Chicago Sinfonietta celebrates Diwali with 'Love + Light' concert Nov. 9

  • The Chicago Sinfonietta will perform "Love + Light: The Jubilant Return of Diwali" Saturday, Nov. 9, at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville.

    The Chicago Sinfonietta will perform "Love + Light: The Jubilant Return of Diwali" Saturday, Nov. 9, at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville. Courtesy of Chicago Sinfonietta

Submitted by Natalia Dagenhart
Posted11/8/2019 6:00 AM

The Chicago Sinfonietta will present a celebration concert of Diwali called "Love + Light: The Jubilant Return of Diwali" this weekend in Naperville.

The concert is set for 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave.


Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday and is important to Hindus in the same way Christmas is to Christians.

Over the years, Diwali also has become a national festival enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. It gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indian people light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness and to celebrate the victory of good over evil. People also celebrate the Festival of Lights by bursting firecrackers, gorging on sweets and exchanging gifts.

Chicago Sinfonietta's "Love + Light" will honor the festival's heritage by presenting the heightened themes of musical mythology, familiar traditions and dance.

This year, Chicago Sinfonietta's Diwali celebration will highlight the musicianship of India's iconic and world-renowned violinist and composer Dr. L. Subramaniam and classic Indian Bharatanatyam dance by Chicago's Mandala South Asian Performing Arts.

Western classical music traditions will interweave with Carnatic music, which is one of two main subgenres of Indian classical music that evolved from ancient Hindu traditions.

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It will be the first time Maestro Sameer Patel will lead an entire Chicago Sinfonietta concert. Patel is a former assistant conductor of the San Diego Symphony and Project Inclusion Freeman Conducting Fellow alumnus.

The orchestra will begin the concert performing Beethoven's Leonora Overture No. 3, Op. 72, in tribute to the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth.

"The Chicago Sinfonietta has meant so much to me in my career, and it's an honor to return for a concert that celebrates a tradition close to my heart," Patel said.

"The Chicago Sinfonietta team has a bold approach to programming, and it has been an invigorating process working with everyone on this program. They instinctively look beyond the normal concert experience, and their courage, collaborative approach and willingness to dream big allows creative artists like myself the opportunity to bring big ideas to life."


The first half of the concert will continue with Stravinsky's Suite from the 1919 version of "The Firebird." Based on a popular Russian folk tale, it showcases parallels to traditional Diwali mythology and the story of Ramayana and its central character, Hanuman.

During this composition, the musicians will be joined on stage by six contemporary dancers of Mandala, who will employ wide spacing choreography that is traditional to Western classical ballet, along with the intricacies of classic Indian dance to depict the story through movement.

The second half of the concert will feature the North American premiere of Dr. L. Subramaniam's Shanti Priya in E, Ls 231, with the composer taking the stage as the featured violinist. Subramaniam is considered the greatest classical Indian violinist of our time.

"Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance," he said. "Every festival is a celebration of the gift of life itself.

"Shanti Priya, which translates to 'lover of peace,' has meditative, contemplative passages as well as more upbeat, celebratory ones. No part of the piece is brash or aggressive in its approach, and that was something I was careful to convey. I hope a Western audience can find the essence of our festivals in this piece; a blend of reflection, prayer and celebration."

Tickets range from $10 to $62 when purchased in advance online at

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