Established in 2013, the CSO Latino Alliance is dedicated to creating awareness, sharing insights and building relationships among the Chicago area’s diverse communities. As part of its mission, the Alliance hosts concerts, receptions and educational events throughout the year.

For its first event of the 2015-16 season, the Alliance presented a pre-concert reception Sept. 29 at Symphony Center’s Club 8; after the reception, members and guests attended the CSO performance of a Mediterranean-themed program, led by Riccardo Muti, the CSO’s music director, and featuring guest harpist Xavier de Maistre in Orchestra Hall.

Loida Rosario, who co-chairs the CSO Latino Alliance, along with Ramiro J. Atristaín-Carrión, shared her impressions of the night, which showcased Chabrier’s España, Ginastera’s Harp Concerto, Charpentier’s Impressions of Italy and Ravel’s Boléro:

The evening rose in a crescendo that paralleled that of the program’s featured work, Ravel’s Boléro. Beginning in absolute silence, with each tender drumstick beat hardly hearable, the orchestra rose softly in volume as the featured woodwinds caressed the notes. It was probably the best rendition of Boléro I ever heard; on my way home I did not want to turn on the radio and distract my auditory memories from that night’s musical feast.

Young French-born harpist Xavier de Maistre clearly affirmed why he has won world acclaim; principal percussionist Cynthia Yeh demonstrated her perfect drumming as the accomplished orchestra, conducted by the precise hands of Maestro Muti, filled the night with sound and spirit.

Preceding the performance, the CSO Latino Alliance hosted an intimate reception at Club 8. Friends of the city’s music, arts and Hispanic communities enjoyed the comments by Gerard McBurney, creative director of the CSO’s Beyond the Score series, as he described the upcoming musical voyage of the evening’s program. He explained how Maestro Muti carefully selected complementary tunes with a Latin flavor, starting with Chabrier’s España, followed by the Argentinian-born Ginastera’s Harp Concerto and ending with the pinnacle performance of Ravel’s Boléro — which is more Spanish- and Caribbean-influenced, McBurney said, than most like to believe.

The CSO Latino Alliance’s next event is Dec. 10, a Noche Navideña-themed evening featuring the CSO in Handel’s Messiah. To learn more about the event or the CSO Latino Alliance, please call (773) 463-3197 or contact Annet Miranda ( or check out the CSO Latino Alliance’s Facebook page.

TOP: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under Riccardo Muti, performs Ravel’s Boléro at Orchestra Hall earlier this season. | Todd Rosenberg Photography