In Thursday’s (1/13) Oak Park Pioneer Press (Illinois), Dorothy Andries writes, “The Chicago Sinfonietta’s annual tribute to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the brainchild of Maestro Paul Freeman some 15 years ago. The founder and artistic director of this diverse ensemble, who is retiring at the end of the season, will be conducting a portion of this program for the last time this year. So he is looking back with satisfaction on this special event, which is emblematic in many ways of the mission of the Chicago Sinfonietta. ‘We set out to have an orchestra that was as diverse as the city of Chicago,’ said Freeman, ‘and we have accomplished that.’ … The orchestra’s innovative programming, firmly rooted in the Classical, Romantic and Contemporary repertoire, also emphasizes diverse music, including work by African-American and Latin American composers. … ‘I feel wonderful about launching the careers of a number of younger people,’ the conductor confirmed, noting that this concert marks the classical orchestral debut of Chicago pianist Reginald Robinson. … After intermission the maestro will also conduct a concert version of ‘Porgy and Bess,’ arranged by Robert Russell Bennett, with soloists soprano Lisa Daltirus, tenor Chauncey Packer, and baritone Donnie Ray Albert, plus the Chicago Community Chorus, founded by Keith Hampton.”

Posted January 14, 2011