Chicago Sinfonietta starts its 34th season with 'NEW FOLK'

  • NEW FOLK concert program will take place at 8 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 18 at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville and at 7:30 p.m. on Mon., Sept. 20 at Symphony Center in Chicago. It will feature award-winning violinist Tessa Lark.

    NEW FOLK concert program will take place at 8 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 18 at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville and at 7:30 p.m. on Mon., Sept. 20 at Symphony Center in Chicago. It will feature award-winning violinist Tessa Lark. Courtesy of Tessa Lark

Updated 9/15/2021 11:58 PM

"So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it," said American composer Aaron Copland. It's an absolute truth, and nothing can change it. Music has existed from the beginning of times and it will live forever. The musicians from Chicago Sinfonietta are happy to support this message by bringing their live concerts back on stage. A concert program called NEW FOLK will open the orchestra's 34th season at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville and 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 20, at Symphony Center in Chicago.

Being back on stage and welcoming its audience at live concerts is a touching moment for every member of the orchestra and for everyone who chose to connect their life to this orchestra. "As the orchestra looks ahead to our 34rd season, we do so with tremendous momentum and support for the work we are doing. We look forward to welcoming you back to the concert hall," says Chicago Sinfonietta on its website.


This moment is especially touching for Music Director Mei-Ann Chen. Classical music is her life, and communication with the audience is one of the most important parts of the entire process of performing music. During these months, the audience members have also missed this brilliant conductor who is known for her dynamic and passionate conducting style. Being Chicago Sinfonietta's Music Director since 2011, Mei-Ann is a popular sought-after guest conductor. She continues to expand her relationships with orchestras around the world, with over 110 orchestras to date.

This concert program will start with famous Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 written by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt and arranged by Müller-Berghaus. This piece is considered to be the most famous in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies written by Liszt. Composed in 1847, Rhapsody No. 2 was first published as a piano solo in 1851, and soon the author created its orchestrated version. In the Chicago Sinfonietta's presentation, this gorgeous masterpiece will catch everyone's attention and will create just the right mood for the evening.

The concert program will feature the Chicago Premiere of Concerto of Violin called SKY, written by contemporary American composer Michael Torke. "The balance between the worlds of classical and vernacular music is masterly: one can bet that this work will soon be imposed as a classic of literature for violin and orchestra," wrote Italian Professor Filippo Focosi about SKY on a popular Italian website Kathodik.

This composition will also feature award-winning violinist Tessa Lark, who is considered to be one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time. Tessa has been a featured soloist at numerous U.S. orchestras, recital venues, and festivals since making her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age sixteen. Now, Chicago Sinfonietta is proud to introduce Tessa and her talent to its audiences. Her compelling energy in Michael Torke's SKY, inspired by Irish reel and American bluegrass, will be unforgettable.

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The evening will close with a rare performance of American composer William Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony, a piece informed by traditional spirituals. Dawson was born in 1899 in Anniston, Alabama. "He was a recognized authority on the religious folk music of the American Negro, and his choral and orchestral arrangements were extensively performed," says the African American Registry on its website. Completed in 1932, Negro Folk Symphony was premiered by Leopold Stokowski in Philadelphia in November 1934. Interestingly, Dawson visited seven countries in West Africa to study indigenous African music in 1952, and soon revised this marvelous symphony with a rhythmic foundation inspired by African influences.

As we see, the NEW FOLK concert program is meant to draw on the deep connections of the community through works grounded in folk music. Everyone in the audience will find something in it that will touch their heart.

This concert program will last approximately 70 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are on sale now! For tickets and health and safety guidelines, please go to

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