Most orchestras talk about cultivating the next generation of classical music lovers.
Chicago Sinfonietta does more than talk—it acts.
Many orchestras talk about diversity and bringing music to all communities. Chicago Sinfonietta does more than talk—it acts.
On September 12, 2013 Chicago Sinfonietta in collaboration with Mesirow Financial Presents! celebrated the 2013-2014 Season Opening, with sneak previews under the baton of Maestro Mei-Ann Chen.
Last year Chicago Sinfonietta significantly increased the number of younger audience members and this year there is a full court press to drive those numbers even higher—with hip hop dance, DJs, multimedia presentations and more.
If Maestro Chen has her way—and there is every reason to think she will—the September 12th Season Opening Celebration demonstrated Chen and the entire Sinfonietta team's drive to make Chicago Sinfonietta “the most impactful boutique orchestra in the nation”.
Chen explains, “Most orchestras want to foster connections with cultures that embrace diversity, but our Project Inclusion does just that. Both for students who have finished their studies and those in the middle of them, we give them experiences playing with our professional musicians in small ensembles or with professional coaches working by their side in the Sinfonietta performances. Our goal is to help them find their own voice.”
With a $300,000 grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Chicago Sinfonietta is poised to expand its Project Inclusion Program, now including a conducting fellowship program, a development that Chen shares “is dear to my heart.”
The September 12 event showcased the upcoming season, which includes:
- eMotion (September 14 and 15)—a showcase of hip hop dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances among other pieces
- Day of the Dead (November 9 and 11) – Latin American music and Latin-inspired music with DePaul University Chorus members in masks designed by Chicago’s Red Moon Theater
- Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 19 and 20, 2014) – Classical music selections and a multi-media presentation set to Dr. King’s “Mountaintop” speech
- Global Dance Party (March 22 and 24, 2014) –Brazilian and African-American conductors bring music from their cultural heritage with Bhangra-inspired DJ assistance
- Identities (May 11 and 12, 2014) – Sephardic Klezmer and ancient Chinese folk instrumentation in a Silk Road inspired concert
Sangeeta Relan of Clarity Partners, LLC, an avid music lover spearheaded the September 12 preview event, which exceeded its financial goal even before the silent auction was tallied in.
Sangeeta, whose name means music in Hindi, comes by her passion for the Chicago Sinfonietta naturally. Her mother was a sitar master in India and her father often accompanied her on the tabla. A former treasurer for the Asian American Bar Association, Relan was successfully wooed by Maestro Mei-Ann Chen to lend her talents to Chicago Sinfonietta.
Relan summarizes her attraction and that of many who attended this fundraiser when she says, “Chicago Sinfonietta is important to Chicago’s cultural scene because of the organization’s mission of promoting diversity and inclusion, combined with their amazingly innovative and entertaining programs, making it a one-of-a-kind orchestra. The Chicago Sinfonietta is a cultural gem that many more people need to know about and experience.”
Chicago Sinfonietta presents their concerts at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville and Symphony Center in Chicago. To purchase tickets or season subscriptions visit Chicago Sinfonietta website.
Season photos Courtesy of Chicago Sinfonietta.
Event photos- Will Bynington unless otherwise indicated
Sangeeta Relan photo-- Lauren McCann