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CSO and musicians reach tentative agreement; 3-year pact secures concerts, October tours

Sep 24, 2012 – 8:55 pm
Upcoming concerts and tours can be salvaged if the Chicago Symphony management and musicians ratify their tentative contract. File photo of the Chicago  Symphony and music director Riccardo Muti. Credit Todd Rosenberg

Report: CSO board’s approval due soon.

As CSO contract talks break down, musicians’ strike forces last-minute concert cancellation

Sep 23, 2012 – 1:23 am
Chicago Symphony musicians' strike signs

Update: Talks resume with mediator.

Muti and the CSO launch season with a bang sparked by off-beat, over-the-top mix of works

Sep 21, 2012 – 5:50 pm
9/20/12 8:50:14 PM -- Music Director Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Dvorák's  Symphony No. 5  during the opening of the CSO's 2012/13 season at Orchestra Hall. Credit Todd Rosenberg

Review: Symphony orchestra seasons typical open with some form of sizzle, maybe a mix of warhorse masterwork and superstar soloist. But music director Riccardo Muti went the opposite direction, kicking off the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new season Thursday night with a complete sleeper of a program, an evening of little-known works and with no soloist at all. It was terrific. ****

Chicago Opera’s stage magic is a bit rough, but fine singing delivers a charming ‘Flute’

Sep 16, 2012 – 1:16 pm
Sean Panikkar as Tamino in Chicago Opera Theater The Magic Flute 2012 credit Liz Lauren

Review: The Chicago Opera Theater production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” leaves one with two distinct impressions. For the most part, its young cast sings with stylistic savvy, fetching beauty and engaging spirit – all shaped with unfailing sensibility by conductor Steuart Bedford.★★★

CSO resident composer Mason Bates receives $250,000 Heinz award in arts and humanities

Sep 12, 2012 – 10:39 am
5/14/11 7:45:35 PM : Chicago Symphony OrchestraRiccardo Muti Music DirectorYoYo Ma Cello* Bates  The B-Sides, Five Pieces for Orchestra and Electronica* Schumann  Cello Concerto* Strauss  Aus Italien © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2011

He receives prize Oct. 11 in Pittsburgh.

Chicago Opera picks another Queen for ‘Flute’ after visa flap dethrones new Irish sensation

Aug 28, 2012 – 4:03 pm
Chicago Opera Theater's "Magic Flute" gets a star change

Even queens get caught in red tape.

Ravinia favorite Misha Dichter’s double life revealed: The pianist’s a serious cartoonist

Jul 28, 2012 – 3:13 pm
Misha Dichter drawing from A Pianist's World in Drawings credit Rosetta Books

Report: Pianist Misha Dichter, who celebrates his 45th consecutive season with the Ravinia Festival on July 29, shares his passion for sketching in a new e-book.

Free outdoor simulcast of Paris Opéra Ballet proves Harris Theater, Pritzker dynamic duo

Jun 30, 2012 – 1:19 pm

Review: The best antidote to Chicago temperatures in the nineties is this surpassingly cool prospect — free Millennium Park concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, where the sound is superb and the ceiling’s a canopy of stars. Cooler still was the addition of big screen video to this outdoor mix that a huge crowd enjoyed June 27, when the Paris Opéra Ballet’s exquisite production of “Giselle” was projected live via the big screen, from inside the Harris Theater, to the traditional classical-loving audience of the Grant Park Orchestra. ****

With a winning smile and no visible effort, violinist heats Glass like a modern Paganini

Jun 25, 2012 – 1:56 pm
Tim Fain feature image credit Briana Blasko

Review: No doubt the large crowd gathered June 23 at the Ravinia Festival’s Martin Recital Hall was drawn mainly by the prospect of seeing 75-year-old composer-pianist Philip Glass perform a program of his own music. And no doubt they came away delighted by the 90-minute sampler of Glass’ music through the decades and his affable flair for story-telling. But the brightest light on this evening was cast by the youthful, California-born violinist Tim Fain, who played – among other things — one prodigious movement from an unaccompanied suite that Glass has written for him. *****

With Muti again managing the house, CSO’s Bruckner Sixth becomes one splendid edifice

Jun 24, 2012 – 11:30 am
10/3/07 9:59:04 PM-- Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2007.

Review: One of the fascinations of this Chicago Symphony Orchestra season — which drew toward its close Sunday with the final performance of Bruckner’s Sixth in its sumptuous glory — has been to hear various conductors come into the same acoustical space of Orchestra Hall, stand in the same spot where music director Riccardo Muti stands, and ply their art with the same band of a hundred-plus that Muti conducts. ****

Capping second CSO season with Bruckner, Muti pledges Austrian-accented 6th Symphony

Jun 19, 2012 – 9:07 am
Riccardo Muti closeup conducts Chicago credit_Todd_Rosenberg

Exclusive Interview: When conductor Riccardo Muti recorded Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major with the Berlin Philharmonic 25 years ago, he came to the task steeped in the Bruckner tradition of the Vienna Philharmonic – a distinctively Austrian way of looking at this thoroughly Austrian Late-Romantic composer. Now, to close out his second season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Muti says he will bring that perspective to the Bruckner Sixth on June 22-24.

Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric Opera music director, adds the Melbourne Symphony to duties

Jun 18, 2012 – 3:17 pm
SIR_ANDREW_DAVIS credit Dario Acosta Photography

Will shuttle between continents.

In lightning-quick Beethoven 7th Symphony, van Zweden and CSO deliver a poetic thriller

May 16, 2012 – 11:05 am
Jaap van Zweden credit Hans Vanderwoerd

Review: It’s one thing to hear a hair-raising orchestra performance on a CD, and quite another to experience it happening right in front of you, live, in the splendorous acoustics of a concert space. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s rocket-sled finale in Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on May 15 at Orchestra Hall, with conductor Jaap van Zweden, was one to send a writer combing his thesaurus for a higher form of wow. *****

Chicago Symphony nabs key player from Detroit to helm bass

May 14, 2012 – 11:46 am
Alexander Hanna featured image

Alexander Hanna, 26, was groomed at Curtis, Tanglewood and Verbier.

On the Lyric Opera stage, pianist Lang Lang lends Schubert, Chopin a tenor of virtuosity

May 14, 2012 – 12:32 am
Lang Lang 250 credit Robert Kusel Lyric Opera

Review: Lang Lang’s debut at Chicago’s 3500-seat Civic Opera House was quietly elegant, cogently argued and intensely focused. That is, until the abundantly gifted pianist gave himself over to some astonishing fireworks. With a technique like that, who can blame him? ****

Chicago Symphony plans Asian tour with Muti, and adds Mexico debut to fall Carnegie opener

May 8, 2012 – 12:33 pm
Chicago Symphony 2012-2013 tour map credit Nancy Malitz

Beijing, Mexico City, Seoul among stops.

Lang Lang, star pianist and global citizen, will bring Chopin, other friends to Chicago recital

May 7, 2012 – 2:35 pm
Lang Lang feature image credit Philip Glaser

Preview: When Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang steps onto the stage at the Civic Opera House for his recital Saturday night, it will be a special moment for everyone in the house – including the pianist.

Louis Langrée to helm Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Apr 24, 2012 – 1:10 pm

Starts in 2013 as 13th music director

From the Bard to Beethoven: Actor Simon Callow to return to Chicago in June with Symphony

Apr 24, 2012 – 10:49 am
Simon Callow performs in "Being Shakespeare" a new play by Jonathan Bate and directed by Tom Cairns, presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music at the BAM Harvey Theater on April 4, 2012.Credit: Stephanie Berger

‘Beyond the Score’ with Riccardo Muti

Handel’s early vengeance opera ‘Teseo’ shines amid Chicago Opera Theater’s vocal splendors

Apr 24, 2012 – 12:37 am
TeseoFeatured

Medea’s very, very jealous. 4 stars!

Chicago Opera lavishes style on Shostakovich comedy about romance — and finding a flat

Apr 18, 2012 – 10:35 am
Moscow Cheryomushki Dmitri Shostakovich feature image Sophie Gordeladze as Lusya Dominic Armstrong as Sergei Chicago Opera Theater credit Liz Lauren

‘Moscow, Cheryomushki.’ 4 stars!

Conductor Charles Dutoit leads French lesson as CSO matches Impressionists with Dutilleux

Apr 14, 2012 – 1:51 pm
Charles Dutoit featured image credit Philadelphia Orchestra

Review: From the admixture of opulence and asceticism that constituted conductor Charles Dutoit’s program of French music with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this weekend, one might have taken away good lessons offered in a perhaps subversively gleeful spirit. ****

Jazz composer’s song-cycle for Dawn Upshaw tops Chicago agenda for Australian ensemble

Apr 12, 2012 – 4:42 pm
Richard Tognetti  feature 1 Australian Chamber Orchestra credit Jon Frank

Preview: It sounds like a perfect mix of guests for a dinner party, the composers queued up for the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s concert April 15 at Orchestra Hall. George Crumb and Anton Webern will be arriving together, so to speak, along with Schubert and Grieg – and a newcomer whose radical voice should give the affair a good jolt.

CSO debut: Pianist Lugansky shows Russian school still thrives with grand Rachmaninoff

Apr 6, 2012 – 5:07 pm

Review: Sensational. That, in a word, was Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky’s debut April 5 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Charles Dutoit. The tall, assured pianist – one could only think of the young Van Cliburn – made epic poetry of Rachmaninoff’s formidable Third Piano Concerto in a performance that probed a deep vein of lyricism and simply transcended technical issues. ****

In a week to remember, pianist Mitsuko Uchida bridges the lyrical realms of Schubert, Mozart

Mar 31, 2012 – 5:59 pm
Mitsuko Uchida featured image credit Hyou Vielz

Commentary: Pianist Mitsuko Uchida’s two appearances this last week at Orchestra Hall, in a recital of Schubert’s late sonatas March 25 and her current concerts playing and conducting Mozart concertos with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, resonate not like discrete encounters but rather like an epic testimonial to her phenomenal art.

Cultural twins, tied to Chicago and Poland, set to make their mark in the orchestra world

Mar 29, 2012 – 8:49 am
Eska Laskus featured image

Receive management fellowships.

Surprise! Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma spring serenade on lunch crowd at Thompson Center

Mar 19, 2012 – 5:17 pm
Renee Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma jam on 3-19-2012 at James T. Thompson Center Chicago  credit Nancy Malitz

Soprano and cello, burgers and pizza.

Solemnity rules as Riccardo Muti guides CSO through musical perspectives on human spirit

Mar 16, 2012 – 4:31 pm
Riccardo Muti music director Chicago Symphony 2012

Review: Riccardo Muti has given Chicago many reasons to celebrate his music directorship of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but perhaps the most perfect expression of his belief in art’s purpose comes in the current run of rarely heard works for chorus and orchestra by Brahms, Schoenberg and Cherubini. ****

In a program of Handel arias, Iestyn Davies illuminates Baroque art of the countertenor

Mar 10, 2012 – 6:48 pm
Iestyn Davies Photo: Marco Borggreve

Review: You’ve got to hand it to countertenor Iestyn Davies and conductor Harry Bicket. When they take a night off from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where they’re performing music of George Frideric Handel, they’re in another part of town performing … George Frideric Handel. Is this love or what? ****

Virtuosity on display, CSO and Zukerman burnish Brahms concerto, 2nd Symphony

Mar 9, 2012 – 5:02 pm
Pinchas Zukerman featured image credit Paul Labelle

Review: Sometimes, in the course of a symphony orchestra season, it’s good just to hear the band dial up the core German repertoire and show what it can do. That’s exactly what the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and music director Riccardo Muti did March 8 in a sumptuous double dose of Brahms, the Violin Concerto with soloist Pinchas Zukerman and the Second Symphony. *****