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Wishing a very happy eightieth birthday to John Corigliano!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy, happy birthday!

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

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

World premieres

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 12, 1998
Max Raimi Elegy
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United States premieres

November 7, 1985
Siefgried Wagner Sehnsucht
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Barenboim in 1990 (Jim Steere photo for Erato)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corigliano album cover

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

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

This article also appears here.

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