Review: Adrian Dunn’s “Redemption” premieres, with Chicago Philharmonic and chorus

Posted on: July 12, 2021

“Adrian Dunn remembers singing inside the Harris Theater for the first time as a fresh-faced member of the Grant Park Festival Chorus … [which was] then and now … predominantly white,” writes Hannah Edgar in Sunday’s (7/11) Chicago Tribune. “So it feels full circle, even redemptive, for Dunn to return now, nearly 20 years later, … in a streamed Chicago Philharmonic concert featuring his own work and his own all-Black ensemble: the Adrian Dunn Singers, a Chicago-based chorus…. The program’s centerpiece is the fittingly titled ‘Redemption,’ Dunn and Chicago Philharmonic composer-in-residence Marcus Norris’s reimaginings of spirituals and gospel songs in memory of Black Americans slain by police or para-police…. For the Harris performance, streaming free until Aug. 27, a three-piece band joins a string orchestra culled from the ranks of the Philharmonic; for the live album recorded at Chicago Temple last February, Dunn’s Rize Orchestra—an ensemble uniting Black professional and student musicians and focusing on the music of living Black composers—plays the instrumentals…. ‘I hope that “Redemption” ends up being a part of a new canon, if you will, of Black work that represents another generational perspective, one that says that we’re gonna do what’s right,’ Dunn says.”