Home » Archive by Tags

Articles tagged with: Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Julia Fischer takes Beethoven Violin Concerto to rare heights with Chicago Symphony, Muti

Jun 20, 2016 – 2:36 pm
Feature 1

Review: Julia Fischer’s exquisite performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Riccardo Muti is one of the CSO’s don’t-miss concerts of this season. And happily, you have one more chance to hear it, on June 21 at Orchestra Hall.

Chicago Symphony unveils Fritz Reiner bust; honor overdue, says advocate Riccardo Muti

Jun 15, 2016 – 11:38 am
Feature image Reiner sculpture unveiling at CSO. (Todd Rosenberg)

Report: The burning gaze of Fritz Reiner, who presided as sixth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1953-62, is back in full daunting view at Symphony Center, where on June 14 the CSO unveiled a new bust of the conductor that will greet visitors henceforth in the center’s outer lobby.

Pianist’s CSO debut in Beethoven concerto spins spotlight in a mainly Mozart program

Jun 11, 2016 – 12:39 pm
Pianist Martin Helmchen (Marco Borggreve)

Review: For anyone who heard 34-year-old German pianist Martin Helmchen’s scintillating Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut June 9, the only question is surely this: When will the masterly pianist, a formidable presence in Europe since he won the Clara Haskil International Competition 15 years ago, return to Chicago not only to perform with the orchestra again but to play a recital in the Symphony Center Presents series?

In a Stravinsky night Dutoit and CSO recapture the blaze of ‘Firebird,’ esprit of Symphony in C

May 20, 2016 – 1:52 pm
3/19/15 8:09:08 PM -- Chicago, IL, USA
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Charles Dutoit, Conductor
Yo-Yo Ma Cello
. © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Review: If it is impossible to know what it was like to be at the Paris Opera in 1910 and attend the premiere of “The Firebird” as part of a glittering production of the Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s vivid, voluptuous version of this now-celebrated masterwork, heard May 19, offered at least a strong suggestion.

Runnicles leads CSO in 2 probing reflections on death (and variations on another enigma)

May 7, 2016 – 8:08 am
Donald Runnicles feature image

Review: Rather than grand musical statements or virtuosic solo vehicles, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra program May 5 put the focus on quiet introspection, emotional nuance and both the glory and poetry of symphonic sound. All three of the featured works by Britten, Strauss and Elgar were mainstays of the standard repertoire, but guest conductor Donald Runnicles made sure they came off as more than merely routine.

CSO Chorus joins city salute to Shakespeare with tragedy, comedy from Berlioz and Verdi

Apr 6, 2016 – 10:26 pm

Preview: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus help to observe the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in April with performances of two major works under the baton of CSO music director Riccard Muti – Berlioz’s dramatic symphony “Roméo et Juliette” and a concert version of Verdi’s last opera, “Falstaff.” The demands the two works place on the chorus, says director Duain Wolfe, could hardly be more different.

Mälkki’s return to Chicago Symphony podium shows why Finnish conductor’s star is on rise

Apr 1, 2016 – 10:49 am
Feature 1

Review: Expectations were running high for the Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki on her return March 30 to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which she first guest conducted in 2011. And put simply, she delivered. She led a fresh, enthralling interpretation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” infused with apt doses of wonderment and exoticism.

Salonen, embracing history and the present, leads CSO anniversary concert to celebrate

Mar 2, 2016 – 12:15 pm
Feature 1

Review: Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen’s recent concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra came as a multifaceted, indeed exhilarating reminder of the CSO’s grand legacy and at the same time pointed up the orchestra’s undiminished prowess as well as its still-rising arc of achievement.

Manfred Honeck steps in with CSO, tweaks program, delivers exhilarating ‘Pathétique’

Feb 23, 2016 – 8:12 pm
Manfred Honeck 550

Review: On Feb. 27, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will observe the 120th anniversary of its founding with a celebratory concert under its present music director, Manfred Honeck. As patrons of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have just witnessed, Honeck surely will give Pittsburgh reason for celebrations to come.

On large scale and small, Rozhdestvensky’s festive visit with CSO leaves fond memories

Feb 13, 2016 – 1:13 pm
2/11/16 8:12:06 PM -- Chicago Symphony Orchestra 125th Year.

Maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky conducts Sibelius' Rakastava

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2016

Review: As the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has no other festival planned for the current season, let us declare the past two weekends – two completely different but equally marvelous musical encounters — as Rozhdestvensky Fest. After leading his scheduled week of Shostakoivch concerts, the 84-year-old Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky took over for an ailing Riccardo Muti in a second, more intimate program.

To sub for ailing Muti, spry Russian Rozhdestvensky, 84, agrees to stick around

Feb 5, 2016 – 7:27 am
Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky

News Release: CHICAGO — Distinguished Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who is currently in Chicago to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 & 15 this weekend February 5 & 6, has graciously agreed to remain with the Orchestra for an additional set of concerts on February 11, 12, 13 & 16.  Rozhdestvensky steps in for CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti, who had to withdraw from his February concerts in Chicago due to recovery from a hip operation.

Riccardo Muti, hip ailing, withdraws from February Chicago Symphony concerts

Feb 2, 2016 – 7:15 pm
Maestro Riccardo Muti shares a laugh with the orchestra during a January rehearsal in Taipei (Todd Rosenberg)

News Release: CHICAGO — CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti is unable to conduct his February concerts in Chicago due to recovery from a hip operation that was needed following a minor accident. The concert scheduled for February 19 at Holy Name Cathedral will be postponed with a new date to be announced. A guest conductor or conductors for the CSO’s performances February 11-20 will also be announced at a later date.

Two sparkling treasures to stuff a stocking: CSO’s ‘Messiah’ and Joffrey’s ‘Nutcracker’

Dec 13, 2015 – 7:04 am

Review: ’Tis the season when the mere names of Handel and Tchaikovsky conjure two of the most beloved works for concert hall and stage in Western culture. That affection radiates through splendorous continuing productions of Handel’s “Messiah” by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Orchestra Hall and the Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” at the Auditorium Theatre.

Musically agile maestro Davis bends to match iconoclastic Kissin’s Tchaikovsky with CSO

Oct 16, 2015 – 2:17 pm
Artistic director PJ Paparelli was killed in a car crash in May 2015. (American Theatre Company)

Review: You could feel the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s crack troop of musicians and their super-flexible maestro Andrew Davis snap to alertness when the Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin ignored what he had just heard in the opening of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and simply went his own way in a performance Oct. 15 at Orchestra Hall.

Mozart and Beethoven shine in hands of CSO; dust sticks to erstwhile premiere from archives

Oct 3, 2015 – 8:11 am
Riccardo Muti conducts Beethoven

Review: What was good was very good in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s concert with music director Riccardo Muti on Oct. 1 at Orchestra Hall. Then came the program’s bizarre second half, which recalled the previous week’s fare and left one wondering just how weird – and musically marginal – the CSO’s 125th anniversary season will turn out to be.

While the band played on, Chicago Symphony and its musicians hammered out a three-season deal

Sep 29, 2015 – 5:10 am
The Chicago Symphony and its musicians have successfully negotiated a contract that will keep the music flowing for another three seasons. (Todd Rosenberg)

Update: The new deal is good through Sept. 16, 2018.

CSO’s ‘French Reveries and Passions’: Spirit and imagination set crown on a dream festival

May 24, 2015 – 12:09 am
Night falls on the final act of CSO's Pelléas et Mélisande by Debussy. (Todd Rosenberg)

Festival Review: It’s that time of the year when orchestras change their pace, kick back a bit and come a-bloom with new ideas in the spirit of the warming clime. Thus the New York Philharmonic celebrates its 50th season of Concerts in the Parks, the Cincinnati Symphony’s May Festival gets underway, the Boston Symphony is deep into its Pops concerts. But the place to be this season is in the Windy City, where the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is midway through an extravagant multidimensional festival “French Reveries & Passions.”

Ravel opera rarity (an armchair sings) injects pure fantasy, great fun into CSO French fest

May 9, 2015 – 3:34 pm

Review: It isn’t every Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert that ends with the conductor leading a gaggle of children across the stage like the pied piper. But there he was, Esa-Pekka Salonen, smiling ear to ear, a little child’s hand in his, marching the Anima-Young Singers of Greater Chicago into view for their ovation after a deliciously witty performance of Ravel’s one-act opera “L’enfant et les sortilèges,” an evident if unexpected hit at the CSO’s “French Reveries and Passions” festival.

Bernard Haitink, venerable master of Mahler, reveled in wonders of Seventh Symphony with CSO

Apr 16, 2015 – 10:54 am

Review: Not only with respect to age is Bernard Haitink, at 86, the eminence grise among Mahler conductors today. His association with Mahler’s symphonies is as close and authoritative as it is long. That profound perspective was again evident on April 9 when Haitink led a poetic excursion through the Seventh Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Conductor Edo de Waart, in a hero’s return, guides CSO to the classical heart of Brahms

Mar 29, 2015 – 9:40 pm

Review: It was a little more than two years ago, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gearing up for a major Asia tour, that Dutch conductor Edo de Waart stepped in for ailing music director Riccardo Muti to lead a ringing performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”). He subbed again last season for Vladimir Jurowski. On March 26 and 28 he was back on the CSO podium for scheduled concerts featuring Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. The result was a finely wrought performance that showcased the orchestra at its patrician best.

In two iconic figures of classical music, Muti reveals more to treasure in concert with CSO

Mar 6, 2015 – 3:37 pm

Review: Who knew that a big middle-period work by Beethoven and a Tchaikovsky symphony would add up to a completely new concert experience? But such was the exhilarating sum of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra program that paired Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor conducted by CSO music director Riccardo Muti.

Muti advances campaign for Scriabin as CSO delivers many-splendored Second Symphony

Mar 1, 2015 – 10:26 pm

Review: Riccardo Muti’s season of advocacy for the symphonies of Alexander Scriabin must be reckoned a blazing success, even with one work remaining for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director to conduct when he makes his final appearances of the season at Orchestra Hall in June. Scriabin’s Second Symphony, currently featured in CSO concerts that continue through March 3, makes the point of musical merit as well as that of historical neglect.

Balm for a winter weekend, Mozart’s Requiem casts warming glow in hands of Muti and CSO

Feb 21, 2015 – 11:16 am
Mozart, detail of plaster relief of wood engraving by Leonard Posch  (Wien Kunsthistorisches Museum)

Review: It was a sad time for Chicago’s musical community, which had lost two respected musicians within days of each other. By astonishing coincidence the scheduled program, dedicated to their memory, included the Requiem by Mozart, whose own life slipped away from him as he wrote it. A bit of the Lacrymosa is the last passage in Mozart’s own hand.

Tour is a tour is a tour? Not for CSO and Muti, bettering Paris-Vienna best at Carnegie Hall

Jan 31, 2015 – 11:20 am
Carnegie Hall at night (Jeff Goldberg, courtesy Carnegie Hall)

Review: Perhaps it’s simply a matter of time zones and surroundings, but the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing the same music it had performed in its recent visit to Paris and Vienna, delivered a knockout performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Jan. 30 that outshone its best in those European capitals.

21-year-old Atlanta Symphony bassoonist wins post as new principal with Chicago Symphony

Jan 22, 2015 – 3:33 pm
Kieth Buncke named principal bassoon of Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Report: Keith Buncke was still a Curtis Institute of Music student in February 2014 when he won the principal bassoon job, at 20, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Now 21, he has taken a second bounce, and it’s a big one – to become the new principal at the CSO.

Bronfman, Muti and CSO sketch chamber music on vast canvas of Brahms’ 2nd Piano Concerto

Jan 16, 2015 – 6:42 pm

Review: In broad, round terms, the figure of pianist Yefim Bronfman taking his seat at the keyboard to play Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Riccardo Muti on Jan. 15 immediately brought to mind images of the composer in exactly that posture. When Bronfman’s serene – really beyond sublime – performance had ended, that evocative association only felt confirmed.

At heart of Beethoven’s grandiose ‘Emperor,’ pianist Paul Lewis detects an image of grace

Jan 7, 2015 – 1:53 pm
Pianist Paul Lewis brings Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto to Orchestra Hall for performances with the Chicago Symphony.

Interview: At the core of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto, says British virtuoso Paul Lewis, dwells a tenderness that belies the work’s outwardly heroic trappings. That lyrical middle chapter, he says, bespeaks the concerto’s true heart. “Liszt called the slow movement of the ‘Emperor’ an angel between two demons,” says Lewis, who plays Beethoven’s last and most exuberant piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Vasily Petrenko in performances Jan. 8-10 at Orchestra Hall.

Vienna Aisle: Comedic Muti leaves ’em laughing, and impressed by Chicago Symphony’s finesse

Nov 6, 2014 – 3:51 pm

Interview: Habitués of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall have something in common with audiences in Vienna who heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s final European tour concerts last week at the Musikverein. They know the droll, often outrageously funny side of the CSO’s artistically exacting music director, Riccardo Muti. But the conductor was all seriousness when he declared the orchestra’s latest European tour a big success.

Vienna Aisle: Happily in tune with CSO, Muti nixes idea of position at Vienna State Opera

Nov 3, 2014 – 3:43 pm
Chicago Symphony rehearses Verdi Requiem at Vienna Musikverein Oct. 31, 2014 (Todd Rosenberg)

Report: When Riccardo Muti says that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the greatest orchestras in the world – as he did before 300 adoring guests in an intimate recital space at the famed Musikverein – the Viennese simply take it in stride. Out of politeness and affection alone they would give him that. Muti has been a favorite in the Austrian musical capital for decades. Curiosity about Muti’s Chicago orchestra was high during the CSO’s weeklong visit capping a five-country European tour. So was speculation whether he might be interested in the biggest music directorship in Vienna, suddenly open. But Muti says Chicago’s enough for him.

Paris Aisle: Mid-tour, CSO and Riccardo Muti raise a roof with Tchaikovsky and Schumann

Oct 28, 2014 – 5:10 pm
Riccardo Muti conducts Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 in Chicago Symphony's tour concert in Paris at the Salle Pleyel Oct. 25 2014 (Todd Rosenberg)

Report: If the Chicago Symphony Orchestra needed an energy infusion halfway into its current European tour, surely that jolt came with its two concerts at Paris’ Salle Pleyel, where music director Riccardo Muti and company enjoyed ripping ovations from capacity audiences. After single-concert stops in Warsaw, Luxembourg and Geneva, the orchestra settled into Paris for two nights, and the Parisians snapped up every ticket to catch the Chicagoans and their celebrated maestro live. Still ahead is a full week of concerts in Vienna to cap the tour.