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African American Network of the CSO hosts first event

In recognition of Black History Month, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s recently formed African American Network (AAN) will host a screening of Oscar Micheaux’s 1925 silent film “Body and Soul” featuring an original jazz score by Chicago composer Renee Baker on Saturday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m. at Symphony Center. Following the screening, audience members can attend a Q&A with Baker and CSO musicians in Buntrock Hall and a reception provided courtesy of Tradition Gastro Pub.

Body and Soul is a 1925 silent film from renowned filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. A native of Illinois, Micheaux is regarded as the first major African American feature filmmaker producing more than 40 so-called “race films,” a term coined in the 1920s for films intended for all-Black audiences and featuring an all-Black cast. The critically acclaimed version being screened at the February 25 event is scored by Chicago-based composer and conductor Renee Baker, founding director of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project.

The February 25 event is the first of its kind hosted by the CSO’s African American Network, with more events already being planned for 2017. AAN Coordinator Sheila Jones notes, “CSO Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti’s commitment to connecting the CSO with new audiences at Symphony Center and beyond is at the heart of our goal to grow a new base of CSO concertgoers through community participation and creative musical experiences.  We are very proud to be hosting our first program and hope to have many more.”

The African American Network also highlights free community concert programs and select $35 CSO ticket offers throughout the season. More information is available at

Tickets for the African American Network event on February 25 are $10 and can be purchased by phone at 800‑223‑7114 or 312-294‑3000; online at, or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.



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