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Chicago Stories: The Concert

Chicago Stories is a FREE family/food friendly concert featuring music about Chicago communities and neighborhoods.


In 2017 and 2018, we commissioned six composers to write new music for period (or “early” or “Baroque”) instruments that told the stories of Chicago’s people, neighborhoods, and communities. These were the stories and experiences of real people and communities that make up the fabric of Chicago today. They are the stories of women and immigrants, of people of color and of neighborhoods, of family and special places full of memory.

Chicago Stories 2019

You should come see us perform all the music from both years all in one place, and you should bring your friends and family. The performances are FREE FREE FREE and are part of Chicago's Night Out In the Parks series, which arranges live performances in public spaces. These events are family and food friendly, and we love meeting with people before and after the performances.



Come to one — or both shows! They're free, so why not? No ticket or RSVP required. Just come.

Chopin Park Fieldhouse
3420 N. Long Ave., Chicago IL

September 6 @ 6:00 PM


Armour Square Park Fieldhouse
3309 S Shields Ave., Chicago IL

September 7 @ 2:00 PM


The Stories To Be Performed

  • Two Assyrian Songs, by Eric Malmquist, telling the stories of two Assyrian refugees who made their home in Rogers Park and Lincolnwood neighborhoods

  • Wild Onion Suite, by Regina Harris Baiocchi, about the Great Migration and African American experience in Bronzeville neighborhood

  • Three Songs, by Amos Gillespie, which honor the Alvarez Brothers and the Latin jazz scene of Pilsen neighborhood, a predominantly Latinx immigrant neighborhood

  • Yes. & Really, by Heidi Joosten, about the experiences of women in color leading organizations in Chicago

  • Swedes in Chicago, by Kurt Westerberg, which follows the journey of Kurt’s grandfather and Swedish minster from Stockholm to Chicago

  • Stories of the Bloomingdale Trail, by Ronnie Kuller, an instrumental work that paints scenes of Chicago’s elevated park found in Humboldt Park and Wicker Park


Important Work for Chicago

Chicago Stories gives a voice to communities that do not have an equal voice in the world of classical music. It takes us out of ours bubbles and exposes us to new ideas and to people we might not ever meet. It puts a human face to issues that Chicagoans and society face. It makes classical music into community.

Your support means we can tell…

The Story of Iman

We meet Iman in the first movement of Eric Malmquist’s work Two Assyrian Songs. Iman was born and raised in Iraq. She is Assyrian, an ethnic group with ancient roots in the Middle East. Many Assyrians have had to leave their homes because of violence and persecution against their people. We learn how her family was imprisoned and tortured because of their ethnic identity, and, urged by her family, how she escaped from Iraq in the 1980s. Eventually, she made her way to American and made her home here in Chicago.

Eric Malmquist interviews Iman for his new work. Eric interviewed members of the Assyrian refugee community for his new work, Two Assyrian Songs.

Anna Steinhoff, Laura Osterlund, Brandi Berry Benson, Thomas Aláan, and Eric Malmquist collaborate on the interpretation of Two Assyrian Songs.

Laura Osterlund and Thomas Aláan perform I. Iman from Two Assyrian Songs. The movement tells the story of Iman as she escaped from Iraq.

Iman, her daughter Ennana, composer Eric Malmquist, and singer Thomas Aláan share a picture after the premier of Iman’s story at the Green Mill.


Featured Composers



The Album Campaign: SUpport The Work

We’re also doing a studio album of all the Chicago Stories music. If you like what you hear and want to support the project, there are some awesome perks, including a music GIFTaway!


your support = free music FOR others

We believe that music at its best builds community. It’s a gift we share. Your support is your gift to us. It’s only right that we share that gift with the people you care about.

When you support our campaign, not only will you receive a copy of the album, but we’ll donate albums to a community, family, or individual of your choice. No questions asked.

For every $100 (individual) or $250 (business) you give, you can tell us where to send a gift album. The more you give, the more people benefit for your gift.

A children’s ward at your local hospital? Your niece’s junior high school choir? Your local community center? We’ll make that happen. (Up to 40 individuals in a community, or more on a case-by-case basis).

If you don’t have any community in mind, we’ll make a donation on your behalf to a school, community group, or organization in the community where you live and let them know it came from you.


We welcome support at any level.

  • $25 — your name in the album as a supporter + your choice of track

  • $50 — above + a copy of the album

  • $100 * — above + a community receives the digital album

* For every $100 you donate, you select another community to receive the album. The more you give, the more people benefit from your gift.


The BBE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.