The Civic Orchestra of Chicago, which celebrates its centennial in 2018-19, has released additional details of its programming this season. The training ensemble of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Civic will present 12 concerts, with nine at Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall, two at the South Shore Cultural Center and a season opener at Millennium Park, in a joint performance Sept. 20 with the CSO, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
To commemorate its centennial season, the Civic will perform 11 world premieres: a co-commission with the Britt Festival Orchestra, nine works by current and former students of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago, and and a piece co-created by Civic musicians with Mocrep, a Chicago-based performance collective. The season also features the fifth annual Bach Marathon on Nov. 14.
Founded in 1919 by the CSO’s second music director, Frederick Stock, the Civic has trained more than 5,000 musicians. Several former and 14 current members of the CSO are Civic alumni, and many other alumni are members of other leading orchestras. The Civic is a project of the CSO’s Negaunee Music Institute.
Details of the Civic’s 2018-19 season follow: all concerts are at Orchestra Hall, unless otherwise noted.
Thursday, Sept. 20, 6:30 p.m., Riccardo Muti leads the Civic in a side-by-side concert with the CSO in Millennium Park in Rossini’s Overture to William Tell, Verdi’s The Four Seasons from I vespri siciliani and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
Monday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m., the Civic Orchestra Brass performs selections from Wagner’s Ring cycle, arranged by Tim Higgins, principal trombone of the San Francisco Symphony, for brass, percussion and organ. CSO Principal Trombone Jay Friedman, an active conductor and a Civic alumnus, leads the concert.
Tuesday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m., Erina Yashima, the CSO’s Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice, leads the Civic in All These Lighted Things, a series of three dances by former CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Elizabeth Ogonek (commissioned and premiered by the CSO under Muti in 2017), and Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, notable for three orchestrated hammer blows that symbolize personal setbacks in the composer’s life. The program also will be performed at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr., on Oct. 21.
Wednesday, Nov. 14, the Civic presents its fifth annual Bach Marathon, as it brings J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos to neighborhood venues during the day and culminates with a 7 p.m. concert led by conductor and guest harpsichordist Nicholas Kraemer at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut.
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 8 p.m., Edward Gardner, chief conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic, leads the Civic in Janáček’s Sinfonietta (1926), a colorful work with brass fanfares that was dedicated to the Czech army; Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 4, which opens with a dark, slow first movement and seamlessly flows into a dazzling, faster second movement, and Ravel’s Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloe, first performed by the CSO in 1928 under the composer.
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 8 p.m., Bramwell Tovey, music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, leads the Civic in Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, based on a 16th-century theme; Elgar’s In the South (Alassio), which received its U.S. premiere by the CSO in 1904, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, a programmatic work that the composer described as a characterization of the nature of fate.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 8 p.m., Cliff Colnot, former principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra, returns to lead the Civic in the world premieres of nine works for full orchestra by current and former students of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago (Rodrigo Bussad, Pierce Gradone, Alison Yun-Fei Jiang, Jack Hughes, Maria Kaoutzani, Joungbum Lee, David Clay Mettens, Ted Moore and Will Myers).
Sunday, March 10, 3 p.m., Jay Friedman, CSO principal trombone and Civic alumnus, conducts the Civic at the South Shore Cultural Center in Sibelius’ Four Legends from the Kalevala, Op. 22, and selections from Wagner operas including the Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin, the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, and the Prelude to Parsifal.
Monday, April 1, 6:30 p.m., current Civic members and alumni join acclaimed conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma for a centennial celebration and benefit concert at Symphony Center. Salonen conducts his orchestral work Pollux (2018), and Ma is the soloist in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B Minor. Additional ticket information will be announced at a later date. As part of its centennial celebration, the Civic will host an alumni weekend from March 29 to April 1, with performances in Chicagoland community venues, along with alumni engagement events.
Tuesday, April 30, 8 p.m., making his Civic conducting debut, Nikolaj Znaider, principal guest conductor of the Mariinsky Orchestra, leads the Civic in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.
Sunday, May 12, 8 p.m., Ken-David Masur, assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, leads the Civic in the world premiere of Christopher Cerrone’s percussion concerto featuring members of Third Coast Percussion and Richard Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony, which reflects the composer’s affinity for nature in its depiction of a mountainous journey. Co-commissioned by the Civic and the Oregon-based Britt Festival Orchestra for his new work, Cerrone has collaborated with the Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion, whose members include Civic alumni Robert Dillon and David Skidmore.
Wednesday, June 5, 8 p.m., Michael Christie leads the Civic and singers from Lyric Opera’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center in a program to be announced later.
Every season, Civic members present chamber-music concerts at Buntrock Hall in Symphony Center and in Chicago-area venues. Information about additional Civic chamber music performances will be posted to cso.org as it becomes available.
Friday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., the Civic Orchestra Fellows present their first chamber music performance of the 2018-19 season in Buntrock Hall, with Ewazen’s Pastorale for Trumpet, Bass Trombone and Piano, followed by Britten’s Fantasy for Oboe and String Trio in F Minor and Schubert’s Octet in F Major.
Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m., Civic musicians perform at Buntrock Hall with Mocrep, a Chicago-based performance collective, in the world premiere of a work to be co-created by Mocrep and Civic musicians. Mocrep features three Civic alumni: violinist Amanda Bailey, cellist Alex Ellsworth and clarinetist Zachary Good.