Thursday, January 6, 2011

Leslie B. Dunner Conducts Chicago Sinfonietta Jan. 15 at North Central College in 'A Dream Unfolds'

[Leslie B. Dunner will guest conduct with the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra on Jan. 15 at North Central College. | Courtesy of North Central College]

“Chicago Sinfonietta helps North Central mark MLK Day

Naperville Sun
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media Jan 6, 2011

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 15
Where: North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville
How much: $50 and $60
Contact: 630-637-7469 or

“When composer Leslie B. Dunner bought a record called 'Black Composer Series,' recorded by CBS Records in 1974, he had no idea who Paul Freeman was. Years later, Freeman has had a hand shaping and influencing Dunner’s career. Freeman is founder and music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta. Dunner will be the guest conductor when the Sinfonietta pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. with a rousing musical experience Jan. 15 at North Central College.

“The Chicago Sinfonietta marks the life and work of King with the musical celebration 'Concert III: A Dream Unfolds.' Through a set of five works and multiple guest artists, this celebration will commemorate King’s legacy and allow listeners to reflect on his indelible mark on American history. 'The concert is traditionally not just with the Chicago Sinfonietta, but many orchestras around the U.S. now,' Dunner said. 'The program is based around Martin Luther King and the unity of all people and the contributions African Americans have made to culture and helping the dream of America unfold. On the program, we have four main works. Three of the four works are by African American composers. The fourth is by George Gershwin … whose opera ‘Porgy and Bess’ is the first piece of American operatic work to focus on the life of traditional African Americans living in a poor region of South Carolina.'

“The program features the overture from 'Theater Set for Orchestra' by Ulysses Kay; Pulitzer Prize-winner George Walker’s 'Lyric for Strings'; and 'Concerto for a Genius,' arranged by Orbert Davis, featuring McArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient Reginald Robinson on piano. Robinson has not only won major awards as a pianist and composer, he composed 'Concerto for a Genius.' Dunner said that thanks to some changes in the piece, it will be a world premier at North Central. 'That is pretty significant,' he said. The second part of the program will feature Gershwin’s 'Porgy and Bess,' arranged by Robert Russell Bennett and by Dunner. Guest vocalists Lisa Daltrius, Reggie Whitehead, Donnie Ray Albert and the Chicago Community Chorus led by Keith Hampton will join the Sinfonietta.”

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