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Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. In collaboration with the best conductors and guest artists on the international music scene, the CSO performs well over one hundred concerts each year at its downtown home, Symphony Center, and at the Ravinia Festival on Chicago’s North Shore, where it is in residency each summer. Music lovers outside Chicago enjoy the sounds of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra through best-s ...
 
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Learn the origin of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s high musical standards, as the story of the CSO’s founding is told by host John Hagstrom and Frank Villella, director of the CSO’s Rosenthal Archives. Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association President Jeff Alexander also shares his perspective, and several current and former CSO musicians speak ab…
 
Six CSO musicians describe the power of sharing music with audiences of all ages, while working with a commitment for unified impact. As they also anticipate the return of live concerts again, each also describes the timeless power of the orchestra to connect with listeners.By Stephen Lester, Gary Stucka, Patricia Dash, Oto Carrillo, John Hagstrom, Stefan Hoskuldsson, Baird Dodge
 
Larry Neuman has been a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s viola section since 1991. He tells his own story of getting to the CSO and offers advice for young musicians aspiring to become professional performers. He describes the intensity of hearing live concerts, how the caring and commitment of each player builds a unified sound, and the …
 
James Smelser has been a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's horn section since the year 2000. He shares what many years of experience have taught him about playing second horn parts to maintain the high musical expectations of the CSO. He recalls fond memories of playing for 13 years next to the orchestra’s former principal horn, Dale Cleve…
 
CSO musicians James Smelser (horn), Jennifer Gunn (flute & piccolo), Patricia Dash (percussion), Lawrence Neuman (viola), John Bruce Yeh (clarinet) and Esteban Batallán (trumpet) speak about the subject of working collaboratively with conductors, including the excellence Music Director Riccardo Muti brings to the Orchestra; memories of how former M…
 
Join us for the Beethoven 9 Facebook Premiere!https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoSymphony/posts/10157359874958049Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Beethoven’s most glorious and jubilant masterpiece. An exhilarating testament to the human spirit, Beethoven’s Ninth bursts with brooding power and kinetic energy and culmi…
 
In a vibrant program of classical music inspired by the jazz revolution of the 20th century, two of George Gershwin’s iconic works are paired with one he undoubtedly influenced, Ravel’s jazzy Piano Concerto in G Major. Ravel’s most famous work, the mesmerizing Boléro, brings the program to a rousing close.Learn more: https://order.cso.org/9954/…
 
After leading a 2018 CSO performance of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony full of “tensile strength and spirited dynamism” (Chicago Classical Review), distinguished conductor Herbert Blomstedt returns to conduct Brahms’ radiant Second Symphony. “Scintillating and incisive” (The Straits Times) French pianist Bertrand Chamayou makes his CSO debut with Moza…
 
From its expansive opening to its transcendent climax, Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony is one of the most vivid orchestral works of the 20th century. Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu, in his CSO debut, pairs this with the composer’s best-known work, Finlandia. Pekka Kuusisto performs Nielsen’s spirited Violin Concerto. “Nielsen was a folk fiddler and Kuusist…
 
Opening with the most famous four notes in all of classical music, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is a staggering masterwork that became a symphonic blueprint for all subsequent composers. Riccardo Muti leads a program that also features the composer’s buoyant, humorous Second Symphony and a world premiere concerto performed by CSO Bass Clarinet J. Law…
 
Beloved by opera audiences around the world, Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana is an impassioned story of tormented love wrapped in music of fervent vibrancy. Riccardo Muti, whose command of 19th-century Italian opera is “virtually without peer” (Bachtrack), leads concert performances of the complete one-act opera with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra …
 
Renowned English pianist Paul Lewis returns to perform two of Beethoven’s extraordinary piano concertos—the good-humored First and the intricate Fourth. Sir Andrew Davis, music director of Lyric Opera of Chicago and “a Tippett conductor of proven pedigree and insight” (Gramophone), leads two fascinating works by the 20th-century English composer. L…
 
Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony is a lyrical masterpiece that The Guardian calls “35 minutes of life-enhancing joy.” Edo de Waart conducts this profound work, along with John Adams’ exuberant “foxtrot for orchestra,” an outtake from his opera Nixon in China. The phenomenally gifted Leila Josefowicz returns to perform Stravinsky’s brilliant neoclassical Vi…
 
Taking inspiration from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth explores fate, progressing from dark despair to defiant triumph. John Storgårds leads this powerfully expressive work, along with the first CSO performance of the deeply moving blue cathedral by Jennifer Higdon, winner of the 2018 Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. The dazzli…
 
Juanjo Mena conducts the CSO in a program featuring Holst’s powerful and haunting The Planets. Sally Matthews, a soprano of “incandescent verve” (The Times, London), performs two scenes from Barber’s 1966 opera that opened the Metropolitan Opera's new house at Lincoln Center. Detroit-based composer James Lee III’s celebratory Sukkot Through Orion’s…
 
Brahms' final orchestral composition calls for deep lyricism and virtuosic technique from its soloists to create the illusion of a single instrument. CSO Associate Concertmaster Stephanie Jeong and Assistant Principal Cello Kenneth Olsen take center stage for this exhilarating work. Riccardo Muti concludes the program with Schumann's Third Symphony…
 
A season-long Beethoven celebration continues with the composer’s dazzling Violin Concerto performed by the renowned Leonidas Kavakos, “the most deeply satisfying violinist performing today” (Philadelphia Inquirer). Riccardo Muti conducts this towering work along with a world premiere by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Bernard Rands.…
 
Following a "blistering" (Chicago Tribune) CSO podium debut, David Afkham returns to lead a diverse program featuring Haydn's emotionally charged Mourning Symphony, Strauss' tone poem portraying a man's journey through death and Brahms' radiant Third Symphony, which Clara Schumann described as "one beat of the heart, every movement a jewel!"…
 
A captivating program of music by Vivaldi, Mozart and Piazzolla features the CSO conducting debut of Julian Rachlin, aviolinist of "brilliant high-octane technique" (The New York Times). Rachlin conducts and performs on two vastlydifferent incarnations of The Four Seasons—Vivaldi’s pictorial baroque masterpiece and Piazzolla's tango-inspired take.…
 
The sensational young Korean pianist Sunwook Kim, acclaimed for his "ability to shift from fantasy to fireworks and back in a gasp" (The News, Portsmouth), makes his CSO debut with two vivacious works by Mendelssohn—the glittering Piano Concerto No. 1 and virtuosic Capriccio brillant. Ukrainian conductor Kirill Karabits, in his CSO subscription ser…
 
James Gaffigan, praised for his "exemplary, full-blooded conducting" (Chicago Classical Review), leads the CSO in Shostakovich's rarely heard Eighth Symphony, a profound work that represents the composer's yearning for peace. The CSO's own Cynthia Yeh gives the U.S. premiere of Israeli-born composer Avner Dorman's percussion concerto, which he call…
 
The season-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth opens with a program dedicated entirely to his music. Riccardo Muti, who conducts all nine Beethoven symphonies this season, begins with the ebullient, classically scaled First. Unprecedented in proportion and epic in scope, the groundbreaking Eroica Symphony demonstrates how…
 
Riccardo Muti opens his 10th season as music director with two dramatic Russian works—Alexander Scriabin's haunting first orchestral composition and Shostakovich's pensive Sixth Symphony, written during a time of prewar tension. The brilliant Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, hailed by the Wall Street Journal as "one of the most gifted musicians …
 
Join us for a rousing start to the 2014/15 season when Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Beethoven’s most glorious and jubilant masterpiece. An exhilarating testament to the human spirit, Beethoven’s Ninth bursts with brooding power and kinetic energy and culminates in the exultant hymn, “Ode to Joy.”…
 
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