Chicago Sinfonietta Announces Newest Concert SoundSketch

The nation's most diverse orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, and Music Director Mei-Ann Chen are proud to present the finale to the illustrious 2018-2019 season with SoundSketch, a concert rooted in painting portraits in rhythm, blues and beyond. The orchestra puts its own spin on the concept of "the tribute" by highlighting musical icons throughout history in a string-centric program, with MacArthur Genius and violin virtuoso Regina Carter as a featured special guest. Chicago Sinfonietta's performances will occur Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 8 p.m. at Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, and on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

In celebration of prominent and iconic women in music across genres and generations following the release of its newest recording Project W, Chicago Sinfonietta will perform several pieces highlighting women visionaries, composers, musicians and conductors. The concert will include performances of Jessie Montgomery's highly string-percussive Strum led by Project Inclusion Conducting Fellow Paola Avila, followed by David Schiff's 4 Sisters, featuring the musical stylings of Regina Carter. Paying homage to jazz and R&B greats Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, 4 Sisters has four movements titled Soul, Scat, Satin and Sassy. Closing the concert is Edward Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, more popularly known as Enigma Variations. Elgar's work is the perfect conclusion to a concert that spans several genres and centuries, as each variation on the main theme meditates on a different member of or influence on the composer's life in a beautifully ambiguous portrait of his own experiences.

"I am thrilled to finally be taking the stage with the incredible musicians of Chicago Sinfonietta and Mei-Ann Chen for this concert," said Regina Carter. "I have long been a fan of Chicago Sinfonietta and have been looking forward to performing Schiff's 4 Sisters. I have great respect for and enjoy the music of the strong, female artists who inspired the movements of the work, though my favorite movement to play is the slow, emotional piece highlighting Sarah Vaughn. Audiences can expect to feel the emotion and the intentional bending of notes throughout, while my mind is filled with the sound of her voice. It is such an honor to recognize the impact each of these women have had on the music industry and the paths they have paved for younger generations."

"It is exciting to have Regina Carter performing 4 Sisters, a piece that I have actually just written a special ending solo specifically for her, with the Chicago Sinfonietta," said David Schiff. "Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan each have such a strong hand in the history of jazz and rhythm and blues, so each movement is inspired by them, titled Soul, Scat, Satin and Sassy. With more than half of the piece requiring the featured violinist to improvise in true jazz fashion, Regina is the perfect violinist to act as the voices of these musical icons with her talent inspiring many musicians, just as each of them have."

At every 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 SoundSketch, the Chicago Sinfonietta offers a variety of activities highlighting visual art and rhythm and blues for attendees of all ages during intermission, which includes a sketch artist who will create original works live.

Chicago Sinfonietta is grateful to its lead concert sponsor William Blair and supporting sponsors Morgan Stanley and Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom LLC, as well as concert media sponsor the Chicago Reader. 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 Chicago Sinfonietta's SoundSketch range from $10 to $62 when purchased in advance online. For tickets or more information, please visit

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