Monday, May 15, 2017

Hot Picks For Tonight: Rightness in the Rhythm featuring the world-renowned Marcus Roberts Trio at Chicago's Symphony Center

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Tonight we'll be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's gorgeous Symphony Center for Rightness in the Rhythm featuring the world-renowned Marcus Roberts Trio. I'm so jazzed for this celebration of the melding of symphony and jazz and can't wait to check it out. 

I'm extra excited to bring my parents, who are in from out of state. My dad was a trumpet player back in the day, through high school and in Northwestern University's acclaimed marching band, and he has an affinity for jazz. This is an excellent opportunity for multigenerational fun, and an upbeat, family friendly introduction to jazz that's great for kids as well. 

Come early. Before the show and during intermission, audience members will have the opportunity to learn more about Chicago’s rich jazz history, make their own instrument and take their turn playing, improvising and scatting during a live jam session.

Monday, May 15 at 7:30 pm
At Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago Sinfonietta concludes its 2016-17 season with Rightness in the Rhythm, which celebrates nearly a century exploring the connection between jazz and symphony from ragtime to Broadway and beyond featuring the world-renowned Marcus Roberts Trio and a special guest appearance from Chicago Sinfonietta’s Assistant Conductor Deanna Tham.

Treemonisha featuring Guest Conductor Deanna Tham
Variations on Swing Low Sweet Chariot
An American in Paris
On the Town: Three Dance Episodes
Rhapsody in Blue featuring Marcus Roberts Trio


Featuring world-renowned jazz musicians Marcus Roberts Trio
with Chicago Sinfonietta’s Assistant Conductor Deanna Tham

Chicago Sinfonietta, led by Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, concludes its 2016-17 season by celebrating nearly a century exploring the connection between jazz and symphony from ragtime to Broadway and beyond featuring the world-renowned Marcus Roberts Trio and a special guest appearance from Chicago Sinfonietta’s Assistant Conductor Deanna Tham. 

This upbeat performance begins with ragtime pianist Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha led by Assistant Conductor Deanna Tham. Tham first joined Chicago Sinfonietta last season as part of the Project Inclusion Conducting Freeman Fellowship, a year-long program presented by the Sinfonietta that fosters the development of up-and-coming conductors of diverse backgrounds under the tutelage of Maestro Mei-Ann Chen. The concert continues with Michael Abels’ Variations on Swing Low Sweet Chariot featuring solo performances from Chicago Sinfonietta musicians John Floeter, Principal Bass; Jeff Handley, Principal Percussionist; and Matthew Lee, Principal Trumpet. Rightness in the Rhythm follows with two widely popular Broadway hits: George Gershwin’s An American in Paris concluding the concert’s first half followed by Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town: Three Dance Episodes which showcases three movements from his hit Broadway musical opening the program’s second half.

Just as this season began with virtuosic piano performances, the second half of the program comes full circle with a final flurry of incandescent playing courtesy of the Marcus Roberts Trio lead by critically-acclaimed modern composer and jazz icon Marcus Roberts. The trio closes the program with their own spin on Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, injected with musical improvisation, making it unique every time it’s performed. Marcus Roberts’ improvisational style, which began when he learned to play piano after losing his sight at the age of five, has led to ground-breaking contributions to jazz and the development of an entirely new approach to jazz trio performances.

Mei-Ann Chen said of the concert, "We’re excited to close our 2016-17 season with a performance of upbeat, exciting jazz works joined by the phenomenal Marcus Roberts Trio, and our assistant conductor, Deanna Tham. We’ve been wanting to present a jazz-focused concert and I can assure our audiences that this unique program, in which all of us will witness live improvisation at each performance, will be one of the most memorable. Chicago Sinfonietta has helped many young conductors further their professional careers - Deanna Tham, another young star in the making, will also be making her Chicago debut in the Overture to Joplin's opera Treemonisha. Not only is this program a wonderful way to end a wonderful season, but the music is a great way to herald in our 30th Anniversary Season next year.”

Tickets: Single tickets range from $18-$99 for concerts at Symphony Center, $48-$60 for concerts at Wentz Concert Hall, 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

Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Deanna Tham, guest conductor

Marcus Roberts Trio, jazz trio
Featured Chicago Sinfonietta musicians: John Floeter, bass; Jeff Handley, drums; Matt Lee, trumpet

About Chicago Sinfonietta
Now in its 29th season, Chicago Sinfonietta has pushed artistic boundaries to provide an alternative way of hearing, seeing and thinking about a symphony orchestra and is dedicated to promoting diversity, inclusion, racial and cultural equity in the arts. Led by Music Director Mei-Ann Chen since 2011, each concert experience blends inventive new works with classical masterworks, each from a diverse array of voices, to entertain, transform and inspire. In 2016, Chicago Sinfonietta was the proud recipient of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions (MACEI). This award recognizes exceptional organizations that are key contributors in their fields. The orchestra also received the Spirit of Innovation Award at this year’s Chicago Innovation Awards. Learn more at

Chicago Sinfonietta is grateful to its season sponsors including Cedar Concepts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Southwest Airlines, Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Arista and NBC5. Chicago Sinfonietta also thanks its BRIDGE Audience Engagement sponsors Macy's and PWC, as well as its season media sponsors including WXRT, Chicago and Naperville Magazines, and Chicago Reader.

About Project Inclusion
Project Inclusion is Chicago Sinfonietta's groundbreaking mentoring program for musicians and conductors of diverse backgrounds who are pursuing careers as professional classical musicians and music directors. It is designed to help eliminate the institutional bias that is a barrier to participation for many musicians due to factors such as ethnicity, race, and socio-economic status. According to a study conducted by the League of American Orchestras, Chicago Sinfonietta’s Project Inclusion Fellowship has served more fellows than any other program of its kind in the United States.  In just nine seasons, Project Inclusion has served 50 diverse, early career musicians and conductors, or about 42% of the total ever served by similar programs nationwide.

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