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Wishing a very happy birthday to Michael Gielen, celebrating his ninetieth on July 20, 2017!

Between 1973 and 2002, Maestro Gielen led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a broad range of repertoire. A complete list of his appearances (all concerts at Orchestra Hall unless otherwise noted) is below:

December 6 and 7, 1973
December 10, 1973 (Uihlein Hall, Milwaukee)
HAYDN Symphony No. 95 in C Minor
SZYMANOWSKI Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61
Wanda Wilkomirska, violin
PENDERECKI Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra
Wanda Wilkomirska, violin
SCRIABIN Symphony No. 3, Op. 43 (The Divine Poem)

March 21, 22, 23, and 26, 1996
MAHLER Symphony No. 6 in A Minor

March 28, 29, and 30, 1996
J. STRAUSS, Jr. Overture to Die Fledermaus
STUCKY Pinturas de Tamayo (Paintings of Tamayo) (world premiere)
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 (Pastoral)

October 29, 30, 31, and November 1, 1997
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 2, Op. 72
CARTER Piano Concerto
Ursula Oppens, piano
Richard Graef, flute
Grover Schiltz, oboe and english horn
J. Lawrie Bloom, clarinet
David Taylor, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
Stephen Balderston, cello
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
SCHUBERT Incidental Music from Rosamunde, D. 797
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72

January 11, 12, 13, and 16, 2001
BEETHOVEN Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
BEETHOVEN/Liszt Andante cantabile from the Piano Trio in G-flat Major, Op. 97 (Archduke)
BEETHOVEN/Gielen Grosse Fuge in B-flat Major, Op. 133
SCHOENBERG Pelleas and Melisande, Op. 5

January 18, 20, and 23, 2001
MAHLER Adagio from Symphony No. 10
LISZT Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major
Zoltán Kocsis, piano
KURTÁG . . . quasi una fantasia . . .
Zoltán Kocsis, piano
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (Unfinished)

January 17, 18, 29, and 22, 2002
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
Elena Bashkirova, piano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (Eroica)

January 24, 25, 26, and 29, 2002
RAVEL Valses nobles et sentimentales
DUTILLEUX Symphony No. 2 (Le double)
Alex Klein, oboe
Larry Combs, clarinet
David McGill, bassoon
Craig Morris, trumpet
Jay Friedman, trombone
Mary Sauer, piano
Melody Lord-Lundberg, celesta
Donald Koss, timpani
Samuel Magad, violin
Joseph Golan, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
John Sharp, cello
POULENC Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani in G Minor
David Schrader, organ
Donald Koss, timpani
RAVEL La valse

Happy, happy birthday!

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December 7, 1981

December 7, 1981

The original Lyon & Healy pipe organ (the largest instrument the Chicago-based company ever built) was dedicated on April 27 and 28, 1905, by organist Wilhelm Middelschulte shortly after Orchestra Hall’s December 14, 1904, dedicatory concert.

The first significant renovation of Orchestra Hall was guided by Harry Weese and Associates and began in 1966. The project included the installation of new heating, air conditioning, and modern elevators; an increase in lobby space on three floors; expansion of musicians’ lounges and dressing rooms; and replacement of plaster ceiling with acoustically designed aluminum panels. The auditorium and lobby décor were brightened with a new color scheme of gray walls with ivory trim, and the seats were reupholstered with deep red mohair. During the summer of 1967, plans to restore the original organ were dismissed when it was discovered that damage had occurred during the previous years’ renovation, and an Allen electronic organ was pressed into service as a temporary solution.

During the summer of 1981, M.P. Möller installed a new organ in Orchestra Hall, which contained more than 3,000 pipes (forty-five independent stops and seventy-four ranks, controlled through seventy-one registers and twenty-five couplers). The organ installation was the catalyst for an extensive renovation and remodeling of the auditorium by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which included enlarging the stage and rearranging main floor seating, new lighting set into the stage shell, remodeling the Orchestra members’ lounge facilities, repainting the interior (following the original design concepts of architect Daniel Burnham), and other electrical and mechanical adjustments.

Casavant Frères, Opus 3765

Casavant Frères, Opus 3765 (Emma Bilyk photo)

On December 7, 1981, the Orchestra presented a special concert dedicating the newly installed pipe organ. Leonard Slatkin led selections from Bach’s Cantata no. 35 (Geist und Seele wird verwirret), Handel’s Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day, Haydn’s Little Organ Mass, Poulenc’s Organ Concerto in G minor, and Copland’s Symphony for Organ and Orchestra. Soprano Lucia Popp was featured in the works by Handel and Haydn, and Frederick Swann was organ soloist in all selections.

Nearly fifteen years later, at the beginning of the Symphony Center project, the Möller organ was removed and delivered to the workshops of Casavant Frères in Quebec, where it was overhauled and expanded. The new instrument (with forty-four stops, fifty-nine ranks, fourteen couplers, and 3,414 pipes) was installed during the summer of 1998 and inaugurated by David Schrader on February 18, 1999.

This article also appears here.

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.

Claudio Abbado

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins the music world in mourning the loss of Claudio Abbado, who served as our principal guest conductor from 1982 until 1985. Abbado died peacefully on Monday, January 20 in Bologna, Italy, following a long illness. He was 80.

A frequent and beloved guest conductor, Abbado made his debut with the Orchestra in January 1971, leading three weeks of subscription concerts at Orchestra Hall as well as a run-out concert to Milwaukee:

January 7, 8 & 9, 1971
January 11, 1971 (Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
BERG Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216
Josef Suk, violin
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

debut program

. . . and Abbado’s program book biography

debut program page

January 7, 8 & 9, 1971, program page . . .

January 14 & 15, 1971
MAHLER Symphony No. 3 in D Minor
Helen Watts, contralto
Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Theatre Chorus
Barbara Born, director

January 21, 22 & 23, 1971
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 2
Maurizio Pollini, piano
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 1 in C Minor

He returned to Chicago frequently, both before and after his tenure as principal guest conductor—also leading domestic tour concerts including stops at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Carnegie Hall—and his final appearances with the Orchestra were in March 1991. Abbado’s residencies included numerous collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and he also led the Civic Orchestra of Chicago on multiple occasions.

His repertoire with the Orchestra covered a broad spectrum including symphonies by Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky; concertos by Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Bruch, Chopin, Hindemith, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Schoenberg, Schumann, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky; as well as twentieth-century works by Boulez, Ligeti, Rihm, and Webern. Some of Abbado’s most memorable concerts included complete performances of Berg’s Wozzeck, Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, Schoenberg’s Ewartung, Stockhausen’s Gruppen for Three Orchestras, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and Pulcinella, and Verdi’s Requiem.

Abbado acknowledges applause following a performance of Berg's Wozzeck on May 24, 1984 (J. Wassman photo)

Abbado acknowledges applause following a performance of Berg’s Wozzeck on May 24, 1984 (J. Wassman photo)

Abbado collaborated with a vast array of soloists including instrumentalists Salvatore Accardo, Carter Brey, Natalia Gutman, Yuzuko Horigome, Zoltán Kocsis, Cecile Licad, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Shlomo Mintz, Viktoria Mullova, Ken Noda, Ivo Pogorelich, Maurizio Pollini, David Schrader, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, Josef Suk, and Pinchas Zukerman; vocalists Francisco Araiza, Hildegard Behrens, Gabriela Beňačková, Rockwell Blake, Claudio Desderi, Maria Ewing, Donald Gramm, Aage Haugland, Marilyn Horne, Gwynne Howell, Philip Langridge, Benjamin Luxon, Carol Neblett, Margaret Price, Ruggero Raimondi, Samuel Ramey, Hanna Schwarz, Ellen Shade, John Shirley-Quirk, Lucia Valentini-Terrani, and Helen Watts; narrator Maximilian Schell; and CSO members Victor Aitay, Dale Clevenger, Willard Elliot, Adolph Herseth, Samuel Magad, Frank Miller, Mary Sauer, and Ray Still.

Following his last CSO guest conducting engagement in 1991, Abbado returned to Chicago on three occasions with the Berlin Philharmonic:

Berlin program

Abbado’s final appearance in Chicago, with the Berlin Philharmonic on October 10, 2001

October 22, 1993
MAHLER Symphony No. 9 in D Major

October 18, 1999
MAHLER Symphony No. 3 in D Minor
Anna Larsson, contralto
Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Emily Ellsworth, director

October 10, 2001
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 (Pastoral)
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

Statements on Claudio Abbado’s passing from Maestro Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra can be found on CSO Sounds and Stories.

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With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Sir Georg Solti conducted Bach’s monumental Saint Matthew Passion on four different occasions at Orchestra Hall:

April 9 and 10, 1971
Jesus: Tom Krause
Evangelist: Richard Lewis
Aria soloists: Heather Harper, Helen Watts, Richard Lewis, Donald Gramm
Other vocal soloists: Alfred Reichel, Stephen Swanson, Nancy Clevenger, Ellen Rico, Linda Mabbs, Jack Abraham, Eugene Johnson, Frederic Chrislip, Karen Zajac
Obbligati: Donald Peck, Richard Graef, Ray Still, Richard Kanter, Grover Schiltz, DeVere Moore, Victor Aitay, Sidney Weiss, Eva Heinitz
Continuo: Eloise Niwa, Frank Miller, Joseph Guastafeste
Chicago Symphony Chorus; Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Theatre Chorus; Barbara Born, director
These performances were dedicated to the memory of Igor Stravinsky, who had died on April 6, 1971.

April 12 and 13, 1974
Jesus: Gwynne Howell
Evangelist: Mallory Walker
Aria soloists: Heather Harper, Helen Watts, Jerry Jennings, Philip Booth
Other vocal soloists: Alfred Reichel, Curtis Dickson, Gershon Silins, Stephen Swanson, Donna Gullstrand, Alexis Darden, Sarah Beatty, Richard Livingston, Philip Creech, Isola Jones
Obbligati: Donald Peck, Richard Graef, Louise Dixon, Walfrid Kujala, Ray Still, Richard Kanter, Grover Schiltz, Michael Henoch, Victor Aitay, Samuel Magad, John Hsu
Continuo: Eloise Niwa, Mary Sauer, Frank Miller, Joseph Guastafeste
Chicago Symphony Chorus; Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus; Doreen Rao, director

April 4 and 6, 1985
Jesus: Wolfgang Schoene
Evangelist: Anthony Rolfe Johnson
Aria soloists: Pamela Coburn, Brigitte Fassbaender, Thomas Moser, Siegmund Nimsgern
Other vocal soloists: Bruce Cain, Richard Cohn, Jane Green, Joan Welles, Doris Kirschner, Karen Zajac, Tim O’Connor
Obbligati: Donald Peck, Richard Graef, Louise Dixon, Walfrid Kujala, Ray Still, Richard Kanter, Grover Schiltz, Michael Henoch, Victor Aitay, Samuel Magad, Catharina Meints
Continuo: Mary Sauer, David Schrader, Richard Webster, Leonard Chausow, Joseph Guastafeste
Chicago Symphony Chorus; Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus; Doreen Rao, director

Saint Matthew Passion recording session in Orchestra Hall

March 19 and 21, 1987
Jesus: Olaf Bär
Evangelist: Hans Peter Blochwitz
Aria soloists: Kiri Te Kanawa, Anne Sofie von Otter, Thomas Moser, Tom Krause
Other vocal soloists: Richard Cohn, Patrice Michaels, Debra Austin, William Watson
Obbligati: Donald Peck, Richard Graef, Louise Dixon, Walfrid Kujala, Ray Still, Judith Kulb, Grover Schiltz, Michael Henoch, Samuel Magad, Rubén González, Catharina Meints, Mary Sauer
Continuo: David Schrader, John Sharp, Joseph Guastafeste
Chicago Symphony Chorus; Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus; Lucy Ding, acting director

Following the performances in March 1987, the work was recorded for London Records. Andrew Cornall was the producer, and Simon Eadon and John Pellowe were the engineers.

Solti, members of the Orchestra, and soloists listen to playbacks

I inadvertently neglected to include the 1971 performances in the first version of this post. —FV

the vault

Theodore Thomas

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