Chicago Sinfonietta Presents a Celebration of Life

Chicago Sinfonietta Presents a Celebration of Life

More About Chicago Sinfonietta Presents a Celebration of Life

The nation's most diverse orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta is thrilled to present its second Diwali celebration concert, Love + Light: The Jubilant Return of Diwali, following a joyous and successful celebration of the holiday during the 2018-2019 season. Love + Light honors the rich heritage of the festival of light, with heightened themes of musical mythology, familiar traditions and dance. Featuring the unmatched musicianship of India's iconic and world-renowned violinist and composer Dr. L. Subramaniam and classic Indian Bharatanatyam dance by Chicago's Mandala South Asian Performing Arts, audiences will experience a sweeping performance fusing Carnatic and Western classical music traditions. Chicago Sinfonietta's performances will occur Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 8 p.m. at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, and on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Under the direction of former Assistant Conductor of the San Diego Symphony and Project Inclusion Freeman Conducting Fellow alumnus Sameer Patel in his first time leading an entire Chicago Sinfonietta concert, the orchestra will begin the concert performing Ludwig van Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72, in tribute to the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. Concertgoers may delight in hearing traditional Western classical music repertoire framed in a new way, highlighting the triumph of good over evil that is celebrated throughout Diwali.

"The Chicago Sinfonietta has meant so much to me in my career and it's an honor to return for a concert that celebrates a tradition close to my heart," said Sameer Patel, Chicago Sinfonietta Guest Conductor. "The Chicago Sinfonietta team has a bold approach to programming, and it has been an invigorating process working with everyone on this program. They instinctively look beyond the normal concert experience, and their courage, collaborative approach, and willingness to dream big allows creative artists like myself the opportunity to bring big ideas to life. I've grown up celebrating Diwali and I cannot wait to share this festive time of year and this wonderful program with our audience."

The first half of the concert continues with Igor Stravinsky's Suite from The Firebird (rev. 1919), which tells a popular Russian folktale that showcases parallels to traditional Diwali mythology and the story of Ramayana and its central character Hanuman. Chicago Sinfonietta musicians will be joined on stage by six contemporary dancers of Mandala, who will employ wide spacing choreography that is traditional to Western classical ballet along with the intricacies of classic Indian dance to depict the story through movement.

"We are so excited to perform with Chicago Sinfonietta," said Ashwaty Chennat, Choreographer and Principal Artist of Mandala. "With the South Asian population growing rapidly in Chicago, there is no better time to perform a Diwali-focused concert. Diwali is not an Indian-only holiday, as people of many faiths celebrate the festival in South Asia, so we look forward to sharing this celebration with people of all backgrounds and heritages through music and dance. There's absolutely nothing like performing with a full orchestra and we are thrilled to share the talent our homegrown dance company has to offer the city of Chicago with an organization like Chicago Sinfonietta, which champions diversity and inclusion in everything it does."

The entirety of Love + Light's second half will feature the North American premiere of Dr. L. Subramaniam's Shanti Priya in E, Ls 231, with Dr. L. Subramaniam himself taking the stage as the featured violinist in a once in a lifetime performance. Renowned as a world-class musician and composer, Dr. L. Subramaniam's lineage can be traced back ten generations to the creator of classical Indian music in a musical heritage that is traditionally taught by father to son. The recipient of countless accolades and awards for composition and performance across the globe, Dr. L. Subramaniam is considered the greatest classical Indian violinist of our time.

"Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance," said Dr. L. Subramaniam. "Every festival is a celebration of the gift of life itself. Shanti Priya, which translates to 'lover of peace,' has meditative, contemplative passages as well as more upbeat, celebratory ones. No part of the piece is brash or aggressive in its approach, and that was something I was careful to convey. I hope a Western audience can find the essence of our festivals in this piece; a blend of reflection, prayer, and celebration."

Since its inception, diversity, inclusion and bold and dynamic programming have been at the center of Chicago Sinfonietta's mission. In 2016, Chicago Sinfonietta was one of just 14 organizations in the nation to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions - the "genius award" for nonprofit organizations. The Sinfonietta was also selected in 2016 by the Chicago Innovation Awards in recognition of its innovative approach to programming. Prior to that, Chicago Sinfonietta was named by ASCAP as the recipient of the 2011-12 Award for Adventurous Programming and in 2013 was dubbed, "the city's hippest orchestra" by the Chicago Tribune, always embracing the daring programming that has been part of its history.

Chicago Sinfonietta is grateful to lead concert sponsors Walder Foundation and William Blair. Season sponsors including BMO Harris Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Southwest Airlines, Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Indigo, Northern Trust, Macy's and its season media sponsors including Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, Naperville Magazine, WBEZ and Chicago Tribune.

Tickets to Love + Light: The Jubilant Return of Diwali range from $10 to $62 when purchased in advance online. For tickets or more information, please visit

Tags: arts and entertainment

Event Details

Date: November 9, 2019
Time: 8:00pm

Wentz Concert Hall
171 E. Chicago Ave.
Naperville IL 60540

Annie Gustafson

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