Daniel Barenboim, the CSO’s ninth music director, and Bernard Haitink, former CSO principal conductor, lead off a list of acclaimed maestros returning to the Symphony Center podium next season. Also returning are distinguished guest instrumentalists and vocalists, from Emanuel Ax to Mitsuko Uchida.


David Afkham, March 7-10: The German-born guest conductor, who made his CSO debut in 2016, returns for a program of Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 with Nicholas Angelich as soloist.

Marin Alsop, Oct. 18-20: Returning to the CSO after her critically acclaimed subscription debut in 2015, the American conductor leads a program that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice, along with a new work by French composer Bruno Mantovani and works by Frank Bridge and Aaron Copland.

Daniel Barenboim, Nov. 1-3: The former CSO music director returns for the first time in more than a decade to lead the orchestra in Smetana’s Má vlast, a set of six symphonic poems inspired by the composer’s homeland. He also leads his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra of young professionals in an SCP Special Concert on Nov. 5.

Mikko Franck, May 16-18 and 21, 2019: The Finnish conductor leads a program featuring Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony and Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, with Hilary Hahn as soloist. Rautavaara’s A Requiem in Our Time opens the program.

Bernard Haitink, Oct. 25, 27 and 30: The CSO’s principal conductor from 2006 to 2010 returns to lead the orchestra in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6. A renowned Bruckner interpreter, Haitink previously conducted the CSO in the composer’s fourth, seventh, eighth and ninth symphonies. The program also features Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto with Paul Lewis.

Pablo Heras-Casado, Feb. 14 and 16-17: The Spanish-born conductor leads an all-Russian program featuring Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 (Winter Dreams) and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Simon Trpčeski, the latter in his first CSO appearance at Symphony Center since 2008.

Emmanuel Krivine, April 11-13: The music director of the French National Orchestra leads a performance of Zemlinsky’s The Mermaid, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor makes his CSO debut in Chopin’s First Piano Concerto; Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture opens the program.

Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Oct. 11-14: The music Director of the Houston Symphony and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra returns after his acclaimed 2016 CSO debut to lead the orchestra, Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, an ode to the glories of the natural world.

Matthias Pintscher, May 30-31 and June 1: The music director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain and principal conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy, he is equally accomplished as a conductor and composer. Pintscher leads the CSO in its first-ever collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet, dancing in two Stravinsky works, the Suite from Pulcinella and the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto.

Esa-Pekka Salonen, March 28-30 and April 2: The award-winning conductor-composer returns for his annual CSO appearance. His program features Bartók’s one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle, in its first CSO performances since 2010, this time with soloists Michelle DeYoung (mezzo-soprano) and John Relyea (bass). Richard Strauss’s symphonic poem Also sprach Zarathustra completes the program.

Michael Tilson Thomas, Dec. 13-15: The American maestro, who made his CSO podium debut in 1981, leads an all-Russian program of Stravinsky’s Concerto in D Major, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with English violinist Nicola Benedetti in her subscription concert debut.

Bramwell Tovey, Jan. 10-12: The British-born conductor leads a program of music from both sides of the Atlantic. Elgar’s Enigma Variations joins Ives’ Variations on “America,” which takes inspiration from “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” American baritone Thomas Hampson joins the CSO and Tovey for a selection of American songs by Copland, Corigliano and Ives.

Osmo Vänskä, March 21 and 23: Making his first CSO podium appearance since 2012, the Finnish conductor leads Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (Scottish) and fellow countryman Sibelius’ Night Ride and Sunrise. Violinist Vadim Gluzman joins the orchestra for Bruch’s First Violin Concerto.


• Emanuel Ax (April 18-20 and 23, 2019)
• David Fray (Oct. 4-6)
• Daniil Trifonov (Oct. 18-20)
• Simon Trpčeski (Feb. 14, 16-17)
• Mitsuko Uchida (May 9-11)
• Paul Lewis (Oct. 25, 27 and 30)

• Lisa Batiashvili (April 4-6)
• Vadim Gluzman (March 21 and 23)
• Hilary Hahn (May 16-18 and 21)
• Robert Chen (Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1 and 4)

• Gautier Capuçon (April 25-27)

• Jennifer Gunn (March 14-16)

Bass trombone
• Charles Vernon (June 13-15)

• Daniela Barcellona, mezzo-soprano (Nov. 8-10)
• Dmitry Belosselskiy, bass (Nov. 8-10)
• Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano (Dec. 20-23)
• Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano (March 28-30 and April 2)
• Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano (May 2-4 and 7)
• Amanda Forsythe, soprano (Dec. 20-23)
• Thomas Hampson, baritone (Jan. 10-12)
• Mika Kares, bass (Feb. 21-23)
• Sara Mingardo, contralto (Feb. 21-23)
• Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano (Oct. 11-14)
• Nicholas Phan, tenor (Dec. 20-23)
• Saimir Pirgu, tenor (Feb. 21-23)
• John Relyea, bass (March 28-30 and April 2)
• Krassimira Stoyanova, soprano (June 21, 23 and 25)

TOP: Former music director Daniel Barenboim returns to Symphony Center for the first time since 2006. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography