The Chicago Sinfonietta continues its move toward more global programming with its 2013-2014 season, announced this week by music director Mei-Ann Chen and executive director Jim Hirsch.
The orchestra’s historic dedication to diversity in classical music expands from its African-American, Afro-European and Latin bases to works from all continents and in many styles and new formats in the five-program, 10-concert series, at Symphony Center downtown and Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College in Naperville.
Thematic programs weaving together full works and excerpts from various periods will often incorporate dance, hip-hop and DJ-ing with traditional and unusual symphonic fare. Guest conductors are rising young Brazilian Alexandra Arrieche and African-American Joseph Young, a winner of a career grant from the Chicago-based Solti Foundation U.S.
Soloists include soprano Elizabeth Norman and violinist Ade Williams, also African-American, in keeping with founder and longtime music director Paul Freeman’s vision when he launched the ensemble in 1987. The number of works by black classical composers, another of Freeman’s key commitments, is down, however.
The Taiwan-born Chen, who will be in her third season here, will lead all programs but one.
♦ “Motion/Emotion,” Sept. 14-15: FootworKINGz, a local hip-hop ensemble, and Kuumba Lynx, a youth dance program, appear in Sam Shoup’s “Orchestral Dance Suite” with samples of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” and 20th century black composition pioneer Florence Price’s First Symphony. The program closes with works by Khatchaturian and Rachmaninoff.
♦ “Day of the Dead,” Nov. 9 and 11: Redmoon Theater Company takes on sections of the Mozart Requiem, and Latin American and Spanish works round out the annual Latin celebration, this year joining the regular series.
♦ Annual Martin Luther King Tribute, Jan. 19-20, 2014: The provocative Dutch compser Jacob TV’s multimedia re-creation of King’s “Mountaintop” speech has its North American premiere, performed with the Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir, along with music of Gorecki, Verdi and Richard Strauss.
♦ “Global Dance Party,” March 22 and 24: Arrieche and Young, resident conductors in Baltimore and Phoenix, respectively, lead music from Brazil and the United States and work with DJ Rehka on bhangra-layered numbers.
♦ “Identities,” May 9 and 12: Chicagoan Ilya Levinson’s klezmer- and shtetl-influenced works showcase guest ensemble Maxwell Street Klezmer Band; Michael Gordon Shapiro of Los Angeles has the Chicago premiere of his “Identity: Zhongshan Zhuang” for guzheng (Chinese zither).
For details, (312) 236-3681 or chicagosinfonietta.org.