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Boulez speaking at a reception celebrating his seventieth birthday in Orchestra Hall's Grainger Ballroom on March 30, 1995 (Cheri Eisenberg photo)

Boulez speaking at a reception celebrating his seventieth birthday in Orchestra Hall’s Grainger Ballroom on March 30, 1995 (Cheri Eisenberg photo)

After his 1969 debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez returned as guest conductor in 1987 and, beginning in 1991, appeared annually in Chicago. During celebrations for his seventieth birthday, he was named the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s third principal guest conductor on March 30, 1995.

Boulez led the Orchestra in an extraordinary breadth of repertoire, including the music of Bartók, Berg, Berio, Bruckner, Carter, Debussy, Janáček, Ligeti, Mahler, Messiaen, Prokofiev, Rands, Ravel, Schoenberg, Scriabin, Strauss, Stravinsky, Varèse, and Webern, in addition to his own compositions. He conducted world premieres by the Orchestra’s composers-in-residence Shulamit Ran and Augusta Read Thomas, as well as by Philippe Manoury and Matthias Pintscher.

Boulez traveled with the Orchestra to New York’s Carnegie Hall and on tour to England, Germany, Hungary, and Japan. He curated several MusicNOW concerts; delivered lectures at the Art Institute of Chicago; collaborated in Beyond the Score presentations both in Chicago and in New York; and conducted the Civic Orchestra on several occasions, both in concert and in reading sessions of new music.

Boulez and Daniel Barenboim acknowledge applause following a performance of Bartók's First Piano Concerto on April 1, 1995 (Cheri Eisenberg photo)

Boulez and Daniel Barenboim acknowledge applause following a performance of Bartók’s First Piano Concerto on April 1, 1995 (Cheri Eisenberg photo)

Several of his many recordings with the Orchestra were Grammy winners in multiple categories, including Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, The Wooden Prince, Cantata profana, and Concerto for Orchestra; Mahler’s Ninth Symphony; and Varèse’s Amériques, Arcana, Déserts, and Ionisation. In fact, Boulez is the third all-time Grammy winner—behind Sir Georg Solti (thirty-one) and Alison Krauss and Quincy Jones (twenty-seven each)—with twenty-six awards to his credit.

In 2006, Boulez was named the Orchestra’s Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus.

Boulez’s most recent residency in Chicago was during two weeks in 2010. On November 26 and 27, he led Debussy’s Selections from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, Ligeti’s Violin Concerto with concertmaster Robert Chen, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, and Debussy’s La mer. The following week, on December 2, 3, and 4, he conducted Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass with vocal soloists Christine Brewer, Nancy Maultsby, Lance Ryan, and Mikhail Petrenko; organist Paul Jacobs; and the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

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.

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