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Herbert Blomstedt (Juergen M. Pietsch photo)

Wishing the happiest of birthdays to the legendary Swedish conductor Herbert Blomstedt, today celebrating his ninety-fifth!

“A first-rate conductor was in charge,” wrote John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune, following Blomstedt’s debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in January 1988. “Blomstedt gives the impression of being a serious seeker of musical truth, a kind of Diogenes of the baton. In the process of communicating what he perceives as the composer’s intentions, he has stripped his music making of frills and fustian, showing you the clean, shining surface beneath. Every orchestra should have such a musician on the premises.”

Over the past thirty-five years, Maestro Blomstedt has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Orchestra Hall on several occasions, as follows.

January 7, 8, 9, and 12, 1988
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503
Ivan Moravec, piano
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 6 in A Major

February 22, 23, 24, and 27, 1990
HADYN Symphony No. 86 in D Major
LADERMAN Cello Concerto (world premiere)
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
DVORÁK Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70

January 24, 25, 26, and 29, 1991
SIBELIUS The Swan of Tuonela from Four Legends of the Kalevala, Op. 22
Grover Schiltz, english horn
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Rubén González, violin
NIELSEN Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 (Sinfonia espansiva)
Jane Green, soprano
William Diana, baritone

Herbert Blomstedt (Martin Lengemann photo)

March 5, 6, 7, and 11, 1998
MENDELSSOHN The Hebrides Overture, Op. 26
DUTILLEUX Tout un monde lointain . . .
Lynn Harrell, cello
DVORÁK Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88

June 21, 22, 23, and 24, 2007
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125
Annalena Persson, soprano
Ingeborg Danz, contralto
Robert Künzli, tenor
Matthias Goerne, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director

March 1, 2, and 3, 2018
MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major (Eroica)

March 5, 6, and 7, 2020
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
Bertrand Chamayou, piano
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

Herbert Blomstedt leads the CSO in Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony on March 10, 2022 (Todd Rosenberg photo)

March 10, 11, and 12, 2022
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453
Martin Helmchen, piano
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major (Romantic)

Under the auspices of Allied Arts and Symphony Center Presents, Blomstedt has appeared as conductor with visiting orchestras, as follows.

March 12, 1986
WAGNER Prelude to Lohengrin
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
Claudio Arrau, piano
NIELSEN Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 (The Inextinguishable)
San Francisco Symphony

November 30, 1988
MOZART Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
LIDHOLM Kontakion for Orchestra
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
San Francisco Symphony

October 22, 2001
NIELSEN Violin Concerto, Op. 33
Nikolaj Znaider, violin
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Happy, happy birthday!

Herbert Blomstedt appears with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on March 9, 11, and 12, 2023, leading an all-Dvořák program: the Cello Concerto with Andrei Ioniţă and the Eighth Symphony.

This article also appears here.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpet Adolph “Bud” Herseth in the 1960s
Adolph Herseth in 1938 (Adolph Herseth collection, Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association)
Avis Bottemiller and Adolph Herseth (center) in the 1930s in Bertha, Minnesota (Adolph Herseth collection, Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association)
Adolph Herseth in the midst of the CSO’s brass section in 1988 (Jim Steere)
Adolph Herseth with Daniel Barenboim, the CSO’s ninth music director (Jim Steere)
Adolph Herseth in the 1980s (Jim Steere)
Adolph and Avis Herseth at the CSO Alumni Association reunion in the Club at Symphony Center on June 3, 2011 (Dan Rest)
Adolph Herseth and Doc Severinsen perform with the CSO in Orchestra Hall on June 7, 1988 (Jim Steere)
Adolph Herseth demonstrates his warm-up technique at the Ravinia Festival in the late 1970s
Adolph Herseth serving in the U.S. Navy in the 1940s
Adolph Herseth performs Taps at the gravesite of Sir Georg Solti in Budapest, Hungary on April 1, 2005 (Todd Rosenberg)
Adolph Herseth in the early 1990s (Jim Steere)
Adolph Herseth enjoying a round of golf in Lucerne, Switzerland in September 1978 (Adolph Herseth collection, Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association)
Adolph Herseth’s first concert with the CSO was at the Ravinia Festival on June 29, 1948, under the baton of Eugene Ormandy.
Proof sheet from photo session featuring Adolph Herseth in the 1970s (Robert M. Lightfoot III)
CSO brass section musicians Adolph Herseth, Rudolph Nashan, Wayne Barrington, Arnold Jacobs, and Frank Crisafulli perform for Chicago schoolchildren in the 1960s
Newlyweds Avis and Adolph Herseth in 1943 (Adolph Herseth collection, Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association)
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Conductor Tauno Hannikainen onstage in Orchestra Hall on October 14, 1948, at the beginning of Adolph Herseth’s first downtown season as principal trumpet
CSO trumpets Frank Holz, Renold Schilke, Gerald Huffman, and Adolph Herseth onstage at Orchestra Hall on October 14, 1948, at the beginning of Herseth’s first downtown season as principal trumpet
Gabriel’s Children, the concert celebrating Adolph Herseth’s fiftieth season as the CSO’s principal trumpet, on June 7, 1998
Adolph Herseth in the 1980s (Jim Steere)
The Herseth family’s 1953 Christmas card (Adolph Herseth collection, Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
CSO brass section musicians Arnold Jacobs, Frank Crisafulli, Richard Oldberg, Vincent Cichowicz, and Adolph Herseth in the mid-1960s (Terry’s)
Karel Husa, Adolph Herseth, and Sir Georg Solti backstage following the world premiere of the composer’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra on February 11, 1988 (Jim Steere)
Adolph Herseth in the early 1980s (Robert M. Lightfoot III)
Associate Conductor Kenneth Jean leads the CSO brass section in The National Anthem at Soldier Field on September 14, 1987, for the Chicago Bears‘ home opening game
Leonard Bernstein and Adolph Herseth discuss a detail in Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony during a rehearsal break in Orchestra Hall in June 1988 (Jim Steere)
Adolph Herseth (far right) with fellow Luther College band members in 1940 (Adolph Herseth collection, Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
MOZART Horn Concerto No. 3, Bassoon Concerto, and Oboe Concerto, and HAYDN Trumpet Concerto (Deutsche Grammophon, 1981–1984)
Valerie and Georg Solti greet Avis and Adolph Herseth in Orchestra Hall’s ballroom on March 18, 1969 (Terry’s)
Adolph Herseth and Sir Georg Solti rehearsing Husa’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra in Perth, Australia in March 1988 (Jim Steere)
The school band in Bertha, Minnesota in 1929 (Adolph Herseth is pictured near the far right of the second row, second from the end) (Adolph Herseth collection, Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association)
Clark Brody, Willard Elliot, Donald Peck, Dale Clevenger, Jean Martinon, Ray Still, Adolph Herseth, Donald Koss, and Jay Friedman backstage before a performance of Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra in February 1966 (Terry’s photo)

This article also appears here.

Wishing a very happy eightieth-fifth birthday to Zubin Mehta!

Zubin Mehta in 2016 (Wilfried Hösl photo)

A frequent and favorite guest conductor in Chicago, Mehta has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions, both at Orchestra Hall and the Ravinia Festival.

December 1, 1986, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
Daniel Barenboim, piano

November 17, 18, 19, and 22, 1988, Orchestra Hall
MAHLER Symphony No. 2 in C Minor (Resurrection)
Marvis Martin, soprano
Maureen Forrester, contralto
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

November 23, 25, and 27, 1988, Orchestra Hall
MESSIAEN Turangalîla-symphonie
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
Jeanne Loriod, ondès martenot

August 9, 1991, Ravinia Festival
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Midori, violin
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

August 10, 1991, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
BARBER Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24
Marvis Martin, soprano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125
Marvis Martin, soprano
Gweneth Bean, contralto
Ben Heppner, tenor
Julien Robbins, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

February 19, 20, 21, and 22, 1992, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
FOSS Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrows) (world premiere)
RAVEL Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloe

February 26, 27, 28, and 29, 1992, Orchestra Hall
MAHLER Symphony No. 3 in D Minor
Florence Quivar, mezzo-soprano
Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Richard Garrin, director
Chicago Children’s Choir
Lucy Ding, director

February 2, 1993, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Daniel Barenboim, piano

Zubin Mehta at La Scala in 2010 (Marco Brescia photo)

December 16, 17, and 19, 1993, Orchestra Hall
WEBERN Passacaglia for Orchestra, Op. 1
WEBERN Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
WEBERN Concerto, Op. 24
Richard Graef, flute
Michael Henoch, oboe
Larry Combs, clarinet
Gail Williams, horn
William Scarlett, trumpet
Jay Friedman, trombone
Samuel Magad, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
Mary Sauer, piano
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 (Great)

January 26, 27, and 31, 1995, Orchestra Hall
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 6 in C Major, D. 589
ORFF Carmina burana
Janet Williams, soprano
Frank Lopardo, tenor
Bo Skovhus, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Chicago Children’s Choir
William Chin, director

February 2, 4, and 5, 1995
MOZART Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
SCHOENBERG Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9
Richard Graef, flute
Michael Henoch, oboe
Grover Schiltz, English horn
Larry Combs, clarinet
John Bruce Yeh, clarinet
J. Lawrie Bloom, bass clarinet
Willard Elliot, bassoon
Burl Lane, contrabassoon
Dale Clevenger, horn
Gail Williams, horn
Rubén González, violin
Joseph Golan, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
John Sharp, cello
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
WAGNER Siegfried Idyll
Donald Peck, flute
Michael Henoch, oboe
Larry Combs, clarinet
Gregory Smith, clarinet
Bruce Grainger, bassoon
Dale Clevenger, horn
Gail Williams, horn
Adolph Herseth, trumpet
Rubén González, violin
Joseph Golan, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
John Sharp, cello
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
MOZART Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 (Jupiter)

June 22 and 23, 1995, Ravinia Festival
WAGNER Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3, C minor, Op. 37
Emanuel Ax, piano
GERSHWIN An American in Paris
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34

June 24, 1995, Ravinia Festival
PUCCINI Tosca
Floria Tosca Elizabeth Holleque, soprano
Mario Cavaradossi Richard Leech, tenor
Baron Scarpia Sergei Leiferkus, baritone
Angelotti Stephen Morscheck, bass-baritone
Sacristan David Evitts, baritone
Spoletta Matthew Polenzani, tenor
Sciarrone Victor Benedetti, baritone
Jailer Mark McCrory, bass-baritone
A Young Shepherd Suzanne Shields, soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Lisa Sirvatka, director

June 27, 1995, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Tragic Overture, Opus 81
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
Ralph Kirshbaum, cello
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

January 18, 19, and 20, 1996, Orchestra Hall
SCHUBERT Overture to Rosamunde, D. 644
SCHUBERT Symphony in B Minor, D. 759 (Unfinished)
STRAUSS Domestic Symphony, Op. 53

Zubin Mehta in 2007 (Oded Antman photo)

February 20, 21, 22, and 25, 1997, Orchestra Hall
LUTOSŁAWSKI Symphony No. 4
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (Eroica)

February 27, 28, and March 1, 1997, Orchestra Hall
KORNGOLD Suite from Much Ado About Nothing
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 2
Yefim Bronfman, piano
MENDELSSOHN Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20

February 18, 20, and 22, 1998, Orchestra Hall
WAGNER A Faust Overture
HINDEMITH Symphony, Mathis der Maler
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
Daniel Barenboim, piano

February 26, 27, 28, and March 3, 1998, Orchestra Hall
CRUMB Ancient Voices of Children
Barbara Ann Martin, soprano
R. Anton Briones, boy soprano
Alex Klein, oboe and harmonica
Frederic Chrislip, mandolin and musical saw
Sarah Bullen, harp
Mary Sauer, electric piano and toy piano
Gordon Peters, percussion
Patricia Dash, percussion
Edward Atkatz, percussion
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major (Romantic)

February 8, 9, and 10, 2001, Orchestra Hall
BERLIOZ The Trojans, Op. 29, Part 1: The Fall of Troy
Cassandra Deborah Voigt, soprano
Chorebus Roman Trekel, baritone
Aeneas Jon Villars, tenor
Ascanius Nancy Pifer, soprano
Hecuba Stacy Eckert, mezzo-soprano
Helenus James Cornelison, tenor
Panthus and A Soldier Timothy J. Quistorff, baritone
Priam, Spirit of Hector, and Greek Captain Andrew Funk, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director

April 4, 5, and 6, 2002, Orchestra Hall
STRAVINSKY Fireworks, Op. 4
STRAVINSKY Circus Polka
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63
Nikolaj Znaider, violin
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

April 11, 12, and 13, 2002, Orchestra Hall
BERLIOZ The Trojans, Op. 29, Part 2: The Trojans at Carthage
Dido Nadja Michael, mezzo-soprano
Anna Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano
Ascanius Meredith Barber, soprano
Spirit of Cassandra Stacy Eckert, mezzo-soprano
Aeneas Jon Villars, tenor
Iopas Nicholas Phan, tenor
Hylas Michael Sommese, tenor
Mercury and Spirit of Chorebus Michael Brauer, baritone
First Sentinel and Spirit of Hector Timothy J. Quistorff, baritone
Second Sentinel and Sprit of Priam Terry Cook, bass
Narbal Stephen Milling, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director

February 24, 2006, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
Daniel Barenboim, piano

Happy, happy birthday!

We have just received word that Rubén D’Artagnan González, a concertmaster with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1986 until 1996, died in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on August 13, 2018, after a long illness. He was 79.

González began studying the violin at the age of five in his native Argentina. He became a student of Osvaldo Pessina in Buenos Aires, later completing his studies with Salomon Baron in France and Riccardo Brengola in Italy. First prize winner of the International Competition of Barcelona in 1965, González also received the silver medal at the Geneva Competition and the diploma of honor of the Chigiana Academy in Siena, Italy.

A former member of I Virtuosi di Roma, González was music director of the Camerata Bariloche, Argentina’s leading chamber orchestra, with which he toured extensively and recorded Martinů’s Concerto da camera for Philips. Other solo recordings included violin sonatas by Prokofiev and Honegger along with works by Ginastera.

González served as concertmaster of the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, associate concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1977 until 1981, and later concertmaster of the Houston Symphony from 1981 until 1986, when he was invited by Sir Georg Solti to be one of two concertmasters (along with Samuel Magad) of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. González appeared on numerous recordings and as soloist with the Orchestra on several occasions, including Beethoven’s Violin Concerto under Solti, Busoni’s Violin Concerto with James Paul, Chausson’s Poème and Haydn’s C major violin concerto under Erich Leinsdorf, Ginastera’s Violin Concerto with Dennis Russell Davies, Mozart’s D major Serenade under Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with Herbert Blomstedt, and Strauss’s Violin Concerto under Daniel Barenboim. In 1996, González resigned as concertmaster to continue his work as a conductor and composer.

As an educator, González served on the faculties of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, the University of Minnesota, Congress of Strings, and the Bariloche Foundation in Argentina. He was a longtime member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Alumni Association.

Upon his resignation, González wrote to his colleagues, “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been the crowning of my career as an orchestral musician and concertmaster. I keep the Orchestra in my heart as the jewel of my music-making life. I am most grateful to all of you for your support, help, and friendship throughout these ten years.”

Services have been held.

Orchestra Hall, January 19, 1958

On January 19, 1958, fifteen-year-old Daniel Barenboim made his piano recital debut at Orchestra Hall, with the following program:

BACH/Liszt Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 543
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 (Appassionata)
BRAHMS Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1
BEN-HAIM Intermezzo and Toccata, Op. 34

The next day in the American, Roger Dettmer wrote, “Only very occasionally some youngster will happen along who seems to have been born adult . . . The prodigy turned out yesterday afternoon to be Daniel Barenboim, born fifteen years ago in Argentina. The talent is huge, the technique already formidable and he applied both to a virtuoso program [with] secure musical training and uncommon sensitivity of touch.”

He returned in November of that year and again every couple of years after that for more solo piano recitals, including—over the course of a month between February 26 and March 27, 1986—a series of eight concerts, traversing Beethoven’s complete cycle of piano sonatas.

After becoming the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s ninth music director in September 1991, Barenboim made regular appearances as piano recitalist and chamber musician, collaborating with an extraordinary roster of instrumentalists and singers. He performed a dizzying array of repertoire, including Albéniz’s Iberia; Bach’s Goldberg Variations; Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion; Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations; Berg’s Chamber Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Thirteen Wind Instruments (with Pierre Boulez conducting); Brahms’s cello sonatas; Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Songs of a Wayfarer, and Rückert Lieder; Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time; Mozart’s complete violin sonatas; Schubert’s Winterreise; Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben; Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Wesendonk Lieder; and Wolf’s Italian Songbook; along with other piano works by Chopin, Debussy, Liszt, Schoenberg, and Schubert, among others.

Barenboim’s collaborators included instrumentalists Héctor Console, Lang Lang, Radu Lupu, Yo-Yo Ma, Rodolfo Mederos, Itzhak Perlman, András Schiff, Deborah Sobol, Maxim Vengerov, and Pinchas Zukerman, along with singers Kathleen BattleCecilia Bartoli, Angela Denoke, Plácido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Robert Holl, Waltraud Meier, Thomas Quasthoff, Peter Schreier, and Bo Skovhus. He also invited countless members of the Orchestra to join him, including Stephen Balderston, Li-Kuo Chang, Robert Chen, Dale Clevenger, Larry Combs, Louise Dixon, Edward Druzinsky, Jay Friedman, Rubén González, Richard Graef, Joseph Guastafeste, John Hagstrom, Adolph Herseth, Richard Hirschl, Alex Klein, Donald Koss, Burl Lane, Samuel Magad, David McGill, Michael Mulcahy, Lawrence Neuman, Bradley Opland, Nancy Park, Donald Peck, Gene Pokorny, Mark Ridenour, James Ross, Norman Schweikert, John Sharp, Gregory Smith, Charles Vernon, Gail Williams, and members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus (prepared by Duain Wolfe), among many others.

June 4 and 11, 2006

During the final residency of his tenure as music director, Barenboim presented Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier in two piano recitals: the first book on June 4, 2006; and the second book a week later, on June 11.

Reviewing the June 4 concert, John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune wrote that Barenboim, “brought the full color resources of a modern concert grand to bear on Bach’s pristinely ordered sound-world . . . Bach never intended for musicians to perform all the preludes and fugues in one gulp, but when they are executed at so exalted a level of thought, feeling, and spirituality, who’s to say they shouldn’t?”

Following the second installment, Wynne Delacoma in the Chicago Sun-Times added, “One of Barenboim’s gifts as a pianist is his ability to etch clear, long-lined, richly colored phrases with seemingly no effort [and in Bach’s music] we heard the foundation on which the rest of his music-making has been built. . . . The applause that brought Barenboim back for extra bows was fervent and heartfelt. Barenboim’s annual piano recitals have been high points of Chicago’s musical life for the past fifteen years. They are appreciated and will be deeply missed.”

Wishing the happiest of birthdays to conductor Herbert Blomstedt, celebrating his ninetieth today!

Over the past thirty years, Maestro Blomstedt has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on several occasions:

January 7, 8, 9, and 12, 1988
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503
Ivan Moravec, piano
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 6 in A Major

February 22, 23, 24, and 27, 1990
HADYN Symphony No. 86 in D Major
LADERMAN Cello Concerto (world premiere)
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
DVORÁK Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70

January 24, 25, 26, and 29, 1991
SIBELIUS The Swan of Tuonela from Four Legends of the Kalevala, Op. 22
Grover Schiltz, english horn
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Rubén González, violin
NIELSEN Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 (Sinfonia espansiva)
Jane Green, soprano
William Diana, baritone

Herbert Blomstedt (Martin Lengemann photo)

March 5, 6, 7, and 11, 1998
MENDELSSOHN The Hebrides Overture, Op. 26
DUTILLEUX Tout un monde lointain . . .
Lynn Harrell, cello
DVORÁK Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88

June 21, 22, 23, and 24, 2007
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125
Annalena Persson, soprano
Ingeborg Danz, contralto
Robert Künzli, tenor
Matthias Goerne, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, chorus director

Blomstedt’s colleagues at the Berlin Philharmonic have just posted this delightful tribute (added on July 14, 2017):

Happy, happy birthday!

Herbert Blomstedt appears with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on March 1, 2, and 3, 2018, leading Mozart’s Symphony no. 39 and Beethoven’s Symphony no. 3.

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Cover of the program book for the April 8 and 12, 1991, performances of Verdi's Otello at Orchestra Hall

Cover of the program book for the April 8 and 12, 1991, performances at Orchestra Hall

To conclude his twenty-two seasons as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s eighth music director in 1991, Sir Georg Solti led concert performances of Verdi’s Otello at Orchestra Hall on April 8 and 12 and at Carnegie Hall on April 16 and 19. Principal soloists included soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as Desdemona, tenor Luciano Pavarotti as Otello, and baritone Leo Nucci as Iago. All four performances were recorded live by London Records.

After the first performance in Orchestra Hall, John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune reported that “Solti had his Chicago Symphony playing this formidably difficult score as if it were a seasoned opera orchestra; every opera house should have such a band of virtuosi in residence. No minor contributions to the evening were made by the Chicago Symphony Chorus, superbly prepared by the redoubtable Margaret Hillis [along with guest chorus director Terry Edwards], and augmented by the Chicago Children’s Choir.”

Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti onstage at Orchestra Hall

Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti onstage at Orchestra Hall, April 8, 1991 (Jim Steere photo)

Donal Henahan, following the first Carnegie Hall concert, in The New York Times praised “The Chicago, never in our time less than a great orchestra, provided many thrills. In the stupendous opening scene, it and Margaret Hillis’s chorus unleashed every erg of sonic energy the hall could tolerate, vividly establishing the mood for violent events to come.” In London’s Financial Times, Andrew Porter noted, “I’ve never heard Solti’s famous excitability so completely harnessed to a disciplined, long-lined, marvelously vivid, engrossing account of the whole score.”

At the conclusion of the April 19 concert—Solti’s last as music director—von Rhein reported, “A mighty shout of approval immediately went up from the house.” This continued for several minutes until Solti took “co-concertmaster Rubén González by the hand and [led] him off the stage—a sign for the rest of the Orchestra to follow. . . . He will, of course, return to Chicago in the fall, and for many years thereafter, as CSO music director laureate. But no Solti farewell will ever seem as emotionally momentous as this one.”

This article also appears here and portions previously appeared here.

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

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

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

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

Saint Matthew Passion recording session in Orchestra Hall

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

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

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

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

____________________________________________________

During Sir Georg Solti’s tenure as music director, more than seventy musicians—many of whom are still members—joined the roster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra:

David Babcock, horn 1969–1971
Edwin Barker, bass 1976–1977
John Bartholomew, viola 1980–
J. Lawrie Bloom, clarinet and bass clarinet 1980–
Ella Braker, violin 1976–2003
Loren Brown, cello 1985–
Catherine Brubaker, viola 1989–
Li-Kuo Chang, viola 1988–
David Chickering, cello 1978–1986
Roger Cline, bass 1973–
Timothy Cobb, bass 1985–1986
Larry Combs, clarinet and E-flat clarinet 1974–2008
Alison Dalton, violin 1987–
Franklyn D’Antonio, violin 1981–1986
Patricia Dash, percussion 1986–
Joseph DiBello, bass 1976–
Louise Dixon, flute 1973–
Fox Fehling, violin 1979–
Jorja Fleezanis, violin 1975–1976
Barbara Fraser, violin 1975–1996
Daniel Gingrich, horn 1976–
Rachel Goldstein, violin 1989–
Rubén González, violin 1986–1996
Bruce Grainger, bassoon 1986–1996
Jerry Grossman, cello 1984–1986
Tom Hall, violin 1970–2006
Laura Hamilton, violin 1985–1986
Erik Harris, bass 1989–1993
Michael Henoch, oboe 1972–
Marilyn Herring, librarian 1982–1997
Russell Hershow, violin 1989–
Richard Hirschl, cello 1989–
Michael Hovnanian, bass 1989–
Thomas Howell, horn 1971–1991
Nisanne Howell, violin 1976–
Albert Igolnikov, violin 1979–
Mihaela Ionescu, violin 1987–
Jacques Israelievitch, violin 1972–1978
Timothy Kent, trumpet 1979–1996
Mark Kraemer, bass 1974–
Melanie Kupchynsky, violin 1989–
Lee Lane, viola 1971–2009–
Stephen Lester, bass 1978–
Kathryn Lukas, flute 1985–1986
Elizabeth Matesky, violin 1972–1973
Blair Milton, violin 1975–
Diane Mues, viola 1987–
Michael Mulcahy, trombone 1990–
Joyce Noh, violin 1979–
Bradley Opland, bass 1984–
Daniel Orbach, viola 1988–
Nancy Park, violin 1984–
Jonathan Pegis, cello 1986–
Paul Phillips, violin 1980–
Charles Pikler, violin and viola 1978–
Gene Pokorny, tuba 1989–
Max Raimi, viola 1984–
James Ross, percussion 1979–
David Sanders, cello 1974–
Ronald Satkiewicz, violin 1979–
Florence Schwartz, violin 1989–
Norman Schweikert, horn 1971–1997
John Sharp, cello 1986–
Sando Shia, violin 1989–
Philip Smith, trumpet 1975–1978
Gregory Smith, clarinet 1983–
Gary Stucka, cello 1986–
Robert Swan, viola 1972–2008
Susan Synnestvedt, violin 1986–
David Taylor, violin 1979–
Charles Vernon, trombone and bass trombone 1986–
George Vosburgh, trumpet 1979–1993
Jennie Wagner, volin 1974–
Gail Williams, horn 1978–1998
Thomas Wright, viola 1981–
John Bruce Yeh, clarinet and E-flat clarinet 1977–

CSO roster – September 1969

CSO roster – June 1991

the vault

Theodore Thomas

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The opinions expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

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