When Gil Shaham joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for four performances of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto last fall, he treated the audience to a different encore each night. For the Dec. 2 concert, Shaham surprised longtime CSO violist Max Raimi, who’s also a composer, by performing as an encore his Anger Management, an etude Raimi wrote several years ago for solo viola and later transcribed for violin.

“When Gil was in town, I figured I had nothing to lose and gave him the music to one of the etudes,” said Raimi, whose Three Lisel Mueller Settings will receive its world premiere in CSO concerts March 22-24 under Riccardo Muti. “This was on Thursday night. To my astonishment, he learned it and was able to perform it brilliantly by Saturday. Some of these guys are just a different species than I am.”

So when Shaham returns to Symphony Center in recital with pianist Akira Eguchi for an SCP Chamber Music event March 18, expect the unexpected when it comes to the encores. Given that Raimi has written more than 60 works since 1981, another surprise wouldn’t be a stretch.

TOP: Gil Shaham plays Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in concerts last fall. | Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017