Chicago Stories

One City. One Millions Stories.

Chicago is a city of diverse people whose stories span the world and culminate here in amazing ways. In January 2017, the BBE commissioned three next-generation Chicago composers to create six new pioneering pieces based on the life stories of individuals, groups and their neighborhoods. Chicago Stories brings the city to life on a personal level, while offering an underlying melody of this melting pot of world cultures.

Book One


The University of Illinois at Chicago

October 14, 2017
7:00 PM


The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

October 15, 2017
3:00 PM


Throughout the first half of the year, our composers met directly with Chicagoans to learn about their stories and experiences in their communities. Taking the inspirations from these encounters, they then worked with our musicians to develop wholly new compositions. 


Through Chicago Stories, the audience learns about the Alvarez Brothers and their renaissance efforts to revive the Pilsen Latin jazz scene. They are then taken on a journey through the harrowing escape of members of the Assyrian immigrant community, who finally found refuge in the neighborhoods of Rogers Park and Lincolnwood. Finally, they scale the wall along with a group of minority women in executive leadership roles who crushed their glass ceilings to reach the top of the mountain.


The works will be performed as part of a series of premier concerts on October 14th at 7:00PM at the University of Illinois at Chicago and October 15th at 3:00 PM at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge.


Meet Our Musicians




Chicago Stories Blogs

Find out more about the projects in these blogs, curated by Artistic Director Brandi Berry, which tell the stories of the instruments and people performing in Chicago Stories.