Chicago Symphony Orchestra 2014/2015 Season Preview - Music Director Maestro Muti's 5th Season Begins


Tickets for all Chicago Symphony Orchestral Association-presented events in the 2014/15 season are now available online at the CSO website, by calling 312-294-3000 or by visiting the Symphony Center box office at 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.



Here is a summary of programming this upcoming season:



The Complete Symphonies of Tchaikovsky and a Celebration of Scriabin


Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) composed some of the most enduring orchestral and theatrical scores of the 19th century. He broke free from the predominant Russian nationalist movement and forged a musical style that merged native elements with Western compositional techniques—a style that resulted in great success both at home, as well as abroad. He was arguably the first Russian composer to achieve such international success, but his popularity was tinged by personal crises and chronic depression. Throughout his music one hears the sense of tragedy, loss and regret.



Tchaikovsky’s younger compatriot, Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) was an inventive figure in the music world, whose idiosyncratic musical language evolved over time into his own system of chromaticism. Riccardo Muti has been a leading interpreter of the works of Scriabin, and in this year, observing the 100th anniversary of Scriabin's death, he is dedicated to showcasing four symphonic masterworks by this often overlooked composer.



Throughout the 2014/15 season, Maestro Muti and the CSO perform the complete symphonies of Tchaikovsky alongside a survey of other works by Scriabin and Tchaikovsky, revealing the similarities between these two Russian compositional giants, as well as exploring their contrasting viewpoints. The CSO’s overview of Tchaikovsky and Scriabin includes ten programs led by Maestro Muti that feature music by these great Russian composers.



  • Maestro Muti begins the CSO’s survey of Tchaikovsky with another free Concert for Chicago in the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. This program includes the composer’s The Tempest, the Suite from The Sleeping Beauty, and the popular Symphony No. 4. The free performance is part of Maestro Muti’s and the CSO’s longstanding commitment to Citizen Musicianship, using the power of music to contribute to our culture and our communities. (September 19)


  • Maestro Muti conducts the season’s first CSO subscription program, with a program featuring Debussy's La mer and Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony. The program’s opening work alternates, with Berlioz’s Waverley Overture, Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and Tchaikovsky’s The Tempest each being performed. (September 25, 26, 27, 30)


  • The CSO celebrates the 100th anniversary of Andrzej Panufnik's birth with performances of Panufnik's Concerto in modo antico led by Maestro Muti, with CSO Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin as soloist. The entire program combines Polish and Russian themes, including Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 (Polish). (October 2, 3, 4)


  • Maestro Muti conducts Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 (Winter Daydreams) and welcomes pianist Yefim Bronfman for Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2.  (January 15, 16, 17, 2015)


  • Maestro Muti leads the CSO and Chorus in an all-Russian program that includes Prokofiev’s cantata Alexander Nevsky and Scriabin’s Symphony No. 1, with soloists mezzo-soprano Alisa Kolosova and tenor Sergey Skorokhodov, in his CSO debut. They perform the same works during a residency at New York’s Carnegie Hall. (January 22, 23, 24; February 1, 2015)


  • Maestro Muti conducts Scriabin’s Third Symphony (The Divine Poem) together with Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and Debussy’s La mer, a program he and the CSO also perform at Carnegie Hall. (January 27, 30, 2015)


  • The two Russian composers are paired in a program of Scriabin’s Symphony No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique). (February 26, 27, 28, March 3, 2015)


  • CSO Associate Concertmaster Stephanie Jeong and Assistant Principal Cello Kenneth Olsen are joined by pianist Jonathan Biss in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto; the other works on this program led by the CSO Music Director are Ligeti’s Lontano and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 (Little Russian). (March 5, 6, 7, 2015)


  • The CSO’s penultimate subscription concert pairs Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy (Symphony No. 4) and Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony. (June 11, 12, 13, 2015)


  • The season culminates with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and the world premiere of a CSO commission from Mead Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology. (June 18, 19, 20, 2015)



The season-long survey of repertoire by Tchaikovsky and Scriabin is complemented by two piano recitals on the Symphony Center Presents Piano series:


  • Garrick Ohlsson performs a Scriabin-focused program, featuring Sonata No. 5, the White Mass Sonata, Désir, and other selected works. (January 25, 2015)
  • Olli Mustonen performs Tchaikovsky’s Album for the Young, Scraibin’s Piano Sonata No. 10and Vers la flamme, Op. 72.A noted composer, Mustonen also performs his own Jehkin Iivana, a work inspired by mystical Nordic legends. (February 22, 2015)




From Berlioz to Boulez: Color and Sensuality

Reveries and Passions


French composers through the ages have been inspired by their country’s unparalleled landscape, vistas, skylines and inimitable culture, whether working with the clarity and precision of the Renaissance and Baroque, the programmatic styles of the 19th century, the sensuousness and emotion of Impressionism or the trailblazing modernism of the 20th and 21st centuries.



The works that are linked by their French lineage on the CSO’s 2014/15 season form the foundation of From Berlioz to Boulez: Color and Sensuality, which traces a nation’s search for a musical identity.


  • Guest conductor Pablo Heras-Casado leads the CSO in a tribute to Pierre Boulez, who celebrates his 90th birthday in 2015, with performances that include his Figures-Doubles-Prismes and Ibéria from Debussy’s Images, as well as Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Alice Sara Ott in her CSO debut. Her performances include an Afterwork Masterworks program and subscription concerts, which also include Stravinsky’s Fireworks, Op. 4. (November 12, 13, 14, 15)


  • Charles Dutoit returns to the CSO to conduct an all-French program including Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole, D’Indy’s Symphony on a French Mountain Air and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe, Suite No. 2. He is joined by pianist Louis Lortie in Franck’s Symphonic Variations. (March 12, 14, 17, 2015)



Dutoit conducts a second all-French program featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, who performs Lalo’s Concerto in D Minor. Other works on the program are Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales and Symphonic Fragments from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Debussy, as well as Saint-Saëns’ La muse et le poète, with Ma and CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen. (March 19, 20, 21, 2015)


  • Baroque specialist Harry Bicket conducts a suite of dances from Rameau’s opera Platée, and Poulenc’s Concert champêtre for Harpsichord and Orchestra with Kristian Bezuidenhout as soloist. Also on the program are Four Preludes and Fugues from J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, as arranged by Igor Stravinsky, and Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3. (April 30, May 1, 2, 2015)


  • A native of Lyon, France, Ludovic Morlot conducts a French-themed program of Stravinsky’s Jeu de cartes, Ravel’s La valse and Concerto for Left Handwith soloist Denis Kozhukhin in his CSO debut, and Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Two Beyond the Score performances explore a portrait of Maurice Ravel. (June 4, 5, 6, 7, 2015)


A second French theme appears in the CSO’s annual three-week festival in May— Reveries and Passions—conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Salonen’s programs emphasize 20th-century operatic and theatrical works drawn together by themes of beauty, fantasy and the darkness of the night.  


  • Ravel’s lyric one-act opera, L’enfant et les sortilèges, features the CSO debut of soprano Chloé Briot in the role of the Child. Debussy’s cantata La damoiselle élue (The Blessed Damsel) and Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite) open the program. (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)    FULL CAST:

                        Chloé Briot (soprano), Child

                        Marie-Eve Munger (soprano), Fire/ Nightingale/ Princess
Kate Royal (soprano), Shepherdess/ Bat/ Owl
Marianne Crebassa (mezzo-soprano), Armchair/ Shepherd/ Squirrel/

                          Female Cat
Elodie Méchain (contralto), Mother/ the China Cup/ Dragonfly

                        Manuel Nuñez-Camelino (tenor), Teapot/ Math Book/ Frog

                        Stéphane Degout (baritone), Clock/ Tomcat

                        Eric Owens (bass-baritone), Chair/ Tree


  • Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande is performed with baritone Stéphane Degout as Pelléas, mezzo-soprano Christine Rice as Mélisande, and bass-baritones Eric Owens and Willard White as Golaud and Arkel, respectively. (May 14, 16, 19, 2015)  


Special scheduling has made it possible for audiences to hear both L’enfant et les sortilèges and Pelléas et Mélisande on consecutive days, May 15 and 16, which may be especially appealing to out-of-town visitors.


  • Jean-Yves Thibaudet is the featured soloist in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, as well as in Messiaen’s iconic Turangalîla-symphonie. CSO Principal Flute Mathieu Dufour also performs a short solo work, Debussy’s Syrinx. (May 21, 22, 23, 2015)


The French theme extends to notable Symphony Center Presentsconcerts including:


  • An SCP Chamber Music concert by the Takács Quartet and pianist Marc-André Hamelin performing Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor and Franck’s Piano Quintet (October 16)


  • An SCP Special Concert with pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich performing all of the major piano works by Pierre Boulez (March 15, 2015)
  • Pianist Cédric Tiberghien, in his SCP Piano series debut, performing works by Debussy and Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit  (May 3, 2015)
  • Pianist Alexandre Tharaud, in his Symphony Center debut, performing works by Couperin, Rameau and Satie, as well as Ravel’s Miroirs (May 10, 2015)
  • Yo-Yo Ma joining CSO musicians for a chamber music concert featuring French repertoire  (May 17, 2015)



Austro-German Masters from Bach to Bruckner


J. S. Bach is widely recognized as the father of Germanic musical culture, creating a foundation upon which the great composers who came after him built a masterly body of instrumental, chamber, symphonic, vocal and operatic works. This tradition is widely represented in the repertoire throughout the CSO’s 2014/15 season with masterpieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Bruckner and Mahler.


  • Maestro Muti launches the 2014/15 season with the CSO and Chicago Symphony Chorus with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The soloists are soprano Camilla Nylund, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova, tenor Christopher Ventris and bass-baritone Eric Owens. The work will also be performed for the CSO’s annual Symphony Ball on September 20. (September 18, 20, 21, 23)


  • Directing from the harpsichord, British conductor Nicholas Kraemer leads J. S. Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos. (November 20, 21, 22, 23, 25)


  • Austro-German music spanning a century is featured in returning Austrian guest conductor Manfred Honeck’s program of Haydn’s Symphony No. 93, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and Richard Strauss’ Don Juan(December 11, 12, 13, 16)


  • Guest conductor Jaap van Zweden is joined by the eminent German baritone Matthias Goerne in a selection of songs by Schubert and Richard Strauss. The program, which will also be performed at a run-out concert in Lincoln, NE on February 6, concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. (February 5, 7, 8, 2015)


  • Maestro Muti leads an all-Mozart program with the Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder performing the Piano Concerto No. 24. The Chicago Symphony Chorus joins Muti and the CSO for a performance of the Süssmayr completion of Mozart’s Requiem, with soloists Rosa Feola, soprano; Alisa Kolosova, mezzo-soprano; Saimir Pirgu, tenor; and bass Michele Pertusi. (February 19, 20, 21, 24, 2015)


  • Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra features CSO Associate Concertmaster Stephanie Jeong, Assistant Principal Cello Kenneth Olsen and pianist Jonathan Biss in a program conducted by Maestro Muti that also includes Ligeti’s Lontano and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 (Little Russian). (March 5, 6, 7, 2015)
  • Returning guest conductor Edo de Waart conducts Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 with soloist Orion Weiss, in his CSO subscription debut, as well as Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and Nocturne by the young American composer Michael Ippolito. The Brahms symphony is also featured in a Beyond the Score presentation. (March 26, 27, 28, 29, 2015)
  • Making her annual appearance with the CSO, Mitusko Uchida leads two Mozart concertos from the piano—Nos. 6 and 26 (Coronation)—and is joined by German soprano Dorothea Röschmann in Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und-leben. (April 2, 3, 4, 2015)
  • Beloved former Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink returns to lead the Orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. (April 9, 10, 11, 14, 2015)
  • Guest conductor Semyon Bychkov’s concerts with the CSO include Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8, on both the subscription series and an Afterwork Masterworks concert on April 23. (April 24, 25, 26, 2015)
  • Guest conductor Harry Bicket combines French and German repertoire in a program that includes Four Preludes and Fugues from J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, in an arrangement by Stravinsky with harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout, and the composer’s Orchestral Suite No. 3. (April 30, May 1, 2, 2015)


Austro-Germanic repertoire extends to Symphony Center Presents concerts, including:


  • Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s traversal of Book I of J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier as part of the SCP Pianoseries. (November 9)
  • Another focus on J. S. Bach occurs on the SCP Chamber series when Gil Shaham performs the complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin with visuals by David Michalek. (March 1, 2015)
  • András Schiff returns to perform Sonatas by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert on the SCP Piano series, as part of his Late Sonatas Project. (March 8, 2015)
  • Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra appear on the SCPOrchestra series performing Beethoven’sPiano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) with Sunwook Kim and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. (April 24, 2015)
  • On her SCP Piano series debut, Orli Shaham combines collections of piano works from Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, Schubert’s Impromptu in G-flat Major, D. 899, Brahms’ Opp. 118 and 119, and Schoenberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces, Op.19. She also includes Intermezzo, My Inner Brahms, by Bruce Adolphe. (May 31, 2015)



The CSO on Tour


In October 2014, the CSO embarks on its 32nd European tour and its fifth to Europe with Maestro Muti.  The tour includes the Orchestra’s debut in Warsaw, Poland and two concerts in Paris, culminating with a week-long residency in Vienna with four performances at the Musikverein, two of which are of Verdi’s Requiem. Other tour cities and repertoire will be announced at a later date.


Maestro Muti and the CSO return to New York’s Carnegie Hall in January and February 2015, with three programs that weave together the key elements of the Orchestra’s 2014/15 season. The Chicago Symphony Chorus appears with the Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky and Scriabin's First Symphony.


  • January 30, 2015

Mendelssohn      Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture

Debussy            La mer

Scriabin             The Divine Poem, Op. 43 (Symphony No. 3)


  • January 31, 2015

Brahms                         Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83

Schumann         Symphony No. 3(Rhenish)

Yefim Bronfman, piano


  • February 1, 2015

Prokofiev           Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78

Scriabin             Symphony No. 1 in E Major, Op. 26

Alisa Kolosova, mezzo-soprano

Sergey Skorokhodov, tenor

Chicago Symphony Chorus; Duain Wolfe, chorus director




The CSO also performs two run-out concerts during the 2014/15 season with guest conductor Jaap van Zweden:


  • CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen is the soloist in Bartók’s Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2 for Violin and Orchestra at the University of Illinois’ Krannert Center in Urbana-Champaign. The program closes with Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. (October 11)


  • Baritone Matthias Goerne joins the CSO at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska in a program of songs by Richard Strauss and Schubert. The program closes with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (February 6, 2015)



Mead Composers-in-Residence


In their fifth and final season as CSO Mead Composers-in-Residence, Mason Bates and Anna Clyne contribute two new works that were commissioned by the CSO. In May 2015, returning guest artist Jennifer Koh premieres Clyne’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Ludovic Morlot. On the final program of the 2014/15 season, Maestro Muti leads the premiere of Bates’ Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, a 20-minute acoustic work about strange creatures based on the book of magical realism of the same title by Luis Borges. Sprites, nymphs, sirens, banshees and naga (evil snakes) populate this surreal, imaginative suite of short movements.



First CSO Performances


In addition to the premieres of CSO commissions by Mead Composers-in-Residence Mason Bates and Anna Clyne, the CSO performs 15 works for the first time, ranging from works by J. S. Bach and Rameau to Revueltas and Panufnik.


Works receiving their first CSO subscription performance are:


J. S. BACH / arr. STRAVINSKY Four Preludes and Fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier I (April 30,

  May 1, 2, 2015)

BERLIOZ  Waverley Overture, Op. 1 (September 25, 26, 27, 30)

BOULEZ  Figures-Doubles-Prismes (November 12, 13, 14, 15)

DEBUSSY  Pelléas et Mélisande (May 14, 16, 19, 2015)

DEBUSSY  Syrinx  (for solo flute)

IPPOLITO  Nocturne for Orchestra (March 26, 28, 2015)

PANUFNIK  Concerto in modo antico (October 2, 3, 4)

RAMEAU  Suite of Dances from Platée (April 30, May 1, 2, 2015)

RAVEL  L’enfant et les sortilèges (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)

REVUELTAS  Sensemayá (December 18, 19, 20)

SCHUBERT / Brahms  Greisengesang, D. 778 (February 5, 6, 7, 8, 2015)

SCHUBERT / Webern  Tränenregen from Die schöne Müllerin, D. 795, No. 10 (February 5, 6, 7, 8, 2015)

SCHUBERT  An Silvia, D. 891 (February 5, 6, 7, 8, 2015)

SCRIABIN  Symphony No. 1 in E Major, Op. 26 (January 22, 23, 24, 2015)

STRAUSS  Traum durch die Dämmerung, Op. 29, No. 1 (February 5, 6, 7, 8, 2015)



Beyond the Score


Overseen by Creative Director Gerard McBurney, the CSO’s Beyond the Score series continues to engage audiences imaginatively. The 2014/15 season offers three new explorations of pieces and composers.


Each presentation of this highly successful series delves into a work or a composer through the seamless integration of historical narrative with live actors, projected visuals and musical examples performed by the CSO. Each of the three programs is performed twice: on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., with Q&A’s following, and Sundays at 3 p.m.


The 2014/15 Beyond the Score presentations include:


  • BOULEZ at 90: Provisionally definitive

In 2015 Pierre Boulez turns 90, and Beyond the Score celebrates with an acoustic and theatrical journey through a lifetime of musical adventures, innovations and discoveries. Performed within an extraordinary, specially-commissioned design, this production mixes live performance with rare archival footage and new interviews with the composer and conductor who has been, from the beginning, one of Beyond the Score’s most passionate champions.  (November 14, 16)


  • BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 

In the summer of 1883, while vacationing in the ancient German spa town of Wiesbaden, Brahms celebrated his 50th birthday by composing one of his mellowest and most open-hearted orchestral works. When he showed the score to his lifelong friend Clara Schumann, she exclaimed: “One beat of the heart, every movement a jewel!”Conductor Edo de Waart leads these Beyond the Score performances of the work. (March 27, 29, 2015)


  • Maurice Ravel:  A Portrait   

Beyond the Score reflects the focus on Ravel’s music this season with a musical and dramatic depiction of this complex, subtle, private, paradoxical and mysterious man who once declared: ‘’My teacher in composition was Edgar Allan Poe... He taught me that true art is a perfect balance between pure intellect and emotion.” Guest conductor Ludovic Morlotleads these Beyond the Scoreperformances. (June 5, 7, 2015)





Fifteen distinguished artists make their subscription debuts with the CSO during the 2014/15 season:


  • French soprano Chloé Briot makes her CSO debut singing the title roles in both Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, both led by Esa-Pekka Salonen in May (May 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 19, 2015)


  • Making her CSO debut, French mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa sings four roles in Ravel’s magical opera L’enfant et les sortilèges—Armchair, Shepherd, Squirrel and Female Cat—as part of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Reveries and Passions festival focusing on French theatrical works. (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)


  • Violinist Stephanie Jeong was appointed Associate Concertmaster of the CSO in 2011 by Music Director Riccardo Muti. The top prize-winner in the 2008 Paganini Violin Competition in Italy, Jeong made her solo debut with the CSO at the age of 12, having won the Orchestra’s Youth Auditions. She makes her CSO subscription debut in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Op. 56. (March 5, 6, 7, 2015)


  • Having previously sung under Maestro Muti in Verdi’s Requiem for her Japanese debut, and as Clytemnestre in Iphigénie en Aulide at the Rome Opera for her Italian debut,Moscow-born mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova makes her CSO subscription debut in the season-opening concerts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. (September 18, 20, 21, 23)


  • First prize-winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin makes his CSO debut performing Ravel’s jazz-inflected Piano Concerto for the Left Hand under the baton of guest conductor Ludovic Morlot. (June 4, 6, 2015)
  • French-born Elodie Méchain’s rich contralto is heard in the roles of Mother, China Cup and Dragonfly when she makes her CSO debut in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen. (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)


  • Many of Canadian coloratura soprano Marie-Eve Munger’s career highlights have occurred in France. She makes her CSO debut in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, taking on the roles of the fire, the nightingale and the princess, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting. (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)


  • In his CSO debut, French tenor Manuel Nuñez-Camelino sings the roles of Teapot, Math Book and Frog in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, led by of Esa-Pekka’s Salonen. (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)


  • Having debuted in recital during the current season of SCP Piano series, German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott makes her CSO debut in 2014/15 under the baton of guest conductor Pablo Heras-Casado in Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Subscription programs also include works by Boulez, Stravinsky and Debussy. (November 12, 13, 14, 15)


  • Over a four-decade career, mezzo-soprano Felicity Palmer has won widespread acclaim for her interpretations of French operatic repertoire. She makes her CSO debut in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting. (May 14, 16, 19, 2015)


  • British mezzo-soprano Christine Rice, a regular performer at opera houses throughout Europe, makes her CSO debut in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen. (May 14, 16, 19, 2015)


  • Winner of the 2004 Kathleen Ferrier Award and a 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Award, English soprano Kate Royal makes her CSO debut singing Shepherdess, Bat and Owl in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, with Esa-Pekka Salonen on the podium. (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)


  • Russian tenor Sergey Skorokhodov makes his CSO debut in Scriabin’s Symphony No. 1, both in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall, under the baton of Maestro Muti. (January 22, 23, 24; February 1, 2015)


  • Baritone Willard White has collaborated numerous times with Esa-Pekka Salonen, and reunites with the conductor for his CSO debut in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. (May 14, 16, 19, 2015)


  • American pianist Orion Weiss—recipient of both the Gilmore Young Artist Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant—returns to Chicago for his CSO subscription debut in March with performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503, under the direction of Edo de Waart. (March 26, 28, 2015)




Returning Guest Conductors


Guest conductors returning to the CSO podium in 2014/15 include:


  • Harry Bicket

Harry Bicket’s return to the CSO includes a suite of dances from Rameau’s opera Platée, J. S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 and Four Preludes and Fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier, in an arrangement by Stravinsky, as well as Poulenc’s Concert champêtre for Harpsichord and Orchestra featuring Kristian Bezuidenhout as soloist. (April 30, May 1, 2, 2015)


  • Semyon Bychkov

A regular guest conductor of the CSO, Bychkov returns for two subscription programs, one featuring Russian repertoire, the other devoted to Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8.The first program includes Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Daniil Trifonov and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8. (April 16, 17, 18, 21, 2015)


Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 is performed on three CSO concerts and the Afterwork Masterworks series. (April 23, 24, 25, 26, 2015)


  • Charles Dutoit

Dutoit returns to the CSO podium to conduct two weeks of French repertoire. The first program includes Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole, D’Indy’s Symphony on a French Mountain Air and Suite No. 2 from Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. He is also joined by pianist Louis Lortie in Franck’s Symphonic Variations. (March 12, 14, 17, 2015)


Dutoit’s second all-French program features Yo-Yo Ma, the CSO’s Joyce Green Creative Consultant, performing Lalo’s Concerto in D Minor.Also featured are Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, Symphonic Fragments from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Debussy and Saint-Saëns’ La muse et le poète, performed alongside CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen. (March 19, 20, 21, 2015)


  • Bernard Haitink

Former CSO Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink returns to lead Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. (April 9, 10, 11, 14, 2015)


  • Manfred Honeck

Manfred Honeck conducts a varied survey of Austro-Germanic works: Haydn’s Symphony No. 93, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Richard Strauss’ Don Juan. (December 11, 12, 13, 16)


  • Nicholas Kraemer

Harpsichordist-Conductor Nicholas Kraemer returns to direct the complete Brandenburg Concertos by J. S. Bach. (November 20, 21 22, 23, 25)


  • Cristian Macelaru

Romanian-born Macelaru conducts a set of Hungarian Dances by Brahms and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (From the New World), and is joined by violinist Elena Urioste for Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. (November 7, 8)


  • Ingo Metzmacher

Germanconductor Ingo Metzmacher returns to the CSO for the first time in a decade to lead an all-Russian program that includes excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Nutcracker, Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 (The Year 1905). (December 4, 5, 6, 9)


  • Ludovic Morlot

Ludovic Morlot’s two subscription programs feature American, French and Russian repertoire.

The first includes Berlioz’s Overture Les franc-juges, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) and the world premiere of Mead Composer-in-Residence Anne Clyne’s ViolinConcerto, commissioned by the CSO and featuring returning guest artist Jennifer Koh. Works by Clyne and Beethoven are featured in the CSO’s Afterwork Masterwork series. (May 28, 30, June 2, 2015)


Morlot follows with a program comprised of 1920s repertoire: Stravinsky’s Jeu de cartes, Ravel’s La valse and Piano Concerto for Left Hand with soloist Denis Kozhukhin in his CSO debut, and Gershwin’s An American in Paris. (June 4, 6, 2015)


  • Vasily Petrenko

Returning guest conductor Vasily Petrenko combines his Russian roots and his adopted home in England with Elgar’s In the South and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. The program also includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) with Paul Lewis. The Beethoven and Rachmaninov are also featured in an Afterwork Masterworks concert on January 7. (January 8, 9, 10, 2015)


  • Carlos Miguel Prieto

In his return to the CSO, Prieto’s bold program includes Prokofiev’s Suite from Lieutenant Kijé, James MacMillan’s Veni, Veni, Emmanuel featuring CSO Principal Percussion Cynthia Yeh, Revueltas’ Sensemayá and Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra. (December 18, 19, 20)


  • Esa-Pekka Salonen

Salonen returns to curate the CSO’s annual festival in May which, this season, focuses on operatic and theatrical French repertoire of the 20th century over three weeks. His programs include:


Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite), Debussy’s cantata La damoiselle élue (The Blessed Damsel), and Ravel’s lyric one-act opera L’enfant et les sortilèges with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and featuring Chloé Briot in her CSO debut as the Child. (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)


Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, with baritone Stéphane Degout as Pelléasand mezzo-soprano Christine Rice as Mélisande. Bass-baritones Eric Owens and Willard White sing the roles of Golaud and Arkel, respectively. (May 14, 16, 19, 2015)


A tour-de-force appearance by French-born Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who performs Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, as well as in the culminating festival work, Messiaen’s iconic Turangalîla-symphonie. CSO Principal Flute Mathieu Dufour is the soloist in Debussy’s Syrinx(May 21, 22, 23, 2015).


  • Mitsuko Uchida

Pianist Mitsuko Uchida returns for her annual appearances with the CSO, leading two Mozart concertos—Nos. 6 and 26 (Coronation)—from the keyboard. She is joined by German soprano Dorothea Röschmann in Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben. (April 2, 3, 4, 2015)


  • Edo de Waart  

Edo de Waart’s return to the CSO includes Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 with Orion Weiss, Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and American composer Michael Ippolito’s Nocturne. The Brahms Symphony is also the subject of a Beyond the Score presentation. (March 26, 27, 28, 29, 2015)


  • Jaap van Zweden

Jaap van Zweden returns to lead the CSO in 2014/15 for two programs – Bartók’s Two Rhapsodies for Violin and Orchestra with CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen as soloist, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5; his second week features a selection of songs by Schubert and Richard Strauss with German baritone Matthias Goerne, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. (October 9, 10, 11, 12, 2014; February 5, 6, 7, 8, 2015)

Returning Guest Artists


Guest artists returning to the CSO during the 2014/15 season’s subscription series include:



  • Jonathan Biss (March 5, 6, 7, 2015)
  • Yefim Bronfman (January 15, 16, 17; January 31, 2015 at Carnegie Hall)
  • Rudolf Buchbinder (February 19, 20, 21, 24, 2015)
  • Paul Lewis (January 7, 8, 9, 10, 2015)
  • Louis Lortie (March 12, 14, 17, 2015)
  • Jean-Yves Thibaudet (May 21, 22, 23, 2015)
  • Daniil Trifonov (April 16, 17, 18, 21, 2015)
  • Orion Weiss (March 26, 28, 2015)



  • Kristian Bezuidenhout (April 30, May 1, 2, 2015)



  • Mathieu Dufour, Principal, CSO (May 21, 22, 23, 2015)



  • Christopher Martin, Principal, CSO (October 2, 3, 4, and in Warsaw October 23)



  • Robert Chen, Concertmaster, CSO (October 9, 10, 11, 12, 2014; March 19, 20, 21, 2015)
  • Jennifer Koh (May 28, 30; June 2, 2015)



  • Yo-Yo Ma, CSO Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant (March 19, 20, 21, 2015)
  • Kenneth Olsen, Assistant Principal, CSO (March 5, 6, 7, 2015)



  • Cynthia Yeh, Principal, CSO (December 18, 19, 20)



  • Stéphane Degout, baritone (May 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 19, 2015) 
  • Rosa Feola, soprano (February 19, 20, 21, 24, 2015)
  • Matthias Goerne, baritone (February 5, 6, 7, 8, 2015)
  • Alisa Kolosova, mezzo-soprano (January 22, 23, 24; February 1, 19, 20, 21, 24, 2015)
  • Camilla Nylund, soprano (September 18, 20, 21, 23)
  • Eric Owens, bass-baritone  (September 18, 20, 21, 23, 2014; May 14, 16, 19, 2015)
  • Saimir Pirgu, tenor (February 19, 20, 21, 24, 2015)
  • Michele Pertusi, bass (February 19, 20, 21, 24, 2015)
  • Christopher Ventris, tenor (September 18, 20, 21, 23)



CSO at the Movies


CSO at the Moviesoffers a unique opportunity to hear live performances of great film scores played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The performances include feature films or film excerpts projected above the stage. This season, presentations take place on November 28, 2014, March 13 and May 29, 2015.


  • Pixar in Concert (November 28)

Noted pops conductor Richard Kaufman returns to lead CSO at the Movies. Pixar in Concert features unforgettable music from all 14 of Pixar’s film scores, from Toy Story to Monsters University, with scenes projected on the big screen. This program will also be seen on two additional non-subscription special presentations on November 29 and 30.


  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (March 13)

Guest conductor André de Ridder leads the CSO and Chorus in one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley Kubrick’s compelling masterpiece is celebrated for its technological realism, innovative Oscar®-winning special effects and brilliant use of music. The film brought worldwide fame to the opening of Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra and the music of György Ligeti, and includes one of cinema's most memorable scenes—a spaceship floating through space to Johann Strauss, Jr.’s Blue Danube Waltz.


This performance is presented in association with Warner Bros, Southbank Centre London and the British Film Institute.


Additional programs will be announced at a later date.



Chicago Symphony Chorus


The Chicago Symphony Chorus, under the leadership of Chorus Director and Conductor Duain Wolfe, appears with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra three times under the baton of Riccardo Muti during the 2014/15 season, and celebrates the 20th anniversary of its popular holiday program, Welcome Yule!. They also perform as part of the Reveries and Passions festival with guest conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.


  • The Chorus joins Riccardo Muti and the CSO for the season-opening concerts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, which will also be featured at the CSO’s annual Symphony Ball.  The vocal cast includes soprano Camilla Nylund, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova, tenor Christopher Ventris and bass-baritoneEric Owens. (September 18, 20, 21, 23)


  • Welcome Yule!is a beloved Chicago holiday tradition that celebrates its 20th year in 2014/15. This full-length musical production, conceived and conducted by Duain Wolfe, is a delight for the eyes and ears, featuring the Chorus, members of the CSO, dancers, sing-alongs and appearances by beloved holiday characters. (December 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
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  • The Chorus joins Maestro Muti and the CSO at home in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall performing Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky and Scriabin’s Symphony No. 1. The soloists are mezzo-soprano Alisa Kolosova and tenor Sergey Skorokhodov. (January 22, 23, 24; February 1, 2015)


  • Maestro Muti leads Mozart’s final work—the Requiem—on a program that opens with pianist Rudolf Buchbinder as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24. The Requiem features soprano Rosa Feola, mezzo-soprano Alisa Kolosova, tenor Saimir Pirgu, and bass Michele Pertusi. (February 19, 20, 21, 24, 2015)


  • Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the CSO and Chorus in the first of three weeks of 20th century French repertoire, including Ravel’s lyric one-act opera, L’enfant et les sortileges. (May 7, 8, 9, 15, 2015)


  • Salonen conducts Debussy’s complete Pelléas et Mélisande with the CSO and Chorus, as well as a full cast, as part of the French theme Reveries and Passions. (May 14, 16, 19, 2105)



CSO Radio


The immensely popular weekly CSO Radio Broadcast Series is syndicated nationally to more than 400 radio stations in 44 states and territories, reaching over 485,000 listeners each week nationwide via the WFMT Radio Network.


With lively and engaging content—designed to illustrate the stories inside the music and provide insight into programmatic themes of the CSO’s concert season—the series offers a new and distinctive approach to classical music radio. The broadcasts include recorded concert performances by the CSO; produced segments featuring interviews with musicians of the Orchestra, guest artists and composers; and explorations of the CSO’s rich catalog of commercial recordings as well as its illustrious history in Chicago.


A strong online presence at gives music lovers access not only to additional content (including full-length interviews and commentary, program notes, and biographical information), but also to streaming audio of the complete broadcasts following the initial air date.


The series is heard locally in Chicago on 98.7 WFMT on Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. For other cities, please check local listings.

Symphony Center Presents


Through Symphony Center Presents (SCP), the CSOA brings a diverse array of superb ensembles and individuals from around the world to Symphony Center in Chicago.  All of the SCP series – Piano, Chamber Music, Jazz, Orchestra, MusicNOW and Special Concerts – include unique, innovative and exciting programming.


Symphony Center Presents Piano Series


Across 10 Sunday afternoon performances, the 2014/15 Symphony Center Presents Piano series presents the crème de la crème of the keyboard world, a diverse group that includes established stars and young pianists making their recital debuts, as they perform more than three centuries’ worth of repertoire. SCP welcomes the return of such series favorites as András Schiff, Evgeny Kissin, Maurizio Pollini and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, as well as newcomers Alexandre Tharaud, Cédric Tiberghien and Orli Shaham.


  • Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini returns to open the SCP Pianoseries. His program will be announced at a later date. (October 26)


  • French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, a frequent visitor to Chicago, devotes his SCP program to a traversal of Book I of J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. While Bach’s intended his collection of preludes and fugues for study by young musicians, the demanding counterpoint and inventive harmonies have made the work one of the most revered in the piano canon. (November 9)
  • Pianist Garrick Ohlsson brings a Scriabin-focused program to the SCP Piano series, along with works by Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. Scriabin’s kaleidoscopic works were influenced by his interest in mysticism, as well as his synesthesia. He created his own harmonic language that included a circle of fifths that matched notes to colors. (January 25, 2015)
  • Hungarian pianist András Schiff follows his two-season Bach Project with a multi-season exploration of the late sonatas by Austrian and German classical masters. He inaugurates the series with Haydn’s Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI:50, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109, Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, K. 545 and Schubert’s Sonata in C Minor, D. 958. (March 8, 2015)
  • Murray Perahia returns to Symphony Center with his trademark precision and virtuosity. His program will be announced at a later date. (March 22, 2015)
  • Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin makes his annual return to the SCP Piano series with a program that includes Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 21 (Waldstein), Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, and selected Preludes from Op. 23 and 32 by Rachmaninov. (April 19, 2015)
  • The international career of young French pianist Cédric Tiberghien brings him to the Orchestra Hall stage for the first time with a poetic and sensual program of Debussy’s Masques, D’un cahier d’esquisses and L’isle joyeuse, Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit and Szymanowski’s Masks. (May 3, 2015)
  • French pianist Alexandre Tharaud makes his SCP Piano series debut with a program pairing French Baroque works by Rameau and Couperin with pieces by Satie, as well as Ravel’s Miroirs. (May 10, 2015)
  • On her SCP Piano series debut, Orli Shaham combines collections of piano works from Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, Schubert’s Impromptu in G-flat Major, D. 899, Brahms’ Opp. 118 and 119 and Schoenberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19. She also includes Intermezzo, My Inner Brahms, by Bruce Adolph. (May 31, 2015)
  • Finnish pianist Olli Mustonen returns to the SCP Pianoseries with repertoire that mirrors the orchestra’s pairing in 2014/15 of Russian composers Tchaikovsky and Scriabin. He’ll play the former’s Album for the Young, and the latter’s Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 17,and Vers la flamme, Op. 72, as well as mazurkas by Chopin.Also a noted composer, Mustonen will also perform his own Jehkin Iivana, a work inspired by mystical Nordic legends. (February 22, 2015)



Symphony Center Presents Chamber Music Series


The five concerts on the 2014/15 Symphony Center Presents Chamber Music series feature classical superstars, as well as unique pairings and stirring ensembles. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, collaborates with musicians of the CSO; Anne-Sophie Mutter brings her own chamber orchestra, Mutter Virtuosi; and the Takács Quartet make their debut on the series collaborating with pianist Marc-André Hamelin. The series also includes recitals by the dynamic violinist Hilary Hahn and a special presentation of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas performed by violinist Gil Shaham.


  • The award-winning Hungarian Takács Quartet, long-based in Boulder, Colorado, performs Haydn’s String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 64, No 3, Debussy’s String Quartet and, in collaboration with virtuoso French-Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin, Franck’s Piano Quintet. (October 16)


  • World-renowned violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter last appeared at Symphony Center with the CSO in March 2013. She returns with her chamber orchestra, Mutter Virtuosi, to perform Sebastian Currier’s Ringtones, Mendelssohn’s Octet, and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. (November 19)


  • Having performed last season with legendary film score composer and conductor John Williams on CSO at the Movies, Gil Shaham returns for an SCP Chamber program, performing the complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin by J. S. Bach, accompanied by projections of visual imagery by David Michalek, who specializes in interactive collaborations with artists and audiences. (March 1, 2015)


  • The ever-inquisitive violinist Hilary Hahn returns to Chicago with an SCP Chamber program with pianist Cory Smythe. (April 12)


  • CSO Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma makes his annual appearance on the SCP Chamber Music series, this time joined by musicians of the CSO for a program of French repertoire. (May 17, 2015)



Symphony Center Presents Orchestra Series


Every year, the Symphony Center Presents Orchestra series brings orchestras from around the world to Chicago, giving audiences an opportunity to hear the repertoire and varied sounds of distinguished international ensembles. This season, three orchestras, led by their music directors, make their series debuts in programs showcasing each orchestra at its finest.  


  • Russian powerhouse conductor Vladimir Jurowski returns to Chicago for an all-Strauss program, bringing his London Philharmonic Orchestra to Symphony Center for works inspired by musical heroes. Magnus Lindberg’s haunting Chorale is a reconception of a cantata by J. S. Bach, while Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, fashions 24 variations from a theme by the famed early 19th century violinist. Closing the program is Shostakovich’s profound Symphony No. 8. (October 18)


  • French and Dutch repertoire are featured when Yannick Nézet-Séguin, making his Chicago debut, conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in Musique pour l’esprit en deuil (Music for the Spirit in Mourning) by Rudolf Escher, a Dutch composer with French sympathies who worked with Boulez, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with soloist Hélène Grimaud. Also on the program is Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. (February 20, 2015)


  • Following numerous guest conducting appearances with the CSO, Korean conductor Myung-Whun Chung returns to Chicago with his Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra for a program including Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) with Sunwook Kim as soloist and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. (April 24, 2015)


Symphony Center Presents MusicNOW


MusicNOW, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's nationally recognized and critically acclaimed new music series, offers innovative works by some of today’s most prominent composers and young artists. Curated by the CSO’s two Mead Composers-in-Residence, Mason Batesand Anna Clyne, MusicNOW provides a special opportunity to experience concerts completely dedicated to music by living composers. Principal Conductor Cliff Colnot conducts two of the season's programs.


The series will feature works by today’s most promising composers on four Monday evenings at 7 p.m. Bates and Clyne work together to program music with a range of both influence and instrumentation—eclectic and gripping programs that take full advantage of the sound and lighting capabilities at the state-of-the-art Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, which has hosted the series since 2005. They also seek to foster multimedia and multigenre collaborations with a variety of artists.


Many of the composers whose works are presented on theMusicNOW series attend the concert, speak with the audience and engage concertgoers at receptions that follow each performance. The free postconcert receptions include complimentary food and drink. Concerts during 2014/15 take place on September 29, January 19, March 23 and June 1. Complete programming details will be announced at a later date.


MusicNOW receives leadership funding through a challenge grant from the Irving Harris Foundation, Joan W. Harris.  Generous major support is provided by Cindy Sargent and the Sally Mead Hands Foundation.



Symphony Center Presents Special Concerts


The 2014/15 Symphony Center Presentscollection of Special Concerts features unique non-subscription presentations showcasing the finest in world music, jazz, folk, holiday concerts and family programs.


  • An annual favorite at Symphony Center, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán presents another spectacular afternoon of joyful Mexican music. Founded in 1897 and based in Mexico City, it is the oldest and greatest of mariachis, with more than 50 recordings and appearances in more than 200 feature films. Its versatile members present a diverse offering of traditional sones, modern works and everything in between. (September 28)
  • ·
  • Bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile, of Punch Brothers, team up as composer/performers to cross traditional boundaries in a diverse program of largely original music. Expect an intelligent, entertaining performance from these two MacArthur Fellows, whose long history of collaborations will bring a soon-to-be-released recording of new original material. (October 17)
  • ·
  • China’s NCPA Orchestra, resident in Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, and its Principal Conductor Lu Jia make their Symphony Center debut on their inaugural U.S. tour with a colorful program of Qigang Chen’s Wu Xing (Five Elements), Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with soloist Yuja Wang. (November 2)


  • Mazowsze, the magnificent State Song and Dance Ensemble of Poland, returns to Symphony Center with a kaleidoscopic display featuring the dazzling movements of 100 performers sporting 1,500 vibrant and colorful costumes. (November 5)


  • An annual Thanksgiving-weekend delight, the Vienna Boys Choirreturns to Chicago for a joyful performance to herald the start of the holiday season. Founded more than 500 years ago, the beloved choir has worked with such musical luminaries as Mozart, Gluck and Bruckner, and it once counted Franz Schubert as one of its singers. Today’s ensemble consists of choristers between the ages of 10 and 14 who tour throughout Europe, Asia and North America and perform more than 300 concerts in front of nearly half a million people each year. (November 29)


  • Chanticleerreturns to Chicago for its annual holiday performances of A Chanticleer Christmas at Fourth Presbyterian Church, located along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Based in San Francisco, the 12-voice male a cappella ensemble has developed a remarkable reputation as “an orchestra of voices,” and the group’s Christmas concert provides a pleasing and joyous variety of celebratory music spanning plainsong, Renaissance, liturgical, traditional, jazz, contemporary and gospel. Undeniably one of the world’s foremost vocal ensembles and a recipient of multiple Grammy® Awards, Chanticleer was named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America, the first time a vocal group had been so recognized. (December 2 and 3)


  • Typically visiting in the month of March, Chicago’s favorite Irish band, The Chieftains, returns this season for a special Christmas program. Winners of six Grammy® Awards and the official musical ambassadors of Ireland, The Chieftains, with leader and founding member Paddy Moloney, are credited with bringing traditional Celtic music to the world’s attention and establishing its international appeal. (December 7)


  • Renowned as the finest orchestral brass players in the world, the CSO Brass return for their annual appearance with their trademark virtuosity and precision on a program of traditional favorites and symphonic masterworks arranged for brass ensemble. (December 18)


  • CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma celebrates the 15th anniversary of his Silk Road Ensemble. Since the ensemble’s founding, Ma and his fellow musicians have sparked the imaginations of audiences all over the world by drawing together distinguished performers and composers from more than 20 countries and eagerly exploring contemporary musical crossroads. (March 6, 2015)


  • A longtime collaborator and close associate of Pierre Boulez, Pierre-Laurent Aimard is joined by Tamara Stefanovich in a celebration of the visionary composer’s 90th birthday with a performance of his major works for keyboard, including Sonatas I and II, Notations, and Book II of his Structures for Two Pianos. (March 15, 2015)


  • As the world’s premiere taiko ensemble, Kodo has revolutionized the art of traditional Japanese drumming. Their astounding strength, dexterity and athleticism is on masterly display in their original program. (March 16, 2015)


  • An evening of elegance and nostalgia is assured when Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester make their biennial trip to Symphony Center, performing their signature dance tunes from the 1920s and 1930s, brought to brilliant life in their contemporary arrangements. (April 8, 2015)





The Institute for Learning, Access and Training at the

Chicago Symphony Orchestra


The Institute for Learning, Access and Training at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra seeks to create and sustain connections to music for individuals and communities by sharing the extraordinary musical resources of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Institute engages more than 200,000 people annually in Chicago and beyond through programs for people of all ages. Created in 2008 as the umbrella for the CSO’s existing education and community engagement programs, the Institute maintains relationships with the greater Chicago community that the CSO has been fostering for decades, and is home to some of the CSO’s most innovative programming, all of which endeavors to inspire and transform lives through music.


Under the leadership of Music Director Riccardo Muti and Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma, the Institute in 2014/15 will focus on connecting with the greater Chicago community, its ongoing commitment to training the next generation of musicians, and the values embodied by the Citizen Musician Initiative.




Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma is the catalyst behind the Citizen Musician Initiative, which encourages musicians (professional, young and amateur), music lovers, music teachers and music institutions to generously use and promote the power of music to contribute to our culture, our communities, and the lives of others. The values of Citizen Musicianship inform all of the programs and activities of the Institute for Learning, Access and Training. Though the idea of Citizen Musicianship has long guided the CSO, the phrase was coined in 2011, when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra launched an initiative to systemically promote Citizen Musicianship. 


As part of ongoing Citizen Musician activities, Maestro Muti continues his work at Chicago-area youth detention centers, Ma carries on his work as a passionate advocate for arts education, members of the CSO perform and mentor regularly at organizations across Chicago and while on tour, and the Civic Orchestra’s Citizen Musician Fellowship enters its second year. Leadership support for the CSO’s Citizen Musician Initiative is provided by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and The Negaunee Foundation.



Education and Family Concerts


The 2014/15 season continues the popular CSO Family Matinee series for families with children ages five through nine and presents the third season of the Once Upon a Symphonyseries for families with children ages three through five. This season’s Family Matineeseries features three programs that explore the ways that music communicates, transporting listeners to different places, vividly portraying characters and inspiring an amazing range of emotions.  Each concert is designed to introduce children to great works of orchestral literature, igniting their imagination through some of the most dynamic, exciting and enduring works of music that they will encounter at concerts for the rest of their lives.


  • Downtown Sounds

Members of the CSO embark on a tour of the musical landscapes and cityscapes created in compositions by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Bedřich Smetana. The program explores the ways that composers use sound to rebuild places such as their homeland and features of their neighborhoods. (November 22)


  • Carnival of the Animals

Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra demonstrate how the instruments of the orchestra can conjure a zoo full of characters, including elephants lumbering across the safari, swans taking flight and schools of fish swimming in a current. This program focuses on the preeminent menagerie of the classical repertoire, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. (March 21, 2015)


  • Tchaikovsky Spectacular

Returning conductor Edwin Outwater leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with guest dancers from Hubbard Street 2 in an exploration of the spectacular sounds of one of the greatest composers of all time. This program focuses on the music of Tchaikovsky, famous for its unparalleled ability to express and inspire emotion. (May 2, 2015)


The Institute’s Very Special Promenadesprogram also offers two performances of each of the FamilyMatinee programs specifically for student groups in grades K–3 on the Friday preceding the FamilyMatinee series concerts. CSO Youth Concertsfor students in grades 4–8are offered in the 2014/15 season with two concerts each on April 29 and 30, consisting of age-appropriate orchestral explorations, including a performance by the winner of the 2013 Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions.


During 2014/15, the Institute presents two unique Once Upon a Symphony programs, The Little Red Hen and Jack and the Beanstalk. These performances, featuring a small ensemble of CSO musicians, are designed especially for children ages three to five with age-appropriate music, storytelling, video projections, activities, sets and costumes that give young children a fun introduction to classical music and encourage them to make music at home. Performances in the 2014/15 season will occur in December, January, February, and April. Once Upon a Symphonyprograms are presented on Saturdays for families with children ages three to five and on corresponding Mondays for preschool, daycare and Head Start audiences.



Civic Orchestra and Training Programs


The Civic Orchestra of Chicago, founded in 1919 by CSO Music Director Frederick Stock, is the pre-professional training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 2014/15, the Civic Orchestra will offer free programs at Symphony Center and community venues around Chicago under Principal Conductor Cliff Colnot and a number of distinguished guest conductors. The roster of conductors and programs will be announced at a later date. The Civic Orchestra will continue to bring music to Chicago neighborhoods through free interactive chamber music performances at Chicago Park District sites around the city and at least one full orchestra concert performed in a Chicago neighborhood.


An important element of the Civic Orchestra’s training experience is cultivating Citizen Musicianship, the ability to respond to the needs of our community, communicate effectively with audiences and succeed in the rapidly evolving world of music in the 21st century. In the 2014/15 season, Civic musicians will continue their work with Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma, experimenting with new ideas, building leadership skills and collaborating with one another in innovative ways to further their individual and collective creativity.


In the 2014/15 season, the Civic Orchestra launches a new two-year Citizen Musician Fellowship program. Up to eight Civic musicians will be selected to participate in a rigorous curriculum that cultivates their abilities as effective musical leaders, entrepreneurs and educators. Citizen Musician Fellows will participate in all regular activities of the Civic Orchestra as well as work in Chicago Public Schools, collaborate with Chicago’s rich network of community music schools, create and perform innovative chamber concerts that strengthen their artistic capacity, and engage in musical entrepreneurship training that will expand their identity in the larger world around them.


The Crain-Maling CSO Youth Auditions are held annually for young musicians between the ages of 14 and 17 who are residents of Illinois. Each year, one outstanding soloist is selected via audition to perform with the CSO. The auditions also make additional awards of scholarships to music camps for select participants. A three-year rotation schedule determines the eligible instruments for each competition: Strings, Piano and Woodwinds/Brass/Percussion. Auditions in the 2014/15 season will be open to pianists.


Established in 1995, the Percussion Scholarship Program offers intensive, individual, weekly and year-round percussion instruction for young musicians on a full scholarship basis. Participating students—all of whom are Chicago residents in grades 4 through 12—are selected for the group through a rigorous application and personal interview process, through which 5–10 new students are identified annually. The Percussion Scholarship Program offers two major recitals at Symphony Center each season, in December and in May.



Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprenticeship


The Second International CSO Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprenticeship began in the 2013/14 season. Through a competitive audition process held in the spring of 2013, Matthew Aucoin was selected by an international jury chaired by Music Director Riccardo Muti. As the CSO’s Conducting Fellow, Aucoin will study with Maestro Muti and key guest conductors of the CSO through the 2014/15 season, as well as work closely with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. The Apprenticeship includes an annual cash award, paid travel and a lodging allowance to help support apprenticeship activities. These are provided by a generous grant from the Claire Rosen & Samuel Edes Foundation.



Programming and Partnerships for Schools


As a part of his work with the Institute, Yo-Yo Ma is passionately devoted to advocating for significant positive change in public education so that all children have access to learning opportunities that prepare them to be part of both an innovative, creative workforce and an enlightened citizenry. Further, active participation in the arts generally, and in music-making specifically, plays a critical role in students’ perseverance and success in school. These principles guide the Institute’s ongoing work with public schools, including the Orchestra Explorers curriculum and the Music Activity Partnership program, which serve select Chicago Public Schools over a three-year period, and strategic advocacy with the Chicago Public Schools to support the implementation of its Arts Education Plan.


The Orchestra Explorerscurriculum includes interdisciplinary lesson plans and a recording of music performed by the CSO. It is designed to be accessible for K–3 classroom teachers who do not have a background in classical music, providing materials free to teachers and arts specialists across greater Chicago, and for a modest price outside of greater Chicago. The materials also support the CSO’s education concerts, so students can connect what they have experienced in their classrooms with the thrill of hearing the Orchestra live at Symphony Center. The Institute provides a series of teacher workshops—both at Symphony Center and at school sites across Chicago—that support teachers’ successful use of the curriculum in their classroom. To date, Orchestra Explorers materials have been distributed to more than 100,000 students.



2015 Chicago Youth in Music Festival


The Chicago Youth in Music Festival is a biennial celebration of the achievements of young classical musicians from across Chicago and the world. Through a series of intensive rehearsals and workshops, young Chicago musicians will prepare for appearances onstage at Orchestra Hall and in community locations around the city and suburbs. They are joined by mentors from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and international guest artists.


Participating students will unlock their passions and hone their talents while tapping into a rich network of support from their peers. Students will also gain valuable orchestral experience and develop an understanding of the values expressed by the CSO's Citizen Musician initiative through workshop sessions and community events. All Festival events will be offered free of charge and will include special performances for Chicago Public Schools students.


Details for the 2015 Festival will be announced at a later date.



 Subscription and Ticket information


Subscription materials for the 2014/15 season of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Center Presents concerts are now available, offering savings of up to 49% off regular single ticket prices on a wide variety of concert packages, from three to 10 concerts each. Subscribers also receive reduced prices on additional tickets when purchased by August 7, 2014, plus ticket exchange options and other valued benefits, including priority service, discounts on Symphony Center merchandise and at tesori restaurant and subscriber-only prepaid parking. Box seat and 10-concert subscribers also receive unlimited free ticket exchange privileges throughout the season.


Tickets for Special Concerts are currently available for purchase only with subscriptions. Subscriptions may be purchased or renewed by any of five methods: online, by phone, by fax, by mail or in person at the box office. The CSO provides an easy payment plan option for subscribers: subscription purchases made by credit card by March 15, 2014, are eligible for the payment plan and will be automatically charged in two, three or four monthly installments.


For more information, please call CSO Ticketing Services at 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or visit the CSO’s website. Groups of 10 or more who are interested in subscribing to the 2014/15 season should call Symphony Center’s Group Sales Department at 312-294-3040.


Patrons can also visit to order tickets and parking, find out about upcoming events, make reservations at nearby restaurants, view and listen to video and audio about the performers, purchase CSO merchandise and make donations.


Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is located at 220 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago.




Photos: Todd Rosenberg







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