focus on Timothy Ernest Johnson’s orchestral piece

Chicago Stories features five premières of orchestral works about the City of Chicago. Among them is From Jørgensen to Johnson by Timothy Ernest Johnson.

daisy and wallyFrom Jørgensen to Johnson is based on my family history in the city of
Chicago. My ancestors were Danish immigrants to the Logan Square
neighborhood during the late 19th Century through the first quarter of
the 20th Century. During this period Logan Square was primarily
Norwegian and Danish. My grandfather’s grandfather Christian Jorgensen
gave rise to three generations of Johnsons, most of whom were raised
in the family home on the 2700 block of North California Ave.

My grandfather’s cousin Rockne Johnson did extensive research into
Johnson family history in Chicago and in Denmark. My musical ideas are
based on stories I read in his book “From Jørgensen to Johnson.” The
piece is meant to evoke this earlier time and the experience of
immigrants growing up in a large, loving family in a tough
neighborhood. There were family sing-a-longs around the piano, a
neighborhood football league called “prarie football” (resulting in
many fights) and the wonders of a city that was modernizing right
before their eyes. These Johnsons would have seen beautiful Logan
Boulevard and the Illinois Centennial Monument being built, among many
other things.

The family was not without tragedy as well, losing my grandfather’s
beloved Uncle Alvin and Aunt Daisy to appendicitis at young ages,
within a few years of each other. I was captivated by the story of
Daisy in particular, the sweetheart of the family, the only girl among
12 children, and whose death at age 15 left a deep and lasting mark on
her family, especially her parents and my grandfather’s beloved Uncle
Wally. Wally was a music lover: classical music, ragtime, waltzes and
musicals. He was the youngest of the 12 and his older sister Daisy was
his protector and confidant. This piece is dedicated to Wally and
Daisy Johnson.



Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7:30 pm

St. James Cathedral
65 E Huron, Chicago [map]

Chicago Composers Orchestra

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