Chicago Sinfonietta opens season in “Battle of the Bands”-style concert with Punk Marching Band, MUCCA PAZZA

image004The Chicago Sinfonietta opens its 2014-15 season with “Rethink. Redefine. Reimagine,” a concert that continues Music Director Mei-Ann Chen’s award-winning innovative programming style, re-imagining the symphonic concert experience by featuring cutting-edge artistic partnerships. Chicagopunk marching band Mucca Pazza joins the Sinfonietta to perform “Rethink. Redefine. Reimagine.” twice: first, in the western suburbs at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Avenue,Naperville, Saturday, September 20 at 8 pm; then again in its downtown Chicago home venue of SymphonyCenter, 220 S. Michigan Avenue, Monday, September 22 at 7:30 pm.

Chicago craft brewers Two Brothers Brewing Company partners with the Sinfonietta to offer audiences three tastings of its signature craft beers to augment the program. One tasting before the concert opens, a different beer at intermission and a final selection as the audience leaves the concert hall will heighten the multi-sensory musical experience. Each tasting is included in the ticket price (for audiences 21+) and offers beers selected for qualities that complement the program’s progression from conventional to surprising – matching tasting notes to musical notes.

The “Rethink. Redefine. Reimagine.” program, loosely inspired by marching band music along with a touch of whimsy and irreverence, opens with the venerable Ralph Vaughn WilliamsEnglish Folk Song Suite, a 1923 composition for military band. It continues with a tribute to the trailblazer Florence Price, the first black woman to receive recognition in the United States as a symphonic composer. The Sinfonietta performs Price’s Dances in the Canebrakes, a work originally composed in 1953 for piano and later fully orchestrated by William Grant Stills.

Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra follows next, a work made in 1946 for the British music education short film, Instruments of the Orchestra directed by Muir Mathieson. An opening theme is performed by the full orchestra before being reiterated by different sections of the orchestra to demonstrate each section’s unique timbre, followed by more complex variations. This “battle of the sections” aptly foreshadows the “battle of the bands” to come in the second half of the program.

image002Things go in a totally different direction for the program’s second half as Mucca Pazza makes a dramatic entrance, positioning orchestra and punk marching band in a raucous musical conversation, a “battle of the bands” performance in pure Sinfonietta style. First, the Sinfonietta and Mucca Pazza together perform two original works by Mucca Pazza members, Mark Messing’s Holiday on Ice and then Dave Smith’s Rabbits and Trees, in new orchestrations by Joe Clark. An excerpt from Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1,” also known as the “Titan” symphony which premiered in 1899, fits snugly in between Messing’s and Smith’s works, building musical momentum to the dramatic finale, a new orchestration for orchestra and marching band by Clark. Punk rock meets classical music in a variation on Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s well-known oeuvre to military strength, the 1812 Overture.


Single tickets range from $46 to $58 for concerts at Wentz Concert Hall and from $16 to $99 for concerts atSymphony Center, with special $10 pricing available for students at both concerts. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chicago Sinfonietta at 312-284-1554 or online at

The Chicago Sinfonietta is grateful to it supports, including Season Sponsors BP, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Chicago Magazine, Southwest Airlines, the Hotel Arista, the Fairmont Hotel, WBEZ 91.5, Naperville’s SECA fund, the Illinois Arts Council and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Also, Event Sponsors Two Brothers Brewing Company, Chicago Reader and Today’s Chicago Woman.

About Two Brothers

Two Brothers Brewing Company was founded by the Ebel Brothers in 1996. In the past 17 years, the brand has expanded to include the Two Brothers Tap House, Two Brothers Coffee Roasters and the 70,000-square-foot Two Brothers Roundhouse in Illinois, with distribution in eight additional states including Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Iowa and Missouri. Two Brothers’ award-winning products include year-round, seasonal, and artisanal craft beers and coffee. Learn more at

About the Artists

Mucca Pazza is the marching band that thinks it’s a rock ’n roll band. Their music skips from genre to unnamable genre, never settling in one place for long, but held together by the band’s unmistakable sound and irresistible energy. Learn more about Mucca Pazza by visiting

Mei-Ann Chen, also Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, has appeared with symphonies all over the country and the world. The first woman to win the Malko Competition (2005), Chen has served as Assistant Conductor of the Oregon Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony and the Baltimore Symphony. Born inTaiwan, Chen has lived in the United States since 1989. Learn more about Mei-Ann Chen at

For over 27 years, the Chicago Sinfonietta has pushed artistic and social boundaries to provide an alternative way of hearing, seeing and thinking about a symphony orchestra. Each concert experience blends inventive new works with classical masterworks, each from a diverse array of voices, to entertain, transform and inspire. For more information please visit

Complete Program Information

“Rethink. Redefine. Reimagine.”

Saturday, September 20 at 8 pm, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville

Monday, September 22 at 7:30 pm, Symphony Center, Chicago

Chicago Sinfonietta

Mei-Ann Chen, Music Director and Conductor

Mucca Pazza

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS English Folk Song Suite
PRICE Dances in the Canebrakes
BRITTEN Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
MESSING Holiday on Ice

MAHLER Excerpt from Symphony No.1
SMITH Rabbits and Trees
TCHAIKOVSKY Overture 1812

Tickets: $46–$58 (Wentz Concert Hall); $16–$99 (Symphony Center)