Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Grammy Winner Joins Chicago Sinfonietta to HONOR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.’s Legacy in Annual Tribute Concert

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mei-Ann Chen
Music Director

Conni Ellisor

Victor Wooten

Program includes Chicago premiere of Conni Ellisor and five-time Grammy® Award winning artist Victor Wooten ’s The Bass Whisperer featuring Wooten himself plus guest performances by Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir

Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville, January 17
Symphony Center, Chicago, January 18
CHICAGO – The Chicago Sinfonietta, led by Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, continues its 2015-2016 season with its Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a long-standing Sinfonietta tradition started by its founder, the late Maestro Paul Freeman. The highly popular annual tribute concert will explore themes of brotherhood, struggle, adversity, triumph and love to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and will be performed twice: first, in the western suburbs at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, Naperville, Sunday, January 17 at 3 pm, and then again in its downtown Chicago home venue of Symphony Center, Monday, January 18 at 7:30 pm.    

Maestra Chen said of the concert, “I am very excited to bring two Chicago premieres to the Sinfonietta's very important annual Tribute Concert to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - the Bass Whisperer featuring bass virtuoso Victor Wooten and the Fourth Chickasaw Variations by Michael Gandolfi (based on ‘I've Been Buked and I've Been Scorned’ sung by Mahalia Jackson before Dr. King made his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech). Also joining the Sinfonietta is the incredible Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir with various Gospel selections.”

This year’s program opens with Richard Smallwood’s Anthem of Praise followed by Conni Ellisor and five-time Grammy® Award winning artist Victor Wooten’s The Bass Whisperer featuring Wooten on bass. The second half of the concert opens with Michael Gandolfi’s Fourth Chickasaw Variations and continues with Gospel music performed by the Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir, including It Ain’t Over, In Bright Mansions, and a special arrangement of John Legend’s Glory with spoken word performed by Tony Briscoe. The choir, with whom Maestro Freeman frequently collaborated, will honor and celebrate the late Maestro Freeman with moving tributes from our guest artists and of course Paul’s signature closing piece, We Shall Overcome.

In keeping with the themes of the night, before the concert and at intermission, audiences will have the opportunity to explore an exhibition of several never-before-seen images of Dr. King in Chicago from the Chicago History Museum archives.  Additionally, the Sinfonietta will activate Symphony Center in a peace rally, inviting audience members to make a personal commitment to peace and non-violence in their community.

Title:                Chicago Sinfonietta presents the Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dates:               Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 3 pm
Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Avenue, Naperville

Monday, January 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Orchestra Hall of Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Tickets:            Single tickets range from $18-$60 for concerts at Symphony Center and $48-$60 for concerts at Wentz Concert Hall, with special $10 pricing available for students at both concerts. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chicago Sinfonietta box office at 312.284.1554 or online at www.chicagosinfonietta.org.

Program:          SMALLWOOD                            Anthem of Praise
ELLISOR/WOOTEN                   The Bass Whisperer (Chicago Premiere)
GANDOLFI                                 Fourth Chickasaw Variations (Chicago Premiere)
                        BROWN;                                             It Ain’t Over
ARR., GREENE-JOHNSON              In Bright Mansions Above
LEGEND;                                             Glory
            ARR., GREENE-JOHNSON      

Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Dr. Willetta Greene Johnson, guest conductor      
Brian Rice, guest conductor     
Victor Wooten, bass
Jolade Freeman, soloist
Tony Briscoe, spoken word

Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir

Musical America, the bible of the performing arts industry, recently named conductor Mei-Ann Chen as one of 2015's 30 influencers. The 30 influencers, as described by MA.com editor Susan Elliott, are "...defined as people who are making a difference in our business, either by virtue of their position, their creativity, and/or their dedication-folks about whom you could say 'When they speak, we listen.'"

This year, the Chicago Sinfonietta will also dedicate its 10th annual Arts & Diversity Reception to Paul Freeman’s incredible legacy, and will bring together citywide leaders in the field of Diversity & Inclusion to honor Maestro Freeman’s dedication and commitment to creating an orchestra that represents the broad community it serves. The Arts & Diversity reception is invitation only and will take place before Tribute to MLK at Symphony Center on January 18 at 5:30 pm.

Chicago Sinfonietta is grateful to its season sponsors including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Nicor, Southwest Airlines, Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Arista, WXRT, and DiversityMBA. We thank our MLK Tribute Concert sponsors for their support, including Exelon, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hyatt, Korn Ferry, and Molex. Special thanks to our Arts & Diversity reception sponsors including Exelon, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hyatt, and Korn Ferry. The Sinfonietta thanks its Community Partners both Chicago United and Chicago History Museum, as well as its Concert Media Sponsors including ABC-7 Chicago, Chicago and Naperville Magazines, and Chicago Reader.

In its 28th season, the Chicago Sinfonietta has pushed artistic and social boundaries to provide an alternative way of hearing, seeing and thinking about a symphony orchestra. Led by Music Director Mei-Ann Chen since 2011, each concert experience blends inventive new works with classical masterworks, each from a diverse array of voices, to entertain, transform and inspire. Learn more at www.chicagosinfonietta.org.

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