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Lorin Maazel (Ben Spiegel photo)

Lorin Maazel (Ben Spiegel photo)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins the music world in mourning the loss of Lorin Maazel, a frequent and beloved guest conductor for forty years, from 1973 until 2013. Maazel died on July 13, 2014, at his Castleton Farms estate in Virginia. He was 84.

Maazel made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in February and March 1973, leading two weeks of subscription concerts at Orchestra Hall as well as a run-out to Milwaukee:

February 22, 23 & 24, 1973
February 26, 1973 (Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43
BARTÓK Two Images, Op. 10
SCRIABIN The Poem of Ecstasy, Op. 54

March 1, 2 & 3, 1973
MARTIRANO Contrasts for Orchestra
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano
SCHUMANN Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 61

Mstislav Rostropovich and Lorin Maazel, following their performance of the first movement of Dvořák's Cello Concerto at the Centennial Gala on October 6, 1990

Mstislav Rostropovich and Lorin Maazel, following their performance of the first movement of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto at the Centennial Gala on October 6, 1990

During his forty-year collaboration with the Orchestra, Maazel’s repertoire covered a wide range of composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Hindemith, Holst, Kernis, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Penderecki, Prokofiev, Respighi, Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, and Wagner. He was one of several conductors invited to share the podium for the CSO’s Centennial Gala on October 6, 1990, and a few weeks later he led the Orchestra in the world premiere of Shchedrin’s Old Russian Circus Music (commissioned to celebrate the CSO’s centennial season) on October 25, 1990. A noted composer, Maazel also led the Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of his own Farewells on December 14, 2000.

Maazel last led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall for two weeks of subscription concerts—including a run-out to the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois—in February 2005:

February 10 & 12, 2005
February 11, 2005 (Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois)
BRAHMS Serenade No. 2 in A Major, Op. 16
BARTÓK Two Images, Op. 10
PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 100

February 17, 18, 19 & 20, 2005
THOMAS Gathering Paradise
Heidi Grant Murphy, soprano
SHOSTAKOVICH Cello Concerto No. 1
John Sharp, cello
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 39

His most recent appearance in Orchestra Hall was in March 2009 with the New York Philharmonic, during his final season as that ensemble’s music director:

March 9, 2009
BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9
TCHAIKOVSKY Suite No. 3 in G Major, Op. 55
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring

Maazel’s last appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra were tour concerts in January and February 2013, including stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, and Seoul.

A statement from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Lorin Maazel’s passing can be found here.

A February 2005 performance of Maazel leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Brahms’s Serenade no. 2 in A major, op. 16—including the maestro speaking on Brahms—may be listened to here.

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Music Director Georg Solti and Principal Guest Conductor Carlo Maria Giulini shared conducting duties during the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first overseas tour to Europe in 1971.

The Orchestra was on the road for nearly six weeks, leaving Chicago on August 26 and not returning until October 6, and the tour included twenty-five concerts in fifteen venues in nine countries, with sixteen different works performed. No other CSO international tour since has included more concerts or a wider variety of programming.

Reviews from the tour were numerous, and a small sample are linked here, from Edinburgh, Brussels, Frankfurt, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, and Paris.

The concert schedule was as follows:

September 4, 1971 – Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland
Georg Solti, conductor
MENDELSSOHN Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21
CARTER Variations for Orchestra
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

September 5, 1971 – Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland
Georg Solti, conductor
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

September 6, 1971 – Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
BERLIOZ Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 17
MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird

September 7, 1971 – Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
BRAHMS Tragic Overture, Op. 81
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16
Rafael Orozco, piano
HAYDN Symphony No. 94 in G Major (Surprise)
RAVEL Rapsodie espagnole

September 9, 1971 – Opera House, Ghent, Belgium
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D Major

September 10, 1971 – Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
Georg Solti, conductor
CARTER Variations for Orchestra
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

September 13, 1971 – Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki, Finland
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
HAYDN Symphony No. 94 in G Major (Surprise)
STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird
MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D Major

September 14, 1971 – Konserthuset, Göteborg, Sweden
Georg Solti, conductor
MENDELSSOHN Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21
CARTER Variations for Orchestra
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

September 15, 1971 – Folkets Hus, Stockholm, Sweden
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D Major

September 16, 1971 – Folkets Hus, Stockholm, Sweden
Georg Solti, conductor
MENDELSSOHN Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21
BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

When the musicians returned to Chicago at the end of the tour they received a hero’s welcome with a tickertape parade down State and LaSalle streets on October 14, 1971

September 18, 1971 – Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt, Germany
September 22, 1971 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
Georg Solti, conductor
MENDELSSOHN Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21
BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 (Pathétique)

September 19, 1971 – Kuppelsaal der Stadthalle, Hannover, Germany
September 25, 1971 – Grosser Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, Austria
Georg Solti, conductor
BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

September 21, 1971 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

September 23, 1971 – Grosse Musikhalle, Hamburg, Germany
September 27, 28, and 29, 1971 – La Scala, Milan, Italy
October 1, 1971 – Kongress-Hall im Deutschen Museum, Munich, Germany
October 2, 1971 – Palais de Chaillot, Paris, France
October 4, 1971 – Royal Festival Hall, London, England
Georg Solti, conductor
MENDELSSOHN Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

September 26, 1971 – Grosser Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, Austria
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
BERLIOZ Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 17
HAYDN Symphony No. 94 in G Major (Surprise)
STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird

October 3, 1971 – Palais de Chaillot, Paris, France
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
HAYDN Symphony No. 94 in G Major (Surprise)
BRAHMS Tragic Overture, Op. 81
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

October 5, 1971 – Royal Festival Hall, London, England
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
RAVEL Rapsodie espagnole
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

NOTE: post updated on August 22 to clean up link to concert reviews.

____________________________________________________

To honor Sir Georg Solti’s seventy-fifth birthday, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus gave a gala concert of the highest order on October 9, 1987.

Governor James R. Thompson opened the concert with welcoming remarks, and after the intermission, Mayor Harold Washington presented Sir Georg with the City of Chicago’s Medal of Merit. The concert program was as follows:

CORIGLIANO Campane di Ravello (world premiere)
Kenneth Jean, conductor

J. STRAUSS Overture to Die Fledermaus
Plácido Domingo, conductor

MOZART Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat Major, K. 365
Sir Georg Solti, conductor and piano
Murray Perahia, piano

STRAUSS Don Juan, Op. 20
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

Plácido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa perform a scene from Verdi’s Otello

VERDI Excerpts from Act 1 of Otello
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano
Plácido Domingo, tenor
Kurt R. Hansen, tenor
Joseph Wolverton, tenor
Richard Cohn, baritone
David Huneryager, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

The commemorative program contained letters and testimonials from numerous public officials, conductors, musicians, and industry professionals, including: Ronald Reagan, James R. Thompson, Harold Washington, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Carlo Maria Giulini, Rafael Kubelík, John Corigliano, Christoph von Dohnányi, Rudolf Serkin, Henry Fogel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Christa Ludwig, Birgit Nilsson, Witold Lutosławski, Sir Charles Mackerras, Mstislav Rostropovich, Klaus Tennstedt, David Del Tredici, Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Slatkin, Werner Klemperer, José van Dam, Elliott Carter, Karel Husa, Isaac Stern, Morton Gould, Hans Werner Henze, Itzhak Perlman, Anja Silja, Erich Leinsdorf, Josef Suk, Plácido Domingo, Michael Tippett, Kiri Te Kanawa, Murray Perahia, Leontyne Price, András Schiff, Kenneth Jean, Andrzej Panufnik, Dame Janet Baker, Pierre Boulez, Yvonne Minton, Herbert Blomstedt, Mira Zakai, Margaret Hillis, Gunther Herbig, Ray Minshull, Ann Murray, Philip Langridge, Raymond Leppard, Vladimir Ashkenazy, George Rochberg, Gwynne Howell, Ardis Krainik, Michael Morgan, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Henry Mancini, and Barbara Hendricks.

Solti and Perahia as soloists in Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos

The concert was covered widely in the press, in the Chicago Tribune (here, here, and here) and Sun-Times (here and here), as well as Time, Newsweek, the Post-Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others.

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Solti conducting Beethoven in Krannert - May 1971


In May 1971 and 1972, Vladimir Ashkenazy recorded Beethoven’s five piano concertos with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Solti conducting. On May 10 and 11, 1971, the third and fifth concertos were recorded, and a year later on May 22 and 23, 1972, the cycle was completed with the first, second, and fourth concertos. All recording sessions took place at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For London Records, the recording was produced by David Harvey; Kenneth Wilkinson was the recording engineer.

The set of all five concertos won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance—Instrumental Soloist or Soloists (with orchestra).

Ashkenazy, Solti, and David Harvey listening to playbacks - May 1971

the vault

Theodore Thomas

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