Montgomery and the Blacknificent 7
Dec 3, 2023
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Audience Favorite

The opening of the 2023/24 CSO MusicNOW season illuminates works by a dynamic collective of Black composers, the Blacknificent 7. Highlights include the world premiere of The United States Welcomes You by Jasmine Barnes, Damien Geter’s Annunciation — featuring Chicago favorite Russell Thomas, “a voice that marries Wagnerian stamina and Italianate beauty” (Wall Street Journal) — and Dave Ragland’s Eight Tones for Elijah, a loving tribute to young violinist Elijah McClain, who was killed by the police on his walk home. Nimble and accomplished improvisers, CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Jessie Montgomery and Carlos Simon perform of-the-moment interludes, woven between each piece on the program.

Curated by Mead Composer-in-Residence Jessie Montgomery.

Please note that this program includes content intended for mature audiences.

Concert Extras ⇓

Sunday, December 3, 2023
4:30 PM

In Response to the Madness




Eight Tones for Elijah


I Believe


The United States Welcomes You [World Premiere, CSO MusicNOW Commission]



Mead Composer-in-Residence
Composer and soprano
Composer and bass-baritone
Jessie Montgomery
Composer and organ


Enhance your concert experience with these additional events.

Preconcert Panel at 3 p.m. in Grainger Ballroom

Discover more about “The Modern Artist Collective” featuring members of the Blacknificent 7 in a preconcert panel. LaRob K. Rafael, artistic director of Hearing in Color and WFMT host and producer, hosts a discussion with members of the Blacknificent 7.

Presented by Chicago Humanities in collaboration with the CSOA.

Afterparty in the Rotunda

Enjoy casual afterparties and meet-and-greets with the artists and discover new ways to immerse yourself in the imaginative musical worlds of today's most innovative composers.

Sponsors & Partners

Major support for MusicNOW is generously provided by the Zell Family Foundation, Sargent Family Foundation, Sally Mead Hands Foundation and the Julian Family Foundation.

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