Chicago Sinfonietta's Project W to Bring Gender Equity in Classical Music into Focus

with "Hear Me Roar"

Composer Reena Esmail's #MeToo will be part of the Chicago Sinfonietta's "Hear Me Roar" program March 11 and 12 in Naperville and Chicago, respectively (photo courtesy of Chicago Sinfonietta).

In conjunction with its Project W initiative which makes bold steps for gender equity in classical music, Chicago Sinfonietta will give performances of "Hear Me Roar" at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, IL and at Symphony Center, Chicago this weekend.This performance is the fourth of five Main Stage programs throughout the Sinfonietta’s 30th Anniversary Season. Maestro Mei-Ann Chen, music director of Chicago Sinfonietta, will conduct. 

The timely and topical program includes new works Dance Card by recent Grammy winner Jennifer Higdon as well as #MeToo by Reena Esmail, both commissioned as part of Sinfonietta’s Project W initiative. Instrumentalists featured on the program include Carol Dylan, violin; Karen Nelson, violin; Marlea Simpson, viola; and Ann Griffin, cello. "Hear Me Roar" falls right after International Women’s Day (March 8) and, of course, in midst of March, Women’s History Month.

Chen notes that "Hear Me Roar" takes Chicago Sinfonietta, a professional orchestra dedicated to modeling and promoting diversity, inclusion, and both racial and cultural equity in the arts, into uncharted repertoire. That repertoire includes two major new commissions among three Chicago premieres. Says Chen, “the entire program is comprised of incredible works created by women composers - both past and present. While Jennifer Higdon and Reena Esmail represent the new generation of composers who are making symphonic history with every piece they compose, Florence Price and Dora Pejačević wrote music that has literally become the hidden gem of the orchestral repertoire as very few music lovers know their music well. With less than 2% of the symphonic repertoire annually performed by American professional orchestras being works written by women, the Chicago Sinfonietta has hit the national radar championing for one of the most underrepresented minorities in the classical music world - the women who expressed their life experiences through the musical voices of symphony orchestras.”

​Chicago Sinfonietta invites ticket holders (pre-show and intermission) to experience activities with Girls Rock! Chicago and YWCA, presented as part of BRIDGE – Chicago Sinfonietta’s audience engagement thematic concert programming. BRIDGE was established as a vehicle for the orchestra to help break social, racial and economic barriers within the symphonic experience. 

The concert will be performed at Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College (171 E. Chicago Ave, Naperville, IL) on Sunday, March 11 at 3 p.m.; and at Symphony Center, (220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL) on Monday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $20-$99 for concerts at Symphony Center and $49-$62 for concerts at North Central College with special $10 pricing available for students at both concerts. Tickets can be purchased by calling Chicago Sinfonietta at 312-284-1554 or online at "Hear Me Roar" is sponsored in part by Skadden, ITW, and Fifth Third Bank, in partnership with YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. Chicago Sinfonietta Season Sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aon, and Southwest Airlines.

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