The Chicago Sinfonietta Debuts Season with eMotion Tonight
The Chicago Sinfonietta opens its 2013-14 season with "eMotion," a concert continuing Music DirectorMei-Ann Chen's award-winning experimental programming style, moving toward the creation of a new breed of collaborative performance experiences. The "eMotion" concert features music inspired by dance, including a World Premiere arrangement commissioned by the Sinfonietta. The Sinfonietta performs "eMotion" twice, once in its downtown Chicago home venue of Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Avenue, tonight, September 14 at 8 pm and again in the western suburbs at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Avenue, Naperville, Sunday, September 15 at 4 pm.
The urban dance culture is showcased in the newly commissioned "Orchestral Dance Mix" arrangement by Sam Shoup that mixes classical masterworks and explosive footwork from Chicago hip-hop troupes FootworKINGz and Kuumba Lynx. Shoup's new suite seamlessly blends five scenes from Peter llyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, each made to flow together instead of the traditionally separate movements, with Florence Price's Symphony No. 1, Movements 3 and 4. Price, a pioneering African-American composer who lived in Chicago from 1927 until her death in 1953, also composed The Oak, which the Sinfonietta presented in its 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute concert. The professional dancers of FootworKINGz and the junior dancers of Kuumba Lynx perform work created collaboratively between the two ensembles. FootworKINGz is led by Artistic Director Charles "King Charles" Parks, choreographer/dancer Jaron "Prince Jron" Boyd and Trevell "Tee-Jay" Johnson. Jacinda Bullie and Jaquanda Villegas are Co-Creative Directors and Co-Executive Directors of Kuumba Lynx.
Lively works from Russian masters Aram Khachaturian and Sergei Rachmaninoff round out a concert that shows how music inspires movement of all kinds, from the street to the concert hall. The Sinfonietta performs Khachaturian's instantly recognizable Sabre Danceand Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, Op. 45, an orchestral suite in three movements.
Single tickets range from $26-$50 for concerts at Symphony Center and $40-$50 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
FootworKINGz was founded in 2007 by Leida "Lady Sol" Villegas as a professional dance ensemble with a mission to attract global recognition to Chicago's unique style of footwork. Footworkin' is an extremely energized, lower body movement that evolved as a response to House and Juke (a highly sped up House sound up to 160bpm) music. FootworKINGz's King Charles and Prince Jron toured on Madonna's "Sticky & Sweet" World Tour (2008-2009). Both are featured in Madonna's music video "Celebration." FootworKINGz members have also appeared as a Top 20 act on NBC's "America's Got Talent" Season 4, Ellen Degeneres' Really Big Show '07 for TBS, VH-1 Hip Hop Honors '07 with Missy Elliott, and MTV's "My Block Chicago."
In response to the 1996 Chicago Public School system arts funding cuts, Jaquanda Villegas, Jacinda Bullie and Leyda Garcia founded the not-for-profit arts and education organization Kuumba Lynx. The three young women came together under the belief that youth have a power in "edutainment" (education, arts and entertainment). Their goal was to utilize hip-hop arts and culture to increase social consciousness, inner peace, creativity and universal freedom for youth. They created programs that utilize the cultural and artistic aesthetics of urban hip-hop to reshape and empower Chicago's communities. Today, Kuumba Lynx nurtures participants' discovery of their own artistic voice, fosters self confidence and helps expand their world view, leaving them inspired to continue using art as a means of personal and social expression and community activism.
Sam Shoup has over 30 years of experience writing, producing, recording and performing commercial music in virtually every style category. Born and raised in Memphis, TN, he is the son of bandleader Don Reid and vocalist Gwen Parke. After starting his own company, SamJamm Productions in 1990, Sam began specializing in Orchestral and Big Band arranging. He is currently a staff arranger for The National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., as well as The New York Pops Orchestra and The Memphis Symphony Orchestra. He was Music Director for the Finis Henderson show from 2000 to 2003 and won St. Johns University's "Fight Song" competition in 2006. He is a two-time winner of NARAS's Premier Bassist award. He is a member of the music faculty at The University of Memphis and at Southwest Tennessee Community College. In addition to writing and arranging, Shoup plays upright and electric bass, trumpet and piano.
For 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 musicians truly represent the city's rich cultural landscape and continue to fulfill the orchestra's mission of Musical Excellence through Diversity.
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, Chicaqo 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
Tonight, September 14 at 8 pm, Symphony Center, Chicago
Sunday, September 15 at 4 pm, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville
Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
FootworKINGz and Kuumba Lynx, dancers
"Orchestra Dance Mix" (arr. Sam Shoup)
TCHAIKOVSKY Selections from Swan Lake Suite
PRICE Symphony No. 1, Mov. 3 & 4
KHACHATURIAN Sabre Dance
RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
Tickets: $40-$50 (Wentz Concert Hall); $26-$50 (Symphony Center)
For more information on the Chicago Sinfonietta, please visit www.chicagosinfonietta.org.