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John Aler (Jack Mitchell photo)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins the music world in mourning the loss of American tenor John Aler, who died on December 10, 2022. He was seventy-three.

A four-time Grammy Award winner, Aler was a frequent guest with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, both in Orchestra Hall and the Ravinia Festival. A complete list of his appearances and recordings with the Orchestra and Chorus is below.

February 13, 14, and 16, 1986, Orchestra Hall
BRITTEN War Requiem, Op. 66
Margaret Marshall, soprano
John Aler, tenor
Benjamin Luxon, tenor
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Doreen Rao, conductor
Leonard Slatkin, conductor

August 14, 1986, Ravinia Festival
LISZT A Faust Symphony
Men of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
James Conlon, conductor

December 12 and 17, 1991, Orchestra Hall
BARTOK Cantata profana
John Aler, tenor
John Tomlinson, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall on December 16, 1991, for Deutsche Grammophon. Paired with Bartók’s The Wooden Prince, the release won four Grammy awards—Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Choral Performance, and Best Engineered Recording–Classical—from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

January 16, 17, 18, and February 14, 1992, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Requiem in D Minor, K. 626
Renée Fleming, soprano (January 16, 17, and 18)
Margaret Jane Wray, soprano (February 14)
Waltraud Meier, mezzo-soprano
John Aler, tenor
Peter Rose, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 29, 30, May 1, and 4, 1993, 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 live in Orchestra Hall for Erato.

October 22, 1997, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Requiem in D Minor, K. 626
Emily Magee, soprano
Anna Larsson, contralto
John Aler, tenor
René Pape, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
The second half of a concert given in memory of Sir Georg Solti, who died on September 5, 1997

August 14, 1999, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Dies Bildnis is bezaubernd schön from The Magic Flute, K. 620
LEHÁR Lippen schweigen from The Merry Widow
Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano
John Aler, tenor
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
A portion of a concert—called A Galaxy of Stars—presented to benefit Ravinia’s outreach programs

July 23, 2010, Ravinia Festival
BERNSTEIN/Mauceri Vocal Suite from Candide
Cunegonde Anna Christy, soprano
Old Lady Kim Criswell, vocalist
Candide Nicholas Phan, tenor
Maximilian Jonathan Beyer, baritone
Governor/Vanderdendur John Aler, tenor
Paquette Kathryn Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano
Lakeside Singers
Robert Bowker, director
John Axelrod, conductor

August 6 and 8, 2010, Ravinia Festival
MOZART The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
Figaro John Relyea, bass-baritone
Countess Almaviva Ailyn Pérez, soprano
Bartolo Richard Bernstein, bass
Susanna Lisette Oropesa, soprano
Marcellina Jane Bunnell, mezzo-soprano
Cherubino Lauren McNeese, mezzo-soprano
Count Almaviva Nathan Gunn, baritone
Basilio John Aler, tenor
Antonio Paul Corona, bass
Don Curzio Rodell Rosel, tenor
Barbarina Lei Xu, soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
James Conlon, conductor

Daniel Barenboim leads the Orchestra and Chorus in Mozart’s Requiem in memory of Sir Georg Solti on October 22, 1997 (Jim Steere photo)

This article also appears here.

Detail of title page of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony (Theodore Thomas collection)

Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony—according to Theodore Thomas, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s founder and first music director, in Talks About Beethoven’s Symphonies—is “a work as full of beauties, novel of their kind, as the Eroica, but expressing no worldly program; singing instead the songs of nature—the music of the soul. . . . In consequence, he has given us, in the Fourth Symphony, a song of beauty such as no one else has ever written, presenting absolute novelty of color and creating an atmosphere in music justly termed ‘romantic,’ a romanticism parallel to that of Schiller in literature.”

“Generations of music lovers have described—and sometimes dismissed—Beethoven’s even-numbered symphonies as lyrical and relaxed compared to their spunky, coltish, odd-numbered neighbors. The Fourth, in B-flat major, has suffered from that fate perhaps more than any,” writes CSOA scholar-in-residence and program annotator Phillip Huscher. “Schumann was perhaps the first musician to warn us not to overlook the Fourth’s own special qualities: ‘Do not illustrate his genius with the Ninth Symphony alone, no matter how great its audacity and scope, never uttered in any tongue. You can do as much with his First Symphony, or with the Greek-like slender one in B-flat major!’”

Founder and first music director Theodore Thomas first led the Chicago Orchestra in Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony on March 17 and 18, 1893, at the Auditorium Theatre.

1974 recording (London)

Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus first recorded Beethoven’s nine symphonies between May 1972 and September 1974 for London Records. The recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with three overtures: Egmont, Coriolan, and Leonore no. 3); that set won the 1975 Grammy Award for Classical Album of the Year from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Fourth Symphony was recorded at Medinah Temple on May 13, 1974. Ray Minshull was the recording producer, and Kenneth Wilkinson and James Lock were the balance engineers.

1987 recording (London)

Between September 1986 and January 1990, Solti and the Orchestra and Chorus recorded Beethoven’s complete symphonies a second time, again for London Records; and again, the recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with two overtures: Egmont and Leonore no. 3). The Fourth Symphony was recorded in Orchestra Hall on September 21 and 22, 1987. Michael Haas was the recording producer and James Lock was the balance engineer.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 on May 5, 6, and 7, 2022.

This article also appears here.

“What could come after [the Fifth Symphony]?” wrote Frederick Stock, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s second music director, in Talks About Beethoven’s Symphonies. “The subtlety of Beethoven’s imagination found an answer in due time, and in his Sixth Symphony, the Pastoral, we find his thoughts expressed in a new form. Even though other composers before him and in his time had attempted to write program music, Beethoven was the first whose efforts in this direction proved to be a lasting achievement. . . . His was a poetic conception of nature’s grandeur and beauty, a faithful interpretation of her inward significance, cast in the most perfect of musical forms, the symphony.”

Detail of title page of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, bearing marks by Frederick Stock and Fritz Reiner (Fritz Reiner collection)

“Our familiar picture of Beethoven, cross and deaf, slumped in total absorption over his sketches, doesn’t easily allow for Beethoven the nature-lover,” writes writes CSOA scholar-in-residence and program annotator Phillip Huscher. “But he liked nothing more than a walk in the woods, where he could wander undisturbed, stopping from time to time to scribble a new idea on the folded sheets of music paper he always carried in his pocket. ‘No one,’ he wrote to Therese Malfati two years after the premiere of the Pastoral Symphony, ‘can love the country as much as I do. For surely woods, trees, and rocks produce the echo which man desires to hear.’ They’re all here in his Sixth Symphony.”

Founder and first music director Theodore Thomas first led the Chicago Orchestra in Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony on March 2 and 3, 1894, at the Auditorium Theatre.

1961 recording (RCA)

Sixth music director Fritz Reiner led the Orchestra’s first recording of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony on April 8 and 10, 1961, in Orchestra Hall. For RCA, Richard Mohr was the producer and Lewis Layton was the recording engineer.

1974 recording (London)

Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus first recorded Beethoven’s nine symphonies between May 1972 and September 1974 for London Records. The recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with three overtures: Egmont, Coriolan, and Leonore no. 3); that set won the 1975 Grammy Award for Classical Album of the Year from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Sixth Symphony was recorded at the Sofiensaal in Vienna on September 10, 1974. Ray Minshull was the recording producer, and Kenneth Wilkinson, and James Lock were the balance engineers.

1988 recording (London)

Between September 1986 and January 1990, Solti and the Orchestra and Chorus recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies a second time, again for London Records; and again, the recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with two overtures: Egmont and Leonore no. 3). The Sixth Symphony was recorded in Orchestra Hall on May 9, 10, 14, and 16, 1988. Michael Haas was the recording producer and Stanley Goodall was the balance engineer.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 on April 28, 30, and May 3, 2022.

This article also appears here.

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony—according to Frederick Stock, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s second music director, in Talks About Beethoven’s Symphonies—is “dedicated to all Mankind. Embracing all phases of human emotion, monumental in scope and outline, colossal in its intellectual grasp and emotional eloquence, the Ninth stands today as the greatest of all symphonies.”

First page detail of a choral score, edited by Arthur Mees, the Orchestra’s first assistant conductor

Stock continues: “The Ninth is unquestionably the greatest of all symphonies not only because it is the final résumé of all of Beethoven’s achievements, colossal as they are even without the Ninth, but also because it voices the message of one who had risen beyond himself, beyond the world and the time in which he lived. The Ninth is Beethoven, the psychic and spiritual significance of his life.

“In the first movement we find the bitter struggle he waged against life’s adversities, his failing health, his deafness, his loneliness. The Scherzo depicts the quest for worldly joy; the third movement, melancholy reflection, longing—resignation. The last movement, the ‘Ode to Joy,’ is dedicated to all Mankind.”

“There’s something astonishing about a deaf composer choosing to open a symphony with music that reveals, like no other music before it, the very essence of sound emerging from silence,” writes CSOA scholar-in-residence and program annotator Phillip Huscher. “The famous pianissimo opening—sixteen measures with no secure sense of key or rhythm—does not so much depict the journey from darkness to light, or from chaos to order, as the birth of sound itself or the creation of a musical idea. It is as if the challenges of Beethoven’s daily existence—the struggle to compose music, his difficulty in communicating, the frustration of remembering what it was like to hear—have been made real in a single page of music.”

Founder and first music director Theodore Thomas first led the Chicago Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on December 16 and 17, 1892, at the Auditorium Theatre. The soloists were Minnie Fish, Minna Brentano, Charles A. Knorr, and George E. Holmes, along with the Apollo Chorus (prepared by William L. Tomlins).

1961 recording (RCA)

Sixth music director Fritz Reiner led the Orchestra’s first recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on May 1 and 2, 1961, in Orchestra Hall. Phyllis Curtin, Florence Kopleff, John McCollum, and Donald Gramm were the soloists, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus was prepared by Margaret Hillis. For RCA, Richard Mohr was the producer and Lewis Layton was the recording engineer.

1972 recording (London)

Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus first recorded Beethoven’s nine symphonies between May 1972 and September 1974 for London Records. The recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with three overtures: Egmont, Coriolan, and Leonore no. 3); that set won the 1975 Grammy Award for Classical Album of the Year from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Ninth Symphony was recorded at the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana on May 15 and 16, and June 26, 1972. Pilar Lorengar, Yvonne Minton, Stuart Burrows, and Martti Talvela were the soloists, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus was prepared by Margaret Hillis. David Harvey was the recording producer, and Gordon Parry, Kenneth Wilkinson, and Peter van Biene were the balance engineers.

1986 recording (London)

Between September 1986 and January 1990, Solti and the Orchestra and Chorus recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies a second time, again for London Records; and again, the recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with two overtures: Egmont and Leonore no. 3). The Ninth Symphony was recorded in Medinah Temple on September 29 and 30, 1986. Michael Haas was the recording producer, John Pellowe the balance engineer, and Neil Hutchinson the tape editor. Jessye Norman, Reinhild Runkel, Robert Schunk, and Hans Sotin were soloists, and Margaret Hillis prepared the Chorus. The release won the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

On September 18, 20, 21, and 23, 2014, Riccardo Muti led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Orchestra Hall. Camilla Nylund, Ekaterina Gubanova, Matthew Polenzani (September 18), William Burden (September 20, 21, and 23), and Eric Owens were the soloists, and the Chorus was prepared by Duain Wolfe. The performance on September 18 was recorded for YouTube and is available in the link below.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on February 24, 25, 26, and 27, 2022.

This article also appears here.

“We know with certainty that seldom was a work of this kind brought to completion under more adverse conditions than the Eighth Symphony,” wrote Frederick Stock, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s second music director, in Talks About Beethoven’s SymphoniesThe year 1812 was challenging for Beethoven, as he endured “domestic difficulties of the most embarrassing and annoying kind . . . added to this the agony of his ever-increasing deafness, and life’s burden must have been unbearable. And yet the general character of the F major symphony is added proof that adversities, no matter how severe, could not overwhelm him or daunt his spirt, since the temper and color of this work show no trace of suffering. . . . the Eighth Symphony [is] the work of a genius rising above his world, reaching beyond his own time, and that this work was only a stepping-stone for much greater things to come.”

The Eighth Symphony “was misunderstood from the start,” writes CSOA scholar-in-residence and program annotator Phillip Huscher. “The Eighth is a throwback to an easier time. The novelty of this symphony, however, is that it manages to do new and unusual things without ever waving the flag of controversy.”

Founder and first music director Theodore Thomas first led the Chicago Orchestra in Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony on March 25 and 26, 1892, at the Auditorium Theatre.

1973 recording (London)

Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus first recorded Beethoven’s nine symphonies between May 1972 and September 1974 for London Records. The recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with three overtures: Egmont, Coriolan, and Leonore no. 3); that set won the 1975 Grammy Award for Classical Album of the Year from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Eighth Symphony was recorded at Medinah Temple on November 6 and 9, 1973. Ray Minshull was the recording producer, and Kenneth Wilkinson and James Lock were the balance engineers.

1988 recording (London)

Between September 1986 and January 1990, Solti and the Orchestra and Chorus recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies a second time, again for London Records; and again, the recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with two overtures: Egmont and Leonore no. 3). The Eighth Symphony was recorded in Orchestra Hall on October 17 and 18, 1988. Michael Haas was the recording producer and Stanley Goodall was the balance engineer.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture along with Symphonies nos. 5 and 8 on January 13 and 15, 2021.

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!

Frederica von Stade (Robert Millard photo)

Wishing a very happy seventy-fifth birthday to the wonderful American mezzo-soprano, Frederica von Stade!

Von Stade has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on several occasions, at the Ravinia Festival and in Carnegie Hall, as follows.

May 1 and 2, 1981, Carnegie Hall
BERLIOZ The Damnation of Faust
Kenneth Riegel, tenor (May 1)
Peyo Garazzi, tenor (May 2)
José van Dam, baritone
Malcolm King, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Doreen Rao, director
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

Solti also led performances of Berlioz’s work at Orchestra Hall in Chicago on April 23 and 25, 1981, prior to the Carnegie Hall performances. Unfortunately, Frederica von Stade had to cancel due to illness. She was replaced by Chicago Symphony Chorus member Mary Beth Stephen on April 23 and Claudine Carlson on April 25.

Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust was recorded by London in Medinah Temple on May 4, 5, 6, and 7, 1981. James Mallinson was the producer, and James Lock and Simon Eadon were sound engineers. The recording won the 1982 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance (other than opera) from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Berlioz album cover

July 9, 1988, Ravinia Festival
BERLIOZ Romeo and Juliet
Philip Creech, tenor
John Cheek, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
James Levine, conductor

July 14, 1996, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Ch’io mi scordi di te? . . . Non temer, amato bene (with Claude Frank, piano)
MAHLER Songs from Rückert Lieder and Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Semyon Bychkov, conductor

August 14, 1999, Ravinia Festival
MOZART “Parto, parto, ma tu, ben mio” from La clemenza di Tito,
LEHÁR “Vilja” and “Lippen schweigen” (with John Aler, tenor) from The Merry Widow
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

July 8, 2000, Ravinia Festival
Selections from:
COPLAND Old American Songs
KERN Show Boat
OFFENBACH The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein
MOZART Don Giovanni
RODGERS Oklahoma! and South Pacific
SONDHEIM A Little Night Music
with Samuel Ramey, bass
Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor

August 5 and 7, 2010, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Così fan tutte
Ana María Martínez, soprano
Ruxandra Donose, mezzo-soprano
Saimir Pirgu, tenor
Rodion Pogossov, baritone
Richard Stilwell, bass-baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
James Conlon, conductor

Happy, happy birthday!

Title page of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (Theodore Thomas collection)

“We have now reached what is called Beethoven’s second creative period, the zenith of his career,” wrote Theodore Thomas, the Chicago Orchestra‘s founder and first music director, in Talks About Beethoven’s Symphonies. “He has outlived other influences and is mature in every respect; his powers and individuality are fully developed; he has had some experience of the world, has solved difficult problems, and feels himself a master. Hence in this period he produces works which are as nearly perfect as anything human can be, breathing the spirit of the nineteenth century and endowing music with a meaning deeper and more fruitful than it ever had before.”

The Fifth Symphony “has come to represent greatness in music,” writes CSOA scholar-in-residence and program annotator Phillip Huscher. “One can’t easily think of another single composition that, in its expressive range and structural power, better represents what music is all about.”

Thomas first led the Chicago Orchestra in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony on the inaugural concerts on October 16 and 17, 1891, at the Auditorium Theatre.

1959 and 1968 recordings (RCA)

Sixth music director Fritz Reiner recorded the Fifth Symphony with the Orchestra for RCA on May 4, 1959, in Orchestra Hall. Richard Mohr was the producer and Joseph F. Wells was the recording engineer. Also for RCA, Seiji Ozawa recorded the symphony with the ensemble on August 9, 1968, in Orchestra Hall. Peter Dellheim was the producer and Bernard Keville was the recording engineer.

1973 recording (London)

Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus first recorded Beethoven’s nine symphonies between May 1972 and September 1974 for London Records. The recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with three overtures: Egmont, Coriolan, and Leonore no. 3); that set won the 1975 Grammy Award for Classical Album of the Year from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Fifth Symphony was recorded at Medinah Temple on November 5 and 6, 1973. Ray Minshull was the recording producer, and Kenneth Wilkinson and James Lock were the balance engineers.

1986 recording (London)

Between September 1986 and January 1990, Solti and the Orchestra and Chorus recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies a second time, again for London Records; and again, the recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with two overtures: Egmont and Leonore no. 3). The Fifth Symphony was recorded in Medinah Temple on October 6 and 7, 1986. Michael Haas was the recording producer and Stanley Goodall was the balance engineer.

During the tour to Japan in 1990, Solti led the Orchestra in the Fifth Symphony, and the April 15 performance at Suntory Hall in Tokyo was video recorded for release on laser disc. For CBS Sony, Shūji Fujii was the video director.

Fantasia 2000 soundtrack

The Orchestra also recorded an abbreviated version of the first movement from the symphony on April 25, 1994, for the Fantasia 2000 soundtrack. For Disney, James Levine conducted, Jay David Saks was the producer, and it was recorded and mixed by Shawn Murphy.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture along with Symphonies nos. 5 and 8 on January 13 and 15, 2021.

Title page of Beethoven’s Second Symphony (Fritz Reiner collection)

In Beethoven’s Second Symphony, “we find the mature master,” according to Theodore Thomas, the Chicago Orchestra‘s founder and first music director. In Talks About Beethoven’s Symphonies, Thomas writes, “He uses no extraordinary means in regard to instruments, for what he has to say still lies within the scope of the old means, but he stands at the height of his time and expresses that which is mature. . . . Here I must call attention to one of Beethoven’s earliest and most startling musical innovations—one from which he did not depart in after years—his use of dynamic effects, sudden changes from loud to soft and vice versa. No composer has made use of forte, piano, forzando, etc. as constantly as he. . . . Beethoven wrote for a standard of virtuosity far beyond that which exited among the orchestral players of his time, and which is still very difficult for even the most advanced instrumentalists of today [but he] will live for the cultivated for centuries after the masses have lost all understanding of his works.”

“Although Beethoven’s hearing would deteriorate considerably in later years, 1802 marked the moment of crisis: the Heiligenstadt Testament includes Beethoven’s admission that his malady was permanent and incurable. He didn’t fail to see the horrible irony of ‘an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than in others,’” writes CSOA scholar-in-residence and program annotator Phillip Huscher. Despite this admission, the composer’s Second Symphony is “one of his most energetic, cheerful, and outgoing works [and] shows no signs of Beethoven’s obvious despair.”

Theodore Thomas first led the Chicago Orchestra in Beethoven’s Second Symphony on December 1 and 2, 1893, at the Auditorium Theatre.

1974 recording (London)

Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus first recorded Beethoven’s nine symphonies between May 1972 and September 1974 for London Records. The recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with three overtures: Egmont, Coriolan, and Leonore no. 3); that set won the 1975 Grammy Award for Classical Album of the Year from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Second Symphony was recorded at Medinah Temple on May 13, 14, 15, and 18, 1974 (along with the First Symphony). Ray Minshull was the recording producer, and Kenneth Wilkinson and James Lock were the balance engineers.

1989-90 recording (London)

Between September 1986 and January 1990, Solti and the Orchestra and Chorus recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies a second time, again for London Records; and again, the recordings were ultimately released as a set (along with two overtures: Egmont and Leonore no. 3). The Second Symphony was recorded in Orchestra Hall on November 14 and 16, 1989, and January 27, 1990 (along with the First Symphony). Michael Haas was the recording producer and Stanley Goodall was the balance engineer.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphonies nos. 2 and 5 on February 20, 21, 22, and 23, 2020.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins the music world in mourning the loss of legendary soprano Jessye Norman, who died earlier today in New York. She was 74.

Jessye Norman (Royal Philharmonic Society photo)

A frequent visitor to Chicago—on concert, recital, and opera stages—Norman appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as vocal soloist and narrator on many occasions, both at Orchestra Hall and the Ravinia Festival. A complete list of her performances and recordings with the Orchestra is below.

March 21, 22, and 23, 1974, Orchestra Hall
SCHUMANN Das Paradies und die Peri, Op. 50
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano
Birgit Finnilä, contralto
Ernst Haefliger, tenor
Raffaele Arié, bass
Sarah Beatty, soprano
Isola Jones, mezzo-soprano
Philip Creech, tenor
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

May 29, 30, and 31, 1975, Orchestra Hall
LA MONTAINE Songs of the Rose of Sharon, Op. 6
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano

August 9, 1975, Ravinia Festival
BERLIOZ Les nuits d’été, Op. 7
Edo de Waart, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano

Receiving bows following Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Orchestra Hall on September 24, 1986

Receiving bows following Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Orchestra Hall on September 24, 1986 (Jim Steere photo)

July 7, 1978, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Ch’io mi scordi di te?, K. 505
Edward Gordon, piano
RAVEL Sheherazade
BERLIOZ The Death of Cleopatra
WAGNER Wesendonk-Lieder
WAGNER Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
James Levine, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano

July 9, 1978, Ravinia Festival
MENDELSSOHN Elijah, Op. 70
James Levine, conductor
Sherrill Milnes, baritone
Jessye Norman, soprano
Kathleen Battle, soprano
Beverly Wolff, mezzo-soprano
Isola Jones, mezzo-soprano
Philip Creech, tenor
Kirk Stuart, tenor
John Cheek, bass
Philip Kraus, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

July 8, 1979, Ravinia Festival
MAHLER Das Lied von der Erde
James Levine, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano
Seth McCoy, tenor

March 26, 27, and 28, 1981, Orchestra Hall
BRUCKNER Te Deum
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano
Yvonne Minton, mezzo-soprano
David Rendall, tenor
Samuel Ramey, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall on March 28, 1981. For Deutsche Grammophon, Steven Paul was the executive producer, Werner Mayer was the recording producer, and Günther Breest was the balance engineer.

December 1, 2, and 3, 1983, Orchestra Hall
MAHLER Das Lied von der Erde
Erich Leinsdorf, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano
David Rendall, tenor

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 (Solti 2)

September 24, 25, 26, and 27, 1986, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano
Reinhild Runkel, mezzo-soprano
Robert Schunk, tenor
Hans Sotin, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Recorded in Medinah Temple on September 29 and 30, 1986. For London Records, Michael Haas was the producer, John Pellowe was the engineer, and Neil Hutchinson was tape editor. The recording won the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

July 1, 1988, Ravinia Festival
WAGNER Act 1 of Die Walküre
James Levine, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano
Gary Lakes, tenor
Aage Haugland, bass

July 5, 1992, Ravinia Festival
STRAUSS  Ruhe, meine Seele, Op. 27, No. 1
STRAUSS Waldseligkeit, Op. 49, No. 1
STRAUSS Wiegenlied, Op. 41, No. 1
STRAUSS Die heiligen drei Konige aus Morgenland, Op. 56, No. 6
STRAUSS Cäcilie, Op. 27, No. 2
WAGNER Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
James Levine, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano

Boulez Bluebeard

December 2, 4, and 7, 1993, Orchestra Hall
BARTÓK Bluebeard’s Castle
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano
László Polgár, bass
Larry Russo, narrator
Recorded in Orchestra Hall on December 6 and 13, 1993. For Deutsche Grammophon, Roger Wright was the executive producer, Pål Christian Moe was the associate producer, Karl-August Naegler was the recording producer, Helmut Burk was the balance engineer, Jobst Eberhardt and Stephan Flock were the recording engineers, and Hans-Ulrich Bastin was the editor. Nicholas Simon was the narrator for the commercial release. The recording won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

June 22, 1996, Ravinia Festival
BERLIOZ Villanelle, Le spectre de la rose Sur les lagunes, and L’ile inconnue from Les nuits d’été, Op. 7
RAVEL Sheherazade
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano

James Conlon acknowledges Norman following her narration of Copland’s Lincoln Portrait at the Ravinia Festival on July 18, 2009 (Russell Jenkins photo)

June 21, 1997, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Vado, ma dove?, K. 583
MOZART Porgi amor from The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
BIZET Habanera from Carmen
SAINT-SAËNS Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix from Samson and Delilah
STRAUSS Final Scene from Capriccio
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Jessye Norman, soprano

July 18, 2009, Ravinia Festival
COPLAND Lincoln Portrait
James Conlon, conductor
Jessye Norman, narrator

Norman also also appeared in recital and as soloist in Orchestra Hall (under the auspices of Allied Arts and later Symphony Center Presents) on the following occasions:

Jessye Norman in Orchestra Hall on May 19, 2002 (Peter Thompson for the Chicago Tribune)

January 5, 1986
Phillip Moll, piano

October 20, 1986
STRAUSS Four Last Songs
Berlin Philharmonic
James Levine, conductor
Herbert von Karajan was originally scheduled to conduct Strauss’s Metamorphosen and Ein Heldenleben, but he canceled a week before the performance due to illness. The revised program was Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Strauss’s song cycle, and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.

October 23, 1988
James Levine, piano

March 20, 1992
Phillip Moll, piano

April 2, 1995
Ann Schein, piano

June 3, 1998
Ken Noda, piano

May 19, 2002
Mark Markham, piano

Numerous tributes have been posted on CNN, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Times, and NPR, among many others.

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