The Chicago Sinfonietta ushered in the first evening in June with more than 500 guests on hand to celebrate the sweet sounds and even sweeter mission of one of the nation’s most diverse orchestras.
The 26th Annual Chicago Sinfonietta Ball, held at the Fairmont Chicago Millennial Park, featured an exceptional evening of music and art with the orchestra under the baton of Maestro Mei-Ann Chan.
“This is an orchestra that constantly stretches the boundaries of what symphonic music is and can be,” said Ginny Clark, Chicago Sinfonietta board chair. “Tonight’s event celebrates and supports the spirit of creativity and reinvention.”
Guests streaming into the ball’s cocktail reception were greeted by ethereal performances by Chicago Sinfonietta SEED Ensemble, and also the ChiArts’ Resonance String Quartet.
The SEED Program (Student Ensembles with Excellence and Diversity) is a cornerstone for the Chicago Sinfonietta’s offerings, and identifies talented high school musicians for inclusion in workshops and master classes taught by Chicago Sinfonietta teacher-musicians in small ensemble settings.
Hosted by ABC7’s Hosea Sanders, the dinner portion of the evening featured a live auction and raffle, as well as performances from Chicago Sinfonietta musicians, representing the city’s rich cultural landscape in fulfillment of the orchestra’s mission of Musical Excellence through Diversity.
The 2013 Ball follows a major recognition of Chicago Sinfonietta in pursuit of its mission. The orchestra received a three year, $300,000 grant last month from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the continuing development and expansion of Project Inclusion, the orchestra’s industry leading mentorship program for musicians of diverse backgrounds who are pursuing careers in classical music. The Project Inclusion Quartet also took to the ball’s stage, leading into the Chicago Sinfonietta’s performance and a lively after party.
About Chicago Sinfonietta
Chicago Sinfonietta aspires to remove the barriers to participation in, and appreciation of classical music through its educational and outreach programs that expose children and their families to classical music, and by providing professional development opportunities for young musicians and composers.
Over the last 25 years, Sinfonietta has defined itself by bringing lost compositions, deserving but underappreciated musicians and unusual music to the classical musical mainstream.
Unusual instruments and musical styles like the bagpipes, steel drums, sitar, Indian Ghazal music, hip hop, and even the ubiquitous cell phone became the centerpieces for some of the most daring musical collaborations any orchestra was programming. Arts organizations and ensembles partnering with Sinfonietta have included the Luna Negra Dance Theater, the Apostolic Church of God Choir, the alternative rock group Poi Dog Pondering, and others significantly broadened the orchestra’s programming palette.
Highlights of the Chicago Sinfonietta’s 2013-2014 season includes:
- A surprising, fresh take on classical dance repertoire featuring hip-hop dance phenomena , The FootworKINGZ,
- The fourth annual Day of the Dead concert featuring a unique interpretation of Mozart’s Requiem including costumes, masks, and choreography created by Redmoon Theater.
- Thematic concerts celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., plus a celebration of the next generation of classical stars featuring two up-and-coming conductors, and a final concert featuring a concerto for the Klezmer Band and orchestra.
- For western suburban guests: a third season at the acoustically superb Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville.
Photos courtesy of the Chicago Sinfonietta