Nicole Mitchell Explores the Story of Her Mother, Through Music


Virtuoso flutist Nicole Mitchell was a key player in Chicago music for more than two decades until she moved to California in 2011 to accept a teaching position, but the city keeps luring her back. This weekend, for instance, Mitchell will return here to present the world premiere of a project that is particularly close to her: “JBM: Images Beyond.” The initials stand for Joan Beard Mitchell, the flutist’s mother, an artist and poet who died 30 years ago at age 50 and left an enormous impression on her gifted daughter. “JBM: Images Beyond” explores Joan Beard Mitchell’s remarkable and often heart-breaking story, but in a novel way: It’s billed as “a theatrical concert” that will feature a dramatic reading by actor/vocalist Coco Elysses alongside Mitchell’s Black Earth Strings.