From bagpipes to hip hop, cellphones to viols, the Chicago Sinfonietta has over 30 years of experience making classical music relevant, accessible, and reflective of Chicago’s diverse communities. They are known for their representation in leadership as well: when conductor Mei-Ann Chen took over as music director in 2011, she became one of the few women of color directing orchestras in North America. That legacy continues into the newly announced 2021-22 season, which sees Chicago Sinfonietta tackling diversity through the lens of joy.
In a recent press release, Chen commented, “Revelry!, our 34th season, centers on offering our audiences deeper insights into the joy of music. We again present a premiere on each of our season subscription concerts, including two by composers of color and one world premiere by our Project Inclusion Freeman Composing Fellow, Michelle Isaac, as well as a Chicago premiere by our Artist-in-Residence, Kathryn Bostic.”
Each installment of the three-program lineup can be enjoyed from two different locations: at the Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville’s North Central College and in downtown Chicago at Symphony Center. Rules for each concert, such as capacity limits, mask requirements, and more, will be determined and announced closer to the concert dates themselves.
Guest artists run the gamut from violinists Tessa Lark and Melissa White to baritone Will Liverman, an alum of Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center.
Each program approaches musical joy in a different style from the last. September’s season opener, New Folk, connects communities through works grounded in folk music from Hungarian folk songs to African American spirituals. The annual MLK Jr. Day concert features Chicago premieres by two women of color: CSO composer-in-residence Jessie Montgomery and award-winning composer Kathryn Bostic. In May’s season finale, the orchestra performs a world premiere by Project Inclusion composing fellow Michelle Issac and offers a collaboration with local dance group Clinard Dance.
As performers and audiences alike begin to emerge from a worldwide pandemic, the Chicago Sinfonietta‘s season of musical joy offers an exciting return to the concert hall for us all.
Tickets for the season are now on sale. Visit chicagosinfonietta.org to learn more and purchase tickets.