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Project W: Works by Diverse Women Composers (CD)

Project W: Works by Diverse Women Composers (CD)

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“Mei-Ann Chen leads the Sinfonietta in propulsive performances of all six works. There’s more than enough rhythmic energy to go around but these aren’t simply muscular readings: the Price, Esmail and Higdon scores are craftily phrased, while the Assad and Montgomery works gambol amiably. In all, then, this is a timely and inviting winner of an album.” — The Arts Fuse

Conductor Mei-Ann Chen and the Chicago Sinfonietta — the adventurous, MacArthur Award-winning orchestra that champions racial, ethnic and gender diversity in classical music — give world-premiere recordings of newly commissioned American works by Jennifer Higdon, Clarice Assad, Jessie Montgomery and Reena Esmail on Project W: Works by Diverse Women Composers, the capstone project of its 30th anniversary season.

Higdon, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and two Grammy Awards, invites listeners to luxuriate in the beauty of a virtuosic string orchestra with Dance Card, a five-moment suite that San Francisco Classical Voice praised for its “pleasurable sounds” and “intellectual heft.” Assad is a Grammy-nominated, Brazilian-American composer and performer. Her Sin Fronteras (Without Borders) lives up to its title with an exotic blend of musical influences from throughout the Americas. Juilliard-trained African American composer Montgomery, a violinist member of the acclaimed Catalyst Quartet and a collaborator with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, imbues her Coincident Dances with the frenetic energy and multicultural sound worlds of her native New York City. Esmail, an Indian American graduate of Juilliard and the Yale School of Music, draws from Western and Hindustani (north Indian) classical music for #metoo, a composition rooted in her own personal experiences.

Founded by pioneering African American conductor Paul Freeman, the Chicago Sinfonietta also presents the first-ever recording William Grant Still’s orchestral arrangement of Florence Price’s buoyant and lyrical Dances in the Canebrakes.

Price Dances in the Canebrakes
March 2018, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville

Assad Sin Fronteras
September 2017, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville

Montgomery Coincident Dances
September 2017, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville

Esmail Charukeshi Bandish
September 2017, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville

Esmail #metoo
September 2017, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville

Higdon Dance Card
March 2018, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville

Discs: 1
Record Label: Cedille Records
Release Date: March 8, 2019

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