Chicago Music and Arts Events for AAPI Heritage Month

By Keegan Morris and Adela Skowronski |

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May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the US. Celebrate the rich diversity of AAPI musical and arts traditions with top-notch performances and events in and around Chicago!


Hiroya Tsukamoto

5/3 at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights; from $12

An intimate performance by Japanese-born fingerstyle guitarist Hiroya Tsukamoto.


AAPI Heritage Month Festival

5/4 at the Wilmette Community Center; free

A free celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, including interactive cultural booths, live performances, food and more!


Music of Cambodia

5/4 at Harold Washington Library; free

Chicago's flagship library hosts a performance presented by the National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial spotlighting traditional Cambodian musical heritages.


Asian Improv Arts Midwest

5/4 at Elastic Arts; $15

A spotlight on two multi-instrumental, multi-media artists from Chicago: duo Kishino Takagishi & Henry Wolf, and Mallory Qiu.


Defiant Silk Festival

5/10–5/25 at the Newport Theater; from $20

A festival celebrating AAPI performers in the fringe arts, from burlesque and belly dancing, to circus arts and traditional music.


Kiran Ahluwalia in Concert

5/10 at the South Asia Institute; from $25

Award winning musician Kiran Ahluwalia samples musical traditions from around the Indian subcontinent to explore the sounds of current-day India.


Chicago Sinfonietta: Reverb

5/10 & 5/11 at Various Locations; $25/pay what you can

Asian-American conductor Mei-Ann Chen presides over a Chicago Sinfonietta concert featuring rising Asian-American pianist George Li and music by Korean composer Unsuk Chin.


Carnatic-Hindustani Jugalbandi

5/11 at the South Asia Institute; $25

Northern and Southern styles combine in this concert! A Hindustani and Carnatic Junglebandi collaborations, featuring Shadaj Godkhindi and KJ Dileep, plus acclaimed percussionists Anubrata Chatterjee on tabla and Sai Raghavan on mridangam.


Chinese Zither (Guzheng) Music

5/18 at Lincoln Park Library; free

Menghua Guan presents the illustrious and influential history of the Guzheng plucked string instrument.


AANHPI Celebration

5/18 at Pacifica Square in Aurora, IL; free

Honoring Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander heritage, the celebration will feature performances representing Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures.


Middle East Music Ensemble

5/19 at UChicago's Logan Center for the Arts; suggested donation $10

A musical tour of the Arab world.


AAPI Cooperative Concert: Taiwanese and Carnatic

5/25 at United Church of Hyde Park; free

Combining South and East Asian musical traditions in a cross-cultural collaborative concert.


Rhythms of Indian Dance

5/26 at Heritage Museum of Asian Art; $15

A performance and workshop of Bharatanatyam dance, guided by artist Shalaka Kulkarni.