Chicago Sinfonietta Presents 'Dia De Los Muertos,' 11/9 & 11/11
The Chicago Sinfonietta continues its 2013-14 season of innovation and collaboration with Día de los Muertos, its annual holiday concert inspired by the Mexican holiday of The Day of the Dead. Sinfonietta Music Director Mei-Ann Chen with special guests, violinist Adé Williams, soprano Elizabeth Norman, theDePaul University Choir and collaborators Redmoon, lead a concert inspired by artistic expressions of grief and joy surrounding mortality. The Chicago Sinfonietta performs Día de los Muertos in two concerts only, Saturday, November 9 at 8 pm
at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Avenue in Naperville, andMonday, November 11 at 7:30 pm at Orchestra Hall of Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.
Sinfonietta audiences have a chance to both hear and taste the creative offerings of Día de los Muertos, as wine producer Diseño presents three wine tastings to accompany the program: Ruffino Italian Prosecco, Diseño Argentinean Malbec and Anderra Chilean Carmenere, each accompanied by tasting notes. Each wine is specifically selected because of its relation, in region and/or heritage, to the works on the program. This multisensory aspect deepens the musical and cultural experience of the European and South American-inspired concert. Wine tastings are included in the ticket price and for patrons 21+.
The first half of the Día de los Muertos concert draws from the traditionally European reaction to death and mortality, filled with somber drama and mournful melodies. With dramatic lighting to set the atmosphere, transforming the concert hall into a theater of sound and spectacle - an environment shaped by the creative forces of Chicago's Spectacle-driven theater company Redmoon - the concert opens with "Preludio" and "Balada" from Grammy Award-winning Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar ("Fountain of Tears"). The orchestra is joined by sopranoElizabeth Norman and the female voices of the DePaul University Choir. With a libretto in Spanish written by American playwright David Henry Hwang, Ainadamar tells the story of playwright Federico García Lorca and his opposition to, and subsequent murder by, the Spanish political party known as the Falange.
The full DePaul University Choir, heightening the drama with signature Redmoon masks, join their powerful voices with the orchestra for six sections of Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor, next on the program. Composed in Vienna in 1791 during the last years of Mozart's life, Requiem abounds with gothic-style drama and soaring, poignant vocals in one of Mozart's darkest, most powerful works.
The second half of the Sinfonietta's Día de los Muertos concert shifts to the jubilant, festive celebrations of death common in Latin and Mexican culture. Sphinx alum and violin virtuoso Adé Williams joins the orchestra for Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas), four tangos arranged by Leonid Desyatnikov. Composed in 1965 and drawing inspiration from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Piazzolla's work, originally composed as four separate pieces, colorfully evokes each season in Argentina's largest city and capital.
Spanish composer Manuel De Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat (El Sombrero de Tres Picos), Suite No. 2, completes the emotional journey. Originally composed as a two-act ballet for The Ballet Russe in 1919, de Falla infuses traditional Andalusian folk music into his score, where strings imitate guitars and the cheerful rhythms of dance shine through for an energetic, witty and bright work completing the Sinfonietta's spectacular holiday concert.
Single tickets range from $15-$54 for concerts at Symphony Center and $42-$54 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 at 312-236-3681 ext. 2 or online at www.chicagosinfonietta.org.
About the Artists
University Singers, DePaul's most select choral ensemble, is a 45-voice ensemble, dedicated to the rehearsal and performance of challenging choral literature of all historical periods in a variety of languages. Conducted by Steven Grives, the group meets three times a week and performs frequently both on and off campus. University Singers have been invited to perform at choral conventions, including the American Choral Directors Association Central Division Convention in 2010. Recent notable performances have included the Dvorak Te Deum, Bach Cantata #187, and Werner Jaegerhuber's Messe folklorique haitienne. University Singers has recorded two of their own CDs and also appear in Cedille Records' disc of the music of George Flynn and Earthsongs Publishing's "One World, Many Voices" series.
A winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Finals, Lynn Harvey, and Bel Canto Competitions, and The American Opera Society and Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Awards, soprano Elizabeth Norman appears annually with the Grant Park Orchestra as well as with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Her active career ranges from solo recitals and chamber music performances to television and radio recordings. Norman has performed concerts and oratorios around the world on prestigious stages including the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, the White House and Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Chicago's Symphony Center and the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria. She has also performed in Italy, Israel and the African Countries of Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda for the United States In-formation Agency. Norman has served as Music Consultant for the Chicago Public Schools and is currently a professor of voice at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts.
Junior Division First Place Laureate of the 2012 Annual Sphinx Competition presented by the DTE Energy Foundation, Adé Williams performs as part of the Sphinx Soloist Program sponsored by the GM Foundation. Williams was the first William Warfield scholarship recipient and was a member of the Music Institute of Chicago's (MIC) Academy program where she studied violin with MIC artist faculty Almita and Roland Vamos. She was also a first place winner of the 2011 DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, first place and best interpretation winner of Korean music in the 2010 Senior and 2009 Junior Divisions of the Sejong Cultural Society's Music Competition and winner of the first place in the Walgreen's National Concerto Competition in 2005. Williams' 2004 orchestral debut at the age of six was with the Chicago Sinfonietta as that orchestra's youngest ever soloist. She has soloed with the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra (2011), the Illinois Symphony Orchestra (2010) at Millennium Park, the MIC's Academy Strings (2010, 2009), the Lake Forest Symphony (2009), the Highland Park Strings at Ravinia (2007), and the South Side Family Chamber Orchestra (2006). Her 2006 radio debut was on WFMT's "Young Artist Showcase." She was named Artist-in-Residence with the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra in 2012.
For over 25 years, the Chicago Sinfonietta has pushed artistic and social boundaries to provide an alternative way of hearing, seeing and thinking about a symphony orchestra. Each concert experience fuses inventive new works from a diverse array of voices with classical masterworks to entertain, transform and inspire. The Sinfonietta has a proud history of having enriched the cultural, educational and social quality of life in Chicago. Under the guidance of Founding Music Director Paul Freeman, the orchestra has performed at the highest artistic level since 1987. Mei-Ann Chen succeeded Paul Freeman as the Chicago Sinfonietta's Music Director beginning with the 2011-12 season. The Chicago Sinfonietta is a professional orchestra that forms unique cultural connections through the universal language of symphonic music.
In 2012 the Sinfonietta was honored with two national awards for excellence from the League of American Orchestras, one for adventurous programming and one recognizing Maestro Chen with the Helen M. Thompson Award for an Emerging Music Director.
Mei-Ann Chen, also Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, has appeared with symphonies all over the country and the world, include the symphonies of Alabama, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Edmonton (Canada), Florida, Fort Worth, Honolulu, National (Washington, D.C.), Oregon, Pacific, Phoenix, Princeton, Seattle, Toronto, and the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra. The first woman to win the Malko Competition (2005),Chen has served as Assistant Conductor of the Oregon Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony and the Baltimore Symphony. Born in Taiwan, Chen has lived in the United States since 1989. She was the first student in New England Conservatory's history to receive master's degrees simultaneously in both violin and conducting.
The Chicago Sinfonietta thanks its season sponsors including BP, Naperville's SECA fund, the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, Southwest Airlines, the Hotel Arista, the Fairmont Hotel, and WBEZ 91.5 FM. Event sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and the Illinois Arts Council.
Complete Program Information
Saturday, November 9 at 8 pm, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville
Monday, November 11 at 7:30 pm, Symphony Center, Chicago
Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
DePaul University Choir
Elizabeth Norman, soprano
Ade Williams, violin
GOLIJOV "Preludio" and "Balada" from Ainadamar
MOZART Selections from Requiem Mass in D minor
PIAZZOLLA Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
DE FALLA The Three Cornered Hat, Suite No. 2
Tickets: $42-$54 (Wentz Concert Hall); $15-$54 (Symphony Center)
For more information on the Chicago Sinfonietta, please visit www.chicagosinfonietta.org.