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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.

Christopher Leuba in 2007, as an honorary member of the International Horn Society, La Chaux-de-fonds, Switzerland

We have just learned news of the death of Christopher Leuba, who served the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as principal horn from 1960 until 1962. He passed away peacefully at his home in Seattle on December 31, 2019, at the age of ninety.

Julian Christopher Leuba was born on September 28, 1929, in Pittsburgh and began playing the horn during his senior year at Allegheny High School. At the age of nineteen, he joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra while a student at Carnegie Mellon University. Leuba served in the U.S. Army at West Point and the English Midlands, studied at the Tanglewood Festival, and he also was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago during the 1950-51 season.

Beethoven’s First and Ninth symphonies, recorded in 1961 with Fritz Reiner conducting for RCA

In England he studied with Aubrey Brain (father of Dennis Brain) and in Chicago with Philip Farkas (principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1936 until 1941 and 1947 until 1960). Leuba was a member of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra under Antal Doráti for several years and served as principal horn, before Fritz Reiner invited him to succeed Farkas as principal horn in Chicago in 1960, a position he held for two seasons, until 1962. He can be heard on many CSO recordings for RCA under Reiner’s baton during that period, including Beethoven’s First, Sixth, and Ninth symphonies, as well as Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto and Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto with Van Cliburn.

Leuba later was a member of the Philharmonia Hungarica, performed and taught at the Aspen Music Festival, and for twenty-three years was principal horn of the Portland Opera. As a member of the music faculty at the University of Washington, he was a longtime member of the Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet.

A sought-after educator and clinician, Leuba was also the author of A Study of Musical Intonation, Rules of the Game, Phrasing Concepts, and Dexterity Drills. He was a regular presence at annual conferences of the International Horn Society, and he became an honorary member in 2007.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family extends our best wishes to Leuba’s family and friends. Services have been held.

 

MENDELSSOHN Wedding MarchThe commercial recording legacy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—under second music director Frederick Stock—began on May 1, 1916. For the Columbia Graphophone Company (at an undocumented location in Chicago), they recorded Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre; and Grieg’s Two Elegiac Melodies, Heart Wounds and The Last Spring.

Mendelssohn’s Wedding March and Grieg’s The Last Spring were each on the first 80-rpm disc issued in October 1916, and a Columbia Records sales brochure raved, “The deepest glories vibrant in such a familiar composition as Mendelssohn’s Wedding March are unguessed until interpreted by such an orchestra as this. From the first trumpet fanfare to the great central crescendo is very joy and glory articulate! . . . There can be no pleasure beyond enjoying such music as the Chicago Symphony here brings to every music-loving home.”

Recording_Centennial_Rotunda_Display_102.75x60

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4-2

To commemorate this legacy, this collage of record and CD labels is on display in the first floor of Symphony Center’s Rotunda through the end of the Orchestra’s current—the 125th—season. Details of all of the recordings included are below (all recordings were made at Orchestra Hall unless otherwise noted).

Austrian pianist Artur Schnabel made his debut with the Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival on July 11, 1942, performing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with George Szell conducting. On July 22 and 24, Schnabel and the Orchestra recorded the Fourth along with Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto at Orchestra Hall for Victor Records. Frederick Stock conducted these, his last, recording sessions with the Orchestra; he died a few short months later on October 20.

PROKOFIEV Scythian Suite-2 WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod-2The Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the U.S. premiere of Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite under the baton of the composer on December 6, 1918. On March 16, 1945, third music director Désiré Defauw recorded the work for RCA.

Fourth music director Artur Rodzinski led the Orchestra in a complete performance of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde—with Set Svanholm and Kirsten Flagstad in the title roles—at the Civic Opera House on November 16, 1947. A month later on December 14, he led the Orchestra in recording sessions for the Prelude and Liebestod at Orchestra Hall.

STRAUSS Ein HeldenlebenMUSSORGSKY Pictures at an ExhibitionFor Mercury Records, fifth music director Rafael Kubelík led the Orchestra’s first recording of Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on April 23 and 24, 1951. Principal trumpet Adolph Herseth performed the opening fanfare.

On March 6, 1954, sixth music director Fritz Reiner and the Orchestra recorded together for the first time: Strauss’s Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome and Ein Heldenleben for RCA. (Reiner’s complete CSO catalog recently was re-released by RCA.)

BARTOK Music for Strings, Percussion, and CelestaBRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2At the third annual Grammy awards ceremony on April 12, 1961, the Orchestra’s recording of Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta received the award for Best Classical Performance–Orchestra. Reiner had conducted the RCA release. That same evening, the Orchestra’s recording of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto—also on RCA and with Erich Leinsdorf conducting—earned the award for Best Classical Performance–Concerto or Instrumental Soloist for Sviatoslav Richter. These were the first two Grammy awards earned for recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

SCHUMANN Piano ConcertoPROKOFIEV Alexander NevskyReiner led the Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus (prepared by its founder Margaret Hillis), and mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky for RCA—the first recording collaboration with the Orchestra and the Chorus—on March 7, 1959, at Orchestra Hall.

Two years after winning the prestigious 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Van Cliburn made his first recording with the Orchestra on April 16, 1960: Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Reiner conducting for RCA. (A complete list of Cliburn’s appearances and recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra can be found here.)

MARTIN Concerto for Seven WindsOn March 19, 1966, seventh music director Jean Martinon led the Orchestra in recording sessions for Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra for RCA. Featured soloists were CSO principals Clark Brody (clarinet), Willard Elliot (bassoon), Donald Peck (flute), Dale Clevenger (horn, in his first week on the job), Ray Still (oboe), Adolph Herseth (trumpet), Donald Koss (timpani), and Jay Friedman (trombone). (Martinon’s complete CSO catalog recently was re-released by RCA.)

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 6-2NIELSEN Clarinet Concerto-2Benny Goodman recorded Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto with the Orchestra on June 18, 1966, for RCA. Morton Gould conducted. (Gould’s complete CSO catalog recently was re-released by RCA.)

At Medinah Temple on February 20 and 21, 1968, Leopold Stokowski and the Orchestra recorded Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 6  for RCA.

BERLIOZ Romeo and Juliet-2RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Sheherazade-2Carlo Maria Giulini—the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first principal guest conductor—recorded selections from Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet for Angel on October 13 and 14, 1969, at Medinah Temple.

The Orchestra made its second recording of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade on June 30 and July 1, 1969, at Medinah Temple for Angel. Seiji Ozawa, the Ravinia Festival’s first music director, conducted and concertmaster Victor Aitay was violin soloist.

DVORAK Cello Concerto-2MAHLER Symphony no. 5During eighth music director Georg Solti‘s first season as music director, the Orchestra performed Mahler’s Fifth Symphony at Carnegie Hall on January 9, 1970, and were called back for twelve curtain calls. Beginning on March 26 at Medinah Temple, Solti and the Orchestra committed their performance to disc—their first recording together—for London Records.

Daniel Barenboim, who would later become ninth music director, made his first recording with the Orchestra on November 11, 1970, at Medinah Temple. For Angel, he led sessions for Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with his wife Jacqueline du Pré as soloist. (A summary of du Pré’s association with the Orchestra is here.)

MAHLER Symphony No. 8-2Before the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed the first concert of its first tour to Europe in 1971, Solti led recording sessions for Mahler’s Eighth Symphony at the Sofiensaal in Vienna on August 30, 31, and September 1. Soloists included Heather HarperLucia Popp (more about Popp’s performances with the Orchestra is here), Arleen AugérYvonne MintonHelen WattsRené KolloJohn Shirley-Quirk, and Martti Talvela. The recording won three 1972 Grammy awards for Album of the Year–Classical, Best Choral Performance–Classical (other than opera) (for the Chorus of the Vienna State OperaSingverein Chorus, and Vienna Boys’ Choir), and Best Engineered Recording–Classical.

BEETHOVEN Fidelio BRUCKNER Symphony No. 6-2On December 13, 1977, Barenboim and the Orchestra recorded Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony for Deutsche Grammophon, part of a complete cycle of the composer’s symphonies that also included the Te Deum, Helgoland, and Psalm 150.

Following concerts in Orchestra Hall and Carnegie Hall, Solti led the Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists (including Hildegard Behrens as Leonore and Peter Hofmann as Florestan) and in recording sessions for Beethoven’s Fidelio—”the first digitally recorded opera to be released,” according to Gramophone—at Medinah Temple on May 21, 22, 23, and 24, 1979.

ORFF Carmina Burana DOWNS Bear Down, Chicago BearsSecond music director of the Ravinia Festival, James Levine led the Orchestra, Chorus, Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, and soloists (June Anderson, Phillip Creech, and Bernd Weikl) in sessions for Orff’s Carmina burana on July 9 and 10, 1984, for Deutsche Grammophon. The recording was awarded the 1986 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance (other than opera).

At the end of a subscription concert at Orchestra Hall on January 23, 1986, Solti led the Orchestra and Chorus in a spirited encore of  the Chicago Bears‘ fight song “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” in anticipation of the team’s Super Bowl victory. The day after the game, the work was recorded by London Records.

BRAHMS Double Concerto-2BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9-2Solti led recording sessions at Medinah Temple for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony—the second time he and the Orchestra and Chorus had recorded the work—on September 28, 30, and October 7, 1986, for London. Soloists were Jessye Norman, Reinhild Runkel, Robert Schunk, and Hans Sotin. The release was awarded the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

Claudio Abbado, second principal guest conductor, led the Orchestra in Brahms’s Double Concerto with Isaac Stern and Yo-Yo Ma (future Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant) as soloists on November 7 and 8, 1986, for CBS Records.

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 7CORIGLIANO Symphony No. 1Closing the 97th season in June 1988, Leonard Bernstein led the Orchestra in performances of Shostakovich’s First and Seventh symphonies. Recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon, the release received the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

On March 15, 16, and 17, 1990, Barenboim led the world premiere performances of composer-in-residence John Corigliano’s Symphony no. 1, commissioned for the Orchestra. The live recording—Barenboim and the Orchestra’s first on the Erato label—was awarded two 1991 Grammy awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Contemporary Composition.

Fantasia 2000BARTOK The Wooden PrinceThe recording of Bartók’s The Wooden Prince and Cantata profana led by Pierre Boulez for Deutsche Grammophon—recorded on December 19, 20, and 21, 1991—was awarded four 1993 Grammy awards: Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Performance of a Choral Work, and Best Engineered Recording–Classical. (A complete list of Boulez’s recordings with the Orchestra is here and his complete Grammy awards are here.)

Between 1993 and 1996, Levine led the Orchestra and Chorus in recording sessions at Medinah Temple for Disney‘s feature film Fantasia 2000. The movie was released on January 1, 2000.

VARESE Amerique etcFALLA Gardens of SpainShortly after being named the Orchestra’s third principal guest conductor, Boulez led sessions for Varèse’s Amériques, Arcana, Déserts, and Ionisation in December 1995 and 1996. The Deutsche Grammophon release was awarded the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

In May 1997 at Medinah Temple, the Orchestra recorded Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and The Three-Cornered Hat for Teldec. For Nights in the Gardens of Spain, Barenboim was piano soloist and Plácido Domingo conducted; for The Three-Cornered Hat, Jennifer Larmore was mezzo-soprano soloist and Barenboim conducted.

MAHLER Symphony no. 3BRAHMS Violin ConcertoA former Youth Auditions winner and member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Rachel Barton recorded Brahms’s and Joachim’s violin concertos for Cedille Records on July 2 and 3, 2002. Carlos Kalmar conducted.

In his first concerts as principal conductor on October 19, 20, and 21, 2006, Bernard Haitink led the Orchestra, women of the Chorus (prepared by Duain Wolfe), the Chicago Children’s Choir, and mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung in Mahler’s Third Symphony. The work is recorded as the inaugural release on CSO Resound.

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 4CSOR_SP_booklet_rainbow_nobox.inddIn May 2008, Haitink and the Orchestra recorded Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony for CSO Resound. The release was awarded the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

Boulez led the Orchestra in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Symphony in Three Movements, and Four Studies in February and March 2009 for CSO Resound. Soloists in the Pulcinella were Roxana Constantinescu, Nicholas Phan, and Kyle Ketelsen.

BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastiqueVR_booklet_CSOR_901_1008.inddOn January 15, 16, and 17, 2009, Riccardo Muti—in his first concerts as music director designate—led the Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists (Barbara FrittoliOlga Borodina, Mario Zeffiri, and Ildar Abdrazakov) in Verdi’s Requiem. The subsequent CSO Resound recording was awarded 2010 Grammy awards for Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance.

Following his first concert as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s tenth music director (for more than 25,000 people in Millennium Park) in September 2010, Muti led the Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists (Gérard Depardieu, Mario Zeffiri, and Kyle Ketelsen) in Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and Lélio. The two-disc set was released on CSO Resound in September 2015.

VERDI OtelloBates and ClyneOn April 7, 9, and 12, 2011, Muti led concert performances—recorded by CSO Resound—of Verdi’s Otello at Orchestra Hall. Along with the Orchestra, Chorus, and Chicago Children’s Chorus, soloists included Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role, Krassimira Stoyanova as Desdemona, and Carlo Guelfi as Iago.

In February 2012, Muti led world premieres by the Orchestra’s Mead Composers-in-Residence: Anna Clyne’s Night Ferry and Mason Bates’s Alternative Energy. Both works were recorded for CSO Resound and released as digital downloads.

LincolnFor Sony Classical, composer John Williams led the Orchestra and Chorus in recording sessions at Orchestra Hall for his soundtrack for the motion picture Lincoln. Director Steven Spielberg was on hand to supervise.

Cheers to the next 100!

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biography

April 7 and 8, 1960

Two years after winning the prestigious 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Van Cliburn made his first appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on April 7 and 8, 1960, performing Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto with Fritz Reiner conducting. On April 12 he was soloist in Schumann’s A minor concerto with the Orchestra, also with Reiner on the podium.

“Van Cliburn cannot be accused of looking for the easy road to success,” wrote Donal Henahan in the Chicago Daily News following the first performance of Brahms’s concerto. The twenty-five year-old pianist gave “a performance of glitter and grace, and one that was breathtakingly well played . . . perhaps no one but Horowitz today could play those double-note scales in both hands with as much apparent ease.”

recording

RCA’s release of Schumann’s Piano Concerto, recorded in Orchestra Hall on April 16, 1960

Cliburn would appear four more times during Reiner’s tenure, and their performances of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in April 1963 were Reiner’s last public appearances. Cliburn later appeared in Chicago under Jean Martinon as well as at the Ravinia Festival with Georges Prêtre, Seiji Ozawa, Donald Johanos, Bruno Maderna, and James Levine. His final appearance with the Orchestra was on July 16, 2005, at Ravinia in Grieg’s Piano Concerto, under festival music director James Conlon.

On the RCA label, he made several recordings with the Orchestra, including Beethoven’s Fourth and Fifth concertos, Brahms’s Second, Rachmaninov’s Second, and Schumann’s concerto with Reiner; and MacDowell’s Second and Prokofiev’s Third concertos with Walter Hendl.

A complete list of Van Cliburn’s appearances and recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra can be found here.

This article also appears here.

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Bartok album cover

At the third annual Grammy ceremony on April 12, 1961, the Orchestra’s recording of Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta received the award for Best Classical Performance–Orchestra. Fritz Reiner had conducted the RCA release. That same evening, the Orchestra’s recording of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto—also on RCA and with Erich Leinsdorf conducting—earned the award for Best Classical Performance–Concerto or Instrumental Soloist for Sviatoslav Richter. These were the first two Grammy awards earned for recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Reiner’s commitment to the music of Bartók—one of his teachers at the Liszt Academy in Budapest—was “unmatched by any other contemporary composer, for Reiner had an understanding and devotion of Bartók’s music that no other conductor of his time equaled,” according to Philip Hart in Fritz Reiner: A Biography. He and the Orchestra had first recorded music by Bartók on October 22, 1955: the Concerto for Orchestra. Along with the composer’s Hungarian Sketches, Reiner and the Orchestra recorded the Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta at Orchestra Hall on December 28 and 29, 1958.

Richter album cover

Richter made his U.S. debut with the Orchestra on October 15, 1960, in Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, and the work was recorded in Orchestra Hall two days later with Leinsdorf conducting. Reiner originally was scheduled to lead both the concert and recording; however, he suffered a heart attack in early October, forcing the cancellation of several concerts and recording sessions (including MacDowell’s Second Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with Van Cliburn, also for RCA and ultimately led by associate conductor Walter Hendl). Reiner returned to the podium in January 1961.

Since 1961, recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have earned sixty-two Grammy awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

This article also appears here.

Reiner memorial insert front cover

Reiner memorial insert front cover

Just before the opening of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s seventieth season, our sixth music director Fritz Reiner suffered a heart attack on October 7, 1960. He canceled his remaining appearances for the calendar year to recuperate and was able to return to the CSO podium in March 1961 to lead the season’s final five weeks of concerts. However, his health continued to decline and he was forced to curtail many of his conducting duties, and it was announced on April 20, 1962, that he would become “musical adviser” for the 1962-63 season. Two weeks later on May 3, The Orchestral Association announced that Jean Martinon would become the Orchestra’s seventh music director beginning with the 1963-64 season.

As musical adviser, Reiner was scheduled to conduct seven weeks of subscription concerts in December 1962 and February, March, and April 1963. On April 18, 19, and 20, he led Rossini’s Overture to Semiramide, Brahms’s Second Symphony, and Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with Van Cliburn as soloist (the Beethoven was recorded by RCA on April 22 and 23; see here and here for more information). Reiner was scheduled to close the season on May 2 and 3 with an extensive all-Wagner program (featuring several excerpts from Tristan and Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Die Walküre, and Götterdämmerung); however, the CSO press office announced on Monday, April 29 that “on the advice of his physician, Fritz Reiner must withdraw from this week’s concerts.”

Reiner retreated over the summer and arrived in New York in October to begin rehearsals for a new production of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung at the Metropolitan Opera, scheduled to open on November 14. However, he fell ill with bronchitis on November 11 and withdrew from the production, being replaced by Joseph Rosenstock. Reiner’s condition gradually worsened and he succumbed to pneumonia on November 15, 1963, at the age of 74 (his Chicago Tribune obituary, written by Claudia Cassidy, is here).

On Saturday evening, November 16, Martinon led the Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave Overture, his own Second Violin Concerto with Henryk Szerying, and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. According to the Sunday, November 17 Chicago Tribune: “Orchestra Hall, filled for a golden decade with the music conducted by Dr. Fritz Reiner, was silent for a minute Saturday night as the audience and musicians bowed heads in tribute to his memory.” Merrill Shepard, the new president of the Association, had signaled the moment of silence.

Program page for November 21 and 22, 1963, announcing scheduled memorial for Fritz Reiner the following week

Program page for November 21 and 22, 1963, announcing scheduled memorial for Fritz Reiner the following week

Funeral services were given on November 18 in New York. Attendees included Reiner’s former student at the Curtis Institute and music director of the New York Philharmonic Leonard Bernstein, tenor Lauritz Melchior, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera Rudolf Bing, impresario Sol Hurok, and Van Cliburn. William Schuman, composer and then-president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, delivered the eulogy, calling Reiner, an “artist who set an example for all his colleagues.”

Martinon had programmed the Thanksgiving week concerts (on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon, November 28 and 29) to include Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Mozart’s Requiem (Margaret Hillis and the Chicago Symphony Chorus had been rehearsing the two works since early September). Reiner’s seventy-fifth birthday—December 19, 1963—was to have been celebrated with him leading the Orchestra in four weeks of subscription concerts in late December and early January. It was only appropriate to designate the Stravinsky and Mozart concerts as memorials to Reiner, and the program page for the November 21 and 22 concerts included an announcement. A four-page program insert was prepared to be used for the following week’s concerts and included tributes from Martinon and Shepard, a chronology of Reiner’s career, and a list of his previous orchestral affiliations.

On Thursday evening November 21, Martinon led Bach’s First Brandenburg Concerto, Henze’s Third Symphony, and Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with Byron Janis. The program was scheduled to be repeated the following afternoon, Friday, November 22, 1963.

Stay tuned for part 2 . . .

Reiner memorial insert, pages two and three

Reiner memorial insert, pages two and three

Reiner memorial insert back cover

Reiner memorial insert back cover

Reiner CSO CD set

RCA Red Seal Records (now a division of Sony Masterworks) has just released—for the first time as a set—the complete Chicago Symphony Orchestra recordings led by our sixth music director, the legendary Fritz Reiner. The sixty-three discs are beautifully presented in replicas of the original album jackets (front and back), spanning the recording of Richard Strauss’s Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome and Also sprach Zarathustra, recorded in March 1954, through Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 4 with Van Cliburn, recorded in April 1963.

The beautifully packaged set includes a detailed booklet with repertoire and recording details, along with an excellent article by Kenneth Morgan (author of Fritz Reiner: Maestro and Martinet).

The set also includes Reiner’s last recording (made in September 1963, barely two months before his death): Haydn’s Symphonies nos. 95 and 101. The ensemble is billed as “Fritz Reiner and his Symphony Orchestra,” which included musicians from “the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Symphony of the Air (formerly NBC Symphony), and others.”

Van Cliburn and Fritz Reiner in 1960

Van Cliburn and Fritz Reiner in 1960

We’ve just heard news of the death of the remarkable American pianist Van Cliburn, as reported in the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

Two years after winning the prestigious 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Cliburn made his first appearance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Fritz Reiner conducting. Cliburn would perform four more times during Reiner’s tenure, and their performances of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in April 1963 were Reiner’s last public appearances.

Complete lists of Van Cliburn’s appearances and recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are below.

Appearances (subscription concerts at Orchestra Hall, unless otherwise noted):

April 7 and 8, 1960
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
Fritz Reiner, conductor

April 12, 1960
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Fritz Reiner, conductor

October 20 and 21, 1960
MACDOWELL Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 23
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
Walter Hendl, conductor

March 29 and 30, 1962
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18
Fritz Reiner, conductor

April 18, 19, and 20, 1963
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
Fritz Reiner, conductor

April 23, 24, and 25, 1964
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Jean Martinon, conductor

July 24, 1965 (Ravinia Festival)
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
Georges Prêtre, conductor

August 11 and 13, 1966 (Ravinia Festival)
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Seiji Ozawa, conductor

January 12 and 13, 1967
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
Jean Martinon, conductor

August 1, 1967 (Ravinia Festival)
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
Donald Johanos, conductor

June 29, 1971 (Ravinia Festival)
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23
Bruno Maderna, conductor

July 17, 1974 (Ravinia Festival)
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18
James Levine, conductor

July 16, 2005 (Ravinia Festival)
GRIEG Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16
James Conlon, conductor

Recordings:

BEETHOVEN Concerto for Piano No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, April 1963
Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA

BEETHOVEN Concerto for Piano No. 5 in E flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, May 1961
Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA

BRAHMS Concerto for Piano No. 2 in B flat Major, Op. 83
Recorded live in Orchestra Hall, April 8, 1960
Fritz Reiner, conductor
Testament

BRAHMS Concerto for Piano No. 2 in B flat Major, Op. 83
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, May 1961
Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA

MACDOWELL Concerto for Piano No. 2 in D Minor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, October 1960
Walter Hendl, conductor
RCA

PROKOFIEV Concerto for Piano No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, October 1960
Walter Hendl, conductor
RCA

RACHMANINOV Concerto for Piano No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March and April 1962
Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA

SCHUMANN Concerto for Piano in A Minor, Op. 54
Recorded live in Orchestra Hall, April 12, 1960
Fritz Reiner, conductor
Testament

SCHUMANN Concerto for Piano in A Minor, Op. 54
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, April 1960
Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA

Updated to include Testament recording release of two live performances — FV

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Theodore Thomas

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