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Wishing a very happy eightieth-fifth birthday to Zubin Mehta!

Zubin Mehta in 2016 (Wilfried Hösl photo)

A frequent and favorite guest conductor in Chicago, Mehta has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions, both at Orchestra Hall and the Ravinia Festival.

December 1, 1986, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
Daniel Barenboim, piano

November 17, 18, 19, and 22, 1988, Orchestra Hall
MAHLER Symphony No. 2 in C Minor (Resurrection)
Marvis Martin, soprano
Maureen Forrester, contralto
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

November 23, 25, and 27, 1988, Orchestra Hall
MESSIAEN Turangalîla-symphonie
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
Jeanne Loriod, ondès martenot

August 9, 1991, Ravinia Festival
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Midori, violin
MAHLER Symphony No. 5

August 10, 1991, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
BARBER Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24
Marvis Martin, soprano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125
Marvis Martin, soprano
Gweneth Bean, contralto
Ben Heppner, tenor
Julien Robbins, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director

February 19, 20, 21, and 22, 1992, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
FOSS Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrows) (world premiere)
RAVEL Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloe

February 26, 27, 28, and 29, 1992, Orchestra Hall
MAHLER Symphony No. 3 in D Minor
Florence Quivar, mezzo-soprano
Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Richard Garrin, director
Chicago Children’s Choir
Lucy Ding, director

February 2, 1993, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (Emperor)
Daniel Barenboim, piano

Zubin Mehta at La Scala in 2010 (Marco Brescia photo)

December 16, 17, and 19, 1993, Orchestra Hall
WEBERN Passacaglia for Orchestra, Op. 1
WEBERN Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
WEBERN Concerto, Op. 24
Richard Graef, flute
Michael Henoch, oboe
Larry Combs, clarinet
Gail Williams, horn
William Scarlett, trumpet
Jay Friedman, trombone
Samuel Magad, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
Mary Sauer, piano
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 (Great)

January 26, 27, and 31, 1995, Orchestra Hall
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 6 in C Major, D. 589
ORFF Carmina burana
Janet Williams, soprano
Frank Lopardo, tenor
Bo Skovhus, baritone
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Chicago Children’s Choir
William Chin, director

February 2, 4, and 5, 1995
MOZART Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
SCHOENBERG Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9
Richard Graef, flute
Michael Henoch, oboe
Grover Schiltz, English horn
Larry Combs, clarinet
John Bruce Yeh, clarinet
J. Lawrie Bloom, bass clarinet
Willard Elliot, bassoon
Burl Lane, contrabassoon
Dale Clevenger, horn
Gail Williams, horn
Rubén González, violin
Joseph Golan, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
John Sharp, cello
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
WAGNER Siegfried Idyll
Donald Peck, flute
Michael Henoch, oboe
Larry Combs, clarinet
Gregory Smith, clarinet
Bruce Grainger, bassoon
Dale Clevenger, horn
Gail Williams, horn
Adolph Herseth, trumpet
Rubén González, violin
Joseph Golan, violin
Charles Pikler, viola
John Sharp, cello
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
MOZART Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 (Jupiter)

June 22 and 23, 1995, Ravinia Festival
WAGNER Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3, C minor, Op. 37
Emanuel Ax, piano
GERSHWIN An American in Paris
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34

June 24, 1995, Ravinia Festival
PUCCINI Tosca
Floria Tosca Elizabeth Holleque, soprano
Mario Cavaradossi Richard Leech, tenor
Baron Scarpia Sergei Leiferkus, baritone
Angelotti Stephen Morscheck, bass-baritone
Sacristan David Evitts, baritone
Spoletta Matthew Polenzani, tenor
Sciarrone Victor Benedetti, baritone
Jailer Mark McCrory, bass-baritone
A Young Shepherd Suzanne Shields, soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Lisa Sirvatka, director

June 27, 1995, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Tragic Overture, Opus 81
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
Ralph Kirshbaum, cello
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

January 18, 19, and 20, 1996, Orchestra Hall
SCHUBERT Overture to Rosamunde, D. 644
SCHUBERT Symphony in B Minor, D. 759 (Unfinished)
STRAUSS Domestic Symphony, Op. 53

Zubin Mehta in 2007 (Oded Antman photo)

February 20, 21, 22, and 25, 1997, Orchestra Hall
LUTOSŁAWSKI Symphony No. 4
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (Eroica)

February 27, 28, and March 1, 1997, Orchestra Hall
KORNGOLD Suite from Much Ado About Nothing
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 2
Yefim Bronfman, piano
MENDELSSOHN Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20

February 18, 20, and 22, 1998, Orchestra Hall
WAGNER A Faust Overture
HINDEMITH Symphony, Mathis der Maler
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
Daniel Barenboim, piano

February 26, 27, 28, and March 3, 1998, Orchestra Hall
CRUMB Ancient Voices of Children
Barbara Ann Martin, soprano
R. Anton Briones, boy soprano
Alex Klein, oboe and harmonica
Frederic Chrislip, mandolin and musical saw
Sarah Bullen, harp
Mary Sauer, electric piano and toy piano
Gordon Peters, percussion
Patricia Dash, percussion
Edward Atkatz, percussion
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major (Romantic)

February 8, 9, and 10, 2001, Orchestra Hall
BERLIOZ The Trojans, Op. 29, Part 1: The Fall of Troy
Cassandra Deborah Voigt, soprano
Chorebus Roman Trekel, baritone
Aeneas Jon Villars, tenor
Ascanius Nancy Pifer, soprano
Hecuba Stacy Eckert, mezzo-soprano
Helenus James Cornelison, tenor
Panthus and A Soldier Timothy J. Quistorff, baritone
Priam, Spirit of Hector, and Greek Captain Andrew Funk, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director

April 4, 5, and 6, 2002, Orchestra Hall
STRAVINSKY Fireworks, Op. 4
STRAVINSKY Circus Polka
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63
Nikolaj Znaider, violin
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

April 11, 12, and 13, 2002, Orchestra Hall
BERLIOZ The Trojans, Op. 29, Part 2: The Trojans at Carthage
Dido Nadja Michael, mezzo-soprano
Anna Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano
Ascanius Meredith Barber, soprano
Spirit of Cassandra Stacy Eckert, mezzo-soprano
Aeneas Jon Villars, tenor
Iopas Nicholas Phan, tenor
Hylas Michael Sommese, tenor
Mercury and Spirit of Chorebus Michael Brauer, baritone
First Sentinel and Spirit of Hector Timothy J. Quistorff, baritone
Second Sentinel and Sprit of Priam Terry Cook, bass
Narbal Stephen Milling, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director

February 24, 2006, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15
Daniel Barenboim, piano

Happy, happy birthday!

Isaac Stern in 1945 (Hulton Archive, Getty Images photo)

On July 21, 2020, we commemorate the centennial of legendary Russian-born American violinist Isaac Stern.

Stern first appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on January 11 and 12, 1940, in Orchestra Hall. Second music director Frederick Stock conducted an all-Sibelius program, and nineteen-year-old Stern was soloist in the Violin Concerto.

According to the Chicago Daily News, “Dr. Frederick Stock had been invited to conduct the Sibelius concert with the Helsingfors Orchestra [arranged when Stock visited Sibelius in Finland the previous summer] as a special feature of the Olympic Games.* But Finland has had to abandon peacetime pursuits and now Isaac [Stern] can thank the Russian regime for both his American citizenship and the chance to play the Sibelius D minor concerto with one of the world’s great orchestras.”

“True to the topsy-turvy condition of the world we live in, while the Finns are playing havoc with the Russians, at home a Russian-born violinist, young Isaac Stern, was the sensation of Mr. Stock’s memorable Sibelius concert at Orchestra Hall last night,” wrote Claudia Cassidy in the Journal of Commerce. “[Stern] has a commanding and comprehensive technique, a bold and beautiful tone never blatant and he has an urgent intensity of projection that seems to start in his firmly planted heels and flow like fire into the hands that make his music. . . . Stock’s accompaniment was brilliant in the perceptive richness that makes so many soloists prefer him to any other conductor.”

Over the course of nearly sixty years, Stern was one of the most frequent guests with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—in Orchestra Hall, the Ravinia Festival, the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, and in Carnegie Hall, performing under six music directors (Stock, Rafael Kubelík, Fritz Reiner, Jean Martinon, Sir Georg Solti, and Daniel Barenboim) and numerous guest conductors—and in recital at Orchestra Hall.

A complete list of his performances with the Orchestra is below:

January 11 and 12, 1940, Orchestra Hall
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Frederick Stock, conductor

January 11 and 12, 1940

November 27 and 28, 1941, Orchestra Hall
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Hans Lange, conductor

November 9, 1943, Orchestra Hall
PAGANINI Allegro maestoso from Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6
Hans Lange, conductor

November 11 and 12, 1943, Orchestra Hall
SZYMANOWSKI Concerto in One Movement, Op. 61
RAVEL Tzigane
Hans Lange, conductor

July 15, 1948, Ravinia Festival
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Fritz Busch, conductor

July 18, 1948, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Fritz Busch, conductor

December 14, 1948, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19
Tauno Hannikainen, conductor

March 31 and April 1, 1955, Orchestra Hall

December 16 and 17, 1948, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Eugene Ormandy, conductor

December 12, 1950, Orchestra Hall
LALO Symphonie espagnole in D Minor, Op. 21
Rafael Kubelík, conductor

December 14 and 15, 1950, Orchestra Hall
December 18, 1950, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Rafael Kubelík, conductor

July 26, 1952, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Otto Klemperer, conductor

July 31, 1952, Ravinia Festival
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Otto Klemperer, conductor

March 19 and 20, 1953, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Rafael Kubelík, conductor

March 24, 1953, Orchestra Hall
VIEUXTEMPS Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 31
Rafael Kubelík, conductor

March 31 and April 1, 1955, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Fritz Reiner, conductor

April 12, 1955, Orchestra Hall
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Fritz Reiner, conductor

August 5, 1955, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Enrique Jordá, conductor

July 2, 1959, Ravinia Festival

August 6, 1955, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Leonard Rose, cello
Enrique Jordá, conductor

November 22 and 23, 1956, Orchestra Hall
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19
Fritz Reiner, conductor

November 27, 1956, Orchestra Hall
WIENIAWSKI Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 22
Fritz Reiner, conductor

July 13, 1957, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Pierre Monteux, conductor

July 14, 1957, Ravinia Festival
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Pierre Monteux, conductor

October 28, 1958, Orchestra Hall
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Fritz Reiner, conductor

October 30 and 31, 1958, Orchestra Hall
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63
Fritz Reiner, conductor

June 30, 1959, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Pierre Monteux, conductor

July 2, 1959, Ravinia Festival
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Pierre Monteux, conductor

Isaac Stern (William T. Haroutounian photo)

March 31 and April 1, 1960, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Romance for Violin in F Major, Op. 50
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216
Fritz Reiner, conductor

April 13 and 14, 1961, Orchestra Hall
BARTÓK Violin Concerto No. 2
Fritz Reiner, conductor

August 1, 1961, Ravinia Festival
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Izler Solomon, conductor

August 3, 1961, Ravinia Festival
BARTÓK Violin Concerto No. 1
VIOTTI Violin Concerto No. 22 in A Minor
Izler Solomon, conductor

March 1, 2 and 3, 1962, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Major, K. 207
BARTÓK Rhapsody No. 1
Jean Martinon, conductor

January 24, 25 and 26, 1963, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Josef Krips, conductor

June 29, 1965, Ravinia Festival
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Seiji Ozawa, conductor

Claudio Abbado, Martha Gilmer, Yo-Yo Ma, and Isaac Stern onstage at Orchestra Hall during recording sessions for Brahms’s Double Concerto in November 1986 (Jim Steere photo)

July 1, 1965, Ravinia Festival
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Seiji Ozawa, conductor

July 3, 1965, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
BEETHOVEN Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C Major, Op. 56 (Triple)
Leonard Rose, cello
Seiji Ozawa, piano and conductor

March 31, April 1, and 2, 1966, Orchestra Hall
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53
Seiji Ozawa, conductor

January 19, 20 and 21, 1967, Orchestra Hall
HINDEMITH Violin Concerto
Jean Martinon, conductor

February 13 and 14, 1969, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Rondo in C Major, K. 373
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19
Irwin Hoffman, conductor

October 2 and 3, 1969, Orchestra Hall
October 6, 1969, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor

April 15, 16, and 17, 1971, Orchestra Hall
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Georg Solti, conductor

November 22, 24, and 25, 1972, Orchestra Hall
December 9, 1972, Carnegie Hall
BARTÓK Violin Concerto No. 2
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

April 10, 11, and 12, 1975, Orchestra Hall
ROCHBERG Violin Concerto and Orchestra
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

July 31, 1976, Ravinia Festival
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Andrew Davis, conductor

March 2, 3, and 4, 1978, Orchestra Hall
March 6, 1978, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor

March 28, 29, and 30, 1985, Orchestra Hall
BARTÓK Violin Concerto No. 2
Sir Georg Solti, conductor

November 5 and 7, 1986, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat Major, K. 364 (performed by violin and cello)
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Isaac Stern and music director designate Daniel Barenboim following the Centennial Gala concert on October 6, 1990 (Jim Steere photo)

November 6 and 8, 1986, Orchestra Hall
BRAHMS Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102 (Double)
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall on November 7 and 8, 1986. For CBS Masterworks, Bud Graham was the control engineer, Tom MacCluskey was the editing engineer, and Tim Geelan was the post-production engineer.

October 6, 1990, Orchestra Hall (Centennial Gala)
MOZART Rondo in C Major, K. 373
Leonard Slatkin, conductor

May 23, 24, 25, and 28, 1991, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

September 16, 1992, Orchestra Hall
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

October 1, 2, and 3, 1992, Orchestra Hall
BARTÓK Violin Concerto No. 1
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Under the auspices of Allied Arts and Symphony Center Presents, Stern also appeared in recital and with ensembles on several occasions in Orchestra Hall, as follows:

Program book advertisement for the November 19, 1969, Allied Arts concert in Orchestra Hall

November 14, 1948
Alexander Zakin, piano

October 8, 1950
Alexander Zakin, piano

March 2, 1958
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
National Symphony Orchestra
Howard Mitchell, conductor

June 1, 1963
Alexander Zakin, piano

April 5, 1964
Alexander Zakin, piano

November 27, 1966
Leonard Rose, cello
Eugene Istomin, piano

May 5, 1968
Leonard Rose, cello
Eugene Istomin, piano

April 27, 1969
Leonard Rose, cello
Eugene Istomin, piano

November 18, 1969
Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Zakin, piano

May 17, 1970
Leonard Rose, cello
Eugene Istomin, piano

February 14, 1971
Alexander Zakin, piano

Program book advertisement for the November 19, 1969, Allied Arts concert in Orchestra Hall

November 4, 1979
David Golub, piano

March 26, 1990
DUTILLEUX L’arbre de songes
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
David Zinman, conductor

December 9, 1990
Jaime Laredo, viola
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Emanuel Ax, piano

April 18, 1993
Cho-Liang Lin, violin
Jaime Laredo, viola
Michael Tree, viola
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Sharon Robinson, cello

December 8, 1996
Philip Setzer, violin
Lawrence Dutton, viola
Lynn Harrell, cello
Yefim Bronfman, piano

February 25, 1998
Jaime Laredo, viola
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Emanuel Ax, piano

*On July 16, 1938, a year after the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, it was announced that the 1940 Summer Olympics would not be held in Tokyo, as originally scheduled. The International Olympic Committee then awarded the games to Helsinki, the runner-up city in the original bidding process. However, following the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939, the Olympic Games were indefinitely suspended and did not resume until 1948.

Emanuel Ax in 1980 (Nick Sangiamo photo)

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

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

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

Emanuel Ax in 2016 (Lisa Marie Mazzucco photo)

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

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

Happy, happy birthday!

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Fantasia 2000

Between 1993 and 1996, James Levine conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in recording sessions at Medinah Temple for Fantasia 2000, the long-awaited sequel to Disney’s classic Fantasia from 1940. Levine led extended excerpts from Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto no. 2 with Yefim Bronfman, Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals with pianists Gail Niwa and Philip Sabransky (both children of CSO members), Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance marches with soprano Kathleen Battle and the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and Stravinsky’s The Firebird.

The movie was released on New Year’s Day 2000, and Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert described the IMAX version “not just as a film, but as an event.” He continued, “Movies like this renew my faith that the future of the cinema lies not in the compromises of digital projection, but by leaping over the limitations of digital into the next generation of film technology.”

This article also appears here.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra notes with sorrow the passing of violinist Jacques Israelievitch, who served the Orchestra as assistant concertmaster from 1972 until 1978. He died on September 5, 2015, at the age of 67.

Jacques Israelievitch 1972

A graduate of Indiana University where he was a student of Josef Gingold, twenty-three-year-old Israelievitch was hired by Sir Georg Solti in June 1972, to succeed Samuel Magad, who recently had assumed the position of co-concertmaster.

Born in Cannes, France, Israelievitch received first prize at the Conservatory of Le Mans at the age of eleven. Admitted to the Paris Conservatory when he was thirteen, he graduated three years later with first prizes in violin, chamber music, and solfège, and the following year he received a license of concert from the École Normale de Musique in Paris.

After winning one of the top awards in the Paganini Competition in Genoa, Italy (where he was the youngest contestant) he was advised by his sponsor Henryk Szeryng to attend Indiana University as a student of Gingold. During his time in Indiana, Israelievitch also studied chamber music with William Primrose and János Starker.

Following his years in Chicago, Israelievitch served as concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra for ten years and then as concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for twenty years. He taught at the Chautauqua Institution and was on the faculties of the University of Toronto and York University. Music director of the Koffler Chamber Orchestra from 2005, Israelievitch also appeared as guest conductor with several orchestras in the United States and Canada. He was violinist for the New Arts Trio; and he performed chamber music with Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, and Yo-Yo Ma. His discography comprises more than 100 albums, including the first complete recording of Rodolphe Kreutzer’s Forty-two Studies or Caprices for the Violin.

Edgar and Nancy Muenzer, Israelievitch, and Samuel and Miriam Magad at the June 3, 2011, CSO Alumni Association reunion (Dan Rest photo)

Edgar and Nancy Muenzer, Israelievitch, and Samuel and Miriam Magad at the June 3, 2011, CSO Alumni Association reunion (Dan Rest photo)

In 2004 the French government named Israelievitch an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. He also was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award for his distinguished contribution to the performing arts in Canada, and recently in August he was presented the Insignia of the Order of Canada in a private ceremony at his home.

Services have been held. Israelievitch is survived by his wife, Gabrielle; three sons, David (of Seattle), Michael (of San Francisco) and Joshua (of Northern California); and two grandchildren. His son Michael had just been named acting principal timpanist of the San Francisco Symphony.

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