Chicago Sinfonietta joins Bhangra DJ & Drummer for a Global Dance Party

Two of the nation’s top young conductors perform music from their cultural heritages.

March 22, Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville

March 24,Symphony Center, Chicago

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CHICAGO, IL – Symphonic and electronic music converge when the Chicago Sinfonietta presents Global Dance Party, a concert featuring Bhangra-inspired DJ Rekha with Dave Sharma performing alongside her on traditional Indian percussion instruments. Two of the nation’s top young conductors, Alexandra Arrieche and Joseph Young,will be sharing the podium to lead the orchestra in the electronic works, along with music from their own cultural heritages: Brazilian and African-American.

These concerts takes a fresh, whimsical approach to disparate musical corners of the globe and is presented in two performances only, Saturday, March 22 at 8 pm at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College in Naperville (171 E. Chicago Avenue) and Monday, March 24 at 7:30 pm at Orchestra Hall of Symphony Center in downtown Chicago (220 S. Michigan Avenue).

Brazilian-born conductor Alexandra Arrieche opens the concert with two works from her South-American roots, Piazzolla’s Fuga y Misterio and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2. Together, these two works provide an opportunity for her and the orchestra to shine before DJ Rekha and Mr. Sharma join them onstage.

The first piece to incorporate an electronic element is Pyar Baile, which was originally produced by DJ Rekha and Dave Sharma with recorded vocals by Meetu Chilana and Zuzuka Poderosa. Sharma, Rekha’s producing partner and percussionist, will be performing on such traditional Indian instruments as the bhangra dhol, dholak, tabla, and udu. The Sinfonietta commissioned Sam Shoup to compose a new orchestra arrangement to compliment the original electronic music.

The final work of the evening, Rekha’s Dance Party, is a true collaboration that includes improvisation and creative sectioning of the orchestra to provide different voices that converse throughout the piece, which will be led by both conductors on stage.

Sharma explains, “The dance mix is a compilation of some of our tracks from the past few years. Sam [Shoup] and I have emailed back and forth to discuss ideas about how to expand the sonic palette of our pieces by using the full complement of the orchestra. With such strong electronic sounds, we can go to more extremes in the frequency range than the orchestra can, but the orchestra’s got much more texture than we generally have in our energy-driven tunes, so this should be an interesting collaboration.”

The second half of the concert features American conductor, Joseph Young, newly appointed assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, performing a mixed repertoire, including two works by Jonathan Bailey Holland: The Party Starter and Motor City Dance Mix. DJ Rekha will improvise on The Party Starter to add her own flavor to the dance-influenced work. Young said, “I recently came across Jonathan Bailey Holland’s music and enjoyed the smooth yet rhythmic drive he produced.”

ErnÅ‘ Dohnányi’s Symphonic Minutes will also feature the orchestra on the second half with its light, amiable sounds in five movements with colorful orchestration and Hungarian roots. Young explained his selection of this work by saying, “Dohnányi is a composer we don’t hear from often and I thought it was a perfect choice for this orchestra that is committed to unique experiences.”


Single tickets range from $42-$54 for the concert at Wentz Concert Hall and $15-$54 for the concert at Symphony Center, with special $10 pricing available for students at both locations. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chicago Sinfonietta at 312-284-1554 or online at