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On a personal note . . .

I never met Sir Georg. But as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with him on three occasions: Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 13 (Babi Yar) in February 1995, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in September 1995, and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms in March 1997. Even as music director laureate, Solti still commanded the podium and demanded the very best from everyone. It may have taken him an extra moment to get to the podium, but once he arrived, there was work to be done. And everyone—Orchestra, Chorus, soloists—sat up, took notice, and delivered. We all simply played and sang better than our best when he was onstage.

And here in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Rosenthal Archives, I have the privilege of documenting, preserving, and providing access to so many aspects of Sir Georg’s legacy to not only his longtime admirers—and they are a fierce bunch—but also to new generations of musicians and music lovers.

Indeed, a pleasure and a privilege. And again, thank you, Sir Georg.


György Stern was born in Budapest, Hungary, on October 21, 1912.

Near the end of his Memoirs—completed when he was eighty-four—Solti wrote:

“I have had an enormously lucky life. I have said many times, and believe more every day, that I have a guardian angel who guides me and protects me. Looking back, there have been disappointments and unachieved ambitions, but all in all, I have had a wonderful time.

“I have no intention of slowing down: pacing myself, yes, but slowing down, no. I am grateful that I am still able to work because I believe that I am continuing to develop as a musician, and that I still have much to give. . . .

“My life is the clearest proof that if you have talent, determination, and luck, you will make it in the end. My motto is ‘Never Give Up.'”

For your abundant gifts of music, thank you, Sir Georg.



Sir Georg Solti conducted his beloved Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the last time in March 1997. His performance on March 29 was his 999th time conducting the Orchestra.

The program included Mussorgsky’s Prelude to Khovanshchina, Shostakovich’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with bass Sergei Aleksashkin, and Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 15.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Wynne Delacoma wrote that Solti “is a latecomer to Shostakovich’s music and he is trying to make up for lost time. He has recorded three of the composer’s symphonies with the CSO in recent seasons and these performances are being taped for London Records. He resisted the composer’s music because of Shostakovich’s seeming cooperation with the Soviet regime but has changed his mind as details about the composer’s politics became known. As is usually the case with Solti, details were neatly in place Thursday night.”

And John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune wrote: “Solti’s response to the symphony was to lay everything out with the utmost clarity and precision and to assign each climax its proper weight, so that the listener was free to decide what it all means. At his jaunty tempo, the opening Allegretto was all forced jollity, just right, while the scherzo masked its sardonic intentions behind a poker face. If the funeral march was more brazenly loud than deeply disturbing, the finale was as equivocal as Shostakovich meant it to be.”

For the recording, Michael Woolcock was the producer, James Lock and Philip Siney were the balance engineers, Duncan Mitchell was the location engineer, and Simon Bertram and Matthew Hutchinson were the recording editors.

Solti’s program book biography, part 1 – March 1997

Solti’s program book biography, part 2 – March 1997

Wynne Delacoma’s review in the Chicago Sun-Times – March 21, 1997

John von Rhein’s review in the Chicago Tribune – March 22, 1997


The work most closely identified with Sir Georg Solti’s tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra would arguably be Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.

During his final season as music director, Solti and the Orchestra recorded Mahler’s Fifth a second time for London Records. The work was recorded live in concert at the Musikverein in Vienna on November 30, 1990, during the Orchestra’s tour to Russia, Hungary, and Austria.

For London, Michael Haas was the producer, Stanley Goodall was the engineer, and Matthew Hutchinson was the tape editor.

In his Memoirs, Solti wrote: “it was Mahler’s Fifth which I shall always associate with the Chicago Symphony. It was part of our first tour program together, to Carnegie Hall in New York [in January 1970]. We went with a certain trepidation, not knowing how New Yorkers would receive us, as we were still an unknown quantity. When we finished the last movement, the audience stood up and screamed hysterically as if it were a rock concert. The applause seemed endless; they had fallen under the spell of our exceptional performance. I had never experienced such an overwhelming phenomenon in my life and probably never will again.” (Shortly after the concert in New York, the symphony was recorded in Chicago’s Medinah Temple in March 1970.)

In the second edition of Paul Robinson’s Solti, the author stated: “In November 1990, Solti and the CSO toured Europe to great acclaim. In Vienna their program included the Mahler Fifth and the Decca engineers were there to record the event for posterity. It turned out to be an even finer recording than the one they had made in Chicago twenty years before. The virtuosity is on the same high level but there is a depth of feeling, particularly in the Adagietto, that is quite striking. The sound quality is also remarkable, taking advantage of the latest in digital technology. There are numerous subtleties of soft playing only hinted at in the earlier recording. One of Mahler’s most original touches of orchestration is the use of a tam-tam in the second movement. It is marked piano and in most recordings it is simply not audible. But in this one it has an altogether distinctive presence that colors the whole texture of the music. Wonderful! There are times when one misses the expansiveness of expression that is so moving in the [Leonard] Bernstein or [Herbert von] Karajan recordings, but this is nonetheless one of [the] best documentations of Solti and the CSO in their prime together.”


In addition to his incredibly vast discography, Sir Georg Solti has left behind a distinct legacy, dedicated not only to the next generations of musicians but also to music lovers.

Headquartered in Belgium, The Solti Foundation provides support to young instrumentalists and composers from all over the world, preparing to embark on international careers. On the foundation’s website, Lady Valerie Solti provides this mission: “Following his death my daughters and I established the Solti Foundation as a memorial to his life by continuing the help he gave. Graduating from a music school is a critical time—financial support comes to an end as well as pastoral care. The Solti Foundation’s aim is to assist this transition period. The small grants are not intended to replace awards and bursaries from larger institutions, they are to be used for projects such as coaching, travel to competitions and auditions, short periods of study, the hire of rehearsal facilities. A team of volunteers also provides pastoral care and career advice.”

The mission of The Solti Foundation U.S., also founded shortly after Sir Georg’s death, is “to assist talented young American musicians at the start of their professional careers. It has made annual grants to awardees since 2003. Since 2004 it has focused on helping exceptional young conductors.” Lady Solti reiterated: “Sir Georg Solti believed in a guardian angel that guided his life and he was grateful to the agents of that angel—the people who helped him at difficult times. The Solti Foundation believes that music is essential—especially during these troubled times—to healing and connecting individuals and global lives. Therefore, we are committed to realizing Sir Georg’s passion for excellence in music and extending help to further the early careers of those with exceptional talent.”

According to their website, the Georg Solti Accademia “aims to educate highly talented young singers and repetiteurs from all over the world in the art of Italian opera and song. The Accademia offers masterclasses of the highest standards in musicianship, language and dramatic interpretation, providing students with the vital bridge between the end of formal training and professional life. . . . [The] annual Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto takes place in the Tuscan seaside town of Castiglione della Pescaia where Solti spent his summers. The course brings together the greatest living interpreters and teachers with outstanding student singers and repetiteurs. Each summer twelve young singers receive scholarships to come to Castiglione for three weeks of intensive training in Italian music, culture and language. The Accademia has already established itself as one of the leading Italian opera courses in the world, and in 2008 added a two-week programme for repetiteurs.”

Sponsored primarily by the Alte Oper, the Frankfurt Opera House and Museum’s Orchestra, and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the International Sir Georg Solti Conductors’ Competition seeks to discover and identify new talents. The mission statement on their website includes: “Numerous competitions are being organised for instrumentalists, ensembles, and even for composers; conductors rarely have the chance to match with their competitors. This made it an urgent need to create a forum where young talents can present themselves and receive competent assessment of the standard they have reached. The competition’s superior rank can also be found in its name: Sir Georg Solti, who led the Frankfurt Opera during 1952-1961, referred to this decade as ‘ten happy and fruitful years.’ But how is one to select? What paths does one follow in one’s search? And how does one best present one’s findings to orchestra and public alike? These considerations make the conductors’ competition more than just a qualifying contest; it also offers an opportunity for all involved to usefully gather and exchange experiences.”

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprenticeship, hosted by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, invites young conductors to “apply for a two-year conducting apprenticeship. The winning candidate, chosen by an international jury chaired by Maestro Riccardo Muti, will have unique access to the CSO’s music director and to key guest conductors of the CSO. Both Riccardo Muti and his predecessor Sir Georg Solti (CSO music director 1969–91) followed the same traditional path to their conducting careers through their work in the opera house. Maestro Muti remains passionate about the importance of a conductor’s ability to rehearse with an artist at the piano. . . . As the CSO’s Conducting Fellow, the winning candidate will have invaluable access to observe and study with preeminent musical leaders. The apprenticeship offers the opportunity, over two consecutive seasons, to spend at least four weeks a year in Chicago studying with CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti, Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez, and other guest conductors of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.”

Founded in 1995 by Sir Georg Solti to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations and to reaffirm, in his words, “the unique strength of music as an ambassador for peace,” the World Orchestra for Peace “draws its players come from orchestras all over the world, many of them concert masters and section leaders in their own right, and the orchestra has no existence outside the very special occasions that call it into being. The orchestra is also unique in practical terms. There’s the logistical challenge of assembling everyone. The eminent players must put aside issues of status: their seating positions rotate, and the section leaders vary from work to work. Even tuning can be tricky since orchestras play at different pitches across the world. Its members do not draw a salary from it, yet return time after time to bear witness to the spirit which animates it.”

“Solti only conducted the first concert in Geneva on July 5, 1995. But this key element of his legacy has been kept alive and administered by Director and General Manager Charles Kaye, Solti’s former executive assistant, who invited Valery Gergiev to take over the baton as its conductor. In the seventeen years since—culminating in the Centenary Concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago on Solti’s 100th birthday (October 21, 2012)—the World Orchestra for Peace has given twenty concerts in fourteen countries, with the participation of 388 players representing over seventy-five orchestras from more than sixty countries of the world.”*

And finally, in addition to the bust of Solti that resides in Grant Park, there is a small legacy here in Chicago that many of my colleagues and I walk by nearly every day. At the corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street and the corner of Adams and Wabash Avenue, there are honorary street signs—identifying Honorary Sir Georg Solti Place—that were dedicated on October 24, 1997. The signs serve as a small reminder to us of the musician who contributed so much to our Chicago community.

*The second paragraph of the section regarding the World Orchestra for Peace—provided by a representative from the ensemble—was added on January 24, 2013.


Lilly, Teréz, György, and Móricz Stern in 1913

”During the first six years of my life, Hungary was one of the most important components of the Habsburg dynasty’s vast Austro-Hungarian Empire, but after World War I it became an independent national entity As a result of the subsequent upsurge in Hungarian nationalism, many Hungarians with Germanic surnames were encouraged to adopt Hungarian equivalents. My parents kept the family’s original surname, Stern, but my father decided that my sister and I should change it to facilitate our careers. He chose a new name at random: Solti—the name of a small Hungarian town. My first name, György, remained the same until I left Hungary, but then, as no one abroad could cope with the pronunciation of this strangely spelled name, it was changed to Georg in German-speaking countries and pronounced like George in English-speaking countries. . . .

“My father, Mórícz Stern, born in 1878, in Balatonfökajár, moved to Budapest as a young man, along with two of his brothers. He was a sweet man but utterly untalented at business, despite which, he kept trying all his life—first as a flour merchant, then as an insurance salesman, and finally as a real estate broker. . . . My mother, Teréz Rosenbaum, came from Ada, a village in the Bácska region of southern Hungary (now Croatia), between the Danube and the Tisza rivers. . . . My mother’s family had several extraordinary members, the most celebrated of whom was her second cousin László Moholy-Nagy, the painter, photographer, and cofounder of the Bauhaus. . . .

György, age 4, in 1916

“My mother was still in her midteens when she met and married my father, and only eighteen when my sister, Lilly, was born in 1904; my father was twenty-six. I appeared eight years later, on October 21, 1912. My birthplace was an apartment in Vérmezö Street in Buda. (Buda, on the west bank of the Danube, and Pest, on the east bank, were separate cities until 1872.) I didn’t live there for long, however. When I was two, World War I broke out; although my father was already thirty-six and considerably overweight, he volunteered to work in a military office in the town of Veszprém, northwest of Lake Balaton, and he took his family with him. . . . My earliest memories date from our years in Veszprém. . . .

“When I was six—the year we returned to Budapest from Veszprém, and the year I started school—my mother, who was very musical, noticed that I sang well and clearly, and she decided that I had a good ear . . . my mother devoted all her time and energy to my musical development and made up her mind that I would take lessons. . . .

György and Lilly in 1923

“I was about eight years old at the time [when] Lilly, my sister, who was sixteen, had begun to study singing, and my parents thought they might save a little money if I could accompany her; I think this was a major issue for them. (Lilly eventually had a minor career as a singer. Like our father, she had a nice voice but was not very musical, and after two years of singing in provincial Germany theaters, she buried her operatic ambitions and got married.) On the other hand, my mother truly believed that I had the makings of a musician. She even resisted the advice of one of her brothers to make me learn an ‘real’ profession, rather than music. In the vast majority of cases, his advice would have been correct. Only a tiny percentage of the children who take music lessons have the talent, ambition, and stamina to work ceaselessly, the toughness to survive the bad patches, and the sheer luck to succeed in a musical career. But I undoubtedly owe my life in music to my mother. . . .

György, age 22, in 1934

“On August 15, 1939, at the age of twenty-six, I said good-bye to my mother and sister, picked up a little suitcase containing a pair of shoes, some clean shirts and underpants, and my Harris tweed suit from London, and with my father took a tram to Budapest’s Western Railroad Station. My father was the mildest, sweetest man imaginable. He had never scolded me or denied me anything. I was the light of his life, and he cared more about me than about anything else in the world, just as I now feel about my own daughters. I loved him, too, but was not as devoted to him as he was to me. . . .

“When we got to the station, we stood on the platform, chatting, as the train arrived. Just as I was about to climb aboard, my father began to cry. I was very embarrassed. ‘Why are you crying?’ I asked him. ‘Look, can’t you see I’m only taking this one little suitcase? I’m coming back in ten days’ time!’ But it was as if he knew with certainty we would be parted forever.

“The sight of his tears and the harsh tone of my voice have haunted me ever since. I have never forgiven myself for my abruptness. I was never to see him again.”

Text excerpted from Memoirs by Sir Georg Solti.


During his tenure as music director, Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra traveled to Carnegie Hall nearly every season. A complete list of those concerts are below:

January 8, 1970
HAYDN Symphony No. 102 in B-flat Major
BARTÓK Dance Suite
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

January 9, 1970
MAHLER Kindertotenlieder
Helen Watts, contralto
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

December 7, 1970
LEVY Concerto for Piano No. 1
Earl Wild, piano
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 8 in C Minor

December 8, 1970
MAHLER Symphony No. 7 in E Minor

April 27, 1971
WAGNER Das Rheingold
Woglinde Karen Altman, soprano
Wellgunde Huguette Tourangeau, mezzo-soprano
Flosshilde Helen Watts, contralto
Alberich Rolf Kuhne, bass
Wotan David Ward, bass
Fricka Mignon Dunn, mezzo-soprano
Freia Karen Altman, soprano
Fasolt Martti Talvela, bass
Fafner Hans Sotin, bass
Donner Thomas Paul, bass
Froh Kenneth Riegel, tenor
Loge Gerhard Stolze, tenor
Mime John Lanigan, tenor
Erda Helen Watts, contralto

November 17, 1971
SCHUMANN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 97 (Rhenish)
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
WAGNER Prelude to Act 1 of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

November 20, 1971
SCHOENBERG Moses and Aron
Moses Hans Hotter, speaker
Aron Richard Lewis, tenor
A Young Girl Karen Altman, soprano
A Young Man Kenneth Riegel, tenor
Another Man Benjamin Matthews, baritone
Priest Donald Gramm, bass-baritone
An Invalid Woman Emilie Miller, mezzo-contralto
Ephraimite Stephen Swanson, baritone
A Naked Youth Kenneth Riegel, tenor
Four Naked Virgins Barbara Pearson and Nancy Clevenger, sopranos; Sharon Powell, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Muir-Lewis, alto
Three Elders Alfred Reichel and Jack Abraham, baritones; Eugene Johnson, bass
Six Solo Voices in the Orchestra Barbara Pearson, soprano; Sharon Powell, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Muir-Lewis, alto; William Wahman, tenor; Stephen Swanson and Arthur Berg, baritones
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Theatre Chorus
Barbara Born, director

April 19, 1972
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (Unfinished)
MAHLER Das Lied von der Erde
Shirley Verrett, mezzo-soprano
Stuart Burrows, tenor

April 22, 1972
CARTER Variations for Orchestra
STRAUSS Don Juan, Op. 20
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14A

December 6, 1972
BERLIOZ The Damnation of Faust, Op. 24
Marguerite Josephine Veasey, contralto
Faust Stuart Burrows, tenor
Mephistopheles Robert Savoie, baritone
Brander Roger Soyer, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Theatre Chorus
Doreen Rao, director

December 9, 1972
MENDELSSOHN Overture to Fingal’s Cave, Op. 26
BARTÓK Concert for Violin, No. 2
Isaac Stern, violin
STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

May 2, 1973
WAGNER Act 3 of Götterdämmerung
Gutrune Karen Altman, soprano
Brunnhilde Helga Dernesch, soprano
Woglinde Barbara Pearson, soprano
Wellgunde Gwendolyn Jones, mezzo-soprano
Flosshilde Sandra Walker, mezzo-soprano
Siegfried Jess Thomas, tenor
Gunther Donald Gramm, bass
Hagen Martti Talvela, bass
Men of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Richard Boldrey, assistant director

May 4, 1973
MOZART Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 (Jupiter)
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 7 in E Major

November 14, 1973
WEBER Overture to Oberon
HENZE Heliogabalus Imperator
BEETHOVEN Symphony No.3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (Eroica)

November 17, 1973
BACH Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068
MAHLER Symphony No. 6 in A Minor

May 1, 1974
SCHUMANN Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120
BARTÓK Bluebeard’s Castle
Judith Tatiana Troyanos, mezzo-soprano
Bluebeard Zoltán Kelemen, baritone

May 4, 1974
MOZART Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 (Haffner)
ELGAR Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 (Enigma)
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring

December 17, 1974
BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047
Samuel Magad, violin
Ralph Zeitlin, recorder
Ray Still, oboe
Adolph Herseth, trumpet
SCHOENBERG Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64

December 18, 1974
Salome Birgit Nilsson, soprano
Herodias Ruth Hesse, mezzo-soprano
Herod Antipas Ragnar Ulfung, tenor
Jokanaan Norman Bailey, baritone
Slave Sarah Beatty, soprano
The Page of Herodias Sandra Walker, mezzo-soprano
Narraboth George Shirley, tenor
Cappadocian Gershon Silins, bass
Two Nazarenes Cory Winter, tenor; Franz Mazura, bass-baritone
Four Jews Philip Creech, Jerry Jennings, John Lanigan, and William Wahman, tenors; Eugene Johnson, bass
Two Soldiers Curtis Dickson and Thomas Paul, basses

December 20, 1974
MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
MAHLER Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Julia Hamari, mezzo-soprano
ELGAR Symphony No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 63

December 21, 1974
MOZART Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
MAHLER Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Julia Hamari, mezzo-soprano
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64

April 29, 1975
STRAVINSKY Symphony in C
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major

April 30, 1975
VERDI Requiem
Leontyne Price, soprano
Yvonne Minton, mezzo-soprano
Luciano Pavarotti, tenor
Gwynne Howell, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

May 2, 1975
HAYDN Symphony No. 101 in D Major (The Clock)
LISZT Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major
Tamás Vásáry, piano
STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30

May 10, 1976
BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36
STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28

May 12, 1976
MENDELSSOHN Selections from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, K. 595
Alicia de Larrocha, piano

May 14, 1976
WAGNER Der fliegende Höllander
The Dutchman Norman Bailey, bass-baritone
Senta Janis Martin, soprano
Daland Martti Talvelabass
Erik René Kollo, tenor
The Steersman Werner Krenntenor
Mary Isola Jonesmezzo-soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

November 8, 1976
MOZART Adagio and Fugue in C Minor, K. 546
VERDI Four Sacred Pieces
Jo Ann Pickens, soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
WALTON Belshazzar’s Feast
David Ward, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

November 10, 1976
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 70
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 (Pathétique)

November 12, 1976
RAVEL Le tombeau de Couperin
DEBUSSY Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
RAVEL La valse
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

May 9, 1977
HAYDN Symphony No. 103 in E-flat Major
WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

May 11, 1977
MOZART Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 (Jupiter)
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

May 13, 1977
BEETHOVEN Missa solemnis, Op. 123
Lucia Popp, soprano
Yvonne Minton, mezzo-soprano
Mallory Walker, tenor
Gwynne Howell, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

Solti was scheduled to conduct four concerts at Carnegie Hall in October and November 1977; however after suffering a fall in Chicago, he was forced to cancel the first two appearances. The October 31 performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony was conducted by Chorus Director Margaret Hillis, and the November 1 program (identical to the November 2 concert) was led by Associate Conductor Henry Mazer.

November 2, 1977
ROSSINI Overture to The Barber of Seville
STRAVINSKY Jeu de cartes
STRAUSS Four Last Songs
Lucia Popp, soprano
STRAUSS Don Juan, Op. 20

November 4, 1977
TIPPETT Symphony No. 4
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 7 in E Major

May 8, 1978
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
Alfred Brendel, piano
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98

May 9, 1978
BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

May 10, 1978
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
Alfred Brendel, piano
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

May 12, 1978
BRAHMS Tragic Overture, Op. 81
BRAHMS A German Requiem, Op. 45
Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano
Bernd Weikl, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

May 14 & 15, 1979
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 6 in A Major

May 16 & 18, 1979
MUSSORGSKY/Rimsky-Korsakov Prelude to Khovanshchina
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 1, Op. 10
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 (Great)

May 19, 1979
BEETHOVEN Fidelio, Op. 72
Leonore Hildegard Behrens, soprano
Marzelline Sona Ghazarian, soprano
Florestan Peter Hofmann, tenor
Jaquino David Kübler, tenor
Don Pizarro Theo Adam, baritone
Rocco Hans Sotin, bass
Don Fernando Gwynne Howell, bass
Two Prisoners Robert Johnson, tenor and Philip Kraus, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, chorus director

April 28 & 30, 1980
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 (Pastorale)
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring

April 29, 1980
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56 (Scottish)
WAGNER “Dich, teure Halle” from Tannhäuser
Leontyne Price, soprano
WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
Leontyne Price, soprano
MUSSORGSKY/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition

May 2 & 3, 1980
MAHLER Symphony No. 2 in C Minor (Resurrection)
Isobel Buchanan, soprano
Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

April 27 & 29, 1981
MAHLER Symphony No. 9 in D Major

April 28, 1981
BRUCKNER Symphony No.4 in E-flat Major (Romantic)
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

May 1 & 2, 1981
BERLIOZ The Damnation of Faust, Op. 24
Marguerite Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano
Faust Kenneth Riegel, tenor (May 1); Peyo Garazzi, tenor (May 2)
Mephistopheles José van Dam, baritone
Brander Malcolm King, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Doreen Rao, director

April 18, 1983
WAGNER Das Rheingold
Wotan Siegmund Nimsgern, bass-baritone
Alberich Hermann Becht, baritone
Fricka Gabriele Schnaut, mezzo-soprano
Loge Siegfried Jerusalem, tenor
Mime Robert Tear, tenor
Erda Jan DeGaetani, mezzo-soprano
Fafner Malcolm Smith, bass
Fasolt Gwynne Howell, bass
Freia Mary Jane Johnson, soprano
Donner John Cheek, bass-baritone
Froh Dennis Bailey, tenor
Woglinde Michelle Harman-Gulick, soprano
Wellgunde Elizabeth Hynes, soprano
Flosshilde Emily Golden, mezzo-soprano

April 19, 1983
MOZART Overture to The Magic Flute, K. 620
BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (From the New World)

April 29, 1985
VERDI Falstaff
Sir John Falstaff Guillermo Sarabia, baritone
Ford Wolfgang Brendel, baritone
Fenton Yordi Ramiro, tenor
Dr. Caius Heinz Zednik, tenor
Bardolph Francis Egerton, tenor
Pistol Aage Haugland, bass
Mistress Alice Ford Katia Ricciarelli, soprano
Nannetta Kathleen Battle, soprano
Mistress Quickly Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano
Mistress Meg Page Ann Murray, mezzo-soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

April 30, 1985
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 9, Op. 70
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (Unfinished)

May 1, 1985
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op 56a
LUTOSŁAWSKI Symphony No. 3
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67

May 3, 1985
MAHLER Symphony No. 7 in E Minor

May 4, 1985
BERG Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
BERG Concerto for Violin
Salvatore Accardo, violin
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64

May 18, 1987
MAHLER Symphony No. 9

May 19, 1987
STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring

May 20, 1987
HAYDN Symphony No. 103 in E-flat Major (Drumroll)
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 7 in E Major

February 10, 1989
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, D. 485
SCHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 65

February 11, 1989
BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
BARTÓK Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98

April 15 & 18, 1991
TIPPETT Byzantium
Faye Robinson, soprano
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

April 16 & 19, 1991

VERDI Otello
Otello Luciano Pavarotti, tenor
Desdemona Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano
Iago Leo Nucci, baritone
Emilia Elzbieta Ardam, mezzo-soprano
Cassio Anthony Rolfe Johnson, tenor
Roderigo John Keyes, tenor
Montano Alan Opie, baritone
Lodovico Dimitri Kavrakos, bass
A Herald Richard Cohn, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Terry Edwards, guest chorus master
Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus
Elena Doria, director


In 1990, Sir Georg Solti and Dudley Moore collaborated with Channel 4 to present an educational documentary series of programs entitled Orchestra! The programs were later released on video by London Records; an audio recording of excerpts—including works by Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Corelli, Haydn, Mozart, Ravel, Schubert, R. Strauss, Stravinsky, and Wagner, among others—also was released.

According to Jan Younghusband’s liner notes, “The series introduces the music and instruments of the orchestra by tracing its history through a selection of works by the great composers, from Bach in the early eighteenth century to Lutosławski in present times, and shows how instrumental music-making grew from a small group of players huddled round a keyboard instrument into the modern symphony orchestra of over a hundred musicians.

“Sir Georg Solti, probably the greatest living Maestro, and Dudley Moore, a star of worldwide appeal, were invited to take part in the series, as both combine great humor with a serious classical music background and virtuoso musicianship. Young musicians were drawn from all over the world to form the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra.”

Solti also added to the note: “It has always been my wish, my dream, to show people that good music is not difficult to understand, and to share with them this great marvel of human civilization, orchestral music. If anything can bring peace to this world it is music, and nothing is more beautiful than a good piece of music. All my life I have loved to make music with young people. I decided to work with a group of young musicians from all over the world, who come together for the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, and seeing these young people making music together warms my heart.”

Selections from the first episode of the series—entitled “Introduction to Orchestra!”—can be viewed below:

The attached YouTube videos are not the property of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. We just thought they were interesting.


According to Sir Georg Solti’s entry at the Internet Movie Database, his recordings have been included on numerous movie soundtracks.

Specifically for the soundtrack for the 1994 film Immortal Beloved, he conducted a number of works by Beethoven with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Several works by Tchaikovsky were included in the 1997 film Anna Karenina. Excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem were included in 1993’s The Heartbreak Kid, and selections from Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion were included in 1995’s Casino and 2005’s Domino.

Excerpts from Solti’s opera recordings have been used on many movie soundtracks. 1996’s Thieves and 2010’s Eat Pray Love featured music from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and 2004’s Closer included music from Così fan tutte. Arias from Verdi’s Rigoletto were heard in 1987’s Aria and 1999’s Analyze This. And an excerpt from Strauss’s Salome was included in 1987’s Mascara.

Selections from Wagner operas have been frequently used, including: the opening to Das Rheingold (1979’s Nosferatu the Vampyre), the prelude to act 3 of Lohengrin (2000’s Ready to Rumble), and the first act of Die Walküre (2004’s Birth).

Of course, the most frequently used excerpt is the Ride of the Valkyries from the third act of Wagner’s Die Walküre. It has been heard in 1987’s Critical Condition, 1993’s Café au lait, 2001’s Freddy Got Fingered, 2005’s Jarhead, 2007’s Norbit, and perhaps most famously in 1970’s Apocalypse Now.

The scene from Apocalypse Now is viewable below (warning: for mature audiences only).

Movie poster images from the Internet Movie Database. And the attached YouTube video is not the property of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. We just thought it was interesting.


Sir Georg Solti shared the podium with Daniel Barenboim, leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s second trip to Asia in March and April 1986, including stops in Japan (Anjo, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, and Toyota) and Hong Kong.

March 26, 1986 – Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan
March 28, 1986 – Shimin Kaikan, Nagoya, Japan
March 30, 1986 – The Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan
April 4, 1986 – Aisin-Warner Harmony Hall, Anjo, Japan
April 8, 1986 – City Hall Concert Hall, Hong Kong
MOZART Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 (Haffner)
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
(The Tokyo performance on March 26 was videotaped for television broadcast and released by Sony Classical.)

March 27, 1986 – Hitomi Memorial Hall, Showa Women’s College, Tokyo, Japan
March 29, 1986 – The Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan
April 9, 1986 – City Hall Concert Hall, Hong Kong
HAYDN Symphony No. 95 in C Minor
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 7 in E Major
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

Orchestra members’ tour trunks backstage

March 31, 1986 – Musashino Shimin Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan
April 2, 1986 – Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan
April 12, 1986 – City Hall Concert Hall, Hong Kong
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 (Pathétique)
WAGNER Excerpts from Götterdämmerung
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 3, 1986 – Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan
April 5, 1986 – Toyota City Cultural Hall, Toyota, Japan
April 11, 1986 – City Hall Concert Hall, Hong Kong
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (Unfinished)
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (Eroica)
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 7, 1986 – Hong Kong Coliseum, Hong Kong
TCHAIKOVSKY 1812 Overture, Op. 49
TCHAIKOVSKY Romeo and Juliet
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

the vault

Theodore Thomas


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

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