One only has to spend a few minutes with Chicago Sinfonietta Music Director Mei-Ann Chen to figure out how she’s energizing Chicago’s music community. The Taiwanese conductor sparkles with enthusiasm, comparing the CSO to getting behind the wheel of a Porsche for the first time.
Here Ms. Chen thumbs through the score of Florence Price’s Mississippi River:
This weekend marks Ms. Chen’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra subscription debut in a concert that represents the confluence of several efforts: the CSO’s Rivers Festival, which presents music about different waterways while raising awareness about the ecology of our own rivers—the rivers component of this weekend’s concerts features a work by bygone Chicago composer, Florence Price, whose symphony was premiered by the CSO back in the 1930s, making her the first female, African-American composer to have a work played by a major orchestra. This weekend also offers a Beyond the Score, which will use actors, visual effects and musical excerpts played live by the CSO to highlight Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade; these CSO concerts also offer a friendly handshake between two local orchestras: the CSO and Chicago Sinfonietta.
The Beyond the Score concerts are Friday and Sunday. The subscription concerts are Saturday and Tuesday.