Among the conductors and guest artists making debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the 2019-20 season:


Kirill Karabits, Oct. 10-12: The Ukrainian conductor makes his CSO subscription debut in a program of Prokofiev, Mendelssohn and Lutosławski. Ceelebrating his 10th anniversary as chief conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra during the 2018-19 season, he also is music director of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle Weimar, and has worked with many of the leading ensembles of Europe, Asia, and North America.

Julian Rachlin, Oct. 17-20: The Lithuanian-born conductor, violinist and violist is one of the most respected musicians of his generation. For 30 years he has performed as soloist with the world’s leading conductors and orchestras. Recently he has achieved acclaim as a conductor, and is principal guest conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra. He makes his CSO conducting debut in a program that includes Four Seasons by both Vivaldi and Astor Piazzolla.

Hannu Lintu, Feb. 27-29: Now in his sixth year as chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish born maestro regularly directs orchestra across the world, and is a particular champion of artists and composers from his homeland, Finland. He makes his CSO debut with Sibelius’ Finlandia and Symphony No. 5, and Nielsen’s Violin Concerto (with Pekka Kuusisto) and Helios Overture.

André de Ridder, March 12, 14 and 17: At home in a whole range of musical genres, but has established a reputation as a conductor of new classical music, working with orchestras in England and across Europe. He makes his CSO subscription debut with a program that includes Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, A Symphonic Picture, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major and Boléro.

Jonathan Stockhammer, May 14 and 16:  The conductor has worked in a range of genres, from hip-hop to pop to classical. He makes his CSO debut with an all-Tchaikovsky program, including Capriccio italien, the Violin Concerto featuring CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen as soloist, Marche slave, and selections from The Nutcracker.


Sunwook Kim, Oct. 10-12: At 18, the Korean pianist came to international recognition when he won the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006. Since then, he has established a reputation as one of the finest young pianists, appearing as soloist with some of the world’s leading orchestras. He makes his CSO debut in Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Capriccio brillant, under guest conductor Kirill Karabits.

Ray Chen, Dec. 5-7 and 10: The Australian violinist won international attention after winning the Yehudi Menuhin (2008) and Queen Elisabeth (2009) competitions. Since then, he has performed across the world, building a profile in Europe, Asia and the United States, as well as in his native Australia. After performing with the CSO at Ravinia, he makes his subscription debut in Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, directed by John Storgårds.

Jan Lisiecki, Dec. 12-14: The Canadian pianist has won acclaim for his interpretive maturity, distinctive sound and poetic sensibility. Known for his interpretations of Chopin and Schumann, the 23-year-old pianist debuts with the CSO in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, conducted by Manfred Honeck.

Pekka Kuusisto, Feb. 27-29: The Finnish violinist brings energy, humor and a risk-taking spirit to his performances. Kuusisto, artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective, and an artistic partner with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, makes his CSO debut with Nielsen’s Violin Concerto, led by conductor Hannu Lintu.

Bertrand Chamayou, March 5-7: Known for his vast repertoire,  the French pianist has undertaken marathon recitals of the complete works of Ravel and Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus. He makes his CSO debut in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23.

Joseph Moog, April 16-18 and 21: The Grammy-nominated German pianist is a champion of both masterworks and rare repertoire, and regularly appears with the finest orchestras across Europe. He makes his debut in Strauss’ Burlesque, led by Emmanuel Krivine.

Beatrice Rana, May 21-23 and 26: The Italian-born artist made her solo debut on the SCP Piano series in the 2018-19 season. Known for her bold and fresh musical approach, she makes her CSO debut in Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D Minor and Keyboard Concerto No. 5 in F Minor, conducted by Bernard Labadie.


Sally Matthews, Nov. 21-24: The English soprano has appeared regularly at opera houses across Europe, in roles by Stravinsky, Mozart and Strauss. Matthews also sings with orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio Symphony. She makes her CSO debut in Two Scenes from Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra, led by guest conductor Juanjo Mena.

Piero Pretti, Feb. 6-8: Hailed for his work in operas by Puccini and Verdi, the Italian tenor recently has performed at the Vienna Staatsoper, Paris Oper, and Bayerische Staatsoper. He makes his CSO debut under Riccardo Muti in a concert presentation of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana.

Iestyn Davies, March 26-28: Celebrated for the beauty and dexterity of his voice and for his intelligent musicianship, the British countertenor is equally at home in Baroque music as well as contemporary opera. He makes his CSO debut in arias from Handel’s operas and oratorios in a concert led by early music specialist Nicholas Kraemer.

Benjamin Bliss, May 7-9: The winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016 Martin E. Segal Award, the American tenor is known for his Mozart roles and made his Met debut in The Abduction from the Seraglio. He makes his CSO debut in Orff’s Carmina burana, conducted by Alain Altinoglu. (May 7, 8, and 9, 2020)

Elliot Madore, May 7-9: The Canadian baritone has been recognized for his performances as Pelléas in Debussy’s Pelléas et Melisande, performing the role on several continents. A rising star, with recent debut appearances across Europe and the United States, he makes his CSO debut in Orff’s Carmina burana, conducted by Alain Altinoglu.

Elena Sancho-Pereg, May 7-9: Last year she was named Young Artist of the Year by Opernwelt and Opera Actual magazines, and she has made recent debuts at the Bavarian State Opera and Rome Opera, among others. She makes her CSO debut in Orff’s Carmina burana, conducted by Alain Altinoglu.

Jennifer Johnson Cano, June 18-21: The American mezzo-soprano has given over 100 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, recently in works by Wagner and Verdi. Acclaimed for her commanding stage presence and profound artistry, she also is a dedicated recitalist and chamber musician. Cano makes her CSO debut in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Muti.

Daniel Johansson, June 18-21: The Swedish tenor has had a very successful career in his homeland, including recognition as a court singer by Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf in June 2018. Recently he has appeared across Europe, particularly in operas by Wagner and Strauss. He makes his CSO debut in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Muti.

Franz-Josef Selig, June 18-21: The German bass has established himself as one of the best-known performers of dramatic bass roles by Wagner, Mozart and Verdi. He has performed at opera houses across Germany, Europe and the United States. Chicago audiences last heard him at Lyric Opera in The Magic Flute in 2005. Selig makes his CSO subscription debut in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Muti.

Elena Stikhina, June 18-21: The Russian soprano made her U.S. debut in November at the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of Suor Angelica in Puccini’s Il Trittico. A finalist in Placido Domingo’s Operalia competition, she maintains a close relationship with St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. Stikhina makes her CSO debut in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Muti.