CHICAGO ( February 2019 ) — For the world's most vulnerable, persecuted and troubled, even in the most sorrowful times of darkness, moments of light are bound to emerge. Chicago Sinfonietta, the nation's most diverse orchestra, presents a fully-immersive sensory concert experience with In Darkness We Rise, in recognition of the love, loss and unyielding hope the persecuted communities have experienced throughout history. Greatly inspired by written word, especially poetic and narrative expressions, In Darkness We Rise reveals the emotion involved in the storytelling process through music and will be performed with evocative theatrical lighting and other interactive elements to deepen the concert experience. Chicago Sinfonietta will perform Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 8 p.m. at Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, and on Monday, March 25, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave in Chicago.
Under the direction of Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, Chicago Sinfonietta will perform Claude Debussy's seminal work Claire de Lune, Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, which will feature Chicago Sinfonietta Concert Master and violinist Paul Zafer, Chicago-based composer Ilya Levinson's Sevdah Medley and Henryk GÃ"recki's Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, known commonly as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. Referencing several Polish texts from World War II through vocal accompaniment, Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 captures familial laments, the sorrows of a prisoner locked in a cell and a mother searching for her son who was killed by the Germans during the war. Soprano Twyla Robinson, known for her incisive musicianship, ravishing vocal beauty and dramatic delivery, will perform during the vocally-challenging GÃ"recki piece in her first ever concert with Chicago Sinfonietta. The vocals and orchestra will pair with a non-traditional, complex lighting design by Theatrical Lighting Designer Mike Durst, which will use subtly shifting color palettes and stark black and white effects to reiterate the mantra-like quality of the piece.
"I am honored to join the Chicago Sinfonietta and Maestro Mei-Ann Chen for the first time on stage to perform GÃ"recki's Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, a piece that has deeply influenced my life for years, as part of the In Darkness We Rise program," said Twyla Robinson. "This concert is going to draw audiences in with iconic and cerebral pieces that allow for introspection and truly incite feelings of love and loss. The moving pieces, paired with the high sensory experience planned, will create a concert experience unlike any other I have ever been involved with. Guests should expect to feel fully immersed from start to finish!"
At each concert, Chicago Sinfonietta hosts an audience engagement event during intermission, giving the audience the chance to interact with other attendees, meet with members of the Chicago Sinfonietta team and learn about the subjects being addressed in the theme of the concert. For In Darkness We Rise, the Chicago Sinfonietta will offer a variety of activities for attendees of all ages during intermission, including the creation of a crowdsourced piece of art, in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
Chicago Sinfonietta is grateful to supporting concert sponsors William Blair and Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom. Season sponsors include BMO Harris Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Southwest Airlines, Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Indigo, Macy's and season media sponsors include Chicago Magazine, Naperville Magazine and WBEZ.
Tickets to In Darkness We Rise range from $10 to $62 when purchased in advance online. For tickets or more information, please visit www.chicagosinfonietta.org .
—From a Chicago Sinfonietta press release
About the Sinfonietta
Now in its 31st year, Chicago Sinfonietta has pushed artistic boundaries to provide an alternative way of hearing, seeing and thinking about a symphony orchestra and is dedicated to promoting diversity, inclusion, racial and cultural equity in the arts. Each concert experience blends inventive new works with classical masterworks, each from a diverse array of voices, to entertain, transform and inspire. In 2016, Chicago Sinfonietta was the proud recipient of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions ( MACEI ). This award recognizes exceptional organizations that are key contributors in their fields.
The orchestra was founded by Maestro Paul Freeman to address disconnect between the utter lack of diversity in orchestras and the vibrant, nuanced, communities for which they play. For more than 30 years, Chicago Sinfonietta has made it their mission to represent the city of Chicago, reflecting that vibrancy on stage and in its programming, making classical music accessible for anyone. In everything they do, Chicago Sinfonietta is inspired by founder Paul Freeman ( 1936-2015 ). The orchestra's 31 years have been highlighted by six European tours, two Kennedy Center performances, three Millennium Park concerts attended by over 19,000 people and 16 recordings, including Project W that will be released March 8, 2019.