Melissa White to perform with Chicago Sinfonietta in specially designed “Butterfly Lovers” Concerto dress

Posted on: May 13, 2022

“Melissa White has lost count of how many times she’s performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta,” writes Hannah Edgar in Thursday’s (5/12) Chicago Tribune. “On May 14 and 16, she’ll return … to play ‘The Butterfly Lovers,’ a 1959 violin concerto cowritten by Chen Gang and He Zhanhao… There’s a twist. White will perform the concerto in a dress specially designed for the occasion by local artist Carley Brandeaux. Like a splitting chrysalis—or like the star-crossed Butterfly Lovers who transform into butterflies at the folktale’s end—the garment changes shape as the concerto goes on…. The colors and pattern evoke the orange-and-tawny wings of the American Painted Lady … butterfly…. A number of prominent soloists have gone public with their collaborations with designers…. Designer Jenny Lai crafts what she calls ‘performance wear’ for stars like violinists Jennifer Koh and Leila Josefowicz, bass-baritone Davóne Tines and flutist Claire Chase…. Vivienne Westwood has been pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s exclusive clothier for 20 years. Next weekend’s concerts will mark the first time White will wear a bespoke garment onstage. Even so, she says she often ties her attire to her solo programs… ‘When I do Mozart, I envision a full skirt,’ White says.”