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Pierre Boulez (Philippe Gontier photo)

Pierre Boulez (Philippe Gontier photo)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association congratulates Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez as a recipient of a 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The recognition is given to “performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.”

In a message sent to Maestro Boulez earlier today, Music Director Riccardo Muti said, “Dear Maestro, The news that you are the recipient of the 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award makes me and the entire Chicago Symphony Orchestra family extremely happy and proud. You are a giant in the musical world, and we are all so grateful for your great contribution to Music. Congratulations with great admiration, affection, and friendship.”

CSO bass Stephen Lester, chairman of the Members Committee, added, “The Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are very pleased that Pierre Boulez has been given this special Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy. He is one of the most important and influential musicians and composers of our time. We in Chicago are proud to have had a rewarding and meaningful relationship with him for over thirty years. His contribution to music in Chicago, as well as the world, is important in many ways, helping to open all of our minds, and ears, at every opportunity. Congratulations, Maestro Boulez!”

“As peerless conductor, glittering composer, restless thinker, and polemical champion of the loftiest musical values, Pierre Boulez is simply sans pareil,” commented Gerard McBurney, the CSO’s creative director for Beyond the Score. “He has influenced, irritated, provoked, disturbed, and inspired us all, yes, even those sleepers who do not even dream, that they too have been touched by his ceaseless energy and powers of invention!”

With twenty-six Grammy Awards to his credit, Boulez—along with fellow Lifetime Achievement Award recipients the Bee Gees, Buddy Guy, George Harrison, Flaco Jiménez, The Louvin Brothers, and Wayne Shorter—will be honored at a special ceremony in Los Angeles on February 7, 2015, as well as during the Grammy Awards telecast on Sunday, February 8 on CBS.

The CSO’s Beyond the Score series, which “weaves together theater, music, and design to draw audiences into the concert hall and into the spirit of a work,” recently honored Boulez’s upcoming ninetieth birthday. The show was entitled A Pierre Dream by renowned architect Frank Gehry, who designed the production. Click here for a discussion with the creative forces, the genesis of the immersive experience, and a gallery of images from the production.

For more information on Pierre Boulez, click here for a complete list of his Grammy Awards, a complete list of his recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, a timeline of his extensive partnership with the CSO, details of his debut with the CSO in 1969, and a select bibliography.

Update: A video of the world-premiere performances of A Pierre Dream can be viewed here. Also, Martha Gilmer, the CSO’s former vice president for artistic planning and audience development, accepted the award on behalf of Boulez in Los Angeles on February 7 (added March 10, 2015).

Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich perform piano works of Boulez at Symphony Center on March 15, 2015.

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Boulez & Grammy awards - December 1995

Did you know that Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez is the third all-time Grammy Awards champ? He received his first two Grammy Awards in February 1968, the same evening The Beatles won Album of the Year for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band!

Sir Georg Solti, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s eighth music director, won thirty-one Grammy Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences—more than any other recording artist. Alison Krauss and Quincy Jones tie for the number two slot with twenty-seven awards each, and Boulez is number three, with twenty-six Grammy Awards, including eight with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Following is a complete list of Pierre Boulez’s Grammy Awards† to date:

1967
Album of the Year—Classical (1)
Best Opera Recording (2)
BERG Wozzeck
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Walter Berry, Ingeborg Lasser, Isabel Strauss, Fritz Uhl, Carl Doench
Paris National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Thomas Z. Shepard, producer
CBS
(For Album of the Year—Classical, there was a tie that year. Boulez’s recording of Berg’s Wozzeck tied with Leonard Bernstein‘s recording of Mahler’s Symphony no. 8 with the London Symphony Orchestra, also for CBS. Soloists included Erna Spoorenberg, Gwyneth Jones, Gwenyth Annear, Anna Reynolds, Norma Procter, John Mitchinson, Vladimir Ruzdiak, and Donald McIntyre; and the choruses were the Leeds Festival Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Orpington Junior Singers, Highgate School Boys’ Choir, and the Finchley Children’s Music Group. John McClure was the producer.)

Debussy Philharmonia

1968
Best Classical Performance—Orchestra (3)
DEBUSSY Jeux, La mer, Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
Pierre Boulez, conductor
New Philharmonia Orchestra
CBS

1969
Best Classical Performance—Orchestra (4)
DEBUSSY Images for Orchestra
Pierre Boulez, conductor
The Cleveland Orchestra
CBS

1970
Best Classical Performance—Orchestra (5)
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
Pierre Boulez, conductor
The Cleveland Orchestra
CBS

Bartok New York

1973
Album of the Year—Classical (6)
Best Classical Performance—Orchestra (7)
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
Pierre Boulez, conductor
New York Philharmonic
Thomas Z. Shepard, producer
CBS

1975
Best Classical Performance—Orchestra (8)
RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé
Pierre Boulez, conductor
New York Philharmonic
Camerata Singers
Abraham Kaplan, director
CBS

Berg Lulu

1980
Best Classical Album (9)
Best Opera Recording (10)
BERG Lulu
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Teresa Stratas, Yvonne Minton, Hanna Schwarz, Franz Mazura, Kenneth Riegel, Toni Blankenheim, Robert Tear, Helmut Pampuch
Paris Opera Orchestra
Gunther Breest and Michael Horwath, producers
Deutsche Grammophon

1982
Best Opera Recording (11)
WAGNER Der Ring des Nibelungen
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Donald McIntyre, Gwyneth Jones, Heinz Zednik, Hermann Becht, Jeannine Altmeyer, Manfred Jung, Matti Salminen, Ortrun Wenkel, Peter Hofmann, and Siegfried Jerusalem
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Andrew Kazdin, producer
Philips

Boulez Prince

1993
Best Classical Album (12)
Best Orchestral Performance* (13)
Best Performance of a Choral Work** (14)
BARTÓK The Wooden Prince* and Cantata profana**
Pierre Boulez, conductor
John Aler, tenor
John Tomlinson, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Karl-August Naegler, producer
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Bartok Concerto

1994
Best Classical Album (15)
Best Orchestral Performance (16)
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra and Four Orchestral Pieces
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Karl-August Naegler, producer
Deutsche Grammophon

1995
Best Classical Album (17)
Best Orchestral Performance* (18)
DEBUSSY La mer*, Nocturnes, Jeux, and First Rhapsody for Clarinet
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Franklin Cohen, clarinet
Women of The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Gareth Morell, director
Karl-August Naegler, producer
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Explosante

1996
Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without a conductor) (19)
BOULEZ . . . explosante-fixe . . .
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Ensemble InterContemporain
Deutsche Grammophon

1997
Best Orchestral Performance (20)
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique and Tristia
Pierre Boulez, conductor
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Gareth Morell, director
The Cleveland Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Bluebeard

1998
Best Orchestral Performance* (21)
Best Opera Recording** (22)
MAHLER Symphony No. 9*
BARTÓK Bluebeard’s Castle**
Jessye Norman, soprano
László Polgár, bass
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Repons

1999
Best Classical Contemporary Composition (23)
BOULEZ Répons
Pierre Boulez, composer
Deutsche Grammophon

2001
Best Orchestral Performance (24)
VARÈSE Amériques, Arcana, Déserts, and Ionisation
Pierre Boulez, composer
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon

Mahler 3 Vienna

2003
Best Orchestral Performance (25)
MAHLER Symphony No. 3
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
Women’s Chorus of the Wiener Singverein
Johannes Prinz, director
Vienna Boys’ Choir
Gerald Wirth, director
Vienna Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon

2005
Best Small Ensemble Performance (with our without a conductor) (26)
BOULEZ Le marteau sans maître, Dérive 1, Dérive 2
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Hilary Summers, contralto
Ensemble InterContemporain
Deutsche Grammophon

A database of former Grammy Award winners can be found here; category titles have changed over the years. For opera recordings, only principal soloists are listed.

Numerous upcoming programs celebrate Pierre Boulez, including Beyond the Score: A Pierre Dream on November 14 and 16, 2014, and Boulez’s Piano Works on March 15, 2015, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich.

19 Boulez

Since 1991, Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez has amassed and extraordinary discography with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including landmark twentieth-century masterpieces by Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, and Edgard Varèse, as well as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. And in 2005 as part of the CSO’s From the Archives series, a two-disc tribute of radio broadcast performances was released. A complete list of those recordings is below:

BACH/Schoenberg Prelude and Fugue in E flat Major, BWV 552 (Saint Anne)
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

Boulez Bluebeard

BARTÓK Bluebeard’s Castle
Jessye Norman, soprano
László Polgár, bass
Nicholas Simon, narrator
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1993
Deutsche Grammophon
1998 Grammy Award for Best Opera

BARTÓK Cantata profana
John Aler, tenor
John Tomlinson, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
Deutsche Grammophon
1993 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album, Best Engineered Recording–Classical, Best Performance of a Choral Work

Boulez Bartok Concerto

BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1992
Deutsche Grammophon
1994 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance

BARTÓK Concerto for Piano No. 1
Krystian Zimerman, piano
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 2001
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Shaham

BARTÓK Concerto for Violin No. 2
Gil Shaham, violin
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1998
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Dance Suite
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Two Pictures for Orchestra, Op. 10
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Divertimento for String Orchestra
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1993
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Four Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 12
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1992
Deutsche Grammophon
1994 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance

BARTÓK Hungarian Sketches
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1993
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Mandarin

BARTÓK The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1994
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1994
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra No. 1
Gil Shaham, violin
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1998
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra No. 2
Gil Shaham, violin
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1998
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Prince

BARTÓK The Wooden Prince
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
Deutsche Grammophon
1993 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album, Best Engineered Recording–Classical, and Best Orchestral Performance

BERG Lulu Suite
Christine Schäfer, soprano
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2000
EuroArts

BOULEZ Fanfare for the 80th Birthday of Sir Georg Solti
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1992
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

BOULEZ Livre pour cordes
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1999
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

DEBUSSY First Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra
Larry Combs, clarinet
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1994
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 15: Soloists of the Orchestra II)

Boulez EuroArts

DEBUSSY Le jet d’eau
Christine Schäfer, soprano
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2000
EuroArts

DEBUSSY Symphonic Fragments from Le martyre de Saint Sébastien
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1995
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

DEBUSSY Three Ballads by François Villon
Christine Schäfer, soprano
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2000
EuroArts

JANÁČEK Glagolitic Mass
Elzbieta Szmytka, soprano
Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano
Stuart Neill, tenor
Nathan Berg, bass-baritone
David Schrader, organ
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 2000
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

MAHLER Three Rückert-Lieder (Liebst du um Schönheit, Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft, and Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen)
José van Dam, bass-baritone
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1996
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D Major
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, May 1998
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Mahler 9

MAHLER Symphony No. 9 in D Major
Recorded in Medinah Temple, December 1995
Deutsche Grammophon
1998 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

MAHLER Totenfeier
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon

MESSIAEN L’ascension
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1996
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

Boulez Pelleas

SCHOENBERG Pelleas und Melisande
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
Erato

SCHOENBERG Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
Erato

SCRIABIN Piano Concerto in F-sharp Minor, Op. 20
Anatol Ugorski, piano
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Prometheus

SCRIABIN Prometheus, Op. 60
Anatol Ugorski, piano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon

SCRIABIN Symphony No. 4, Op. 54 (The Poem of Ecstasy)
Recorded in Medinah Temple, November 1995
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Zarathustra

STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon

STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1995
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

STRAVINSKY The Firebird
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

STRAVINSKY The Firebird
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2000
EuroArts

Boulez Firebird

STRAVINSKY Fireworks, Op. 4
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

STRAVINSKY Four Studies
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

STRAVINSKY Four Studies
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, February and March 2009
CSO Resound

Boulez Pulcinella

STRAVINSKY Pulcinella
Roxana Constantinescu, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Kyle Ketelsen, bass-baritone
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 2009
CSO Resound

STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, February and March 2009
CSO Resound

STRAVINSKY Symphony of Psalms
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 2000
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 22: Chicago Symphony Chorus: A Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration)

Boulez Thomas

THOMAS . . . words of the sea . . .
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
ARTCD

VARÈSE Amériques
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1995
Deutsche Grammophon
2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

VARÈSE Arcana
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon
2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

Boulez Varèse

VARÈSE Déserts
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon
2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

VARÈSE Ionisation
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1995
Deutsche Grammophon
2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

The Orchestra also has recorded compositions by Boulez, released both commercially and as part of the From the Archives series:

BOULEZ Messagesquisse for Seven Cellos
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
John Sharp, Stephen Balderston, Philip Blum, Loren Brown, Richard Hirschl, Jonathan Pegis, and Gary Stucka, cellos
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, September 1994
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 21: Soloists of the Orchestra III)

Boulez Notations Barenboim

BOULEZ Notations for Orchestra I-IV
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2001
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
EuroArts

BOULEZ Notations for Orchestra VII
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, January 2000
Teldec

Numerous upcoming programs celebrate Pierre Boulez, including Beyond the Score: A Pierre Dream on November 14 and 16, 2014, and Boulez’s Piano Works on March 15, 2015, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich.

Pierre Boulez in rehearsal at Orchestra Hall in February 1969

Pierre Boulez in rehearsal at Orchestra Hall in February 1969

As we look forward to celebrating Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez‘s ninetieth birthday in March 2015, we look back at his extraordinary relationship with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which began in February 1969.

Boulez’s first conducting appearances were greatly anticipated. His book Notes of an Apprenticeship had recently been published in English, and the Orchestra would be performing his music—the U.S. premiere of Livre pour cordes (two movements from his Livre pour quatuor from 1948, reworked in 1968 for string orchestra)—for the first time. The concerts also included the CSO debut of cellist Jacqueline du Pré and the CSO subscription concert debut of her husband, pianist Daniel Barenboim. (Barenboim first appeared with the Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival on June 24, 1965, in Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with André Previn conducting.) The complete programs were as follows:

Feb 20 1969

February 20, 21 & 22, 1969
DEBUSSY Jeux
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 1
Daniel Barenboim, piano
WEBERN Passacaglia, Op. 1
WEBERN Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
MESSIAEN Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum

February 27 & 28, 1969
HAYDN Symphony No. 91 in E-flat Major
SCHUMANN Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129
Jacqueline du Pré, cello
BOULEZ Livre pour cordes
BERG Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6

In the Chicago Tribune, Peter Gorner wrote: “If Diogenes [the cynic] could have made it to Orchestra Hall last night, he would have blown out his lantern and became a believer. For there have existed few composers more honest than Debussy, Bartók, Webern, and [Boulez’s teacher at the Paris Conservatory] Olivier Messiaen. And there are few interpreters more honest than Pierre Boulez. Honesty depends upon conviction, and Boulez firmly believes in the classics of our century. He also is immensely qualified to spread the word, possessing a composer’s mind, a conductor’s savvy, and a poet’s soul.”

On Barenboim, Gorner continued: “The Bartók was his flashy First Piano Concerto, with the ubiquitous Daniel Barenboim as soloist, and a magnificent one at that. His technique made the concerto sound easier than it is, and he conjured the steely touch and native awareness of cumulative energy to make it work. The colloquy between percussion and piano in the andante which followed sounded flawless.”

Jacqueline du Pré

Jacqueline du Pré

In his review for the Daily News of the second week’s program, Bernard Jacobson wrote: “Boulez has emphasized that in its new form [Livre pour cordes] is far more than a mere arrangement of the original—it is a full-scale recomposition, tackling the same musical problems but in terms of an entirely different medium. The result is music of formidable textural complexity, great sonorous variety, and powerful dramatic impact. . . . Yet Boulez’s characteristic intellectual control has ensured that the myriad events cohere in a rigorous organization of immediately perceptible unity.”

And in the Tribune regarding the “immensely gifted young cellist Jacqueline du Pré,” Thomas Willis added: “[she] plays for keeps all the time. Each note has maximum persuasive power. There is a total commitment of both physiological and musical resources. The melodic line is maximally weighted. When she is not playing, she is often reacting to the orchestral dialog—so much a part of the Schumann concerto.”

Pierre Boulez rehearsing the Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Bartók's First Piano Concerto in February 1969

Pierre Boulez rehearsing Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Bartók’s First Piano Concerto in February 1969

Numerous upcoming programs celebrate Pierre Boulez, including Beyond the Score: A Pierre Dream on November 14 and 16, 2014, and Boulez’s Piano Works on March 15, 2015, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich.

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