- Chicago Sinfonietta
Chicago Sinfonietta Also known as Sinfonietta Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States Genres Classical Occupations Symphony Orchestra Years active 1987–present Associated acts Joffrey Ballet Website Official Website Members Music Director
The Chicago Sinfonietta is an American orchestra based in Chicago, Illinois. The stated mission of the orchestra is to "serve as a national model for inclusiveness and innovation in classical music" and to "help America become a true cultural democracy, in which everyone can share fully in its cultural resources and in which all can contribute to it cultural richness." The group has sometimes billed itself as "The Nation's Most Diverse Orchestra."
The orchestra was founded in 1987 under the guidance of Music Director Paul Freeman. In its first decade, the group made several tours of the United States, Europe, and other overseas destinations. In that time, guest performers included the Vienna Boys Choir, Ben Vereen, and Marian McPartland. In its second decade the group has released three new recordings and performed with guests including Poi Dog Pondering, Howard Levy, Rachel Barton Pine, Orbert Davis, and the Apostolic Church of God Choir.
Music Director Dr.Paul Freeman was the co-host of the National Public Radio program, The Global Maestro and conducted the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Freeman founded the Chicago Sinfonietta after not finding enough conducting opportunities for African American conductors, instrumentalists and composers. With the announcement of Paul Freeman’s planned retirement in 2011, the organization conducted a two-year international search that resulted in the 2010 announcement of Mei-Ann Chen’s appointment as Music Director. Maestro Freeman’s final season culminated with a national broadcast of his final performance on WFMT 98.7 FM that also featured Maestro Chen as co-conductor for the evening. Maestro Chen’s tenure as Music Director was formally introduced to the city on August 14, 2011 with a free concert in Millennium Park celebrating the diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods and people.
The 2011-2012 Season is the first under the baton of Mei-Ann Chen.
In keeping with its "vision of inclusiveness," the orchestra has sought to develop future musicians and audience through an outreach program entitled "Audience Matters." Working with the Chicago Public Schools, this initiative offers music programming and subsidized tickets to the orchestra's performances to students in underserved Chicago neighborhoods.
The orchestra regularly performs in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center and has been, since its founding in 1987, the orchestra-in-residence at Dominican University. The orchestra also performs with the Joffrey Ballet. Members of the orchestra include Paul Zafer, Ricardo Castaneda, Matthew Mantell, Emily Lewis Mantell, Robert Everson, Karl E. H. Seigfried, Faye Seeman, Todd Matthews, Phyllis Sanders, Robert Fisher, Becky Coffman, and William Porter.
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