Chicago Sinfonietta announces first ever virtual ball – a celebration of defiantly different music

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Experience the Past, and Imagine the Future
Chicago Sinfonietta

Announcing the organization’s first ever virtual gala –
a celebration of defiantly different music

Chicago, IL – The Chicago Sinfonietta has today announced it will host its re-imagined annual gala, titled “Defiant by Design,” as a free, virtual celebration. With appearances by both Music Director Mei-Ann Chen and Chief Executive Officer Blake-Anthony Johnson, the event celebrates the start of its 33rd season as the vanguard of equity, diversity and inclusion in the classical music industry. Curated to be a unique, one-of-a-kind production showcasing the best of Chicago Sinfonietta, this year’s theme touches on both the organization’s past milestones and its exciting future, inviting guests to join in imagining the next chapter of this MacArthur award-winning institution.

The thoughtfully curated evening will include a special series of videos highlighting the Sinfonietta’s “greatest hits” from past decades through to the present day; a night full of music featuring special guests; live interactions not only with Maestra Chen, Mr. Johnson and other guests, but also several surprises to be revealed throughout the evening. The Sinfonietta will shine a spotlight on its Project Inclusion program with a work by one of this season’s Project Inclusion Composer Fellows: Michelle Isaac. (Ms. Isaac’s arrangement of “Imagine” will be performed by Sinfonietta musicians as part of the evening.) Following the event, there will be an after party with a live DJ. The organization’s largest fundraiser, the Virtual Celebration will, for the first time, offer no auction.

“We are excited to present the Sinfonietta’s first ever virtual celebration,” stated CEO Blake-Anthony Johnson. “A virtual event protects the health and safety of our patrons, musicians and staff, and also provides an opportunity for Chicago Sinfonietta to be more accessible and to expand its reach. What has traditionally been a large-scale in-person event in Chicago with limited tickets has now been transformed into an experience with unlimited potential participation and viewership!”

Chicago Sinfonietta
2020 Virtual Celebration
Experience the Past; Imagine the Future
Saturday, October 10, 2020
6:00 PM
Master of Ceremonies
Mei-Ann Chen, Music Director
Blake-Anthony Johnson, Chief Executive Officer
Musicians from Chicago Sinfonietta
Plus special guest appearances

This event is free. Visit to register to attend the event. Registered attendees will receive an email with instructions to access the live event on October 10.

There are a number of ball sponsorship opportunities available, all with exciting benefits. For additional information, please contact: Edna Togba, Chief Development Officer (etogba).

Groundbreaking. Dynamic. Innovative. An acclaimed cultural leader and a powerful champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, the award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta was founded in 1987 by the late Maestro Paul Freeman to address diversity in orchestras. Dedicated to changing the face of classical music, and making classical music accessible to everyone, what began as a mission to represent the city of Chicago has evolved into an international position at the forefront of progressive change in the arts. Led by international conductor and Music Director Maestra Mei-Ann Chen since 2011, today Chicago Sinfonietta is a pioneering organization and positive influencer in the orchestral world, renowned for its defiantly different outlook, innovative and collaborative programming, and artistry of the highest caliber. The ensemble’s success has been recognized with numerous industry honors, including a 2020 League of American Orchestras Catalyst Award for Institutional Development and Anti-racism Training, a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions – the “genius award” for non-profit organizations, an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and a First Place Award for Programming of Contemporary Music.

Celebrated for its daring, cutting-edge programs ranging from its popular subscription concert series with guests of national and local renown, the organization’s commitment to parity and diversity for all is ubiquitous in its myriad education and community programs. Amongst them: Audience Matters, targeting 4th – 6th grade students in partnership with more than 23 CPS schools and nine Aurora schools; Student Ensembles with Excellence and Diversity (SEED) a mentoring program for talented high school musicians; and Residents Orchestrate, re-imagining the role that an orchestra can play in historically underserved Chicago neighborhoods. Its nationally recognized Project Inclusion Fellowships, with training and mentoring of young musicians in the areas of administration, orchestral and ensemble performance, conducting and now composition, is the largest and most successful of its kind. Through the above performances and initiatives, as well as various events, Chicago Sinfonietta continues to expand its mission and strengthen its leadership in the world of classical music, redefining the orchestra experience for today’s and future generations.

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