Clarinetist and Chicago native Anthony McGill says it is always a pleasure to perform in his hometown. As a guest performer at Chicago Sinfonietta’s tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he says he looks forward to performing on of his favorite pieces, Clarinet Concerto by Aaron Copland, under the direction of Mei-Ann Chen, to commemorate the legacy of King.
“There’s nothing like playing in your hometown,” says McGill, principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, who performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2008. “The piece we are playing is really gorgeous. This is a small orchestra, so the sound is really intimate. It has a chamber music feel with a string orchestra.”
Chicago Sinfonietta continues its 25th year with the King tribute in Naperville on Sunday, January 20 at 3 p.m. and in downtown Chicago at Symphony Center on Monday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m.
The tribute will blend classical and contemporary musical selections from across the globe in a stirring tribute to the civil rights leader. Chen, the Sinfonietta’s music director, says she is proud that she can pay tribute to King by putting together a show of diversity and depth. She helms a rare performance of Chicagoan Florence Price’s The Oak, who was recognized as the first black female symphonic composer.
“One of my goals for the Sinfonietta, and a personal passion of mine, is to help expose talented diverse conductors to our audience,” said Chen, who recently received the Helen M. Thompson Award for an Emerging Music Director. “I am very excited to be able to provide opera superstar Eric Owens with his debut conducting opportunity at this year's performances.”