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Vladimir Ashkenazy (Wayne J. Shilkret photo)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family wishes the magnificent pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy a very happy eighty-fifth birthday!

Ashkenazy catapulted onto the world stage in 1955 after winning second prize in the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. He was awarded first prize in both the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1956 and the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962.

“Pound for pound, he may be the most pyrotechnic pianist in the whole world,” wrote Seymour Raven in the Chicago Tribune, following Ashkenazy’s Orchestra Hall recital debut, presented under the auspices of Allied Arts on October 19, 1958. Seven years later, after his Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut in Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, Thomas Willis (also in the Tribune) commented, the “volcanic [pianist], whose two previous recitals here marked him as a man to watch, had everything it takes to get the locomotor going full speed and most of the qualities to sustain momentum. The big tone for melodies framed the structure in iron. The bravura technique took in stride the hammering octaves, scales which sweep the keyboard, and arpeggio lightning which galvanizes the Russian bear intermezzo into a furious climax. . . . This combination of work, soloist, and orchestra could lift you right out of your seat more than once.”

During the first tour to Europe in 1971, Ashkenazy joined the Orchestra on the first leg in Edinburgh on September 5, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 20 under Georg Solti. In May 1971 and 1972, he recorded Beethoven’s five piano concertos with the CSO, again with Solti conducting. Recording sessions took place at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and for London Records, the recording was produced by David Harvey and Kenneth Wilkinson was the recording engineer. The set of all five concertos won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance—Instrumental Soloist or Soloists (with orchestra).

For nearly fifty years, Vladimir Ashkenazy was a regular visitor to the stage in Orchestra Hall. In January 2020, he announced that he would be retiring from public performance, capping a career that spanned nearly seventy years.

A complete list of his appearances—with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as a piano recitalist, and as a guest conductor with visiting orchestras—is below.

October 28, 29, and 30, 1965, Orchestra Hall
November 1, 1965, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16
Irwin Hoffman, conductor

March 27, 1967, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
30 and 31, 1967, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37
Jean Martinon, conductor

July 25, 1968, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
Alfred Wallenstein, conductor

Ashkenazy, Solti, and David Harvey listening to playbacks of Beethoven’s piano concertos in May 1971 at the Krannert Center (Robert M. Lightfoot III photo)

December 5, 6, and 7, 1968, Orchestra Hall
December 9, 1968, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
William Steinberg, conductor

October 30, 31, and November 1, 1969, Orchestra Hall
November 3, 1969, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
MOZART Piano Concerto in D Minor, K. 466
Eliahu Inbal, conductor

July 16, 1970, Ravinia Festival
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16
István Kertész, conductor

May 7 and 8, 1971, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Georg Solti, conductor

July 20, 1971, Ravinia Festival
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
István Kertész, conductor

September 5, 1971, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland
MOZART Piano Concerto in D Minor, K. 466
Georg Solti, conductor

May 20, 1972, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

May 21, 1972, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

March 1, 2, and 3, 1973, Orchestra Hall
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
Lorin Maazel, conductor

November 7, 8, and 9, 1974, Orchestra Hall
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 5 in G Major, Op. 55
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor

January 18 and 20, 1980, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

Under the auspices of Allied Arts and Symphony Center Presents, Ashkenazy has appeared as piano recitalist, chamber musician, and guest conductor, as follows (*program book not on file; repertoire culled from advertisements and newspaper clippings).

October 19, 1958

October 19, 1958, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24
CHOPIN Nocturne in B Major, Op. 9, No. 3
CHOPIN Scherzo No. 4 in E Major, Op. 54
LISZT Mephisto Waltz No. 1
RACHMANINOV Variations on a Theme by Corelli, Op. 42
PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83

*November 18, 1962, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Sonata No. 9 in D Major, K. 311
PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82
CHOPIN Etudes, Op. 25

*May 16, 1971, Orchestra Hall
HAYDN Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob. XVI:52
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 (Appassionata)
CHOPIN Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58

March 4, 1973, Orchestra Hall
DOHNÁNYI String Quartet No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 33
SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 68
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44
Chicago Symphony String Quartet
Victor Aitay, violin
Edgar Muenzer, violin
Milton Preves, viola
Frank Miller, cello

*February 17, 1974, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 2, No. 3
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109
CHOPIN Fantasy in F Minor, Op. 49
CHOPIN Impromptu in F-sharp Major, Op. 36
CHOPIN Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52
CHOPIN Scherzo in E Major, Op. 54

Vladimir Ashkenazy (Wayne J. Shilkret photo)

*March 20, 1977, Orchestra Hall
SCRIABIN Sonata No. 2 in G-sharp Minor, Op. 19
SCRIABIN Two Poems, Op. 32
SCRIABIN Sonata No. 7, Op. 64 (White Mass)
SCRIABIN Sonata No. 10, Op. 70
SCRIABIN Four Pieces, Op. 56
RACHMANINOV Études-Tableaux, nos. 2 (Allegro in C major), 6 (Allegro con fuoco in E-flat major), 7 (Moderato in G minor), and 3 (Grave in C minor)
RACHMANINOV Selections from Ten Preludes, Op. 23 and Thirteen Preludes, Op. 32

*January 21, 1979, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 16 in G Major, Op. 31, No. 1
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6
CHOPIN Fantasy in F Minor, Op. 49
CHOPIN Ballade in A-flat
CHOPIN Nocturne in F-sharp Minor, Op. 48, No. 2
CHOPIN Scherzo in C-sharp Minor

*February 20, 1981, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111
CHOPIN Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58
CHOPIN Nocturne in D-flat Major, Op. 27, No. 2

*March 20, 1983, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109
SCHUBERT Klavierstücke No. 1 in E-flat Minor and No. 2 in E-flat Major, D. 946
SCHUBERT Fantasy in C Major, D. 760 (Wanderer)

*April 29, 1984, Orchestra Hall
SCHUBERT Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960
SCHUMANN Papillons, Op. 2
SCHUMANN Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13

December 9, 1990, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111
BRAHMS Klavierstücke, Op. 119
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24

Vladimir Ashkenazy (Ben Ealovega photo for Decca)

November 15, 1992, Orchestra Hall
MENDELSSOHN Selections from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 61
BAX Tintagel
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 10 in E Minor, Op. 93
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

November 10, 1997, Orchestra Hall
KODÁLY Dances of Galánta
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

March 31, 2000, Orchestra Hall
JANÁČEK Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53
Kurt Nikkanen, violin
PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 100
Czech Philharmonic

March 7, 2003, Orchestra Hall
SHOSTAKOVICH/Barshai Chamber Symphony for Strings in C Minor, Op. 110a
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major, Op. 10
Lukáš Vondráček, piano
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70
Czech Philharmonic

Happy, happy birthday!

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In June 2022, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the extraordinary American entertainer, singer, and actress Judy Garland!

Born on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Judy Garland began her career as a vaudeville performer with her two older sisters. By the age of thirteen, she had been signed—without a screen test—to the world’s largest motion-picture studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. While still a teenager, Garland created her most beloved role as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz, in which she sang the song that would forever be identified with her, “Over the Rainbow.” Despite constant personal struggles, she continued to create iconic film roles, make hundreds of concert appearances, record best-selling albums, and host her own television series.

Sarah Zelzer and Judy Garland in September 1958 (Allied Arts Records, The Newberry Library, Chicago)

On October 15, 1930, impresario Harry Zelzer (1897–1979) mounted his first presentation—a recital by Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli—at Chicago’s Civic Opera House. By 1948, Zelzer Concert Management Bureau had gradually expanded to become Allied Arts, presenting dozens of performances in multiple venues annually throughout Chicago, including Orchestra Hall. In 1978, Zelzer and his devoted wife and partner Sarah Schectman Zelzer (1909–1998) gave the Allied Arts series to the Orchestral Association (now the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association). Ultimately, the series was renamed Symphony Center Presents in October 1997.

“In July of 1958, Harry got a call from Sidney Luft, Judy’s husband and manager; he wanted Harry to present her in concert at Orchestra Hall during the first week of September,” wrote Sarah Zelzer in her book, Impresario: The Zelzer Era, 1930 to 1990. “Harry had never seen Judy Garland movies and knew very little about her. I, on the other hand, had admired her for years, and I told Harry I thought she would be a terrific draw.” Garland had not yet appeared in Chicago, and despite her reputation for cancellations along with her husband’s rumored untrustworthiness, the Zelzers decided, “it would be worth the gamble.”

Allied Arts program for Garland’s September 4-9, 1958, concerts in Orchestra Hall

Garland and Luft arrived in Chicago on September 3 for a press conference at the Bismarck Hotel, just before the first of seven sold-out shows at Orchestra Hall over the next six days. Comedian Alan King would be the opening act, and Nelson Riddle and his orchestra would provide the accompaniment. Garland’s opening night performance on the evening of September 4 was, according to Zelzer, “a tremendous success. But for the rest of the week, we were on tenterhooks until we saw her walk on the stage.”

“There were cheers and floral tributes for Miss Garland’s singing,” wrote Seymour Raven in the Chicago Tribune. “The singing is spacious and warm and beautiful, whether it is in music to be caressed or belted. Miss Garland, having long experience, covers quite a span of song writing—from ‘When You’re Smiling’ and ‘I Can’t Give You Anything but Love’ through the ‘Trolley Song’ right down to the ‘Purple People Eater.’ Even songs that weren’t written especially for her become hers by right of interpretation. She is an ‘original,’ and thus has the right. At the end of the evening, she recreates her famous tramp number, ‘Couple of Swells,’ with Mr. King in deft partnership. Then, if opening night is any indication, she may sit down over Orchestra Hall’s imaginary footlights and do a softly beautiful ‘Over the Rainbow’ and a bouncing ‘Chicago’ by way of encores.”

Chicago Tribune, September 5, 1958

The following year, she was re-engaged by Allied Arts for a seven-concert, sold-out run that began on June 1, 1959, at the Civic Opera House. Alan King returned, along with John W. Bubbles and Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra. “The indestructible Judy Garland went into another new phase Monday night at the Civic Opera House, where a near capacity audience turned out,” wrote William Leonard in the Chicago Tribune. “Now, a legend . . . Judy is here as a veteran of vaudeville—a virtually vanished form of show business which she causes to breathe again with nostalgia and excitement combined.”

The Zelzers brought Garland back to Chicago for a performance at the Civic Opera House on May 6, 1961. Just two weeks prior, on April 23, 1961, Garland gave a now legendary performance in New York’s Carnegie Hall. According to Variety, “The tones are clear, the phrasing is meaningful, and the vocal passion is catching. In fact, the audience couldn’t resist anything she did.” And in the New York Post, “Last night, the magnetism was circulating from the moment she stepped on stage.” Called by many “the greatest night in show business history,” the concert was recorded, and the two-album set—Judy at Carnegie Hall—was a tremendous bestseller. It remained on the Billboard charts for seventy-three weeks—including thirteen weeks in the number-one spot — and was certified Gold. Garland won two 1961 Grammy awards for the Capitol Records release: Album of the Year—the first woman to win in that top category—and Best Solo Vocal Performance–Female. The recording was also recognized for Best Engineering Contribution–Popular Recording and Best Album Cover–Non-Classical.

Under the auspices of Allied Arts, Garland was back in Chicago on two more occasions—both for performances at the new Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place—on November 7, 1962, and May 7, 1965. “Audiences habitually regard her concerts as love feasts. This was no exception,” wrote Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune on November 8, 1962. “Through it all, the high-voltage personality operated full force.”

Chicago Tribune, May 6, 1965

Judy Garland died in London on June 22, 1969, at the age of forty-seven, but her legacy endures. She has been recognized for lifetime achievement from the Recording Academy, and she was the youngest recipient and the first woman to receive the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, also for lifetime achievement. She received honorary Academy and Tony awards, a Golden Globe, two Grammy awards, two Academy and three Emmy award nominations, and two stars (one for acting, one for recording) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Six of her records have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and the American Film Institute‘s 100 Years . . . 100 Songs listed “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz as the number-one movie song of all time, along with “The Man That Got Away” from A Star is Born (no. 11), “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from Meet Me in St. Louis (nos. 26 and 76), and “Get Happy” from Summer Stock (no. 61).

This article also appears here.

Marian Anderson in 1940 (Carl Van Vechten photo, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University)

In February 2022, we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the birth of the great American contralto Marian Anderson. She was born in Philadelphia on February 27, 1897, and died in Portland, Oregon, on April 8, 1993, at the age of 96. 

Orchestra Hall, November 18, 1929

On November 18, 1929, Marian Anderson (under the management of Arthur Judson) made her debut in Orchestra Hall under the auspices of the Theta Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. That evening, Anderson “reached near perfection in every requirement of vocal art,” wrote Herman Devries in the Chicago Evening American. “The tone was of superb timbre, the phrasing of utmost refinement, the style pure, discreet, musicianly . . . a talent still unripe, but certainly a talent of potential growth.” In attendance were Ray Field and George Arthur, representatives from the Rosenwald Fund, who encouraged her to apply for a fellowship to further her studies in Europe. The following year, she received $1,500 to study in Berlin.

In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused Anderson the opportunity to give a concert for an integrated audience in Washington, D.C.’s Constitution Hall. With the support of President Franklin D. and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, she instead performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, to a crowd of 75,000 people and over a million radio listeners. Anderson closed the recital with the spiritual “My soul is anchored in the Lord” in an arrangement by Florence Price

Anderson and Defauw onstage with the CSO at the Stevens Hotel on June 5, 1944 (James Gushiniere, Chicago Tribune)

A few weeks later, on May 20, 1939, Anderson was scheduled to make her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the North Shore Music Festival, in Evanston’s Dyche Stadium (now Ryan Field). The afternoon program was to include arias from Donizetti’s La favorita and Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue, along with spirituals, all under the baton of Frederick Stock. A case of laryngitis, however, prevented her from performing, and soprano Kirsten Flagstad, scheduled for the evening concert, was asked to fill in for the matinee. According to the Chicago Daily News, there was no time for Flagstad to rehearse the extra program with the Orchestra due to “a purely feminine” hesitation: she needed a different dress for the matinee. Festival organizers quickly took her to Marshall Field’s to shop for a second dress, and the concert, featuring several excerpts from Wagner’s operas, was “amply redeemed by the artistry of Mme. Flagstad,” according to Janet Gunn in the Chicago Herald and Examiner.

Her debut performance with the CSO was at a concert opening the 48th Convention of the American Federation of Musicians on June 5, 1944, at the Stevens Hotel (now the Hilton Chicago). Under third music director Désiré Defauw, she sang “O mio Fernando” from Donizetti’s La favorita, “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix” from Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah, and spirituals.

Anderson broke barriers on January 7, 1955, when she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera—in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera as Ulrica—becoming the first African American to sing with the company. The following year, she opened the Ravinia Festival’s 21st season, along with the CSO under Eugene Ormandy in two programs, performing the following:

Ravinia Festival, June 1956

June 26, 1956
BRAHMS Dein blaues Auge, Op. 59, No. 8
BRAHMS Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer, Op. 105, No. 2
BRAHMS Der Schmied, Op. 19, No. 4
BRAHMS Von ewiger Liebe, Op. 43, No. 1
BRAHMS Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53 (with the Swedish Glee Club; Harry T. Carlson, director)

June 28, 1956
BIZET Agnus Dei
BIZET Ouvre ton coeur
SAINT-SAËNS Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix from Samson and Delilah
TCHAIKOVSKY None but the Lonely Heart, Op. 6, No. 6
TRADITIONAL IRISH Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms
KREISLER The Old Refrain

According to Seymour Raven in the Chicago Tribune, a crowd of more than 4,000 attended the all-Brahms concert that “turned out to be perfect.” Anderson sang “introspectively and with tender regard [and] exceptional craftsmanship and feeling.”

On August 28, 1963, Anderson performed “He’s got the whole world in his hands” at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, at which Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Chicago Tribune, December 7, 1964

During the 1964-65 season, Anderson gave a farewell recital tour under the auspices of her longtime presenter, Sol Hurok. Her stop in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall on Dec. 6, 1964, was sold out (an additional 225 seats were onstage) and “well-wishers had also provided a red carpet, bouquets of red roses and white carnations by the armload,” according to the Chicago Tribune. “This is probably no time for sentiment,” Anderson commented. “But do let me say I find all of this today very touching.” Her encores included “There’s no hiding place down there” and Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”

On June 27, 1968, at Ravinia, Anderson made her final appearance with the CSO, as narrator in Copland’s Preamble for a Solemn Occasion. Festival music director Seiji Ozawa conducted. Reading the “stirring segment from the United Nations charter,” wrote Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune, Anderson was “radiant in a cherry red velvet cape [contributing] both the presence and conviction, which made her vocal performances such moving experiences.”

Anderson gave a total of 22 recitals in Orchestra Hall, as follows:

Anderson with her frequent recital collaborator, pianist Franz Rupp (Carl Mett, Marian Anderson Collection, University of Pennsylvania)

November 18, 1929
January 26, 1931
October 28, 1945
November 3, 1946
November 23, 1947
October 24, 1948
January 21, 1950
January 29, 1950
January 21, 1951
April 8, 1951
May 3, 1952
January 31, 1953
March 29, 1953
January 30, 1954
December 5, 1954
January 8, 1956
February 23, 1957
April 5, 1959
February 28, 1960
February 19, 1961
May 11, 1963
December 6, 1964

In September 2021, Sony Classical released Marian Anderson: Beyond the Music, a special fifteen-CD set of recordings representing her complete catalog on RCA Victor, from her debut in 1924 through her final LP in 1966. The set received a 2022 Grammy Award nomination for Best Historical Album.

Special thanks to Eva Wilhelm—a music business student at Indiana State University and an intern in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s Rosenthal Archives—for her exceptional research in preparing this article.

This article also appears here.


Marian Anderson, ca. 1968

Wishing a very happy eightieth birthday to the remarkable Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini!

Maurizio Pollini (© Mathias Bothor for Deutsche Grammophon)

A frequent and favorite guest artist in Chicago for more than fifty years, Pollini has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and in recital on numerous occasions, in Orchestra Hall, at the Ravinia Festival, and in Milwaukee.

Following Pollini’s debut in Orchestra Hall in January 1971, Thomas Willis commented in the Chicago Tribune that he had “been literally pulled forward in my seat by [the] pianist’s bravura . . . last night when Maurizio Pollini charged the climactic repeated octaves in Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto. The speed and power of that single passage—no more than, say, fifteen seconds long—broke the piano’s sound barrier for me. Until I heard this virtuoso do it, I would never have believed that alternating octaves could be played so fast and so loud on any concert piano. . . . This one could be the star shaker.”

A complete list of Pollini’s appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to date is below.

July 5, 1969, Ravinia Festival
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21
Seiji Ozawa, conductor

June 27, 1970, Ravinia Festival
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
Seiji Ozawa, conductor

January 21, 22, and 23, 1971, Orchestra Hall
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 2
Claudio Abbado, conductor

February 21, 22, and 23, 1974, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
Claudio Abbado, conductor

February 10 and 11, 1977, Orchestra Hall
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 1
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall in February 1977 for Deutsche Grammophon
1979 Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance–Instrumental Soloist
1979
Gramophone Award for Concerto

February 17, 18, and 20, 1977, Orchestra Hall
February 21, 1977, Uihlein Hall, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 2
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall in February 1977 for Deutsche Grammophon
1979 Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance–Instrumental Soloist
1979
Gramophone Award for Concerto

April 5, 6, and 7, 1979, Orchestra Hall
April 9, 1979, Uihlein Hall, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Christoph von Dohnányi, conductor

March 19, 20, and 21, 1981, Orchestra Hall
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

March 3, 4, and 5, 1983, Orchestra Hall
SCHOENBERG Piano Concerto, Op. 42
Claudio Abbado, conductor

March 31, April 1, 2, and 5, 1988, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Claudio Abbado, conductor

October 23 and 24, 1997, Orchestra Hall
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 21, 2000, Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 25, 26, and 27, 2013, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467
Riccardo Muti, conductor

For his February 1982 recital debut in Orchestra Hall, Pollini gave a program of works by Schubert and Chopin. “Nor could you hope to hear every note, every chord, every structural detail of [Chopin’s] B minor sonata rendered with more breathtaking accuracy or digital strength,” commented John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune. Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy was “a meeting of mind and music that illuminated the inner workings [and placed] everything in his technical and musical arsenal at the music’s disposal. . . . His view understood, as Schubert did, the eloquence that can reside in lyrical simplicity.”

Dates for Pollini’s numerous recitals in Orchestra Hall—given under the auspices of Allied Arts and Symphony Center Presents—are below.

Maurizio Pollini (Erich Auerbach)

February 28, 1982
March 11, 1984
April 1, 1987
March 27, 1988
March 18, 1990
March 15, 1992
March 21, 1993
October 12, 1997
October 25, 1998
October 7, 2000
May 5, 2002
October 31, 2004
May 14, 2006
May 6, 2007
October 12, 2008
April 11, 2010
October 26, 2014
October 4, 2015
May 28, 2017
April 22, 2018

Happy, happy birthday!

Wishing a very happy eighty-fifth birthday to the remarkable Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa!

As a last-minute replacement for Georges Prêtre in July 1963, Ozawa was called upon to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in two concerts at the Ravinia Festival. The twenty-seven-year-old conductor made his debut on July 16 in Beethoven’s Leonore Overture no. 3, Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Byron Janis, and Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony. Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune reported that Ozawa was “instantly in command when in possession of a baton and a musical idea. His conducting technique reminds you of his teacher, Herbert von Karajan, in that it lays the score in the lap of the Orchestra with transparency of gesture and human communication, then commands acceptance.”

Only a month later it was announced that Ozawa would become the Ravinia Festival’s first music director and resident conductor beginning with the 1964 season, replacing Walter Hendl, who had served as artistic director since 1959. For his first concert as music director on June 16, 1964, Ozawa led the Orchestra in Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Barber’s Piano Concerto with John Browning, and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

Reverse jacket of Angel Records recording of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, made at Medinah Temple on June 30 and July 1, 1969

Reverse jacket of Angel Records recording of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, made at Medinah Temple on June 30 and July 1, 1969

He served as music director of the Ravinia Festival through the 1968 season and as principal conductor for the 1969 season, returning regularly as a guest conductor. Ozawa most recently appeared there on July 14, 1985, leading Mozart’s Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D major and Takemitsu’s riverrun with Peter Serkin, along with Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony.

Between 1965 and 1970—at both Orchestra Hall and in Medinah Temple— Ozawa and the Orchestra recorded a number of works for Angel and RCA, including Bartók’s First and Third piano concertos and Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto with Peter Serkin, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade with concertmaster Victor Aitay, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

A complete list of his performances and recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is below:

July 16, 1963, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72a
GRIEG Concerto for Piano in A Minor, Op. 16
Byron Janis, piano
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (From the New World)

June 16, 1964

July 18, 1963, Ravinia Festival
ROSSINI Overture to The Barber of Seville
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Christian Ferras, violin
DEBUSSY Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
TAKEMITSU Requiem for String Orchestra (U.S. premiere)
PROKOFIEV Selections from Romeo and Juliet

June 16, 1964, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
BARBER Piano Concerto, Op. 38
John Browning, piano
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

June 18, 1964, Ravinia Festival
POULENC Gloria
Barbara Garrison, soprano
Harvard Glee Club
Radcliffe Choral Society
Elliot Forbes, director
FAURÉ Requiem in D Minor, Op. 48
Barbara Garrison, soprano
Howard Nelson, baritone
Harvard Glee Club
Radcliffe Choral Society
Elliot Forbes, director

June 30, 1964, Ravinia Festival
HINDEMITH Symphony, Mathis der Maler
SIBELIUS Piano Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Ruggiero Ricci, violin
MUSSORGSKY/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition

Ozawa and Igor Stravinsky in Orchestra Hall on July 20, 1964, while the composer was in town to lead recording sessions of his Orpheus with the CSO (Arthur Siegel photo)

July 7, 1964, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio, K. 384
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Neal O’Doan, piano
GLUCK Divinités du Styx from Alceste
Dolores Ann White, mezzo-soprano
THOMAS Elle est la pres de lui from Mignon
Dolores Ann White, mezzo-soprano
ROSSINI Non più mesta from La cenerentola
Dolores Ann White, mezzo-soprano
LISZT Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major
Michael Rogers, piano

July 21, 1964, Ravinia Festival
BIZET Symphony No. 1 in C Major
RAVEL Alborada del gracioso
MOZART Concerto for Oboe in C Major, K. 314
Ray Still, oboe
TCHAIKOVSKY Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32

July 25, 1964, Ravinia Festival
SCHUMAN American Festival Overture
IVES Central Park in the Dark
STRAVINSKY Violin Concerto in D
Paul Makanowitzky, violin
FRANCK Symphony in D Minor

July 28, 1964, Ravinia Festival
WEBER Overture to Euryanthe, Op. 81
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Paul Makanowitzky, violin
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

Leon Fleisher and Ozawa backstage on August 1, 1964 (Arthur Siegel photo)

August 1, 1964, Ravinia Festival,
BERNSTEIN Overture to Candide
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
Leon Fleisher, piano
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64

June 15, 1965, Ravinia Festival
BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9
MOZART Serenade No. 10 for Winds in B-flat Major, K. 361
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

June 17, 1965, Ravinia Festival
WEBER Jubel Overture, Op. 59
RESPIGHI Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 1
DONIZETTI Una furtiva lagrima from L’elisir d’amore
Richard Tucker, tenor
VERDI Forse la soglia attinse from Un ballo in maschera
Richard Tucker, tenor
BIZET L’arlesienne Suite No. 2
BIZET La fleur que tu m’avais jetèe from Carmen
Richard Tucker, tenor
MASCAGNI Mamma, quel vino from Cavalleria rusticana
Richard Tucker, tenor

June 19, 1965, Ravinia Festival
HARRIS When Johnny Comes Marching Home
MACDOWELL Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 23
André Watts, piano
NIELSEN Symphony No. 5, Op. 50

June 20, 1965, Ravinia Festival
COPLAND Fanfare for the Common Man
BLACHER Concertante Musik, Op. 10
DEBUSSY First Rhapsody
Clark Brody, clarinet
KABELEVSKY The Comedians, Op. 26
HINDEMITH Concerto for Winds, Harp, and Orchestra
RAMSIER Divertimento on a Theme of Couperin
Gary Karr, bass

June 22, 1965, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Symphony No. 32 in G Major, K. 318
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63
Berl Senofsky, violin
BERLIOZ Funereal and Triumphal Symphony, Op. 15
BERLIOZ Selections from The Damnation of Faust, Op. 24

June 27, 1965, Ravinia Festival
ROUSSEL Symphony No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 42
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 3
Peter Serkin, piano
STRAVINSKY Four Etudes
ELLIOT Bassoon Concerto (world premiere)
Willard Elliot, bassoon
Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto was recorded on June 28, 1965, in Orchestra Hall. For RCA, Max Wilcox was the producer, and Bernard Keville and Ernest Oelrich were the recording engineers.

June 29, 1965, Ravinia Festival
HANDEL Concerto grosso in B Minor, Op. 6, No. 12
BEETHOVEN Concerto for Piano No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37
Eugene Istomin, piano
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Isaac Stern, violin

July 1, 1965, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Divertimento in D Major, K. 136
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Isaac Stern, violin
DVOŘÁK Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104
Leonard Rose, cello

July 3, 1965, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491
Eugene Istomin, piano
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Isaac Stern, violin
Leonard Rose, cello
BEETHOVEN Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C Major, Op. 56 (Triple)
Isaac Stern, violin
Leonard Rose, cello
Eugene Istomin, piano

July 4, 1965, Ravinia Festival
HOVHANESS Fantasy on Japanese Wood Prints, Op. 211 (world premiere)
Yoichi Hiraoka, xylophone
IVES The Fourth of July
GERSHWIN An American in Paris
GOTTLIEB Pieces of Seven Overture
BERNSTEIN Suite from Fancy Free

July 11, 1965, Ravinia Festival
GINASTERA Estancia Suite, Op. 8a
DEBUSSY/Caplet Children’s Corner
RIVIER Concerto brève
Kyoko Ozawa, piano
RIEGGER Dance Rhythms, Op. 58
RIEGGER Study in Sonority, Op. 7

July 15, 1965, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat Major, K. 364
Victor Aitay, violin
Milton Preves, viola
STRAUSS Four Songs (Morgen, Waldseligkeit, Muttertändelei, and Zueignung)
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano
HINDEMITH Konzertmusik for String Orchestra and Brass, Op. 50
TCHAIKOVSKY Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano

July 18, 1965, Ravinia Festival
IBERT Divertissement
ORFF Carmina burana
Julia Diane Ragains, soprano
Pierre Duval, tenor
Sherrill Milnes, baritone
Alfred H. Reichel, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Chicago Children’s Choir
Christopher Moore, director

July 20, 1965, Ravinia Festival
RACHMANINOV Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
Gabriel Chodos, piano
DVOŘÁK First movement (Allegro) from Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104
Daniel Domb, cello
RAVEL Piano Concerto in G Major
John C. Owings, piano
LISZT Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major
Adrian Ruiz, piano

For the U.S. premiere of Jean Martinon’s Cello Concerto on July 31, 1965, former principal cello János Starker returned as soloist at the Ravinia Festival. Shown here during a rehearsal are the composer, soloist, and conductor.

July 31, 1965, Ravinia Festival
COPLAND An Outdoor Overture
MARTINON Cello Concerto, Op. 52 (U.S. premiere)
János Starker, cello
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4, F Minor, Op. 36

March 26, 1966, Orchestra Hall
March 28, 1966, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (Unfinished)
WEBER Konzertstück for Piano in F Minor, Op. 79
Yuri Boukoff, piano
LISZT Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major
Yuri Boukoff, piano
STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28

March 31, April 1, and 2, 1966, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Symphony No. 36 in C Major, K. 425 (Linz) 
IVES Symphony No. 4
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53
Isaac Stern, violin

June 28, 1966, Ravinia Festival
BUSONI Lustspiel Overture, Op. 38
TAKEMITSU Requiem for String Orchestra
MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D Major

June 30, 1966, Ravinia Festival
MUSSORGSKY/Rimsky-Korsakov A Night on Bare Mountain
MUSSORGSKY Selections from Boris Godunov
George London, bass-baritone
BORODIN Symphony No. 2 in B Minor

July 7, 1966, Ravinia Festival
HAYDN Symphony No. 86 in D Major
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467
Peter Serkin, piano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67

July 10, 1966, Ravinia Festival
TOCH Pinocchio, A Merry Overture
IBERT Symphonic Suite, Impressions of Paris
IVES/Schuman Variations on America
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 1
Peter Serkin, piano
Bartók’s First Piano Concerto was recorded on July 11, 1966, in Orchestra Hall. For RCA, Max Wilcox was the producer, and Bernard Keville and Ernest Oelrich were the recording engineers.

July 24, 1966, Ravinia Festival
FREEDMAN Images
BERG Violin Concerto
Paul Makanowitzky, violin
MOREL L’etoile noire
THOMSON Louisiana Story, Suite for Orchestra

July 26, 1966, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Capriccio italien, Op. 45
RACHMANINOV Concerto for Piano No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 1
Byron Janis, piano
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18
Byron Janis, piano

July 28, 1966, Ravinia Festival
HANDEL/Harty Suite from Music for the Royal Fireworks
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
Byron Janis, piano
RACHMANINOV Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
Byron Janis, piano

July 31, 1966, Ravinia Festival
LUTOSŁAWSKI Funeral Music
SHULMAN Theme and Variations for Viola and Orchestra
Milton Preves, viola
BERIO Serenata I for Flute and Fourteen Instruments
Donald Peck, flute
XENAKIS Eonta
Yuji Takahashi, piano
VARÈSE Hyperprism

August 11, 1966, Ravinia Festival
HOMMANN Overture for Orchestra
BERNSTEIN Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah)
Mary Simmons, mezzo-soprano
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23
Van Cliburn, piano

August 13, 1966, Ravinia Festival
BACH/Schoenberg Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 552 (Saint Anne)
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-fat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Van Cliburn, piano
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

June 27, 1967, Ravinia Festival
GLUCK Overture to Iphigénie en Aulide
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
Byron Janis, piano
MOZART Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 (Jupiter)
GINASTERA Estancia Suite, Op. 8a

June 29, 1967, Ravinia Festival
GERSHWIN An American in Paris
GERSHWIN/Bennett Porgy and Bess, A Symphonic Picture
GERSHWIN Cuban Overture
GERSHWIN Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra
Byron Janis, piano

July 1, 1967, Ravinia Festival
VERDI Overture to I vespri siciliani
MENOTTI The Death of the Bishop of Brindisi
Julie Idione, soprano
Simon Estes, bass
All-City Chicago High School Chorus
Emile Serposs, director
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
Lili Kraus, piano
RESPIGHI Pines of Rome

July 9, 1967, Ravinia Festival
BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major, BWV 1051
BLOCH Concerto grosso No. 1
Mary Sauer, piano
SYMONDS Concerto grosso for Jazz Quintet and Orchestra
Kenny Soderblom Jazz Quintet
Kenny Soderblom, alto saxophone
John Avant, trombone
Bobby Roberts, guitar
Harold Jones, drums
Ernest Outlaw, bass
YASHIRO Cello Concerto
Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, cello

July 13, 1967, Ravinia Festival
BRITTEN The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell)
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19
Peter Serkin, piano
MUSSORGSKY/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition
Britten’s Young Person’s Guide and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition were recorded in Medinah Temple on July 18, 1967. For RCA, Peter Dellheim was the producer, and Bernard Keville and Ernest Oelrich were the recording engineers.

July 16, 1967, Ravinia Festival
MERCURE Triptyque for Orchestra
JOACHIM Contrasts for Orchestra (world premiere)
SCHULLER Recitative and Rondo (world premiere)
Victor Aitay, violin
MOZART Horn Concerto in E-flat Major, K. 495
Dale Clevenger, horn
SCHOENBERG Piano Concerto, Op. 42
Peter Serkin, piano
Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto was recorded in Medinah Temple on July 17, 1967. For RCA Max Wilcox was the producer and Richard Gardner was the recording engineer.

July 30, 1967, Ravinia Festival
RUSSO Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 32 (Titans)
VIEUXTEMPS Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 31
Young Uck Kim, violin
FOSS Baroque Variations in Three Movements (world premiere)
SCHUMAN Symphony No. 3

August 8, 1967, Ravinia Festival
VERDI Overture to La forza del destino
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor
Gabriel Chodos, piano
SAINT-SAЁNS Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor
Patricia Hanson, piano

August 10, 1967, Ravinia Festival
BERNSTEIN Overture to Candide
BERNSTEIN Serenade after Plato’s Symposium
James Oliver Buswell IV, violin
BERNSTEIN Symphony No. 2 (The Age of Anxiety)
Leonard Pennario, piano

Ozawa and the CSO recording Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in Orchestra Hal on July 1, 1968 (Terry’s photo)

August 12, 1967, Ravinia Festival
BERNSTEIN Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
BERNSTEIN Symphony No. 3 (Kaddish)
Betty Allen, mezzo-soprano
Vera Zorina, speaker
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Ronald B. Schweitzer, assistant director
Chicago Children’s Choir
Christopher Moore, director

August 15, 1967, Civic Center Plaza (now Richard J. Daley Center)
Dedication of The Chicago Picasso
GERSHWIN An American in Paris
BERNSTEIN Overture to Candide
BERNSTEIN Selections from Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

April 29, 1968, Orchestra Hall
BERNSTEIN Overture to Candide
BRAHMS Excerpt from Fourth movement (Adagio) from Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
MASCAGNI Voi lo sapete from Cavalleria rusticana
Grace Bumbry, soprano
PONCHIELLI Suicidio! from La gioconda
Grace Bumbry, soprano

June 27, 1968, Ravinia Festival
WAGNER Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture
COPLAND Preamble for a Solemn Occasion
Marian Anderson, speaker
STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird

June 29, 1968, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3 C Minor, Op. 37
Byron Janis, piano
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was recorded in Orchestra Hall on July 1, 1968. For RCA, Peter Dellheim was the producer, and Bernard Keville and Ernest Oelrich were the recording engineers.

June 30, 1968, Ravinia Festival
WEBER Overture to Oberon
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 26
Susan Starr, piano
TCHAIKOVSKY Suite from Swan Lake
BOCK Selections from Fiddler on the Roof
GARLAND In the Mood

July 2, 1968, Ravinia Festival
CHABRIER España
TURINA Rapsodia sinfonica
Joaquín Achúcarro, piano
FALLA Nights In The Gardens of Spain
Joaquín Achúcarro, piano
FALLA Three Dances from The Three-Cornered Hat
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34

July 6, 1968, Ravinia Festival
KRENEK Perspectives (world premiere)
RAVEL Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Leon Fleisher, piano
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony was recorded in Orchestra Hall on July 8, 1968. For RCA, Peter Dellheim was the producer and Bernard Keville was the recording engineer.

July 7, 1968, Ravinia Festival
J. C. BACH Symphony No. 4 in D Major
SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 33
Lawrence Foster, cello
STRAVINSKY Fireworks
RUSSO Three Pieces for Blues Band and Orchestra (world premiere)
Stravinsky’s Fireworks was recorded in Orchestra Hall on July 8, 1968. For RCA, Peter Dellheim was the producer, and Bernard Keville and Ernest Oelrich were the recording engineers.

August 3, 1968, Ravinia Festival
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 in B Minor (Unfinished)
PUCCINI Sì, mi chiamano Mimì from La bohème
Anna Moffo, soprano
VERDI Scene from La traviata
Anna Moffo, soprano
DONIZETTI Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor
Anna Moffo, soprano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Schubert’s Eighth Symphony were recorded in Orchestra Hall on August 9, 1968. For RCA, Peter Dellheim was the producer and Bernard Keville was the recording engineer.

August 4, 1968, Ravinia Festival
STOUT Symphony No. 2 (world premiere)
SHOSTAKOVICH Cello Concerto in E-flat Major, Op. 107
Frank Miller, cello
GINASTERA Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 28
Jerome Lowenthal, piano

August 6, 1968, Ravinia Festival
TOYAMA Rhapsody for Orchestra
TAKEMITSU November Steps
Kinshi Tsuruta, kinshi, biwa and voice
Katsuya Yokoyama, shakuhachi
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Young Uck Kim, violin

Seiji and Vera Ozawa at a Ravinia Festival picnic on August 4, 1968 (Nickerson Photo Company photo)

August 8, 1968, Ravinia Festival
MUSSORGSKY/Rimsky-Korsakov A Night on Bare Mountain
BRITTEN Scottish Ballad, Op. 26
Arthur Austin Whittemore, piano
Jack Lowe, piano
POULENC Concerto for Two Pianos in D Minor
Arthur Austin Whittemore, piano
Jack Lowe, piano
MENDELSSOHN Incidental Music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 61
Mary Michel, speaker
Teresa Orantes, soprano
Diana Haskell, mezzo-soprano
Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bare Mountain was recorded in Orchestra Hall on August 9, 1968. For RCA, Peter Dellheim was the producer and Bernard Keville was the recording engineer.

August 10, 1968 (11:00 a.m.), Ravinia Festival
BERNSTEIN Prologue from West Side Story
DEBUSSY Clair de lune from Suite bergamasque
TOYAMA Rhapsody for Orchestra
MUSSORGSKY/Rimsky-Korsakov A Night on Bare Mountain
VERDI Overture to I vespri siciliani

August 10, 1968 (8:30 p.m.), Ravinia Festival
RESPIGHI The Birds
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
John Browning, piano
STRAVINSKY Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra
John Browning, piano
HINDEMITH Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber

June 26, 1969, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto in D Major (arranged from the Violin Concerto, Op. 61)
Peter Serkin, piano
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Kodály’s Dances of Galánta (not performed in concert) were recorded in Medinah Temple on June 30 and July 1, 1969. For Angel, Peter Andry was the executive producer, Richard C. Jones was the producer, and Carson Taylor was the recording engineer.

June 28, 1969, Ravinia Festival
BERLIOZ The Damnation of Faust, Op. 24
Lois Marshall, soprano
Nicholas di Virgilio, tenor
Ezio Flagello, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

June 29, 1969, Ravinia Festival
STRAUSS Horn Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 11
Dale Clevenger, horn
TAKEMITSU Asterism for Piano and Orchestra
Yuji Takahashi, piano
RIMSKY-KORSAKOFF Sheherazade, Op. 35
Victor Aitay, violin
Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade and the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin’s Prince Igor (not performed in concert) were recorded in Medinah Temple on June 30 and July 1, 1969. For Angel, Peter Andry was the executive producer, Richard C. Jones was the producer, and Carson Taylor was the recording engineer.

July 3, 1969, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Overture to Così fan tutte, K. 588
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat Major, K. 456
Peter Serkin, piano
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major (Romantic)

July 5, 1969, Ravinia Festival
HAYDN Symphony No. 75 in D Major
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21
Maurizio Pollini, piano
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 13 (Winter Dreams)

July 6, 1969, Ravinia Festival
BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047
Victor Aitay, violin
Donald Peck, flute
De Vere Moore, oboe
Adolph Herseth, trumpet
Mary Sauer, harpsichord
TIRCUIT Concerto for Solo Percussionist and Orchestra
Stomu Yamash’ta, percussion
SHOSTAKOVICH Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra in C Minor, Op. 35
Sheldon Shkolnik, piano
Adolph Herseth, trumpet
BERNSTEIN Chichester Psalms
Howard Pfeifer, boy soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

June 25, 1970, Ravinia Festival
WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
Eileen Farrell, soprano
JANÁČEK Sinfonietta
WAGNER A Faust Overture
WAGNER Brünnhilde’s Immolation from Götterdämmerung
Eileen Farrell, soprano
Janáček’s Sinfonietta was recorded in Medinah Temple on June 26, 1970. For Angel, Peter Andry was the executive producer and Carson Taylor was the recording engineer.

June 27, 1970, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Symphony No. 32 in G Major, K. 318
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
Maurizio Pollini, piano
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

June 28, 1970, Ravinia Festival
GABRIELI Sonata pian’ e forte
LUTOSŁAWSKI Concerto for Orchestra
SCHICKELE The Fantastic Garden
WALDEN Circus
DENNIS Pennsylvania Station
Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra was recorded in Medinah Temple on June 29, 1970. For Angel, Peter Andry was the executive producer and Carson Taylor was the recording engineer.

Donald Peck and Edward Druzinsky rehearse with Ozawa and the Orchestra on July 8, 1971 (Donald Peck collection)

July 8, 1971, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major, K. 299
Donald Peck, flute
Edward Druzinsky, harp
HUMMEL Concerto for Trumpet in E-flat Major
Adolph Herseth, trumpet
GABRIELI Canzon duodecimi toni
TAKEMITSU Cassiopeia for Solo Percussionist and Orchestra (world premiere)
Stomu Yamash’ta, percussion

July 10, 1971, Ravinia Festival
PROKOFIEV Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet
WIENIAWSKI Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 22
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
BARTÓK The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19

February 1, 2, and 3, 1973, Orchestra Hall
February 5, 1973, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
HAYDN Symphony No. 60 in C Major (Il distratto)
LIGETI Melodien
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64

February 8, 9, and 10, 1973, Orchestra Hall
BOONE First Landscape
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
Gina Bachauer, piano
STRAVINSKY The Firebird

July 14, 1985, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Rondo in D Major, K. 382
Peter Serkin, piano
TAKEMITSU Riverrun
Peter Serkin, piano
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 (Pathétique)

On tour with visiting orchestras, Ozawa also appeared in Orchestra Hall under the auspices of Allied Arts and Symphony Center Presents, as follows:

April 8 1975, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467
James Levine, piano
RAVEL Daphnis and Chloe
Ann Arbor Festival Chorus
Donald Bryant, director
Boston Symphony Orchestra

March 6, 1981, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
Boston Symphony Orchestra

April 24, 1991, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Symphony No 8 in F Major, Op. 93
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
Boston Symphony Orchestra

February 9, 1996, Orchestra Hall
MAHLER Symphony No. 2 in C Minor (Resurrection)
Heidi Grant Murphy, soprano
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Boston Symphony Orchestra

January 10, 2001, Orchestra Hall
MAHLER Symphony No. 9 in D Major
Saito Kinen Orchestra

On April 21, 2020, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra family celebrates the centennial of Italian composer and conductor Bruno Maderna (1920–1973).

According to Phillip Huscher, “For many years he had been a close friend of Pierre Boulez (and a true friend of all those involved in new music activities) and a treasured colleague; like Boulez, he had made his mark both as a composer and as a conductor. ‘In fact, to get any real idea of what he was like as a person,’ Boulez wrote at the time of his death, ‘the conductor and the composer must be taken together; for Maderna was a practical person, equally close to music whether he was performing or composing.'”

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra first performed music by Maderna at the Ravinia Festival on July 23, 1967, when Luciano Berio led a performance of the Serenata no. 2. In the Chicago Tribune, Thomas Willis wrote, that Maderna’s work “fashioned a post-Webern web of deceptively individual notes into an evocative introduction [to the concert].”

As a conductor, Maderna himself led the Orchestra on several occasions, as follows:

January 15 and 17, 1970, Orchestra Hall
SCHUBERT/Maderna Five Pieces for Piano, Four Hands
MADERNA Quadrivium (U.S. premiere)
BERIO Epifanie
Cathy Berberian, soprano
STRAVINSKY Circus Polka
STRAVINSKY Scherzo à la russe

January 16, 1970, Orchestra Hall
MADERNA Quadrivium
BERIO Epifanie
Cathy Berberian, soprano
SCHUBERT/Maderna Five Pieces for Piano, Four Hands

Pierre Boulez, Bruno Maderna, and Karlheinz Stockhausen

January 22 and 23, 1970, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Symphony No. 31, D Major, K. 297 (Paris)
BROWN From Here*
Members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
GABRIELI/Maderna Motet:: In Ecclesiis
VLIJMEN Serenata II for Flute and Orchestra
Donald Peck, flute
SCHOENBERG Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31
*In Earle Brown’s From Here, Maderna conducted the Orchestra and the composer conducted the Chorus.

June 29, 1971, Ravinia Festival
GABRIELI/Maderna Motet: In Ecclesiis
STRAVINSKY Jeu de cartes
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23
Van Cliburn, piano

March 16, 17, and 18, 1972
MOZART Serenade in D Major, K. 239 (Serenata notturna)
SCHOENBERG Concerto for Violin, Op. 36
Esther Glazer, violin
DRUCKMAN Windows (world premiere)
DEBUSSY Jeux

March 23, 24, and 25, 1972
SCHOENBERG Transfigured Night, Op. 4
LEVY Trialogus (world premiere)
STRAVINSKY Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
Earl Wild, piano
MADERNA Aura (world premiere)

On March 3, 4, 5, and 8, 2005, David Robertson led the Orchestra in performances of Boulez’s Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna. Written shortly after Maderna’s death in 1974 and 1975, Boulez described the work as “A ceremony of memory, in which there are numerous repetitions of the same formulas, in constantly changing profiles and perspectives.” Phillip Huscher’s program note from those performances can be found here.

Christoph Eschenbach (Eric Brissaud photo)

Wishing a very happy eightieth birthday to German pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach!

Eschenbach’s association with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra began over fifty years ago, when he was piano soloist in the U.S. premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s Second Piano Concerto under the baton of the composer on January 30, 31, and February 1, 1969, in Orchestra Hall. “For all its integrated construction, the concerto depends greatly upon the soloist. So much, in fact, that it is difficult to imagine the work succeeding if Christoph Eschenbach were not at the keyboard,” wrote Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune. “The harder the passages, the more he seems to relish their challenge . . . he can drive a climax to its emotional peak and the next moment be spinning delicate filigree requiring the greatest control and concentration.”

At the Ravinia Festival, Eschenbach made his debut as piano soloist on July 25, 1973, in Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Riccardo Muti—in his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—on the podium. As a conductor, Eschenbach first led the Orchestra at Ravinia on August 3, 1978, in an all-Beethoven program: the Second Piano Concerto (conducting from the keyboard) and the Third Symphony.

In Orchestra Hall, he first led the Orchestra (as a last-minute replacement for Klaus Tennstedt) in Mahler’s Sixth Symphony on December 20, 21, and 22, 1990. “His credentials as a Mahlerian are impressive,” wrote John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune. “He has the force of imagination and perception to fuse the sprawling rhetoric of Mahler’s most tragic symphony into a statement at once structurally coherent and emotionally compelling. . . . In Eschenbach’s hands, the finale was a true culmination, breathing an air of desperate defiance from first to last. He balanced light and shade, serenity and strife, with a white-hot intensity and concentration not heard here since Georg Solti’s Mahler Sixth years ago.”

1969 publicity flyer for Christoph Eschenbach

To coincide with the Ravinia Festival’s sixtieth season, along with an $11.5 million renovation of the pavilion and grounds, executive director Zarin Mehta announced in September 1994 that Eschenbach would be the festival’s third music director beginning in the summer of 1995.

For his first concert in that capacity on June 29, 1995, Eschenbach led the Orchestra in Rouse’s Phaethon, Bruch’s First Violin Concerto with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Regarding Mahler’s symphony, von Rhein wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “It was a highly individual interpretation, to be sure, but Eschenbach has the command, the control, to make our band share his convictions and carry out his ideas all the way.” In the Chicago Sun-Times, Wynne Delacoma added, “The audience was on its feet seconds after the Mahler ended, cheering and applauding, sending up waves of still louder cheers as Eschenbach motioned to CSO principals and soloists, especially brass and woodwinds, to take their bows.”

Eschenbach served the Ravinia Festival through the 2003 summer season. He gave his final concerts as music director with the Orchestra on August 10, leading Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 12 (from the keyboard), Bernstein’s Symphony no. 2 (The Age of Anxiety) with pianist Christopher Taylor, and Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with Lang Lang.

Most recently, he led the Orchestra in Orchestra Hall on February 22, 23, 24, and 27, 2018, leading Weber’s Overture to Der Freischütz, Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto with David Fray, and Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Fourth Symphony.

To celebrate his eightieth birthday, Eschenbach returns to the Ravinia Festival in the summer of 2020, to lead the Orchestra in three concerts:

August 7, 2020
KHACHATURIAN Flute Concerto
Stathis Karapanos, flute
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

August 8, 2020
THEODORAKIS (arr. Wastor and Karapanos) Zorbas Suite
Stathis Karapanos, flute
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125
Erin Wall, soprano
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
Paul Appleby, tenor
Matthias Goerne, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director

August 9, 2020
KORNGOLD Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
William Hagen, violin
MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D Major

Happy, happy birthday!

Portions of this article previously appeared here.

Leonard Slatkin (Nico Rodamel photo)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family wishes American conductor Leonard Slatkin a very happy seventh-fifth birthday on September 1, 2019! A frequent and favorite guest conductor, he has appeared with the Orchestra on countless occasions—in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival—over the last forty-eight years.

At the invitation of CSO general manager John Edwards, Slatkin—in his second season as assistant conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony—made his debut in Orchestra Hall with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago on March 6, 1970, leading the following program:

SCHUBERT Overture to Rosamunde, D. 644
WAGNER Siegfried Idyll
SCHUMAN New England Triptych
FAURÉ Pelleas and Melisande, Op. 80
RESPIGHI Pines of Rome

March 6, 1970

Slatkin’s program book biography for March 6, 1970

The following year, Slatkin first led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducting two free, outdoor Symphony in the Streets concerts, one in the parking lot at Park Forest Shopping Plaza and the other at the Jubilee Celebration site in Westmont, as follows:

July 12, 1971, Park Forest, Illinois
July 21, 1971, Westmont, Illinois
BARBER Adagio for Strings
GRIEG Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46
GRIEG Ingrid’s Lament from Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55
ROSSINI Overture to William Tell
J. STRAUSS, Jr. On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314
J. STRAUSS, Jr. Overture to Die Fledermaus
J. STRAUSS, Jr. Perpetual Motion, Op. 257
SOUSA The Stars and Stripes Forever

Also during that residency, he led the Orchestra on a children’s concert at the Ravinia Festival on July 13, conducting the following program:

IVES/Schuman Variations on “America”
SATIE/Debussy Gymnopédie No. 3
SATIE/Debussy Gymnopédie No. 1
BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9
BACH/Cailliet Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578 (Little)
MUSSORGSKY/Ravel The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba-Yagá), The Great Gate of Kiev, Bydło (Oxcart), and Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks from Pictures at an Exhibition
TCHAIKOVSKY Scherzo. Pizzicato ostinato: Allegro (third movement) from Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36

And on April 4, 5, and 7, 1974, Slatkin made his debut with the Orchestra on subscription concerts, with this program:

April 4, 5, and 7, 1974

PURCELL Chacony in G Minor
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Symphony no. 6 in E Minor
PISTON Symphony No. 2
RAVEL La valse

“Leonard Slatkin, an enormously talented young American musician who will be the principal conductor of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra this summer, made his subscription concert debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Thursday night at Orchestra Hall,” wrote Robert C. Marsh in the Chicago Sun-Times. “He has at 29 all the skills and all the qualities of leadership necessary to win the respect of a great orchestra and have them play for him with enthusiasm and the fullest measure of their talent. . . . What was impressive in the manner in which Slatkin could prepare three new works [Purcell, Vaughan Williams, and Piston] and have the orchestra playing them with security and bravura as if they were repertory standards. This, plus the clarity and precision of his beat, promises good things to come . . .”

“As a result of Daniel Barenboim’s cancellation—to be with his ailing wife [Jacqueline du Pré]—Slatkin, who is associate conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony, has this week’s subscription concerts,” added Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune. “He has a direct, music-oriented competence which shows the thoroughness of his training and his concentration on things that matter. Conductors with more experience than he have foundered on the tempo changes in Ravel’s La valse, but he piloted the ensemble through each tempo change with an easy skill, catching the upbeats, shifting into overdrive, and pacing the rising line of apotheosis precisely.”

Slatkin leads the Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists in the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s Goodbye My Fancy on November 8, 1990 (Jim Steere photo)

A staunch advocate for new music, Slatkin led the Orchestra in the world premieres of Donald Erb’s Concerto for Brass and Orchestra on April 16, 1987; Jacob Druckman’s Brangle on March 28, 1989; and Ned Rorem’s Goodbye My Fancy with mezzo-soprano Wendy White, bass-baritone John Cheek, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus (prepared by Margaret Hillis) on November 8, 1990. He also led the Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Quatre chansons françaises with mezzo-soprano Claudine Carlson on May 19, 1983.

And most recently, he returned to the Ravinia Festival on August 7, 2019, leading the Orchestra in this program:

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
Denis Matsuev, piano
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Sheherazade
Robert Chen, violin

Happy, happy birthday, Maestro Slatkin!

Slatkin, Margaret Hillis, Ned Rorem, John Cheek, and Wendy White acknowledge applause on November 8, 1990 (Jim Steere photo)

Emanuel Ax in 1980 (Nick Sangiamo photo)

Wishing a very happy seventieth birthday to the remarkable American pianist Emanuel Ax! A longtime Chicago favorite—in recital, as a chamber musician, and as soloist with orchestra—he has appeared in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival on near-countless occasions.

Following first place triumphs at the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists and the Artur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, Ax made his local debut at Ravinia on July 23, 1975, substituting for an indisposed Alexis Weissenberg. Performing an all-Chopin program, “the young Polish-American master took the evening by storm,” according to Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune. “Still in his middle twenties . . . there is nothing of the poseur in him, no excess mannerism, no youthful sentimentality, no histrionic display. He walks onstage, settles solidly onto the bench, shakes a hand to limber up, and begins to play. At that moment, or within a few seconds, a transformation of near miraculous proportions takes place. . . . This is quite possibly the outstanding poet-performer of his generation.”

Ax made two debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the following year in 1976, on May 20 and 21 in Orchestra Hall, performing Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto under the baton of Henry Mazer, and on July 29 at the Ravinia Festival, as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 20 with Andrew Davis on the podium. According to Alan Artner in the Chicago Tribune, media reports following Ax’s competition wins had compared the young pianist to Vladimir Horowitz and Sviatoslav Richter. “But to have actually heard him in Liszt’s Second Concerto was to discover that Ax in n a class virtually by himself. . . . His performance was intelligent, wholly refreshing . . .”

Emanuel Ax in 2016 (Lisa Marie Mazzucco photo)

Since then, Ax has been one of the most frequent guest artists in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as with visiting orchestras, and as a chamber musician and recitalist with an astounding array of collaborators. He has worked with conductors David Afkham, Daniel Barenboim, James Conlon, James DePreist, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Lawrence Foster, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Mariss Jansons, Bernhard Klee, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Itzhak Perlman, David Robertson, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Georg Solti, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Christoph von Dohnányi. Ax also has collaborated with Yefim Bronfman, Robert Chen, Evelyn Glennie,
Benjamin Hochman, Aleksey Igudesman, Richard Hyung-ki Joo, Jaime Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, Orli Shaham, Raimi Solomonow, Isaac Stern, Anne Sofie von Otter, and Orion Weiss. With visiting orchestras, he also has performed in Orchestra Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Juilliard Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Ax returns to the Ravinia Festival this summer, as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on August 2, 2019, in Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto with Rafael Payare on the podium. He will be back in Orchestra Hall next season on March 2, 2020, for an all-Beethoven chamber music concert, collaborating with violinist Leonidas Kavakos and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Happy, happy birthday!

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins the classical music community in mourning Montserrat Caballé, the legendary Spanish soprano, who died on Saturday, October 6. She was 85.

Caballé appeared with the Chicago Symphony at Orchestra Hall on one occasion, on April 28 and 29, 1966, performing Strauss’s Four Last Songs and Weber’s scene and aria, “Ozean! Du Ungeheuer,” from Oberon under the baton of associate conductor Irwin Hoffman.

In the Chicago American, Roger Dettmer noted, “One of the largest Thursday audiences in recent Orchestra Hall history assembled for the first local appearance last evening of Montserrat Caballé, the Spanish soprano who has taken Milan, Vienna, Munich, Mexico City, Dallas, and Manhattan by storm. When she had finished singing music of Richard Strauss and Weber, accompanied by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Irwin Hoffman’s deferential direction, there was a roar of acclaim. . . . She is always a delicate and intelligent singer, in strict command of her resources. As important and admirable, she is a painstaking, persuasive musician, who has the measure of Strauss’s twilight songs—their intimacy, ecstasy, and inner peace—as well as the thrust for ‘Ozean!'”

“The consummate artistry of Montserrat Caballé gave Orchestra Hall one of the great moments in its history last night,” wrote Thomas Willis in the Chicago Tribune. “The Spanish soprano who has been attracitng maximum attention elsewhere does not have the big voice with a cutting edge associated with the luminaries of the German opera. . . . With the intuition which all of the great ones seem to have, she gave you a sample of the power and volume once or twice before setting in to spin the most gleaming of pianissimos heard since the glittering years of top flight [Elisabeth] Schwarzkopf . . . a pliant and carefully balanced phrase whose give and take adjusted to the words as well as the tonal requirements of the vocal line.”

Countless tributes have been posted online, including the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, BBC News, and Opera News, among several others.

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Theodore Thomas

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