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Gail Niwa makes her subscription concert debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Schumann’s Piano Concerto on February 9, 1995 (Jim Steere photo)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family mourns the loss of pianist Gail Niwa, who passed away on February 9, 2021, at home in New York City, following a long illness. She was sixty-one.

Born in Chicago in 1959, Gail was the daughter of two professional musicians. Her mother (and first teacher) Eloise was an accomplished pianist and pedagogue, and her father Raymond was a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s violin section from 1951 until 1997. David Niwa, Gail’s brother, also is a skilled violinist with degrees from the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School, and he currently serves as assistant concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Together, the Niwa family claims a singular distinction: all four have been soloists with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

At the age of eight, Gail Niwa was a second-place winner (tying with cellist Gary Hoffman) in the CSO’s youth auditions on December 11, 1967, and she subsequently made her debut with the Orchestra on youth concerts on February 19 and April 8, 1968, performing the third movement of Haydn’s Piano Concerto no. 11 in D major with Irwin Hoffman conducting. She later appeared with the Orchestra on special Music is the Message concerts for high school students, performing Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto on March 7, 1972, and Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos in D minor (along with David Lackland) on April 8, 1975, both under the baton of Henry Mazer. A graduate of William Howard Taft High School, Niwa was a two-time Chicago City Parks tennis champion.

Gail Niwa and Gary Hoffman receive their youth soloist awards from Louis Sudler, president of the Orchestral Association, and Irwin Hoffman, associate conductor on December 11, 1967

On scholarship to the Juilliard School, Niwa earned bachelor and master’s degrees as a student of Adele Marcus. She was awarded first prize at the 1987 Washington International Competition, which led to her recital debut at the Kennedy Center. In 1991, She became the first woman to win the top prize at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, receiving not only the gold medal but also the audience and chamber music prizes. This led to her debut at New York’s Alice Tully Hall in October of that year. Recognized as an excellent chamber musician, she received the award for best accompanist at the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition for violinists in Moscow.

She gave recitals in Athens, Miami, Montreal, Seoul, Toronto, and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and she also performed as soloist with the Augusta, Memphis, San Luis Obispo, Utah, Reno, and Grant Park symphony orchestras, and performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the California Philharmonic. Niwa also appeared with the Highland Park Strings, Kammergild Chamber Players in Saint Louis, the Ocean State Chamber Players, and the Banff Festival Chamber Orchestra, and she was a member of the Partita and Chelsea chamber ensembles in New York. With violinist David Kim, she made recordings for the Musical Heritage Society and Teldec labels, and with CSO bassoon Bruce Grainger on the Centaur label.

On April 4, 1993, Niwa made her Orchestra Hall recital debut on the Allied Arts series, performing the following program:

BACH/Busoni Chaconne from Unaccompanied Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004
CHOPIN Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58
SZYMANOWSKI Shéhérazade and Sérénade de Don Juan from Masques, Op. 34
TCHAIKOVSKY Dumka, Op. 59
LYAPUNOV Lezghinka, Transcendental Etude, Op. 11, No. 10

“It was easy to hear why the young Chicago pianist already has racked up so many competition victories,” wrote John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune. “She plays with the kind of confident fluency that makes competition juries take notice. . . . Taste, elegance, and musical intelligence were the hallmarks of Niwa’s Chopin sonata [and] the afternoon’s finest playing came in two of Szymanowski’s Masques [that] emerged here in all their exotic coloration, with plenty of intensity and atmosphere.”

On April 25, 1994, Niwa, along with Philip Sabransky—a former student of Eloise Niwa and the son of CSO violin Jerry and founding Chorus member Martha Sabransky—joined the Orchestra at Medinah Temple for recording sessions for Disney’s Fantasia 2000. Together they recorded the finale from Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals with James Levine conducting.

Niwa was back in Orchestra Hall for her subscription concert debut on February 9, 11, and 14, 1995, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as soloist in Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Sir Georg Solti on the podium. “She reveled in Schumann’s lyricism, especially in the concerto’s first movement, lingering over the expressive opening theme, stretching its rhythmic outlines to the limit,” commented Wynne Delacoma in the Chicago Sun-Times. “The CSO, in turn, provided unusually sumptuous accompaniment [and] the second movement was a relaxed, expansive conversation between soloist and sections of the Orchestra.”

At the University of Southern California, she served as assistant professor of piano and was founder and artistic director of Chamber Music at Great Gorge in northwest New Jersey.

Niwa is survived by her partner Glenn Powell, son Matthew, and brother David (Mariko). There are no immediate plans for services. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in her memory.

Wishing a very happy seventy-fifth birthday to legendary Israeli-American violinist, conductor, and teacher Itzhak Perlman!

Itzhak Perlman

A frequent and favorite guest artist in Chicago, Perlman has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as both violin soloist and conductor on numerous occasions.

Perlman made his Chicago debut as soloist with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra on July 24 and 25, 1965, in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Irwin Hoffman, and he first appeared locally in recital later that year on November 27 at KAM Isaiah Israel, performing Bloch, Brahms, Chausson, Mozart, Paganini, Sarasate, and Vivaldi with David Garvey at the piano.

He first appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival on August 4, 1966 (a few weeks shy of his twenty-first birthday), in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Thomas Schippers conducting. In Orchestra Hall, he first appeared under the auspices of Allied Arts with members of the CSO on an all-Stravinsky concert, in the Violin Concerto in D under the baton of Robert Craft.

As a conductor, Perlman first led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival on July 25, 1999, in Bach’s Second Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s First Romance for Violin (also performing as soloist), along with Schubert’s Overture to Rosamunde and Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. He has led the Orchestra at Orchestra Hall on one occasion, on November 17, 2008, in Bach’s First Violin Concerto (also performing as soloist), Mozart’s Symphony no. 35, and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. Most recently, he conducted the Orchestra in an all-Tchaikovsky program at the Ravinia Festival on August 18, 2019, leading the Fourth Symphony, Variations on a Rococo Theme with Kian Soltani, and the 1812 Overture.

A complete list of Perlman’s appearances is below:

August 4, 1966, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Thomas Schippers, conductor

May 11 and 12, 1967, Orchestra Hall
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63
Jean Martinon, conductor

Itzhak Perlman (photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco)

Itzhak Perlman (Lisa Marie Mazzucco photo)

July 6, 1967, Ravinia Festival
WIENIAWSKI Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 22
Sir Malcolm Sargent, conductor

July 30, 1968, Ravinia Festival
PAGANINI Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6
Moshe Atzmon, conductor

July 24, 1969, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
István Kertész, conductor

April 16, 17, and 18, 1970, Orchestra Hall
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor

July 30, 1970, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Lawrence Foster, conductor

July 27, 1971, Ravinia Festival
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53
István Kertész, conductor

July 25, 1972, Ravinia Festial
LALO Symphonie espagnole in D Minor, Op. 21
Lawrence Foster, conductor

July 13, 1973, Ravinia Festival
BERG Violin Concerto
SAINT-SAËNS Introduction and Rondo capriccioso in A Minor, Op. 28
James Levine, conductor

May 8, 9, and 10, 1975, Orchestra Hall
BACH Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C Minor, BWV 1060
Ray Still, oboe
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

November 24, 26, and 28, 1976, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor

Perlman Brahms

November 29, 1976, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
Recorded in Medinah Temple on November 30 and December 1, 1976. For Angel, Christopher Bishop was the producer and and Christopher Parker was the balance engineer. The recording won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

July 28, 1977, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Lynn Harrell, cello
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
James Levine, conductor

November 16, 17, and 18, 1978, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Edo de Waart, conductor

March 23, and 24, 1981, Orchestra Hall (recording sessions only)
ELGAR Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 61
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
For Deutsche Grammophon, Steven Paul was the producer, Werner Mayer was the recording supervisor, Klaus Scheibe was the recording engineer, and Christopher Adler and Joachim Niss were editors. The recording won the 1982 Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance–Instrumental Soloist or Soloists (with orchestra).

October 29, 30, and 31, 1981, Orchestra Hall
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

March 1, 2, and 3, 1984, Orchestra Hall
ELGAR Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 61
Leonard Slatkin, conductor

August 7, 1986, Ravinia Festival
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
SARASATE Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25
David Zinman, conductor

August 9, 1986, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
David Zinman, conductor

January 15, 16, 17, and 20, 1987, Orchestra Hall
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

August 8, 1987, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Edo de Waart, conductor

December 6, 1988, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Rondo in C Major, K. 373
MOZART Rondeau: Allegro from Duet No. 1 for Violin and Viola in G Major, K. 423
MOZART Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat Major, K. 364
Pinchas Zukerman, conductor and viola

July 15, 1989, Ravinia Festival
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
James Conlon, conductor

October 3, 5, and 6, and 7, 1989, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

June 23, 1990, Ravinia Festival
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
James Levine, conductor

June 30, 1991, Ravinia Festival
BACH Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
James Levine, conductor

June 20, 1992, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
James Levine, conductor

May 13, 14, 15, and 18, 1993, Orchestra Hall
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded live by Erato. Victor Muenzer was the recording supervisor; Lawrence Rock and Konrad Strauss were sound engineers, assisted by Christopher Willis.

June 26, 1993, Ravinia Festival
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Mariss Jansons, conductor

July 30, 1994, Ravinia Festival
KHACHATURIAN Violin Concerto in D Minor
Hugh Wolff, conductor

September 22, 23, and 24, 1994, Orchestra Hall
STRAVINSKY Violin Concerto in D
BEETHOVEN Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major, Op. 56 (Triple)
John Sharp, cello
Daniel Barenboim, conductor and piano
Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto was recorded live by Teldec. Nikolaus Deckenbrock was the executive producer, Martin Fouqué was the recording producer and editor, Michael Brammann was the recording engineer, and Wolfram Nehls and Philipp Nedel were the assistant engineers.

November 14, 1994, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Lawrence Foster, conductor

July 15, 1995, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Semyon Bychkov, conductor

July 18, 1996, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

September 26, 27, and 28, 1996, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Concerto in A Minor for Violin and Cello, Op. 102 (Double)
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded live by Teldec. Renate Kupfer was the executive producer, Martin Sauer was the recording producer, Michael Brammann was the recording engineer, Philipp Nedel and John Newton were assistant engineers, and Stefan Witzel was the digital editor.

November 11, 1996, Orchestra Hall
MASSENET Meditation from Thaïs
KREISLER Schön Rosmarin
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

June 22, 1997, Ravinia Festival
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

January 22, 23, and 24, 1998, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
William Eddins, conductor

July 19, 1998, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

July 24, 1999, Ravinia Festival
DVOŘÁK Romance in F Minor, Op. 11
KREISLER Liebesleid
KREISLER Liebesfreud
KREISLER Tambourin chinois
Eiji Oue, conductor

July 25, 1999, Ravinia Festival
BACH Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042
BEETHOVEN Romance No. 1 in G major, Op. 40
SCHUBERT Overture to Rosamunde, D. 797
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
Itzhak Perlman, conductor and violin

June 1, 2, and 3, 2000, Orchestra Hall
BARBER Violin Concerto, Op. 14
Charles Dutoit, conductor

July 22, 2000, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Bernhard Klee, conductor

recording session

Perlman and Daniel Barenboim rehearsing with the CSO in May 1993 (Jim Steere photo)

July 23, 2000, Ravinia Festival
BACH Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C Minor, BWV 1060
Alex Klein, oboe
MOZART Symphony No. 29 in A Major, K. 201
VIVALDI Violin Concerto in G Minor, Op. 8, No. 2 (Summer)
BIZET Symphony in C Major
Itzhak Perlman, conductor and violin

November 8, 2000, Orchestra Hall
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Markus Stenz, conductor

December 6, 7, and 8, 2001, Orchestra Hall
BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050
Mathieu Dufour, flute
Daniel Barenboim, piano
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

June 21, 2002, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
William Eddins, conductor

June 22, 2002, Ravinia Festival
GLINKA Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla
BACH Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, BWV 1041
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
Itzhak Perlman, conductor and violin

June 23, 2002, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
BEETHOVEN Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major, Op. 56 (Triple)
Kurt Nikkanen, violin
Zuill Bailey, cello
Navah Perlman, piano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

June 28, 2003, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216
Robert Spano, conductor

June 29, 2003, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Giora Schmidt, violin
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 (Great)
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

June 27, 2004, Ravinia Festival
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Peter Oundjian, conductor

July 9, 2005, Ravinia Festival
DVOŘÁK Romance in F Minor, Op. 11
KREISLER Liebesfreud
SAINT-SÄENS Introduction and Rondo capriccioso in A Minor, Op. 28
Marin Alsop, conductor

July 10, 2005, Ravinia Festival
BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15
Lang Lang, piano
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

October 1, 2005, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216 (Strassburg)
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

July 12, 2006, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219 (Turkish)
Yoel Levi, conductor

July 13, 2006, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Emanuel Ax, piano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (Eroica)
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

Perlman and Daniel Barenboim rehearsing with the CSO in May 1993 (Jim Steere photo)

November 17, 2008, Orchestra Hall
BACH Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, BWV 1041
MOZART Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 (Haffner)
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
Itzhak Perlman, conductor and violin

March 7, 2011, Orchestra Hall
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
KREISLER/McAlister Liebesfreud
James DePreist, conductor

August 4, 2011, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
James Conlon, conductor

August 6, 2011, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Capriccio italien, Op. 45
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K. 414
Gabriela Martinez, piano
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (From the New World)
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

August 7, 2013, Ravinia Festival
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor

August 8, 2013, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
HAYDN Cello Concerto No.2 in D Major
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

August 20, 2016, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Bramwell Tovey, conductor

August 21, 2016, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
TCHAIKOVSKY Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33
Lynn Harrell, cello
TCHAIKOVSKY 1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

July 29, 2017, Ravinia Festival
HUPFELD/Williams As Time Goes By from Casablanca
MORRICONE/Williams Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso
WILLIAMS Theme from Far and Away
BARRY/Williams Main Title Theme from Out of Africa
KORNGOLD/Williams Marian and Robin Love Theme from The Adventures of Robin Hood
WILLIAMS Theme from Sabrina
WILLIAMS Theme from Schindler’s List
GARDEL/Williams Tango from Scent of a Woman
James Conlon, conductor

August 17, 2019, Ravinia Festival
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Krzysztof Urbański, conductor

August 18, 2019, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
TCHAIKOVSKY Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33
Kian Soltani, cello
TCHAIKOVSKY 1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

Under the auspices of Allied Arts and Symphony Center Presents, Perlman also has appeared in Orchestra Hall on numerous times in recital, as follows:

Chicago Tribune, December 29, 1966

December 28, 1966, and January 1, 1967, Orchestra Hall
STRAVINSKY Violin Concerto in D
Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Robert Craft, conductor

April 2, 1967, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Op 30, No. 3
FRANCK Sonata in A Major
STRAVINSKY Suite italienne
BLOCH Nigun from Baal shem
WIENIAWSKI Scherzo tarantelle, Op. 16
Samuel Sanders, piano

January 12, 1969, Orchestra Hall
VIVALDI Sonata in A Major, RV 31
BACH Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001
BRAHMS Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 108
STRAVINSKY Duo concertant
PAGANINI Three Caprices
SARASATE/Zimbalist Carmen Fantasy
Samuel Sanders, piano

April 27, 1991, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Sonata in G Major, K. 301
MOZART Sonata in E-flat Major, K. 302
MOZART Sonata in C Major, K. 303
MOZART Sonata in E Minor, K. 304
MOZART Sonata in A Major, K. 305
MOZART Sonata in D Major, K. 306
Daniel Barenboim, piano

May 6, 1991, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Sonata in F Major, K. 376
MOZART Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 378
MOZART Sonata in F Major, K. 377
MOZART Sonata in C Major, K. 296
Daniel Barenboim, piano

October 7, 1991, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Sonata in G Major, K. 379
MOZART Sonata in E-flat Major, K. 481
MOZART Sonata in E-flat Major, K. 380
MOZART Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 454
Daniel Barenboim, piano

October 16, 1991, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Twelve Variations in G Major on the French Song La bergère Cèlimène, K. 359
MOZART Sonata in F Major, K. 547
MOZART Six Variations in G Minor on the French Song Hélas! j’ai perdu mon amant, K. 360
MOZART Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major, K. 526
Daniel Barenboim, piano

May 10, 1993, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Op. 12, No. 1
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 12, No. 3
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 23
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24 (Spring)
Daniel Barenboim, piano

May 16, 1993, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 12, No. 2
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 7 in C Minor, Op. 30, No. 2
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96
Daniel Barenboim, piano

May 17, 1993, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30, No. 3
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47
Daniel Barenboim, piano

September 26, 1994, Orchestra Hall
BACH Sonata in G Major, BWV 1019
ELGAR Sonata in E Minor, Op. 82
STRAUSS Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18
Daniel Barenboim, piano

February 2, 1997, Orchestra Hall
SCHUBERT Sonata in G Minor, D. 408
SCHUBERT Sonata in A Major, D. 574 (Grand Duo)
SCHUBERT Fantasy in C Major, D. 934
Daniel Barenboim, piano

Perlman, Samuel Magad, Daniel Barenboim, John Sharp, and Pinchas Zukerman performing Brahms’s F minor quintet on October 9, 1997 (Jim Steere photo)

October 9, 1997, Orchestra Hall
WAGNER Siegfried Idyll
Samuel Magad, violin
Pinchas Zukerman, viola
John Sharp, cello
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
Donald Peck, flute
Alex Klein, oboe
Larry Combs, clarinet
Gregory Smith, clarinet
David McGill, bassoon
Dale Clevenger, horn
Norman Schweikert, horn
Adolph Herseth, trumpet
Daniel Barenboim conductor
MOZART Duo No. 1 for Violin and Viola in G Major, K. 423
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Pinchas Zukerman, viola
HALVORSEN Passacaglia on a Theme of Handel for Violin and Viola
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Pinchas Zukerman, viola
BRAHMS Quintet for Piano and Strings in F Minor, Op. 34
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Samuel Magad, violin
Pinchas Zukerman, viola
John Sharp, cello
Daniel Barenboim, piano

December 1, 1997, Medinah Temple
Brave Old World
The Klezmatics
The Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra
The Klezmer Conservatory Band

October 17, 1999, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Sonata in F Major, K. 377
MOZART Sonata in A Major, K. 526
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 (Kreutzer)
Daniel Barenboim, piano

November 19, 2000, Orchestra Hall
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44
BRAHMS Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34
Robert Chen, violin
Pinchas Zukerman, viola
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Daniel Barenboim, piano

December 9, 2001, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Sonata in G Major, K. 379
BRAHMS Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 7 in C Minor, Op. 30, No. 2
Daniel Barenboim, piano

May 3, 2006, Orchestra Hall
BACH/Goldberg Sonata for Two Violins and Keyboard in C Major, BWV 1037
MOZART Duo for Violin and Viola in G Major, K. 423
LECLAIR Sonata for Two Violins in F Major, Op. 3, No. 4
MOSZKOWSKI Suite for Two Violins and Piano in G Minor, Op. 71
Pinchas Zukerman, violin and viola
Rohan De Silva, piano

April 19, 2009, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major, K. 493
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Molly Carr, viola
Yves Dharamraj, cello
Kwan Yi, piano
MENDELSSOHN Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Erno Kallai, violin
Francesca Anderegg, violin
Wanzhen Li, violin
Kyle Armbrust, viola
Molly Carr, viola
Jia Kim, cello
Yves Dharamraj, cello

May 1, 2019, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Violin Sonata in D Major, K. 306
BRAHMS Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100
BEETHOVEN Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 (Kreutzer)
Evgeny Kissin, piano

Happy, happy birthday!

Walfrid Kujala in 1997 (William Burlingham photo)

Wishing Walfrid Kujala—a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s flute and piccolo section from 1954 until 2001—a very happy ninety-fifth birthday!

A native of Warren, Ohio, Kujala grew up in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where he started flute lessons when he was in the seventh grade. (His father, a bassoonist, steered him to the flute in order to “save him” from the headaches of reed making.) While attending high school in Huntington, West Virginia, he studied with Parker Taylor, principal flute of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, and  played second flute with the ensemble from 1939 until 1942.

Kujala attended the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Joseph Mariano, principal flute of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. His college career was interrupted by two and a half years of military service in the U.S. Army, serving in the 86th Infantry Division Band from 1943 until 1946. During his tour of duty in the Philippines, after the end of hostilities, Kujala was briefly a member of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. From Eastman, he received his bachelor of music degree in 1948 and a master’s degree in 1950, and he was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf from 1948 until 1954. Kujala also served on Eastman’s faculty from 1950 until 1954.

In 1954, sixth music director Fritz Reiner hired Kujala as assistant principal flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and in 1957, he became principal piccolo, serving in that capacity until 2001. He also performed as principal flute of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra from 1955 until 1960.

As a soloist, Kujala has appeared under Reiner, Sir Georg Solti, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Janigro, and Lawrence Foster. He also has soloed at the Stratford and Victoria Festivals in Canada, as well as recitals, chamber music concerts, and master classes across the United States.

Kujala, Gunther Schuller, and Sir Georg Solti following the world premiere performance of Schuller’s Flute Concerto on October 13, 1988 (Jim Steere photo)

Kujala joined the faculty at Northwestern University in 1962 and taught there for fifty years, retiring in 2012. In honor of his sixtieth birthday, his students and colleagues commissioned a flute concerto from Gunther Schuller, and Kujala was soloist in the world premiere with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Solti on October 13, 1988. On August 19, 1990, he was soloist in the U.S. premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Concerto for Flute under Kurt Redel, at the National Flute Association convention in Minneapolis. The Chicago Flute Club’s biennial international piccolo competition is named in his honor.

The author of the textbook The Flutist’s Progress, Kujala also regularly contributes articles and editorial to several publications, including The Instrumentalist, Flute Talk, Music Journal, and Woodwind World. He is a founding board member and founding secretary of the National Flute Association, where he also served as president, vice president, and board chairman. Kujala and his wife Sherry make their home in Evanston.

Happy, happy birthday!

Leonard Slatkin (Nico Rodamel photo)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family wishes American conductor Leonard Slatkin a very happy seventh-fifth birthday on September 1, 2019! A frequent and favorite guest conductor, he has appeared with the Orchestra on countless occasions—in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival—over the last forty-eight years.

At the invitation of CSO general manager John Edwards, Slatkin—in his second season as assistant conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony—made his debut in Orchestra Hall with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago on March 6, 1970, leading the following program:

SCHUBERT Overture to Rosamunde, D. 644
WAGNER Siegfried Idyll
SCHUMAN New England Triptych
FAURÉ Pelleas and Melisande, Op. 80
RESPIGHI Pines of Rome

March 6, 1970

Slatkin’s program book biography for March 6, 1970

The following year, Slatkin first led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducting two free, outdoor Symphony in the Streets concerts, one in the parking lot at Park Forest Shopping Plaza and the other at the Jubilee Celebration site in Westmont, as follows:

July 12, 1971, Park Forest, Illinois
July 21, 1971, Westmont, Illinois
BARBER Adagio for Strings
GRIEG Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46
GRIEG Ingrid’s Lament from Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55
ROSSINI Overture to William Tell
J. STRAUSS, Jr. On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314
J. STRAUSS, Jr. Overture to Die Fledermaus
J. STRAUSS, Jr. Perpetual Motion, Op. 257
SOUSA The Stars and Stripes Forever

Also during that residency, he led the Orchestra on a children’s concert at the Ravinia Festival on July 13, conducting the following program:

IVES/Schuman Variations on “America”
SATIE/Debussy Gymnopédie No. 3
SATIE/Debussy Gymnopédie No. 1
BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9
BACH/Cailliet Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578 (Little)
MUSSORGSKY/Ravel The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba-Yagá), The Great Gate of Kiev, Bydło (Oxcart), and Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks from Pictures at an Exhibition
TCHAIKOVSKY Scherzo. Pizzicato ostinato: Allegro (third movement) from Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36

And on April 4, 5, and 7, 1974, Slatkin made his debut with the Orchestra on subscription concerts, with this program:

April 4, 5, and 7, 1974

PURCELL Chacony in G Minor
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Symphony no. 6 in E Minor
PISTON Symphony No. 2
RAVEL La valse

“Leonard Slatkin, an enormously talented young American musician who will be the principal conductor of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra this summer, made his subscription concert debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Thursday night at Orchestra Hall,” wrote Robert C. Marsh in the Chicago Sun-Times. “He has at 29 all the skills and all the qualities of leadership necessary to win the respect of a great orchestra and have them play for him with enthusiasm and the fullest measure of their talent. . . . What was impressive in the manner in which Slatkin could prepare three new works [Purcell, Vaughan Williams, and Piston] and have the orchestra playing them with security and bravura as if they were repertory standards. This, plus the clarity and precision of his beat, promises good things to come . . .”

“As a result of Daniel Barenboim’s cancellation—to be with his ailing wife [Jacqueline du Pré]—Slatkin, who is associate conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony, has this week’s subscription concerts,” added Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune. “He has a direct, music-oriented competence which shows the thoroughness of his training and his concentration on things that matter. Conductors with more experience than he have foundered on the tempo changes in Ravel’s La valse, but he piloted the ensemble through each tempo change with an easy skill, catching the upbeats, shifting into overdrive, and pacing the rising line of apotheosis precisely.”

Slatkin leads the Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists in the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s Goodbye My Fancy on November 8, 1990 (Jim Steere photo)

A staunch advocate for new music, Slatkin led the Orchestra in the world premieres of Donald Erb’s Concerto for Brass and Orchestra on April 16, 1987; Jacob Druckman’s Brangle on March 28, 1989; and Ned Rorem’s Goodbye My Fancy with mezzo-soprano Wendy White, bass-baritone John Cheek, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus (prepared by Margaret Hillis) on November 8, 1990. He also led the Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Quatre chansons françaises with mezzo-soprano Claudine Carlson on May 19, 1983.

And most recently, he returned to the Ravinia Festival on August 7, 2019, leading the Orchestra in this program:

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
Denis Matsuev, piano
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Sheherazade
Robert Chen, violin

Happy, happy birthday, Maestro Slatkin!

Slatkin, Margaret Hillis, Ned Rorem, John Cheek, and Wendy White acknowledge applause on November 8, 1990 (Jim Steere photo)

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