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Emanuel Ax in 1980 (Nick Sangiamo photo)

Wishing a very happy seventieth birthday to the remarkable American pianist Emanuel Ax! A longtime Chicago favorite—in recital, as a chamber musician, and as soloist with orchestra—he has appeared in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival on near-countless occasions.

Following first place triumphs at the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists and the Artur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, Ax made his local debut at Ravinia on July 23, 1975, substituting for an indisposed Alexis Weissenberg. Performing an all-Chopin program, “the young Polish-American master took the evening by storm,” according to Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune. “Still in his middle twenties . . . there is nothing of the poseur in him, no excess mannerism, no youthful sentimentality, no histrionic display. He walks onstage, settles solidly onto the bench, shakes a hand to limber up, and begins to play. At that moment, or within a few seconds, a transformation of near miraculous proportions takes place. . . . This is quite possibly the outstanding poet-performer of his generation.”

Ax made two debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the following year in 1976, on May 20 and 21 in Orchestra Hall, performing Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto under the baton of Henry Mazer, and on July 29 at the Ravinia Festival, as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 20 with Andrew Davis on the podium. According to Alan Artner in the Chicago Tribune, media reports following Ax’s competition wins had compared the young pianist to Vladimir Horowitz and Sviatoslav Richter. “But to have actually heard him in Liszt’s Second Concerto was to discover that Ax in n a class virtually by himself. . . . His performance was intelligent, wholly refreshing . . .”

Emanuel Ax in 2016 (Lisa Marie Mazzucco photo)

Since then, Ax has been one of the most frequent guest artists in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as with visiting orchestras, and as a chamber musician and recitalist with an astounding array of collaborators. He has worked with conductors David Afkham, Daniel Barenboim, James Conlon, James DePreist, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Lawrence Foster, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Mariss Jansons, Bernhard Klee, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Itzhak Perlman, David Robertson, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Georg Solti, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Christoph von Dohnányi. Ax also has collaborated with Yefim Bronfman, Robert Chen, Evelyn Glennie,
Benjamin Hochman, Aleksey Igudesman, Richard Hyung-ki Joo, Jaime Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, Orli Shaham, Raimi Solomonow, Isaac Stern, Anne Sofie von Otter, and Orion Weiss. With visiting orchestras, he also has performed in Orchestra Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Juilliard Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Ax returns to the Ravinia Festival this summer, as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on August 2, 2019, in Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto with Rafael Payare on the podium. He will be back in Orchestra Hall next season on March 2, 2020, for an all-Beethoven chamber music concert, collaborating with violinist Leonidas Kavakos and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Happy, happy birthday!

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Giulini rehearsal action ca 1970

Happy 100th birthday, maestro!

Carlo Maria Giulini and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra recorded extensively together, both in Orchestra Hall and Medinah Temple. He and the Orchestra recorded commercially for RCA in 1967, for Angel beginning in 1969 until 1976, and for Deutsche Grammophon between 1976 and 1978.

On its From the Archives series, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra also released several works originally recorded for radio broadcast between 1955 and 1977.

A complete list of those recordings is below.

FTA vol 9

BACH Air from Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1976
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
Recorded in Medinah Temple, March 1971
Angel

BERLIOZ Selections from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 17
Recorded in Medinah Temple, October 1969
Angel

BOCCHERINI Symphony in C Minor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, January 1958
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 53
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1977
Daniel Barenboim, piano
CSO (Chicago Symphony Orchestra–The First 100 Years)

Perlman Brahms

BRAHMS Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op. 77
Recorded in Medinah Temple, November and December 1976
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Angel
1978 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album

BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
Recorded in Medinah Temple, October 1969
Angel

BRITTEN Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, Op. 31
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, April 1977
Robert Tear, tenor
Dale Clevenger, horn
Deutsche Grammophon

BRUCKNER Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (Unfinished)
Recorded in Medinah Temple, December 1976
Angel

DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1967
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1978
Deutsche Grammophon

Dvorak 9

DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (From The New World)
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, April 1977
Deutsche Grammophon

GABRIELI Canzon à 4
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1978
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

GABRIELI/Thomas Sonata, pian’ e forte
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1978
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D Major
Recorded in Medinah Temple, March 1971
Angel
1971 Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance—Orchestra

Mahler 9

MAHLER Symphony No. 9 in D Major
Recorded in Medinah Temple, April 1976
Deutsche Grammophon
1977 Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance—Orchestra

MOZART Selections from Divertimento No. 11 in D Major, K. 251
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1967
Ray Still, oboe
CSO (Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Twentieth Century: Collector’s Choice)

MOZART Eine kleine Nachtmusik in G Major, K. 525
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1967
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 5: Guests in the House)

MOZART Sinfonia concertante for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Horn in E-flat Major
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March and April 1977
Ray Still, oboe
Clark Brody, clarinet
Willard Elliot, bassoon
Dale Clevenger, horn
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 15: Soloists of the Orchestra II)

MOZART Symphony No. 36 in C Major, K. 425 (Linz)
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1977
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E flat Major, K. 543
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1967
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

Mussorgsky Prokofiev

MUSSORGSKY/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition
Recorded in Medinah Temple, April 1976
Deutsche Grammophon

PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25 (Classical)
Recorded in Medinah Temple, April 1976
Deutsche Grammophon

RAVEL Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloe
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, January 1958
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

Schubert 4 and 8

ROSSINI Overture to L’italiana in Algeri
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1955
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

SCHUBERT Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, D. 417
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1978
Deutsche Grammophon

SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (Unfinished)
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1978
Deutsche Grammophon

SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 (Great)
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, April 1977
Deutsche Grammophon

Rubinstein Schumann

SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 1967
Artur Rubinstein, piano
RCA

STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird
Recorded in Medinah Temple, October 1969
Angel

STRAVINSKY Suite from Petrushka
Recorded in Medinah Temple, October 1969
Angel

Stravinsky Petrushka and Firebird

WEBERN Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 10
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, April 1977
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

WOLF FERRARI Overture to The Secret of Susanne
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, January 1958
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 9: A Tribute to Carlo Maria Giulini)

__________

Recently, many of the items in Giulini’s CSO discography have been re-released. EMI compiled most of the original Angel recordings in Carlo Maria Giulini: The Chicago Recordings, and Deutsche Grammophon released all of their catalog in Giulini in America.

EMI complilation

In America

the vault

Theodore Thomas

csoarchives twitter feed

chicagosymphony twitter feed

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The opinions expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

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