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Wishing a very happy eightieth birthday to John Corigliano!

The recipient of numerous honors—including a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award, the Grawemeyer Award, and multiple Grammy awards—Corigliano served as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first composer-in-residence from 1987 until 1990.

The Orchestra first performed Corigliano’s Concerto for Piano in February 1969, with Sheldon Shkolnik as soloist and acting music director Irwin Hoffman on the podium. Under the baton of Sir Georg Solti, the Orchestra performed the Concerto for Clarinet with Larry Combs, as well as the Tournaments Overture on concerts in Orchestra Hall and during the 1985 tour to Europe, performing the work in Hamburg, Madrid, Paris, and London.

On March 15, 1990, music director designate Daniel Barenboim led the world premiere of Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, jointly commissioned for the Orchestra’s centennial by the Chicago Symphony and the Meet-the-Composer Orchestra Residencies Program.

“During the past decade I have lost many friends and colleagues to the AIDS epidemic, and the cumulative effect of those losses has, naturally, deeply affected me. My First Symphony was generated by feelings of loss, anger, and frustration,” wrote Corigliano in the program note for the premiere. “A few years ago, I was extremely moved when I first saw ‘The Quilt,’ an ambitious interweaving of several thousand fabric panels, each memorializing a person who had died of AIDS, and, most importantly, each designed and constructed by his or her loved ones. This made me want to memorialize in music those I have lost, and reflect on those I am losing.”

The live recording—Barenboim and the Orchestra’s first on the Erato label—featured principal cello John Sharp and, offstage, pianist Stephen Hough. The recording was recognized with two 1991 Grammy awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Contemporary Composition. Barenboim programmed the symphony again in 1992, also taking it on tour to Carnegie Hall, Madrid, and London.

Corigliano’s First Symphony also has been performed at the Ravinia Festival under the batons of Christoph Eschenbach in 1996 and Marin Alsop in 2003; Eschenbach also led performances in Orchestra Hall in 1998.

With the Orchestra, Neeme Järvi conducted the Pied Piper Fantasy with Sir James Galway; Eschenbach led The Red Violin: Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra with Joshua BellWilliam Eddins conducted Phantasmagoria on The Ghosts of Versailles; and Leonard Slatkin has led Three Hallucinations, Fantasia on an Ostinato, and The Mannheim Rocket.

To celebrate Sir Georg Solti’s seventy-fifth birthday in 1987, associate conductor Kenneth Jean led the Orchestra in the world premiere of Corigliano’s Campane di RavelloWritten while on vacation in Ravello, Italy, the composer remarked, “On Sundays, the multitude of churches in Ravello and the surrounding towns play their bells, each in a different key and rhythm. The cacophony is gorgeous, and uniquely festive. My tribute to Sir Georg attempts to make the sections of the symphony orchestra sound like pealing bells: that tolling, filigreed with birdcalls in the woodwinds, provides the backdrop for a theme that grows more and more familiar as it is clarified. At the end, it is clear and joyous—a tribute to a great man.”

Jean also led the work on the Centennial Gala concert on October 6, 1990, and current music director Riccardo Muti conducted it on September 19, 2015, on the Symphony Ball concert launching the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 125th season.

Corigliano and Stephanie Jeong at the Harris Theater on October 2, 2017 (Todd Rosenberg photo)

MusicNOW, the Orchestra’s contemporary music series, kicked off its twentieth season on October 2, 2017, at the Harris Theater with a concert celebrating past composers-in-residence. Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek honored their predecessors by programming works by Anna Clyne, Osvaldo Golijov, and Mark-Anthony Turnage, along with—in attendance—Mason Bates, Shulamit Ran, Augusta Read Thomas, and Corigliano.

CSO violins Yuan-Qing Yu and Hermine Gagné, viola Danny Lai, and cello Kenneth Olsen performed Corigliano’s A Black November Turkey (in the composer’s string quartet arrangement), and violin Stephenie Jeong soloed in the Red Violin Caprices. The Chicago Classical Review’s Lawrence A. Johnson observed, “Jeong delivered a powerful tour de force performance, sensitively serving the pages of introspective melancholy and throwing off Corigliano’s artful retake on nineteenth-century Paganini-esque fiddle fireworks with blazing virtuosity and panache. It was wonderful to see the veteran composer join the CSO’s young associate concertmaster for a double curtain call.”

And next season, in January 2019, Thomas Hampson will perform the song “One Sweet Morning” from Corigliano’s song cycle One Sweet Morning, commissioned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Bramwell Tovey will conduct.

Happy, happy birthday!

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Before and during his tenure as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s ninth music director, Daniel Barenboim was firmly committed to introducing new works to Chicago audiences. He also was instrumental in the continued cultivation of the Orchestra’s composer-in-residence program, frequently conducting works by John Corigliano, Shulamit Ran, and Augusta Read Thomas. With the Orchestra, Barenboim led over thirty world and U.S. premieres, and a complete list is below (all performances in Orchestra Hall, unless otherwise noted; an asterisk (*) indicates a work commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra).

Barenboim and John Corigliano review the score to his Symphony no. 1 in March 1990 (Terry’s photo)

World premieres

March 8, 1990
*Tōru Takemitsu Visions
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

March 15, 1990
*John Corigliano Symphony No. 1
Stephen Hough, piano
John Sharp, cello
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 14, 1990 (Edman Memorial Chapel, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois)
*Stephen Kowalsky Last Voyage
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Barenboim acknowledges Shulamit Ran following the world premiere of her Legends on October 7, 1993 (Jim Steere photo)

April 30, 1991
*Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Concerto for Bass Trombone, Strings, Timpani, and Cymbals
Charles Vernon, bass trombone
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

February 4, 1993
*Melinda Wagner Falling Angels
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

October 7, 1993
*Shulamit Ran Legends for Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Barenboim and the Orchestra acknowledge Elliott Carter following the world premiere of his Partita on February 17, 1994 (Jim Steere photo)

February 17, 1994
*Elliott Carter Partita
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

October 12, 1995
*York Höller Aura
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

January 30, 1997
*Jay Alan Yim Rough Magic
Daniel Barenboim

May 15, 1997
*Aribert Reimann Violin Concerto
Gidon Kremer, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

February 5, 1998
*Sir Harrison Birtwistle Exody
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

February 12, 1998
Max Raimi Elegy
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Two pages of Pierre Boulez’s manuscript score for Notations VII

January 14, 1999
*Pierre Boulez Notations VII for Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

February 11, 1999
Elias Tanenbaum First Bassman for Contrabass and Orchestra
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

January 6, 2000
*Augusta Read Thomas Ceremonial
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 13, 2001 (Kultur- & Kongresszentrum, Lucerne, Switzerland)
*Hanspeter Kyburz Noesis for Large Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 27, 2001
*Elliott Carter Cello Concerto
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Texts for the first two sections of Bernard Rands’s apókryphos, as included in the printed score

May 8, 2003
*Bernard Rands apókryphos
Angela Denoke, soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

May 22, 2003
*Melinda Wagner Extremity of Sky (Concerto for Piano and Orchestra)
Emanuel Ax, piano
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

May 29, 2003
Elliott Carter Of Rewaking
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

October 9, 2003
*Lalo Schifrin Fantasy for Screenplay and Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

May 19, 2005
*George Benjamin Dance Figures (Nine choreographic scenes for orchestra)
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Title page detail for Augusta Read Thomas’s score for Astral Canticle

October 6, 2005
*Elliott Carter Soundings
Daniel Barenboim, piano and conductor

February 16, 2006
*Isabel Mundry Nocturno
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

June 1, 2006
*Augusta Read Thomas Astral Canticle
Mathieu Dufour, flute
Robert Chen, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

United States premieres

November 7, 1985
Siefgried Wagner Sehnsucht
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

May 9, 1991
Pierre Boulez Four movements from Le visage nuptial
(I. Conduite; II. Gravité. L’emmuré; IV. Evadné; and V. Post-scriptum)
Phyllis Bryn-Julson, soprano
Lucy Shelton, soprano
Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

In 1995, Teldec released recordings of three CSO world premieres, all conducted by Barenboim: Carter’s Partita, Berio’s Continuo, and Takemitsu’s Visions.

May 16, 1991
Edison Denisov Symphonie pour grande orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

January 7, 1993
*Luciano Berio Continuo
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

October 1, 1998
Rodion Shchedrin Concerto cantabile
Maxim Vengerov, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 30, 1999
*Wolfgang Rihm Sotto voce
Daniel Barenboim, piano and conductor

Barenboim with Augusta Read Thomas during a rehearsal for the world premiere of her Aurora—co-commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic—in Berlin in June 2000

February, 24, 2000
Elliott Carter What Next?
Simone Nold, soprano
Lynne Dawson, soprano
Hilary Summers, contralto
William Joyner, tenor
Hanno Müller-Brachmann, bass-baritone
Michael John Devine, boy soprano
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 21, 2000
*Augusta Read Thomas Aurora
Elizabeth Norman, soprano
Daniel Barenboim, piano and conductor

October 4, 2001
*Isabel Mundry Panorama ciego
Daniel Barenboim, piano and conductor

December 13, 2001
Wilhelm Furtwängler Symphony No. 2 in E Minor
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Daniel Barenboim in 1990 (Jim Steere photo for Erato)

On March 15, 1990—at the beginning of an open rehearsal for donors and patrons—the Orchestral Association announced that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under its music director designate Daniel Barenboim would record exclusively for Erato Records. This would be the label’s first exclusive association with a major American orchestra, and it would begin with the world premiere of the Symphony no. 1 by John Corigliano, the Orchestra’s first composer-in-residence.

A complete list of Barenboim’s catalog with the CSO on Erato is below (all recordings were made in Orchestra Hall).

BEETHOVEN Missa solemnis in D Major, Op. 123
Tina Kiberg, soprano
Waltraud Meier, mezzo-soprano
John Aler, tenor
Robert Holl, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded April 29, 30, May 1, and 4, 1993

BRAHMS Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 19, 22, 24, and 28, 1993

BRAHMS A German Requiem, Op. 45
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Janet Williams, soprano*
Thomas Hampson, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Recorded September 17, 18, 19, and 22, 1992
*The fifth movement was re-recorded in a studio session with Williams as soloist on January 16, 1993.

BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded May 13, 14, and 18, 1993

BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 7, 8, and 9, 1993

BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded May 15 and 18, 1993

BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 19, 22, 24, and 28, 1993

BRAHMS Tragic Overture, Op. 81
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 17, 18, 19, and 22, 1992

BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 19, 22, 24, and 28, 1993

CORIGLIANO Symphony No. 1
Stephen Hough, piano
John Sharp, cello
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded March 15, 16, and 17, 1990
1991 Grammy Awards: Best Orchestral Performance, Best Contemporary Composition

LUTOSŁAWSKI Concerto for Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 1, 2, and 3, 1992

LUTOSŁAWSKI Symphony No. 3
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded 1, 2, and 3, 1992

MAHLER Das Lied von der Erde
Waltraud Meier, mezzo-soprano
Siegfried Jerusalem, tenor
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded April 25, 26, 28, May 2, and 7, 1991

MENDELSSOHN Concerto for Violin in E Minor, Op. 64
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded May 13, 14, 15, and 18, 1993

PROKOFIEV Concerto for Violin No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded May 13, 14, 15, and 18, 1993

Barenboim and Perlman recording with the Orchestra in May 1993 (Jim Steere photo)

RAVEL Alborada del gracioso
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 2 and 3, 1991

RAVEL Boléro
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 2 and 3, 1991, and March 16, 1992

RAVEL Daphnis and Chloe Orchestral Fragments (Second Series)
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 2 and 3, 1991

RAVEL Pavane pour une infant défunte
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 2 and 3, 1991

RAVEL Rapsodie espagnole
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 2 and 3, 1991

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Sheherazade, Op. 35
Samuel Magad, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded February 4, 5, and 6, 1993

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV The Tale of Tsar Saltan Suite
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded January 21, 22, 23, and 24, 1993

J. STRAUSS, Jr. Annen Polka, Op. 117
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 16, 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Jr. Egyptian March, Op. 335
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 16, 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Jr. Emperor Waltz, Op. 437
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded March 16, September 16, 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Jr. On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 16, 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Jr. Overture to Die Fledermaus
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 16, 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Jr. and J. STRAUSS Pizzicato Polka
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 16, 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Sr. Radetsky March, Op. 228
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 16, 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Jr. Tales from the Vienna Woods, Op, 325
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 16, 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Jr. Thunder and Lightning Polka, Op. 324
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded March 16, September 19, and 26, 1992

J. STRAUSS, Jr. Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, Op. 214
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded March 16, September 19, and 26, 1992

R. STRAUSS An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 24, 25, 26, and 29, 1992

R. STRAUSS Don Juan, Op. 20
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded May 28, 1990

R. STRAUSS Don Quixote, Op. 35
John Sharp, cello
Charles Pickler, viola
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded May 28, 1991

R. STRAUSS Symphonic Fantasy on Die Frau ohne Schatten
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 24, 25, 26, and 28, 1992

R. STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40
Samuel Magad, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 24 and 25, 1990

R. STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 24 and 25, 1990

VERDI Messa da Requiem
Alessandra Marc, soprano
Waltraud Meier, mezzo-soprano
Plácido Domingo, tenor
Ferruccio Furlanetto, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded September 20 and 21, 1993

WAGNER Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, Siegfried’s Death and Funeral Procession, and Brünnhilde’s Immolation from Götterdämmerung
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Deborah Polaski, soprano
Recorded October 7 and 8, 1991

WAGNER Forest Murmurs from Siegfried
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 8, 1991

WAGNER The Ride of the Valkryies from Die Walküre
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded October 7 and 8, 1991

MENDELSSOHN Wedding MarchThe commercial recording legacy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—under second music director Frederick Stock—began on May 1, 1916. For the Columbia Graphophone Company (at an undocumented location in Chicago), they recorded Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre; and Grieg’s Two Elegiac Melodies, Heart Wounds and The Last Spring.

Mendelssohn’s Wedding March and Grieg’s The Last Spring were each on the first 80-rpm disc issued in October 1916, and a Columbia Records sales brochure raved, “The deepest glories vibrant in such a familiar composition as Mendelssohn’s Wedding March are unguessed until interpreted by such an orchestra as this. From the first trumpet fanfare to the great central crescendo is very joy and glory articulate! . . . There can be no pleasure beyond enjoying such music as the Chicago Symphony here brings to every music-loving home.”

Recording_Centennial_Rotunda_Display_102.75x60

To commemorate this legacy, this collage of record and CD labels is on display in the first floor of Symphony Center’s Rotunda through the end of the Orchestra’s current—the 125th—season. Details of all of the recordings included are below (all recordings were made at Orchestra Hall unless otherwise noted).

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4-2Austrian pianist Artur Schnabel made his debut with the Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival on July 11, 1942, performing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with George Szell conducting. On July 22 and 24, Schnabel and the Orchestra recorded the Fourth along with Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto at Orchestra Hall for Victor Records. Frederick Stock conducted these, his last, recording sessions with the Orchestra; he died a few short months later on October 20.

PROKOFIEV Scythian Suite-2 WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod-2The Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the U.S. premiere of Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite under the baton of the composer on December 6, 1918. On March 16, 1945, third music director Désiré Defauw recorded the work for RCA.

Fourth music director Artur Rodzinski led the Orchestra in a complete performance of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde—with Set Svanholm and Kirsten Flagstad in the title roles—at the Civic Opera House on November 16, 1947. A month later on December 14, he led the Orchestra in recording sessions for the Prelude and Liebestod at Orchestra Hall.

STRAUSS Ein HeldenlebenMUSSORGSKY Pictures at an ExhibitionFor Mercury Records, fifth music director Rafael Kubelík led the Orchestra’s first recording of Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on April 23 and 24, 1951. Principal trumpet Adolph Herseth performed the opening fanfare.

On March 6, 1954, sixth music director Fritz Reiner and the Orchestra recorded together for the first time: Strauss’s Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome and Ein Heldenleben for RCA. (Reiner’s complete CSO catalog recently was re-released by RCA.)

BARTOK Music for Strings, Percussion, and CelestaBRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2At the third annual Grammy awards ceremony on April 12, 1961, the Orchestra’s recording of Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta received the award for Best Classical Performance–Orchestra. Reiner had conducted the RCA release. That same evening, the Orchestra’s recording of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto—also on RCA and with Erich Leinsdorf conducting—earned the award for Best Classical Performance–Concerto or Instrumental Soloist for Sviatoslav Richter. These were the first two Grammy awards earned for recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

SCHUMANN Piano ConcertoPROKOFIEV Alexander NevskyReiner led the Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus (prepared by its founder Margaret Hillis), and mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky for RCA—the first recording collaboration with the Orchestra and the Chorus—on March 7, 1959, at Orchestra Hall.

Two years after winning the prestigious 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Van Cliburn made his first recording with the Orchestra on April 16, 1960: Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Reiner conducting for RCA. (A complete list of Cliburn’s appearances and recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra can be found here.)

MARTIN Concerto for Seven WindsOn March 19, 1966, seventh music director Jean Martinon led the Orchestra in recording sessions for Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra for RCA. Featured soloists were CSO principals Clark Brody (clarinet), Willard Elliot (bassoon), Donald Peck (flute), Dale Clevenger (horn, in his first week on the job), Ray Still (oboe), Adolph Herseth (trumpet), Donald Koss (timpani), and Jay Friedman (trombone). (Martinon’s complete CSO catalog recently was re-released by RCA.)

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 6-2NIELSEN Clarinet Concerto-2Benny Goodman recorded Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto with the Orchestra on June 18, 1966, for RCA. Morton Gould conducted. (Gould’s complete CSO catalog recently was re-released by RCA.)

At Medinah Temple on February 20 and 21, 1968, Leopold Stokowski and the Orchestra recorded Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 6  for RCA.

BERLIOZ Romeo and Juliet-2RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Sheherazade-2Carlo Maria Giulini—the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first principal guest conductor—recorded selections from Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet for Angel on October 13 and 14, 1969, at Medinah Temple.

The Orchestra made its second recording of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade on June 30 and July 1, 1969, at Medinah Temple for Angel. Seiji Ozawa, the Ravinia Festival’s first music director, conducted and concertmaster Victor Aitay was violin soloist.

DVORAK Cello Concerto-2MAHLER Symphony no. 5During eighth music director Georg Solti‘s first season as music director, the Orchestra performed Mahler’s Fifth Symphony at Carnegie Hall on January 9, 1970, and were called back for twelve curtain calls. Beginning on March 26 at Medinah Temple, Solti and the Orchestra committed their performance to disc—their first recording together—for London Records.

Daniel Barenboim, who would later become ninth music director, made his first recording with the Orchestra on November 11, 1970, at Medinah Temple. For Angel, he led sessions for Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with his wife Jacqueline du Pré as soloist. (A summary of du Pré’s association with the Orchestra is here.)

MAHLER Symphony No. 8-2Before the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed the first concert of its first tour to Europe in 1971, Solti led recording sessions for Mahler’s Eighth Symphony at the Sofiensaal in Vienna on August 30, 31, and September 1. Soloists included Heather HarperLucia Popp (more about Popp’s performances with the Orchestra is here), Arleen AugérYvonne MintonHelen WattsRené KolloJohn Shirley-Quirk, and Martti Talvela. The recording won three 1972 Grammy awards for Album of the Year–Classical, Best Choral Performance–Classical (other than opera) (for the Chorus of the Vienna State OperaSingverein Chorus, and Vienna Boys’ Choir), and Best Engineered Recording–Classical.

BEETHOVEN Fidelio BRUCKNER Symphony No. 6-2On December 13, 1977, Barenboim and the Orchestra recorded Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony for Deutsche Grammophon, part of a complete cycle of the composer’s symphonies that also included the Te Deum, Helgoland, and Psalm 150.

Following concerts in Orchestra Hall and Carnegie Hall, Solti led the Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists (including Hildegard Behrens as Leonore and Peter Hofmann as Florestan) and in recording sessions for Beethoven’s Fidelio—”the first digitally recorded opera to be released,” according to Gramophone—at Medinah Temple on May 21, 22, 23, and 24, 1979.

ORFF Carmina Burana DOWNS Bear Down, Chicago BearsSecond music director of the Ravinia Festival, James Levine led the Orchestra, Chorus, Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, and soloists (June Anderson, Phillip Creech, and Bernd Weikl) in sessions for Orff’s Carmina burana on July 9 and 10, 1984, for Deutsche Grammophon. The recording was awarded the 1986 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance (other than opera).

At the end of a subscription concert at Orchestra Hall on January 23, 1986, Solti led the Orchestra and Chorus in a spirited encore of  the Chicago Bears‘ fight song “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” in anticipation of the team’s Super Bowl victory. The day after the game, the work was recorded by London Records.

BRAHMS Double Concerto-2BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9-2Solti led recording sessions at Medinah Temple for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony—the second time he and the Orchestra and Chorus had recorded the work—on September 28, 30, and October 7, 1986, for London. Soloists were Jessye Norman, Reinhild Runkel, Robert Schunk, and Hans Sotin. The release was awarded the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

Claudio Abbado, second principal guest conductor, led the Orchestra in Brahms’s Double Concerto with Isaac Stern and Yo-Yo Ma (future Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant) as soloists on November 7 and 8, 1986, for CBS Records.

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 7CORIGLIANO Symphony No. 1Closing the 97th season in June 1988, Leonard Bernstein led the Orchestra in performances of Shostakovich’s First and Seventh symphonies. Recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon, the release received the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

On March 15, 16, and 17, 1990, Barenboim led the world premiere performances of composer-in-residence John Corigliano’s Symphony no. 1, commissioned for the Orchestra. The live recording—Barenboim and the Orchestra’s first on the Erato label—was awarded two 1991 Grammy awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Contemporary Composition.

Fantasia 2000BARTOK The Wooden PrinceThe recording of Bartók’s The Wooden Prince and Cantata profana led by Pierre Boulez for Deutsche Grammophon—recorded on December 19, 20, and 21, 1991—was awarded four 1993 Grammy awards: Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Performance of a Choral Work, and Best Engineered Recording–Classical. (A complete list of Boulez’s recordings with the Orchestra is here and his complete Grammy awards are here.)

Between 1993 and 1996, Levine led the Orchestra and Chorus in recording sessions at Medinah Temple for Disney‘s feature film Fantasia 2000. The movie was released on January 1, 2000.

VARESE Amerique etcFALLA Gardens of SpainShortly after being named the Orchestra’s third principal guest conductor, Boulez led sessions for Varèse’s Amériques, Arcana, Déserts, and Ionisation in December 1995 and 1996. The Deutsche Grammophon release was awarded the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

In May 1997 at Medinah Temple, the Orchestra recorded Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and The Three-Cornered Hat for Teldec. For Nights in the Gardens of Spain, Barenboim was piano soloist and Plácido Domingo conducted; for The Three-Cornered Hat, Jennifer Larmore was mezzo-soprano soloist and Barenboim conducted.

MAHLER Symphony no. 3BRAHMS Violin ConcertoA former Youth Auditions winner and member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Rachel Barton recorded Brahms’s and Joachim’s violin concertos for Cedille Records on July 2 and 3, 2002. Carlos Kalmar conducted.

In his first concerts as principal conductor on October 19, 20, and 21, 2006, Bernard Haitink led the Orchestra, women of the Chorus (prepared by Duain Wolfe), the Chicago Children’s Choir, and mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung in Mahler’s Third Symphony. The work is recorded as the inaugural release on CSO Resound.

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 4CSOR_SP_booklet_rainbow_nobox.inddIn May 2008, Haitink and the Orchestra recorded Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony for CSO Resound. The release was awarded the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

Boulez led the Orchestra in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Symphony in Three Movements, and Four Studies in February and March 2009 for CSO Resound. Soloists in the Pulcinella were Roxana Constantinescu, Nicholas Phan, and Kyle Ketelsen.

BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastiqueVR_booklet_CSOR_901_1008.inddOn January 15, 16, and 17, 2009, Riccardo Muti—in his first concerts as music director designate—led the Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists (Barbara FrittoliOlga Borodina, Mario Zeffiri, and Ildar Abdrazakov) in Verdi’s Requiem. The subsequent CSO Resound recording was awarded 2010 Grammy awards for Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance.

Following his first concert as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s tenth music director (for more than 25,000 people in Millennium Park) in September 2010, Muti led the Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists (Gérard Depardieu, Mario Zeffiri, and Kyle Ketelsen) in Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and Lélio. The two-disc set was released on CSO Resound in September 2015.

VERDI OtelloBates and ClyneOn April 7, 9, and 12, 2011, Muti led concert performances—recorded by CSO Resound—of Verdi’s Otello at Orchestra Hall. Along with the Orchestra, Chorus, and Chicago Children’s Chorus, soloists included Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role, Krassimira Stoyanova as Desdemona, and Carlo Guelfi as Iago.

In February 2012, Muti led world premieres by the Orchestra’s Mead Composers-in-Residence: Anna Clyne’s Night Ferry and Mason Bates’s Alternative Energy. Both works were recorded for CSO Resound and released as digital downloads.

LincolnFor Sony Classical, composer John Williams led the Orchestra and Chorus in recording sessions at Orchestra Hall for his soundtrack for the motion picture Lincoln. Director Steven Spielberg was on hand to supervise.

Cheers to the next 100!

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Daniel Barenboim and John Corigliano review the score to Symphony no. 1 (Terry's photo)

Daniel Barenboim and John Corigliano review the score to Symphony no. 1 (Terry’s photo)

At the invitation of music director Sir Georg Solti, John Corigliano became the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first composer-in-residence in 1987, and his Symphony no. 1 was jointly commissioned for the Orchestra’s centennial by the Chicago Symphony and the Meet-the-Composer Orchestra Residencies Program.

“During the past decade I have lost many friends and colleagues to the AIDS epidemic, and the cumulative effect of those losses has, naturally, deeply affected me. My First Symphony was generated by feelings of loss, anger, and frustration,” wrote Corigliano in the program note for the premiere. “A few years ago, I was extremely moved when I first saw ‘The Quilt,’ an ambitious interweaving of several thousand fabric panels, each memorializing a person who had died of AIDS, and, most importantly, each designed and constructed by his or her loved ones. This made me want to memorialize in music those I have lost, and reflect on those I am losing.”

Corigliano album cover

Music director designate Daniel Barenboim conducted the world premiere of the symphony on March 15, 1990, with soloists principal cello John Sharp and, offstage, pianist Stephen Hough. The live recording—Barenboim and the Orchestra’s first on the Erato label—won two 1991 Grammy awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Contemporary Composition.

Corigliano served the Orchestra as composer-in-residence until 1990, and he was succeeded by Shulamit Ran (1990–1997), Augusta Read Thomas (1997–2006), Osvaldo Golijov and Mark-Anthony Turnage (2006–2010), Mason Bates and Anna Clyne (2010–2015), and Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek beginning in 2015. In January 2002, CSO trustee Cynthia Sargent and her sister, governing member Sally Hands, endowed the position, and Augusta Read Thomas became the Orchestra’s first Mead Composer-in-Residence.

This article also appears here.

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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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During January and February 1987, Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra embarked on a domestic tour with concerts in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; Bartlesville, Oklahoma; San Francisco, Costa Mesa, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles, California; Tempe, Arizona; and Austin, Houston, and Dallas, Texas.

Following the Wednesday evening (January 28) concert in Bartlesville, there were two free days before the next concert—an afternoon matinee—on Saturday at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. On Thursday afternoon, the Orchestra flew safely from Tulsa to San Francisco.

However, the majority of the cargo (including instruments, music, and clothing), traveling by trucks, did not arrive as planned. One truck was delayed due to a snowstorm as well as a flat tire, and a second truck was stopped by “agricultural inspectors at the Arizona-California border . . . for a routine check only to discover that the drivers didn’t have their paperwork in order.”

Clockwise from left: Samuel Magad, Solti, John Sharp, and Charles Pikler perform onstage at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall on January 31, 1987

On Saturday afternoon (January 31) in hopes that the cargo would eventually arrive, an impromptu concert was arranged, with members of the Orchestra (who had traveled with their instruments) and Maestro Solti—making his U.S. concert debut as a pianist—performing chamber music. The concert began at about 3:15 p.m. and continued for nearly three hours. The program was as follows:

MOZART Clarinet Quartet in E-flat Major (after K. 380)
John Bruce Yeh, clarinet
Nisanne Graff, violin
Richard Ferrin, viola
John Sharp, cello

SCHUBERT Allegro moderato (first movement) from Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A Minor, D. 821
Charles Pikler, viola
Mary Sauer, piano

MOZART Allegretto (third movement) from Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-flat Major, K. 452
Michael Henoch, oboe
Larry Combs, clarinet
Bruce Grainger, bassoon
Gail Williams, horn
Paul Hersh, piano

MOZART Rondo allegro (third movement) from Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, K. 478
Samuel Magad, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
John Sharp, cello
Sir Georg Solti, piano

By 6:00 p.m. the trucks still had not arrived. Borrowing instruments from the San Francisco Symphony, a local youth orchestra, and a violin shop, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra took the stage in their street clothes, using music borrowed from the SFS’s music library. The original program was to include John Corigliano’s recently composed Clarinet Concerto (with Larry Combs as soloist). But since the only copies of the music for the concerto were still stranded on one of the cargo trucks, Mozart’s Haffner Symphony (no. 35) was performed instead.

The trucks finally arrived around 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Solti and the Orchestra were able to rehearse as scheduled on Sunday afternoon and for the evening concert, Haydn’s Symphony no. 103 was replaced by the Corigliano concerto.

Several newspaper accounts documenting the incident are here and here.

Originally scheduled program for January 31, 1987

Originally scheduled program for February 1, 1987

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