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Lynn Harrell (Christian Steiner photo)

Wishing a very happy seventy-fifth birthday to the wonderful American cellist Lynn Harrell!

For well over fifty years, Harrell has been a frequent guest with the Chicago Symphony, appearing with the Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival and in Orchestra Hall. A complete list of his appearances is below.

July 17, 1966, Ravinia Festival
MILHAUD Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 136
Lukas Foss, conductor

June 30, 1973, Ravinia Festival
DVOŘÁK Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104
James Levine, conductor

July 20, 1974, Ravinia Festival
SCHUMANN Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129
James Levine, conductor

July 12, 1975, Ravinia Festival
PROKOFIEV Symphony-Concerto in E Minor, Op. 125
James Levine, conductor

April 8, 9, and 11, 1976, Orchestra Hall
BOCCHERINI Concerto for Violoncello in B-flat Major
TCHAIKOVSKY Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62
Kirill Kondrashin, conductor

July 3, 1976, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C Major, Op. 56 (Triple)
Robert Mann, violin
André-Michel Schub, piano
James Levine, conductor

July 28, 1977, Ravinia Festival
HAYDN Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, H. VIIb:2
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Itzhak Perlman, violin
James Conlon, conductor

July 24, 1980, Ravinia Festival
DVOŘÁK Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104
James Conlon, conductor

Lynn Harrell (Christian Steiner photo)

July 3, 1981, Ravinia Festival
SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33
James Levine, conductor

November 26 and 27, 1982, Orchestra Hall
ELGAR Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85
Varujan Kojian, conductor

July 1, 1983, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Elmar Oliveira, violin
James Levine, conductor

July 20, 1985, Ravinia Festival
SCHUMANN Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129
Adam Fischer, conductor

September 26, 27, and 28, 1985, Orchestra Hall
SHOSTAKOVICH Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 107
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

June 28, 1986, Ravinia Festival
DVOŘÁK Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Shlomo Mintz, violin
James Levine, conductor

June 29, 1986, Ravinia Festival
VILLA-LOBOS Bachiana Brasileira No. 5
Kathleen Battle, soprano
James Levine, conductor

July 31, 1993, Ravinia Festival
BLOCH Schelomo (Hebraic Rhapsody)
HAYDN Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, H. VIIb:1
Carlo Rizzi, conductor

March 5, 6, 7, and 11, 1998, Orchestra Hall
DUTILLEUX Tout un monde lointain . . .
Herbert Blomstedt, conductor

September 17, 1999, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C Major, Op. 56 (Triple)
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
William Eddins, piano and conductor

September 18, 1999, Orchestra Hall
SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33
Pinchas Zukerman, conductor

March 28, 29, 30, and April 2, 2002, Orchestra Hall
LUTOSŁAWSKI Cello Concerto
William Eddins, conductor

June 20, 2003, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin
Marin Alsop, conductor

August 8, 2004, Ravinia Festival
DVOŘÁK Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104
James Conlon, conductor

January 26, 27, and 28, 2006, Orchestra Hall
ELGAR Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85
Mark Elder, conductor

July 21, 2007, Ravinia Festival
BLOCH Schelomo (Hebraic Rhapsody)
BOCCHERINI/Grützmacher Cello Concerto in B-flat Major, G. 482
Andrew Litton, conductor

August 21, 2016, Ravinia Festival
TCHAIKOVSKY Variations on a Rococo Theme in A Major, Op. 33
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

Happy, happy birthday!

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has performed Aaron Copland‘s Lincoln Portrait on several occasions and with a number of notable narrators. A complete list is below.

Carl Sandburg

Poet, writer, and editor Carl Sandburg was narrator for the Orchestra’s first performances of Lincoln Portrait on March 15 and 16, 1945, in Orchestra Hall; third music director Désiré Defauw conducted. At the time, Sandburg was the country’s leading authority on Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth U.S. president. He had written the two-volume Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years in 1926, and in 1940, he completed the four-volume Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize.

Claude Rains

The composer himself conducted the first performance at the Ravinia Festival on July 21, 1956. Popular stage and screen character actor Claude Rains was narrator for the occasion. Winner of a Tony Award and nominated four times for an Academy Award (in the best supporting actor category), he appeared in such classic films as The Adventures of Robin Hood, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca, Notorious, and Lawrence of Arabia.

Illinois Governor Otto J. Kerner rubs the nose of Gutzon Borglum‘s Lincoln bust in 1964 (World Telegraph & Sun photo by Roger Higgins)

Copland was again on the podium at the Ravinia Festival on July 6, 1963, when Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. was narrator. Kerner was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and served as a judge in the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County before his election as the thirty-third governor of Illinois in 1960, winning re-election in 1964. He resigned as governor in 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated him as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Kerner was later convicted of mail fraud, conspiracy, and perjury and sentenced to three years in federal prison; he was released early following his being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The next three performances, all in Orchestra Hall, were narrated by voices quite familiar to Chicagoans. On March 28, 1970, Mel Zellman, an announcer for WFMT for forty years, shared the stage with conductor Irwin HoffmanJim Tilmon, a longtime television reporter for WTTW and NBC, narrated the work on February 25, 1976, with associate conductor Henry Mazer on the podium. On January 29, 1979, Bill Kurtis, then a news anchor with WBBM-TV, was narrator, again under Mazer’s direction.

For a special July 4 celebration in 1982 at the Ravinia Festival, Aaron Copland himself was narrator. Erich Kunzel conducted.

Jane Byrne (Associated Press photo by Fred Jewell)

Jane Byrne was the first woman to serve as Chicago’s mayor—the city’s fortieth—from 1979 until 1983. On October 1, 1982, in Orchestra Hall, she was narrator in Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with Reynald Giovaninetti on the podium. According to her obituary in the Chicago Tribune, “Over her single term in office, Byrne launched Taste of Chicago and crowd-pleasing celebrations like Blues Fest, inspired the redevelopment of Navy Pier and the Museum Campus and encouraged movie making here in a big way by luring production of box office hits like The Blues Brothers.

Aaron Copland and William Warfield in 1963 (Library of Congress photo)

On October 4, 1997, Symphony Center officially opened its doors with a gala concert. The program included a performance of Lincoln Portrait with bass-baritone William Warfield as narrator and ninth music director Daniel Barenboim conducting. Warfield had become well known following a star turn as Joe—singing “Ol Man River“—in MGM‘s 1951 remake of Show Boat. He also recorded a highly acclaimed album of selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with soprano Leontyne Price in 1963. Long associated with Copland, Warfield had sung the premiere performances of the first set of Old American Songs (for soloist and orchestra) as well as the second set (for soloist and piano).

Steppenwolf Theatre Company actors Martha Lavey, Amy Morton, K. Todd Freeman, and Tracy Letts shared narrating duties at the Ravinia Festival on July 4, 2004. David Alan Miller conducted.

Senator Barack Obama narrates Copland’s Lincoln Portrait in Millennium Park on September 11, 2005. William Eddins conducts (Todd Rosenberg photo)

On September 11, 2005, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave a free concert at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Guest conductor William Eddins led the Orchestra in The Star-Spangled Banner, William Schuman’s arrangement of Ives’s Variations on America, Rimsky- Korsakov’s Sheherazade, and Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with freshman U.S. Senator Barack Obama as narrator. In the Chicago Sun-Times, Wynne Delacoma wrote: “When September 11 comes around each year, the craving for a moment of proverbial silence—a chance to slow down, remember, and mourn—is strong. Sunday’s concert, led by former CSO resident conductor William Eddins and featuring Senator Barack Obama as narrator in Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, provided just that kind of beneficent moment. Despite the steamy weather, a large crowd filled the pavilion’s seats and lawn, giving the CSO in general, and Obama in particular, vociferous applause. . . . Obama brought an orator’s skill without an actor’s slick veneer to Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. The comforting quality of his voice gave added emotional resonance to Lincoln’s words. The CSO was a powerful surging force behind him, alternately sinking into meditation and swelling to majestic heights.”

Most recently, James Earl Jones was narrator at Orchestra Hall on February 21 and 24, 2009, under the baton of James Gaffigan, and on July 18, 2009, soprano Jessye Norman was narrator with James Conlon conducting at the Ravinia Festival.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Copland’s Lincoln Portrait on April 12, 13, 14, and 17, 2018. John Malkovich will be the narrator.

Wishing a very happy eightieth birthday to John Corigliano!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy, happy birthday!

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins our friends at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in mourning the passing of beloved Chicago actor John Mahoney. He died in Chicago on February 4, at the age of 77.

John Mahoney in rehearsal at the Steppenwolf Theatre in 2008 (Chris Walker photo for the Chicago Tribune)

John Mahoney appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on three occasions, once at the Ravinia Festival and twice in Orchestra Hall, as follows:

July 14, 2001 (Ravinia Festival)
MENDELSSOHN A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
John de Lancie, Narrator/Puck and director
John Mahoney, Bottom
Janet Zarish, Titania
Timothy Gregory, Oberon
Stacey Tappan, soprano
Lauren McNeese, mezzo-soprano
Chicago Children’s Choir
Josephine Lee, director

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Wynne Delacoma set the stage. “It was a dream of a midsummer’s night at the Ravinia Festival Saturday, the kind of warm, clear evening just made for picnicking and listening to music outdoors. The music offered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andrew Davis provided a perfect match. After intermission, the pavilion light dimmed and sprites with glowing wands flitted through the night as the orchestra, singers and actors including John Mahoney . . . as the bumptious Bottom [he was] an endearing monster.”

April 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21, 2002 (Orchestra Hall)
STRAVINSKY The Soldier’s Tale
William Eddins, conductor
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
John Mahoney, Narrator
Paul Adelstein, Soldier
Hollis Resnik, Devil
Tina Cannon, dancer
John Bruce Yeh, clarinet
David McGill, bassoon
Craig Morris, trumpet
Jay Friedman, trombone
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
Edward Atkatz, percussion
Peter Amster, director and choreographer
Rafael Viñoly, stage designer

“Seizing the opportunity to do something different, the CSO teamed with Steppenwolf Theatre to stage The Soldier’s Tale, which Stravinsky wrote in 1918 as a theater piece,” wrote Delacoma in the Chicago Sun-Times. “Mahoney was the dispassionate Narrator and Hollis Resnik a fashionable Devil in a generally lively staging by Peter Amster. Zukerman and six CSO musicians, conducted by William Eddins, perched on a tall, black platform centerstage, while Mahoney, Resnik, Paul Adelstein as the Soldier and dancer Tina Cannon spilled around the set of raised platforms and a few props devised by Rafael Viñoly. . . . Amster and his colleagues created a compelling drama. . . . Relaxed, making no judgments as he chronicled the Soldier’s victories and defeats, [Mahoney] was a sympathetic guide to Stravinsky’s morality tale.”

November 17, 18, 20, and 23, 2004 (Orchestra Hall)
BEETHOVEN Egmont
Mikko Franck, conductor
John Mahoney, narrator
Erin Wall, soprano

Again, Delacoma in the Chicago Sun-Times described the event. “Mahoney returned to Symphony Center Thursday night to narrate a rare performance of Beethoven’s complete incidental music to Goethe’s Egmont. Goethe’s play about a former loyalist fighting Spanish colonialism in the 16th century Netherlands was quickly forgotten, but Beethoven’s Egmont Overture has long been a concert hall staple. It was fascinating to hear it in its complete context, especially with the young Finnish conductor Mikko Franck honing in on the music’s noble bearing and expansive reach. . . . In the minimal staging devised by director Sheldon Patinkin, [Mahoney] managed to turn the obscure Egmont into a flesh-and-blood presence. With his straightforward delivery and Beethoven’s evocative music reinforcing each scene, he brought us glimpses of a brave soldier and king’s loyal administrator destroyed by political intrigue and despotism. The thirst for liberty is a recurring motif in Beethoven’s life and much of his music. Hearing the entire Egmont, the movie music of its day, was a reminder of how strongly Beethoven believed in that ideal.”

Numerous tribute have been posted online, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Timesand CNN, among others.

 

For the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s twelfth tour to Europe, Daniel Barenboim led three concerts at the Philharmonie in Berlin, in conjunction with the 1996 Easter Festival (Festtage).

Barenboim leads the Orchestra at the Philharmonie in Berlin on on April 3, 1996 (Monika Rittershaus photo)

April 3, 1996 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
LISZT Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major
Martha Argerich, piano
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 5, 1996 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
WAGNER Prelude to Act 1 and Good Friday Music from Parsifal*
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 8 in C Minor
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
*Argerich originally was scheduled to perform Liszt’s Totentanz, but she canceled due to illness.

April 6, 1996 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
LISZT Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major
Martha Argerich, piano
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Barenboim and the Orchestra returned to Europe later that same year, for a five-concert tour to England and Ireland. Sir Georg Solti led the fourth concert of the tour on September 13—Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as part of at The Proms.

September 8, 1996 – Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England
September 14, 1996 – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England
VERDI Overture to La forza del destino
ELGAR Falstaff, Op. 68
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Program book for the September 12, 1996, concert at the Royal Albert Hall

September 9, 1996 – National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland
September 12, 1996 – Royal Albert Hall, London, England
SCHOENBERG Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 8 in C Minor
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

The Orchestra’s fourteenth European tour included stops in Germany and France, with three Festtage concerts in Berlin.

June 4, 1997 – Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany
June 5, 1997 – Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany
REIMANN Violin Concerto
Gidon Kremer, violin
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

June 6, 1997 – Roncalliplatz, Cologne, Germany
GERSHWIN Cuban Overture
GERSHWIN Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra
William Eddins, piano
GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
William Eddins, piano
GERSHWIN An American in Paris
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Vengerov rehearses Sibelius’s Violin Concerto under Barenboim’s baton at the Philharmonie in Cologne on June 8, 1997 (Klaus Rudolph photo)

June 8, 1997 – Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany
June 9, 1997 – Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany
HÖLLER Aura
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Maxim Vengerov, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
FALLA Nights in the Gardens of Spain
Daniel Barenboim, piano
Plácido Domingo, conductor

June 10, 1997 – Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Domingo congratulates Barenboim following a performance of Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain at the Philharmonie in Cologne on June 8, 1997 (Astrid Kessler photo)

Barenboim and the Orchestra again returned to Berlin’s Festtage in the spring of 1998 for the fifteenth European tour

April 2, 1998 – Châtelet Théâtre Musical de Paris, Paris, France
WAGNER Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
BERG Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 3, 1998 – Châtelet Théâtre Musical de Paris, Paris, France
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 6, 1998 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Maxim Vengerov, violin
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 7, 1998 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
BERG Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 8, 1998 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Jonathan Gilad, piano
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 7 in E Major
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Program book for the September 5, 1998, concert in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall

The second trip to Europe in 1998 featured stops in England, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and the Orchestra’s first appearances in Romania.

September 3, 1998 – Royal Albert Hall, London, England
BIRTWISTLE Exody
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 4, 1998 – Royal Albert Hall, London, England
September 5, 1998 – Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England
September 11, 1998 – Kultur and Kongresszentrum, Lucerne, Switzerland
STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28
BERG Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in E Minor, Op. 64 (Pathétique)
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 7, 1998 – Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
BERG Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Program book for the September 16, 1998, concert at the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna

September 8, 1998 – Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
WAGNER Prelude to Lohengrin
SCHOENBERG Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in E Minor, Op. 64 (Pathétique)
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 9, 1998 – Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden, Germany
September 15, 1998 – Musikverein, Vienna, Austria
SCHOENBERG Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 12, 1998 – Kultur and Kongresszentrum, Lucerne, Switzerland
SCHOENBERG Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16
WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 14, 1998 – Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich, Germany
WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Program book for the spring 1999 Festtage in Berlin

September 16, 1998 – Musikverein, Vienna, Austria
September 18, 1998 – Sala Mare a Palatului, Bucharest, Romania
WAGNER Prelude to Lohengrin
BERG Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in E Minor, Op. 64 (Pathétique)
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 19, 1998 – Sala Mare a Palatului, Bucharest, Romania
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Radu Lupu, piano
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

For the 1999 Festtage , Barenboim invited the Chicago Symphony Chorus to join the Orchestra for two concerts in Berlin, including Pierre Boulez leading Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron on April 1.

March 31, 1999 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
BRAHMS A German Requiem, Op. 45
Dorothea Röschmann, soprano
Thomas Quasthoff, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Program book for the April 27 and 28, 2000, concerts in Cologne’s Philharmonie

April 3, 1999 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
STRAUSS Don Juan, Op. 20
STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28
STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

The Orchestra’s eighteenth European tour included Barenboim leading concerts in Germany, Spain, and Portugal, with Boulez taking the reins for two concerts in Cologne.

April 21, 2000 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
Maurizio Pollini, piano
DEBUSSY La mer
BOULEZ Notations for Orchestra I-IV, VII
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 22, 2000 – Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
Radu Lupu, piano
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Luggage sticker for the 2000 tour to Europe

April 27, 2000 – Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany
April 28, 2000 – Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany
BOULEZ Notations for Orchestra I-IV, VII
DEBUSSY La mer
FALLA The Three-Cornered Hat
Elisabete Matos, mezzo-soprano
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 30, 2000 – Palau de la Musica, Barcelona, Spain
May 1, 2000 – Auditoria Nacional de la Musica, Madrid, Spain
May 3, 2000 – Coliseu dos Recreios, Lisbon, Portugal
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

May 2, 2000 – Auditoria Nacional de la Musica, Madrid, Spain
DEBUSSY Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
DEBUSSY La mer
FALLA The Three-Cornered Hat
Elisabete Matos, mezzo-soprano
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

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May 27, 1999 (Dan Rest photo)

May 27, 1999 (Dan Rest photo)

On May 27, 1999, Mstislav Rostropovich and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra launched a three-week festival celebrating the music of Dmitri Shostakovich with a concert that included the First Symphony along with arias and interludes from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with soprano Olga Guriakowa.

Interviewed for the Orchestra’s program book, Rostropovich commented, “Shostakovich’s world is our world. For many decades my own life was inextricably part of that world, and has continued to be so, even now. To have lived at the same time as Shostakovich is a source of great joy. To have been invited in his creative life has been an immense responsibility. And to play his music has been the greatest happiness.”

shostakovich-festival

Over the course of the festival, Rostropovich conducted four more of the composer’s symphonies: nos. 10, 11, 12, and 13 with bass Sergei Aleksashkin and men of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He also included a suite from the incidental music to the film Hamlet, the First Piano Concerto with Constantin Lifschitz and principal trumpet Adolph Herseth, and the Violin Concerto with Maxim Vengerov. In addition, Rostropovich conducted the composer’s arrangement of Schumann’s Cello Concerto with Enrico Dindo and Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with contralto Larissa Diadkova. Finally, he performed as soloist in the First Cello Concerto—a work written especially for him—led by associate conductor William Eddins.

Rostropovich first appeared as soloist with the Orchestra on December 9, 10, and 11, 1965, in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with Georg Solti—in his Orchestra Hall debut—conducting. He first appeared as conductor with the Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival on August 14, 1975, leading Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini; arias from Puccini’s operas with his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya; and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony. Rostropovich first conducted at Orchestra Hall on the Orchestra’s gala centennial concert on October 6, 1990, leading the last movement of Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with András Schiff as soloist.

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CSO050911: Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing at Millennium Park September 11, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois, including the performance of Aaron Copeland's "Lincoln Portrait" with narration by U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D, Illinois) © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2005

Senator Barack Obama onstage with William Eddins and the Orchestra at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, September 11, 2005 (Todd Rosenberg photo)

On September 11, 2005—the fourth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks and barely two weeks after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina—the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave a free concert as part of Millennium Park’s Blockbuster Weekend, which also featured season-opening outdoor performances by Lyric Opera of Chicago and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

William Eddins led The Star-Spangled Banner, William Schuman’s arrangement of Ives’s Variations on America, Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, and Rimsky- Korsakov’s Sheherazade. The narrator for Lincoln Portrait was freshman U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

Obama's autograph on a copy of Copland's Lincoln Portrait

Obama’s autograph on a copy of Copland’s Lincoln Portrait

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Wynne Delacoma wrote: “When September 11 comes around each year, the craving for a moment of proverbial silence—a chance to slow down, remember, and mourn—is strong. Sunday’s concert, led by former CSO resident conductor William Eddins and featuring Senator Barack Obama as narrator in Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, provided just that kind of beneficent moment. Despite the steamy weather, a large crowd filled the pavilion’s seats and lawn, giving the CSO in general, and Obama in particular, vociferous applause. . . . Obama brought an orator’s skill without an actor’s slick veneer to Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. The comforting quality of his voice gave added emotional resonance to Lincoln’s words. The CSO was a powerful surging force behind him, alternately sinking into meditation and swelling to majestic heights.”

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