Acclaimed actor and Illinois native John Malkovich will join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under Riccardo Muti, in Copland’s Lincoln Portrait in subscription concerts April 12-14 and 17 at Symphony Center. In this work, the two-time Oscar nominee and a founding member of Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre will recite text drawn from the writings and speeches of President Abraham Lincoln, including the Gettysburg Address, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and his annual messages to Congress.
For his orchestral homage, Copland also referenced folk songs of Lincoln’s era, including “Camptown Races” and “Springfield Mountain.” “I hoped to suggest something of the mysterious sense of fatality that surrounds Lincoln’s personality,” Copland once said of the work, which received its premiere by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on May 19, 1942. “The challenge was to compose something simple, yet interesting enoughto fit Lincoln.”
Recognized as one of the most distinguished actors of his generation, Malkovich has won coveted Drama Desk and Obie Awards for Steppenwolf productions remounted on New York stages. Along with his best supporting actor Oscar nominations for “Places in the Heart” (1984) and “In the Line of Fire” (1993), he’s known for his self-referential, tour-de-force performance in “Being John Malkovich” (1999). He also won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Biff Loman in the 1985 television adaptation of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.”
Since January 2015, Malkovich has been touring worldwide in “Report on the Blind,” a mixed-media performance of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and Strings, which features the actor reciting text from the novel On Heroes and Tombs by Argentinian writer Ernesto Sabato. More recently, Malkovich has collaborated on the classical music/theater piece “The Music Critic,” which garnered critical and audience acclaim.
Other works on this CSO program include Dvořák Symphony No. 9 (From the New World) and Lyric for Strings by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.