Honor Black artistry with an entire month of exciting musical events — operas, chamber concerts, jazz orchestras, broadcasts, and more!
Terence Blanchard’s Champion at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Following 2022’s presentation of the composer’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, Lyric stages Terence Blanchard’s first opera, the 2013 Champion. The work follows the life of real-life boxer Emile Griffith as he tries to navigate his athletic career while attempting to reconcile his sexuality.
Grammy-nominated vocalist and composer Jazzmeia Horn gives two readily accessible performances at the Harris Theater — one in the venue’s approachable Mix at Six series and one in a family-friendly matinee.
We Insist: Max Roach 100 Birthday at DuSable Museum
American drummer and composer Max Roach was born in 1924; in part due to far-flung explorations with jazz luminaries from Dizzy Gillespie to Stan Getz, he is considered one of the great drummers in the genre’s esteemed history. This event pays tribute to Roach in a screening of the 2023 American Masters film Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes followed by a performance by drum-led Chicago outfit Jeremiah Collier and the REUP.
Christian McBride’s The Movement Revisited
2/2 at Chicago Symphony Orchestra; from $35
Host of NPR’s Jazz Night in America, multi-Grammy winning bandleader, composer, and bassist Christian McBride presents his triumphant jazz suite. The work pays tribute to Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and President Barack Obama, with the backing of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.
Met Opera: Anthony Davis’s X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X
Composer Anthony Davis’s debut opera premiered in 1986, but it’s finally reaching some of the world’s most prestigious stages. The Met presents X with a cast headlined by the fast-rising American baritone Will Liverman in the prestigious title role. Tune in for free on 98.7, WFMT.com or the WFMT app.
Great Performances: The Magic of Spirituals
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras: Black Heritage Performing Arts Community Concert
Violinist and composer Caitlin Edwards joins CYSO’s Accelerando Strings ensemble to share an excerpt from Joseph Bologne’s First Violin Concerto. The free concert concludes with other music by Black composers, including Angélique Kidjo, Florence Price, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
Peter Jericho & MGeni: Love Like This
A Black History Month celebration that also coincides with Valentine’s Day! Join Peter Jericho — whose Cameroonian heritage lends the self-description “Douala Boy born in Chicago but raised by the world” — for an evening that fuses musical traditions spanning continents and genres.
Nkeiru Okoye: We’ve Got Our Eye on You
Nkeiru Okoye’s 2015 chamber opera mines Greek myth, Monty Python, and more, for a unique and humorous sendup of hookup culture. Thompson Street Opera shares a rare opportunity to take in the work of one of today’s most respected opera composers. Okoye’s acclaimed folk opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom was presented in Chicago by South Shore Opera Company in 2016.
Red Clay Dance Company presents Afro-Caribbean Dance
Chicago’s Red Clay Dance Company specializes in Afro-contemporary dance. In this free interactive workshop at Douglass Library, the ensemble will showcase dance traditions emerging from the African diaspora.
Black Moon Trio: Spilling Over
Inspired by the work of visual artist Bob Thompson, recently founded Chicago-based Black Moon Trio shares music by Nina Simone, Billy Strayhorn, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and more in a performance presented with visuals provided by UChicago’s Smart Museum of Art.
Best of Studs Terkel: Mahalia Jackson in Concert
Imani Winds: Black and Brown
Imani Winds is one of classical music’s great catalysts, tireless in its dedication to honoring and pushing forward historically excluded voices. The ensemble takes the Nichols stage in Evanston for a concert celebrating composers of color, including music by Wayne Shorter, Andy Akiho, Paquito D’Rivera, and more.
Magic of Motown
Channel some of the 20th century’s most iconic voices — think Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross — in a performance that pays tribute to the watershed Black-owned and founded music label… and the long shadow the movement continues to cast today.
Ella & Louis Reimagined: A Journey Through Black History Month
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong were two of the greatest figures in 20th century music, so it’s fortunate the two collaborated numerous times over the years. Two Chicago-area performers — Alysha Monique and Bobby Wonderfull — channel the dynamic duo and in a heartfelt, spirit-raising concert.