythical creature.

We're not stopping there. We are also adding another artist for this exploration of the MYTHES. Harold Green, the amazing spoken word artist, will be joining us and performing original work within our performance of the MYTHES. We're so excited to not only work with Mr. Green, but his incredible storytelling will completely take this experience beyond the original source by adding elements of modern word, experience, and culture. 

Harold Green III

Harold Green III

Tickets are available for Élevé via Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets include admission with either 2 or 3 drinks tickets for the amazing cocktails provided by Rhine Hall Distillery. 

wednesday, june 7th
doors open at 7:30p, music starts at 8pm
tickets $15-$20
@ Ovation Chicago: 2324 W Fulton

We're so looking forward to seeing you at the finale!



a special thank you to our sponsors!

EP: Brahms & Milhaud

It's finally here!

Bow & Hammer's new EP is being released today!

Available for purchase at, you can hear B&H's recording of the 3rd movement from Milhaud's 2nd sonata for violin and piano AND the 1st movement of the 3rd sonata by Brahms. This is an awesome intro to B&H's style, aesthetic, and sound. We hope you enjoy!

EP: Brahms and Milhaud was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Bob Weston.

Industry Night w/ Angel's Envy!

Hey gang,

This next IndustryNight will be so much fun! Our dear friend Shaunna McCarthy (whiskey guardian for Angel's Envy and all around amazing human being) is coming over and presenting 3 (yes THREE) cocktails highlighting the delicious bourbon that is ANGEL's ENVY. What are the cocktails, you ask? That you'll have to see for yourself. All I can say is: punch, stir, and DIY...

Now this pairing we find especially on point because we'll be performing the 3rd Sonata by Johannes Brahms. This sonata is jam-packed with all of the ups and downs in any brilliant novel, and we are so excited to share this work with you, as it is super near and dear to our hearts. And of course, last IndustryNight winner, Poulenc: I. Allegro Fuoco will be performed!



tickets to industry night are still available online or at the door for $10. NOTE: attendees must be 21+years to attend!




rootbuilt performance | experience | process 


We've had an incredibly thoughtful and reflective week. We have launched a new campaign to help fund and expand our infrastructure, and in the process, we took a moment to think about our mission, our process, and how to share with you why we believe our projects, collaborations, and trajectories are so important. We thought of how we could describe our process for creating performances and experiences, and ultimately, we found that rootbuilt says it all. 

what is rootbuilt, you ask?

Rootbuilt describes the process of constructing a live artistic performance that is only possible when built upon the roots of respect, skill, and relevance.

what's the big deal about artistic performance?

Through the abstract nature of performance, art provides a larger and potentially removed perspective of everyday occurrences, creating space and a unique opportunity for us all to process everyday life differently.

why do I need the artistic performance to be rootbuilt?

We have found through our experience that this model consistently creates the highest quality with the greatest efficiency. What a combo!

how does this rootbuilt thing happen?

Imagine a triangle with these three points: Performer, the Art, Audience. Each of these points is critical to the rootbuilt experience, and each point is connected with the two-way channels that intertwine each component’s Relevance (opportunity), Skill (responsibility), and Respect (fulfillment). 

Each point is critical to the success of the other two. When one becomes disconnected, the whole process deteriorates. 

YOU have the power

Together, and only together, we actively connect all three points. As the Performer presenting the Art, we pledge to you to keep those communication channels open tirelessly and earnestly. If you’ll participate and take up your role as the Audience, we can connect all three points and sustain this rootbuilt experience indefinitely. We will have no limits on where we travel, who collaborates with us, and how we can document the successes of this truly interactive performance model. Be part of this movement! Make a pledge!

what's an example of rootbuilt?

At our home-base of Chicago, we have a couple running performance series that already use this rootbuilt foundation to collaborate with something very relevant in Chicago: food. Through “Industry Night” and “Élevé”, we collaborate with chefs, farmers, distillers, and brewers for interdisciplinary performances that satiate all 5 senses in one night. 


At the Banff Centre, in Banff, Canada, we recently presented another rootbuilt collaboration with their restaurant, and you can read about that here. 



We have so many other plans up our sleeves, and can share them if you believe that rootbuilt is the way to go, and will join our efforts by making a monthly pledge for this movement! The more you pledge, the more channels of communication we are able to open to you. Check out our goals to see more specifically how your support directly affects our success. 

Thanks SO much for taking a stand in this rootbuilt movement. It means the world to us. You are the world to us.

We're in it together.


Meet Hope and Michael!

Élevé: BH+ is almost here! Meet the musicians joining us for the performance of the Faure's Piano Quartet No 2...


hope shepherd

Hope Shepherd

Cellist Hope Shepherd is a member of the KAIA String Quartet, a Chicago based ensemble that works to promote world music as well as traditional string quartet repertoire. Ms. Shepherd has worked with some of the country’s leading conductors, chamber musicians and soloists. As principal cellist of the Civic Orchestra Chicago, and as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, she has had the opportunity to play under renowned conductors James Levine, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur, Jaap van Zweden, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Sir Andrew Davis. She has performed with cellist Yo-yo Ma as part of the Chicago Youth in Music Festival, Story Catcher’s Theater at the Illinois Youth Center and the annual Depauw University Discourse. As a student at Arizona State University Ms. Shepherd participated in a unique String Quartet Residency program that allowed her to receive instruction and perform alongside members of the Juilliard, St. Lawrence, and Brentano String Quartets.

A dedicated teacher, Ms. Shepherd has maintained a private cello studio for the past ten years. In addition to teaching privately, she has been a cello and group class instructor through Arizona State University’s String Project, a coach for ensembles in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and is currently a Suzuki Cello teacher at the Merit School of Music in Chicago.

Ms. Shepherd has performed as a soloist with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and has given recitals at Katzin Concert Hall in Tempe, AZ and Duncan Recital Hall in Houston, TX. As a founding member of the Allium String Quartet, she has performed at the World Summit for Nobel Peace Laureates, in a performance at Mayne Stage Theater broadcast live on WFMT, in recitals for members of the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and at local coffee shops.

Ms. Shepherd holds a master’s degree from Rice University where she studied with Brinton Averil Smith and  bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University with Thomas Landschoot. 


michael schneider

Michael Schneider

Michael Schneider is a violist who plays an active role in the Chicago arts community. As a performing artist he collaborates with ensembles such as Fifth House Ensemble and Chicago Composers Orchestra, performs with regional orchestras throughout the Midwest, and has an active chamber and solo career. International performance reviews have regarded Michael’s playing as “elegant, soulful and poetic.” Michael is the Program Assistant for Sharing Notes, a local non-profit organization that brings over 70 performances to hospitals in the Chicago area. Michael teaches violin and viola at Carthage College, Chicago Center for Music Education, and the Chicago West Community Music Center. Michael has completed his Master of Music from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and his Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Igor Fedotov and Mark Jackobs, respectively. 


join us on march 22nd! 

industry night welcomes: Honey Butter Fried Chicken!

tuesday, march 14th and HBFC is comin' ova to 2620 W Washington!

We are super excited to be sharing the stage with Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Not only are they fluent in fried chicken, they are amazing community builders, source their food responsibly and locally, and have an incredible team that they work with and support. Read for yourselves:

"We believe that you should feel good about your food—where it comes from, how it’s prepared, how it is served and by whom. So when you eat our chicken, our sides and desserts, we hope you’ll spend some time thinking about the ideas behind every bite."





Their shop is located at:

3361 North Elston Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618




Photocred: Albert Gonzales  

Photocred: Albert Gonzales




industry night's popular vote winner:

Poulenc 1, Allegro con Fuoco

Hear it next industry night on May 9th!


Fried chicken, corn muffins, pasta salad, more fried chicken with the ever famous honey butter

Fried chicken, corn muffins, pasta salad, more fried chicken with the ever famous honey butter


Week 2 in Banff

It's concert time at Three Ravens Restaurant!  



Pedja and Jenny

Pedja and Jenny

but first, meet Jenny Bilfield...

We had the most distinct pleasure of spending the week with President and CEO of the Washington Performing Arts, Jenny Bilfield. Her mind-blowing expertise in arts management, curated concerts, and the non-profit world were unbelievably helpful, informative, and inspiring. Speaking with her in earnest was an unforgettable experience, gaining her personal and specific insight to some very important next steps for b&h.


Pedja and Geoff

Pedja and Geoff

and we can't forget Geoff Nuttall...

As first violinist of the St. Lawrence String Quartet based in San Francisco, Geoff Nuttall’s energy is electrifying. As you can imagine with electrifying energy, he was tireless in his offerings as a performer, coach, and mentor. Being privy to Pedja’s personal networks adds such depth and humanization to the concept of a “Concert in the 21st Century”, as Geoff spoke with such transparency about his career as a chamber musician. Every day we are so encouraged to connect with artists as part of this thriving (not dying) culture.



finally, our concert at Three Ravens...

Our project proposal for the residency application was this: a multi-course, multi-sensory restaurant/concert experience. Through the support of the Banff Centre, the faculty and staff for the “Concert in the 21st Century”, and the staff of Three Ravens Restaurant, we were able to collaborate with Executive Chef Sébastien Tessier and his amazing culinary team to make this concert a complete success. Here's the play-by-play:




Location: The breathtaking Three Ravens Restaurant. Unobstructed views of Canadian Rocky Mountain range.

Tech setup: 5’10” C6 Yamaha brought to the space and placed perfectly to highlight the natural mountainous backdrop. Subtle but exciting light design and spotlights (shout outs and thanks to our production manager, Stuart Bremner!).

Guest setup: two long tables of twelve guests (even the President and VP Arts and Leadership of Banff joined us for the evening!). Full place settings with individual menu cards.

the flow

Five courses. Each had a musical component and a culinary component which were paired together, getting to weave together the sense sight and hearing with taste, touch, and smell. We prefaced each piece verbally, and Chef Sébastien presented his inspiration from our music, connecting to his courses.



the music

Inspired by the diversity of a fully coursed meal, we used the bombastic and introspective Sonata for Violin and Piano by Francis Poulenc (inspired by Federico García Lorca’s poem “The Six Strings”), peppered with selections from Manuel DeFalla’s Suite Populaire Espagnole. Using the connecting thread of nationalism and Spanish folklore, the two pieces created a witty arc full of levity, color, idealism, and complexity.




the meal


Interpreting our program in such a refreshing way, Chef Sébastien used the musical textures and moods to craft a beautifully artistic menu, which parallel to our musical program was full of wit, levity, color, and complexity. Taking pride in the local and seasonal ingredients, he led us on a culinary journey through Alberta, from quail and pickled root vegetables to prawns and smoked sablefish, elk and bone marrow to japonaise cake with lavender meringue. Drooling yet? Take a look at the menu card to see the full descriptions, and you’ll be in a puddle. Tasting an earnest and refined musical impression is an incredibly unique experience we’d highly recommend.


 As we start week 3, we are so eager to work with new guest faculty, see the projects of our colleagues formalize, plan future collaborations and continue developing this dream-like business we have in b&h.


B&H with Pedja Muzijevic

B&H with Pedja Muzijevic

For more photos and videos, check out our instagram! @bowandhammer

Week 1 in Banff


Greetings from beautiful Banff, Canada! 


"Concert in the 21st Century" at the breathtaking Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is off to an amazing start! We feel pretty pampered living in luxury at the Banff Centre (we don't even need to make our beds!), and sharing this residency with 17 other artists from around the world is giving us lots of future travel ideas! Their stories and projects are astoundingly (though not unexpectedly) diverse, and with the help of the unstoppable production team, we're getting to see all these ideas come alive.


Pedja Muzijevic is our fearless residency leader (he fondly refers to himself as "mother" more days than not), hailing from NYC as a curator, pianist, and presenter. Through his dryly hilarious anecdotes, he's revealing such discernment of programming and concertizing within the performing arts industry. He performed a solo concert Friday, "Bach and Co.", featuring C.P.E. Bach, John Cage (screws, nuts, washers, tape purposefully set inside the piano), and Henry Cowell. What. ... It was such a beautifully cohesive program! Featuring Chris DePape's lighting design (more on him below...), we became part of Pedja's perfectly quirky and unquestionably intelligent world for the evening. Absolutely delightful

The prepared piano for John Cage's Interludes 

The prepared piano for John Cage's Interludes 


A true display of community building and networking, Pedja has invited colleagues for a week at a time to share their quirks and anecdotes with us, and boy are there lots of them (colleagues, quirks, and anecdotes)! Last week we were joined by actor/director Daniel Pettrow and lighting designer Chris DePape.


Daniel Pettrow and Pedja Muzijevic

Daniel Pettrow and Pedja Muzijevic

Daniel Pettrow is an actor, director, and visual artist hailing from the Wooster Group (New York City), the Centres Dramatiques Nationaux (Paris), Bluemouth Inc (Toronto), and the Heifetz Institute (Virginia), just to name a few. Leading each planned workshop activity with "I have no idea what is going to happen", he heightened our awareness through physicality, spontaneity, and laughter (so much laughter), challenging our perspectives of performance limitations and interpersonal connection. We fully intend on maintaining this new depth (especially the laughter) in our rehearsal process and performance.  


Chris DePape 

Chris DePape 

Chris DePape comes from Calgary, Canada. A true master of lumens, Chris gave us an awesome glance into the world and language of lighting design. We were able to ask a ton of questions, even get DIY advice (tin foil triumphs again!), and see his artistry live at Pedja's recital. We are really looking forward working with him next week in prep for our concert!






Though that all sounds horribly boring, don't worry, we've had a little bit of fun while we're up here as well! As though there isn't enough beauty at the Banff Centre itself, we took a trip to the Fairmont resort at Lake Louise to spend the day. Cross country skiing, ice skating, snowball fights, and ice castles may have all been part of the day.

Lake Louise! 

Lake Louise! 


Stay tuned for Week 2, where you'll meet Chef Tessier from the Three Ravens Restaurant where we will be presenting our project performance for this residency!





Our rehearsal studio 

Our rehearsal studio 

 A local music lover

 A local music lover


For more pics, check out our instagram @bowandhammer.

Happy New Year! NEW photos, 2017 concert dates, and BANFF

happy new year!

We are super excited for 2017. We hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are ready to tackle 2017 with more great music, food, art, and community.


  • Bow & Hammer is officially a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit! Look for our upcoming campaign to see how you can support B&H AND receive a tax-deductible "Thank you" from us!
  • This coming February, Bow & Hammer will attend Banff Centre for Arts for a residency in "Concertizing in the 21st Century". We are looking forward to this great opportunity, as we will be continuing to develop and further our "Industry Night" model. 
  • Stay tuned! We will be releasing our very first EP! Details of when coming soon!

upcoming dates

  • March 14th: Industry Night starts back up! We will be collaborating with Honey Butter Fried Chicken
    • First 25 to rsvp are free, after that tickets are $10 online or at the door.
  • March 22nd: Élevé: B&H+, our 2nd concert in our new series, Élevé, will feature our special guests: Hope Shepherd (cello) and Michael Schneider (viola). They'll be joining us for the amazing Piano Quartet no 2 by Gabriel Faure. B&H we'll start the concert off with Ravel's Violin Sonata No 2, featuring the ever popular "Blues" movement.
    • Tickets are $15, buy them here
  • Keep up with all of our other upcoming dates on our website and/or get all of your tickets purchased on our Brown Paper Tickets profile.

photos: another amazing shoot with RICH SHILKUS

check the photos from our shoot in Ganz Hall!

thanks again for all of your support. keep in touch. and we'll see you soon!

with food, love, and music,


industry night welcomes: SBK

industry night
tuesday, september 20th, 8p
2620 w washington blvd

Hurry to grab a free RSVP! Otherwise it's 10 bucks online or at the door. 

We are so excited to feature Sauce and Bread Kitchen for our #industrynight season opener! Sauce (Mike Bancroft, founder and master of the amazing line of hot saucesCo-op Hot Sauce) and Bread (Anne Kostroski, founder and master baker at Crumb Chicago ) is a cafe in Rogers Park on Clark near Devon. Everything is locally sourced, made from scratch, and on top of that has its roots working with Chicago Youth (read on that here). 

In addition to their cafe in Roger's Park, you can find Co-op Sauces (including salsas, poblano mustard, krautchi, and bloody mary mix) in most of Chicago's grocery stores, farmer's markets, and B&H's refrigerators. Many cafes carry Crumb Chicago's delicious croissants and scones (including where you often find B&H at the West Loop La Colombe). You can purchase bread from Anne directly at the Green City Farmer's Market and the Logan Square Farmer's Market, or at your local Green Grocer Chicago

Everything they do is not only delicious, but made with so much care, inspiration, and heart. Check these fabulous people out and join us at industry night where you can taste their amazing work!


This past January we had the pleasure of having the coolest photo shoot ever (no seriously, it was -10 that day) with the amazing photographer and our dear friend, Rich Shilkus. Even though he's located in Chicago, he's captured so many awesome moments with his camera all over the world. Here are some of the shots from our photoshoot, and you can check out his work here. We can't recommend him enough!


out with the old, in with the new

hey folks. since we've changed the website (yay, squarespace!), we've also released some of the old formats we've been using for pdfs, blogs, etc. But just incase you are new to Bow & Hammer, here are some links to access our archives, so you can get a sense of what we've been up to the past few years.