Past Event

Ekene Ijeoma's Deconstructed Anthems

Screen Shot of Star Spangled Banner music sheet from
Throughout this process, I was inspired by the Miles Davis quote, ‘It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play’…We repeated ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ 15 times, and each time added or replaced notes at the rate of mass incarceration. The composition became more silent.” –Ekene Ijeoma from an interview by Cedar Pasori published at

As an extension of the programming at Sullivan Galleries during Envisioning Justice, Illinois Humanities is highlighting other select programs around the city that grapple with similar themes.  

Artist Ekene Ijeoma’s Deconstructed Anthems is an ongoing series of music performances and installations in which a self-playing piano and/or musicians deconstruct “The Star-Spangled Banner,” repeating it multiple times, removing notes at the rate of mass incarceration in the United States, and ending in silence.

Deconstructed Anthems will be presented as a player piano installed in The Arts Club’s gallery, performing multiple 45-minute data-driven deconstructions of a traditional arrangement of the national anthem by itself throughout the day and a live performance of a deconstruction of a jazz arrangement in collaboration with Chicago-based pianist and composer Alexis Lombre.

Following Lombre’s performance, the player piano will continue performing throughout Saturday.


Friday, 8/9/19, 11am – 6pm:

Player Piano Activation in Gallery at The Arts Club

Friday, 8/9/19, 6pm:

Performance by Pianist Alexis Lombre

Saturday, 8/10/19, 11am – 3pm:

Player Piano Sound Installation in Gallery

Saturday, 8/10/19, 1pm:

Conversation with Ekene Ijeoma and Alexandria Eregbu

Learn more about Ekene Ijeoma.
For more information about Deconstructed Anthems, visit
For more information about this event or the Arts Club of Chicago, visit