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Commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy with two musical tributes in Chicago

The Chicago Sinfonietta and the Music Institute of Chicago are each commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with musical tributes at the beginning of next week.

The Chicago Sinfonietta and conductor Mei-Ann Chen will present a Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a tradition which the ensemble has upheld since its founding in 1987. Performances will take place on Sunday, January 19 at 3 pm at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College in Naperville (171 E. Chicago Avenue) and Monday, January 20 at 7:30 pm at Symphony Center (220 S. Michigan Avenue).

The centerpiece of the performance is the North American Premiere of Mountain Top, a multimedia work by Dutch “avant-pop” composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis, a.k.a. JacobTV. The composer was inspired by the “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech which King gave on April 3, 1968 in Memphis the day before he was assassinated. The work features video and audio of King accompanied by the Sinfonietta and the Roosevelt University CCPA Conservatory Chorus. JacobTV and video collaborator Jaap Drupsteen will manipulate the video and on-screen text by repeating, slowing down and stretching out certain phrases to explore not only the speech's message but also King’s prophetic vulnerability.

The Sinfonietta will open the performance with Giuseppe Verdi's Overture from La Forza del Destino and Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 featuring guest horn soloist Nicole Cash of the San Francisco Symphony.

The second half of the program features Morton Gould’s Revival, a Fantasy on Six Spirituals, which samples themes and melodies from spirituals, including “Little David Play on Your Harp,” “All God’s Children Got Wings,” “Steal Away,” “Were You There?,” “Ezekiel Saw The Wheel” and “Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho.”

The Sinfonietta will close the performance with gospel and spiritual music, joined by guest singers of the Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir.

Tickets range from $42-$54 for the Wentz Concert Hall performance and $15-$54 for the Symphony Center concert. Special $10 is pricing available for students at both locations. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chicago Sinfonietta at 312-236-3681 ext. 2 or online at www.chicagosinfonietta.org.

The Music Institute of Chicago (MIC) is hosting its 10th annual celebration of Dr. King's legacy with a concert featuring the celebrated Brotherhood Chorale of the Apostolic Church of God and William Warfield Memorial scholarship recipients on Sunday, January 19 at 5 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. Ticket sales will benefit the William Warfield Memorial Scholarship Fund, which offers need-based financial assistance for minority students at MIC.

The 180-member Brotherhood Chorale, under the direction of conductor Brian C. Rice, will perform traditional and contemporary gospel and jazz arrangements. William Warfield scholarship recipients who will perform at the concert include pianist Jada Adamson-Tate (age 10); jazz pianist Kamau Kokayi-Taylor (age 12); violinists Maya Gibson (age 12) and Hannah White (age 13); and violists Lucienne Williams (age 13) and Mira Williams (age 15).

The concert takes place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets cost $10 and may be purchased at musicinst.org or by calling 847.905.1500 ext. 108.