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Wishing a very happy eightieth birthday to the wonderful Welsh bass, Gwynne Howell!

Gwynne Howell (Guy Gravett photo)

Howell has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on a number of notable occasions and on several award-winning recordings between 1974 and 1990. A complete list is below (concerts at Orchestra Hall, unless otherwise noted).

April 12 and 13, 1974
BACH Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 232
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
Heather Harper, soprano
Helen Watts, contralto
Jerry Jennings, tenor
Mallory Walker, tenor
Gwynne Howell, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Doreen Rao, director

April 24 and 26, 1975
April 30, 1975 (Carnegie Hall)
VERDI Requiem
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
Leontyne Price, soprano
Yvonne Minton, mezzo-soprano
Luciano Pavarotti, tenor
Gwynne Howell, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

January 29, 30, and 31, 1976
STRAVINSKY Oedipus Rex
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
Peter Pears, tenor
Josephine Veasey, mezzo-soprano
Donald Gramm, bass-baritone
Gwynne Howell, bass
Mallory Walker, tenor
Dominic Cossa, baritone
Werner Klemperer, narrator
Men of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, chorus director

May 5, 6, and 7, 1977
May 13, 1977 (Carnegie Hall)
BEETHOVEN Missa solemnis, Op. 123
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
Victor Aitay, violin
Lucia Popp, soprano
Yvonne Minton, mezzo-soprano
Mallory Walker, tenor
Gwynne Howell, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
The work was recorded in Chicago’s Medinah Temple on May 16, 17, and 18, 1977. For London Records, Ray Minshull was the producer and Kenneth Wilkinson, John Dunkerley, and Michael Mailes were the engineers. The recording won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, Classical (other than opera) from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

May 10 and 12, 1979
May 19, 1979 (Carnegie Hall)
BEETHOVEN Fidelio, Op. 72
Hildegard Behrens, soprano
Sona Ghazarian, soprano
Peter Hofmann, tenor
David Kübler, tenor
Theo Adam, baritone
Hans Sotin, bass
Gwynne Howell, bass
Robert Johnson, tenor
Philip Kraus, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, chorus director
The opera was recorded at Medinah Temple on May 21, 22, 23, and 24, 1979. For London Records, Ray Minshull was the producer, Michael Haas was the assistant producer, and James Lock, David Frost, and Tony Griffiths were the engineers.

April 7, 9, and 12, 1983
April 18, 1983 (Carnegie Hall)
WAGNER Das Rheingold
Siegmund Nimsgern, bass-baritone
Hermann Becht, baritone
Gabriele Schnaut, mezzo-soprano
Siegfried Jerusalem, tenor
Robert Tear, tenor
Jan DeGaetani, mezzo-soprano
Malcolm Smith, bass
Gwynne Howell, bass
Mary Jane Johnson, soprano
John Cheek, bass-baritone
Dennis Bailey, tenor
Michelle Harman-Gulick, soprano
Elizabeth Hynes, soprano
Emily Golden, mezzo-soprano

September 27, 28, and 29, 1984
HANDEL Messiah
Elizabeth Hynes, soprano
Anne Gjevang, contralto
Keith Lewis, tenor
Gwynne Howell, bass
David Schrader, harpsichord
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
The work was recorded in Orchestra Hall on October 1, 2, and 9, 1984. For London Records, Ray Minshull was the producer, and James Lock and Simon Eadon were balance engineers.

January 25, 26, and 28, 1990
BACH Mass in B Minor, BWV 232
Felicity Lott, soprano
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
Hans Peter Blochwitz, tenor
William Shimell, baritone
Gwynne Howell, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
The work was recorded on January 25, 26, and 28, 1990, in Orchestra Hall. For London Records, Michael Haas was the recording producer, and Stanley Goodall and Simon Eadon were the balance engineers. The recording won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Performance of a Choral Work from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Check out the video below, produced by Wild Plum Arts, in which Howell talks about working with Solti and many others.

Happy, happy birthday!

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins the music world in mourning the loss of Kurt Masur, a frequent guest conductor for thirty years, from 1981 until 2011. Masur died on December 19, 2015, in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was 88.

Kurt Masur

Numerous tributes and obituaries have been posted online, including the websites of the New York PhilharmonicThe New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

Masur made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in 1981, and he most recently guest conducted at Orchestra Hall in 2011. A complete list of his appearances with the Orchestra is below (subscription concerts at Orchestra Hall, unless otherwise noted):

August 13, 1981 (Ravinia Festival)
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15
Jean-Bernard Pommier, piano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (Eroica)

August 15, 1981 (Ravinia Festival)
MOZART Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525
MOZART Andante for Flute in C Major, K. 315
Jean-Pierre Rampal, flute
MOZART Rondo for Flute in D Major, K. Anh. 184
Jean-Pierre Rampal, flute
MOZART Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major, K. 314
Jean-Pierre Rampal, flute
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64

July 8, 1982 (Ravinia Festival)
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
André-Michel Schub, piano
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

July 10, 1982 (Ravinia Festival)
GLINKA Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (From the New World)

July 26, 1984 (Ravinia Festival)
BEETHOVEN Selections from Egmont, Op. 84
Isola Jones, mezzo-soprano
Werner Klemperer, narrator
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

July 28, 1984 (Ravinia Festival)
BEETHOVEN Overture to Fidelio, Op. 72
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67

July 29, 1984 (Ravinia Festival)
BEETHOVEN Choral Fantasy in C Minor, Op. 80
Menahem Pressler, piano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125
Benita Valente, soprano
Isola Jones, mezzo-soprano
Jacque Trussel, tenor
John Cheek, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

December 6, 7 & 8, 1984
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major, Op. 10
Annerose Schmidt, piano
MATTHUS Piano Concerto
Annerose Schmidt, piano
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88

August 1, 1985 (Ravinia Festival)
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

August 3, 1985 (Ravinia Festival)
BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98

June 9, 10 & 11, 1988
BRITTEN Simple Symphony, Op. 4
HAYDN Symphony No. 85 in B-flat Major (La Reine)
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5, Op. 47

February 7, 8, 10 & 12, 1991
PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25 (Classical)
HINDEMITH Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass, Op. 50
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56 (Scottish)

November 20, 21 & 22, 2003
GLINKA Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla
SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 77
Vadim Repin, violin
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

March 31 & April 2, 2011
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
Louis Lortie, piano
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major

____________________________________________________

To honor Sir Georg Solti’s seventy-fifth birthday, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus gave a gala concert of the highest order on October 9, 1987.

Governor James R. Thompson opened the concert with welcoming remarks, and after the intermission, Mayor Harold Washington presented Sir Georg with the City of Chicago’s Medal of Merit. The concert program was as follows:

CORIGLIANO Campane di Ravello (world premiere)
Kenneth Jean, conductor

J. STRAUSS Overture to Die Fledermaus
Plácido Domingo, conductor

MOZART Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat Major, K. 365
Sir Georg Solti, conductor and piano
Murray Perahia, piano

STRAUSS Don Juan, Op. 20
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

Plácido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa perform a scene from Verdi’s Otello (Jim Steere photo)

VERDI Excerpts from Act 1 of Otello
Sir Georg Solti, conductor
Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano
Plácido Domingo, tenor
Kurt R. Hansen, tenor
Joseph Wolverton, tenor
Richard Cohn, baritone
David Huneryager, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

The commemorative program contained letters and testimonials from numerous public officials, conductors, musicians, and industry professionals, including: Ronald Reagan, James R. Thompson, Harold Washington, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Carlo Maria Giulini, Rafael Kubelík, John Corigliano, Christoph von Dohnányi, Rudolf Serkin, Henry Fogel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Christa Ludwig, Birgit Nilsson, Witold Lutosławski, Sir Charles Mackerras, Mstislav Rostropovich, Klaus Tennstedt, David Del Tredici, Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Slatkin, Werner Klemperer, José van Dam, Elliott Carter, Karel Husa, Isaac Stern, Morton Gould, Hans Werner Henze, Itzhak Perlman, Anja Silja, Erich Leinsdorf, Josef Suk, Plácido Domingo, Michael Tippett, Kiri Te Kanawa, Murray Perahia, Leontyne Price, András Schiff, Kenneth Jean, Andrzej Panufnik, Dame Janet Baker, Pierre Boulez, Yvonne Minton, Herbert Blomstedt, Mira Zakai, Margaret Hillis, Gunther Herbig, Ray Minshull, Ann Murray, Philip Langridge, Raymond Leppard, Vladimir Ashkenazy, George Rochberg, Gwynne Howell, Ardis Krainik, Michael Morgan, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Henry Mancini, and Barbara Hendricks.

Solti and Perahia as soloists in Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos (Jim Steere photo)

The concert was covered widely in the press, in the Chicago Tribune (here, here, and here) and Sun-Times (here and here), as well as Time, Newsweek, the Post-Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others.

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