The immigrant experience and evolution of diversity in America is highlighted by one of the nation’s most diverse orchestras, Chicago Sinfonietta, and their spectacular, multimedia program of I.D.: Images of Diversity. Following its Millennium Park performance in early September, I.D.: Images of Diversity officially kicks off the Chicago Sinfonietta’s 2018-2019 season. The orchestra and select special guests will perform concerts that invoke themes of the American Dream from several cultural perspectives on Saturday, September 22 at 8 p.m. at Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, and Monday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
A dazzling spectrum of symphonic music from around the world, I.D.: Images of Diversity features the Jeff-award winning guest artist Steep Theatre Company. The program includes works by Giuseppe Verdi (Nabucco Overture), Aaron Copland (Variations on a Shaker Melody from “Appalachian Spring”), Arturo Márquez (Danzón No 2), and James Price Johnson (Drums “A Symphonic Poem”), and concludes with a multimedia performance and the Chicago premiere of Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America. This piece, composed in 2002, celebrates the historic American immigrant experience and the American dream, employing actors from Chicago’s Steep Theatre Company and projected historical images from the Ellis Island archives.
“Our program I.D.: Images of Diversity is the second in a season of topically-poignant productions for us at Chicago Sinfonietta,” said Musical Director Maestro Mei-Ann Chen. “Since we call Chicago home, it is of the upmost importance to us that we highlight Chicago for what it is – a truly diverse city made up of several communities. We aim to provide memorable music, push boundaries and shine light on the stories of everyday people through collaborative art. With the support of Steep Theatre Company and their talented team, we are able to bring to life the Chicago premiere of Ellis Island: The Dream of America with spoken word and real Ellis Island artifacts fused with music to share the stories of the inspiring people who have shaped America’s history as a cultural melting pot. Come and celebrate the diversity of Chicago, its neighborhoods and our country!”
“As the composer of Ellis Island: The Dream of America, I’m very excited about the upcoming Chicago Sinfonietta performances in September. I have long admired both the artistry and innovative approach of the Chicago Sinfonietta, and the dynamism of conductor Mei-Ann Chen. This will be my first opportunity to work with both, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the collaboration. Ellis Island has had nearly 200 performances by 85 orchestras around the United States since its 2002 premiere, but the Chicago Sinfonietta’s performance at Symphony Center will be its formal Chicago premiere. The orchestra’s collaboration with Steep Theatre Company, and the new visuals that were created for its recent production on PBS’ Great Performances, both will contribute to making this very special. I can hardly wait!”
Prior to the concert, Chicago Sinfonietta’s Associate Board will host Prelude, the orchestra’s annual semi-formal cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. The appropriately-themed fundraising event, “We. The. People,” supports Chicago Sinfonietta education programs and innovative programming through diversity-themed activities, light refreshments, and a fantastic silent auction and raffle in the Symphony Center’s Grainger Ballroom. Early bird tickets are on sale for $40 each or $85 when purchased with a ticket to the I.D.: Images of Diversity performance. After Friday, August 31, tickets for Prelude increase to $50 each or $95 with the performance. Raffle tickets are available for purchase in advance of the event at $20 each, $50 for three or $100 for six.
Chicago Sinfonietta has been a defiantly different kind of orchestra since its inception in 1987. The orchestra was founded by Maestro Paul Freeman to address disconnect between the utter lack of diversity in orchestras and the vibrant, nuanced, communities for which they play. For over 30 years, Chicago Sinfonietta has made it their mission to represent the city of Chicago, reflecting that vibrancy on stage and in their programming, making classical music accessible for anyone. In everything they do, Chicago Sinfonietta is inspired by founder Paul Freeman (1936-2015). The orchestra’s 30+ years have been highlighted by six European tours, two Kennedy Center performances, two Millennium Park concerts attended by over 19,000 people, and 15 recordings.
For 31 years, diversity, inclusion and bold and dynamic programming have been at the center of Chicago Sinfonietta’s mission. In 2016, Chicago Sinfonietta was one of just 14 organizations in the nation to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions – the “genius award” for nonprofit organizations. The Sinfonietta was also selected in 2016 by the Chicago Innovation Awards in recognition of its innovative approach to programming. Prior to that, Chicago Sinfonietta was named by ASCAP as the recipient of the 2011-12 Award for Adventurous Programming and in 2013 was dubbed, “the city’s hippest orchestra” by the Chicago Tribune, always embracing the daring programming that has been part of its history.
Chicago Sinfonietta is grateful to its season sponsors including BMO Harris Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Southwest Airlines, Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Indigo, Macy’s and its season media sponsors including, Chicago Magazine, Naperville Magazine, and WBEZ.
Tickets to I.D.: Images of Diversity range from $10 to $62 when purchased in advance online. For tickets or more information, please visitwww.chicagosinfonietta.org.