Award-winning Trumpeter Joins CYSO for World Premiere of Clarice Assad’s “Bohemian Queen”
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) is thrilled to reteam with CYSO alum Mary Elizabeth Bowden for the world premiere of “Bohemian Queen: Concerto for Trumpet and String Orchestra” by Clarice Assad at Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20.
The subject of “Bohemian Queen,” written specifically for Mary Elizabeth Bowden and CYSO, is the surrealist art of Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977), an American painter based in Chicago often called “the queen of the bohemian artists.” As Assad observed in the program notes for the piece, “Abercrombie’s paintings are characterized by their use of dreamlike symbolism and careful attention to detail. She was profoundly interested in the jazz scene and friends with and used to throw some amazing parties for musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughan.”
“Bohemian Queen” is in three movements. The first two are inspired by two of her paintings: “Girl Searching” (1945) and “The Stroll” (1943). The third movement, “Hyde Park Jam,” is an imaginary depiction of her memorable parties where she used to sit in as a pianist herself and play with jazz’s greatest masters.
Clarice Assad’s latest work is a brilliant example of her sophisticated yet accessible style and a perfect vehicle for the powerful virtuosity of CYSO alumna Mary Bowden,” said Music Director Allen Tinkham. “Bohemian Queen” illuminates why Clarice’s eclectic and energizing voice is among the fastest rising in classical music today. We are thrilled to have Chicago’s brightest young musicians take part in this important premiere giving them a personal experience with two fearlessly creative artists. CYSO is shaping the future of music by investing in the next generation of leaders, and as educators we have a responsibility to lead change tearing down old barriers so the next generation can dream bigger and lead even greater change.”
Conducted by Allen Tinkham the first half of the program will also feature an exciting line up of these contemporary works:
- “Overture” by Jessie Montgomery (b. 1981). “Overture” was premiered in spring 2022 by members of the CSO. Per Montgomery, “‘Overture’ is a one-movement orchestral tutti steeped in harmonic textures inspired by a fusion between jazz and American classical harmonies, Baroque rhythmic gestures, and polyphonic tension.”
- ”Abstractions: Marble Moon” by Anna Clyne (b. 1980). “Marble Moon” is the first of five movements inspired by five contrasting contemporary artworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art and from the private collection of Rheda Becker and Robert Meyerhoff, for whom this music honors.
- “Father Antonio’s Contrapuntal Prayers for Michael” by Daniel Bernard Roumain (b. 1971). Skokie-born Roumain wrote this piece as a tribute to a priest who served at the Alamo mission.
The second half of the program features the orchestra performing “Ein Heldenleben” (A Hero’s Life/A Heroic Life) by Richard Strauss (1864-1949). This is one in a series of Stauss’ tone poems, with a hero who is a thinly-veiled version of the composer himself. Over the course of six sections, we hear vignettes of “the hero’s” life, including adversaries (believed to be music critics) depicted by chattering woodwinds, and a tender violin solo for Strauss’ wife.
CYSO presents their fall concert at Orchestra Hall, 220 South Michigan Ave. at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20. Tickets for general admission floor and upper balcony will be $20; lower balcony $40-$50; boxes $60. Children aged 7 and under are free. Tickets are on sale now at http://cyso.org/tickets or from the Symphony Center box office.
About Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras is investing in the future of music and the next generation of leaders. As part of their commitment to performing new music and diversifying the classical music canon, CYSO is thrilled to present the Chicago premiere of Clarice Assad’s “Bohemian Queen.”
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music. After more than 75 years of music-making, CYSO continues to shape generations of young leaders and musicians. Students collaborate and create in a learning environment like no other, developing fundamental skills including leadership, teamwork, and resilience. We are committed to educating, encouraging, and empowering each young musician so that they may pursue personal excellence both on and off stage.
CYSO works with young musicians ages 6-18 in on-site and school-based ensembles and offers community programming reaching audiences of all ages across the Chicago region. Our programs include symphony orchestras, string orchestras, steelpan, jazz band, chamber music, and music composition. We invest in our community through CYSO@CPS school-based ensembles and free concerts that reach more than 10,000 young people annually.
CYSO promotes and provides ensemble-focused programming because we believe in the power of community. A young musician’s time at CYSO is a pathway of opportunity and growth, but they do not walk it alone. By bringing together young people from across the region, CYSO students build bonds with those who come from different backgrounds and share a passion for music. They develop the skills necessary to thrive as an ensemble. Whether or not a student continues musical studies after their time in CYSO, young people leave with increased self-confidence and a deep appreciation for music and the arts.
Major support for CYSO’s 2022-2023 season is provided by: the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Ross Bricker and Nina Vinik, Dr. Louanne Carabini and Shawn O’Leary, Pam and Dave Conroy, J. Lawrence and Susan Costin, Crown Family Philanthropies, the Julius N. Frankel Foundation, Kelly and Dennis Howe, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince, Jim and Ginger Meyer, Ms. Jennifer Myerberg and The Alvin and Louise Myerberg Family Foundation, Inc., the Negaunee Foundation, Angela and Dana O’Banion, Bonita and Delano O’Banion, John and Joyce Schladweiler, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen L. and Terry Schwartz, Brittany Viola and Justin Bernbrock, and the Zell Family Foundation.