For the 2015/16 season, Riccardo Muti will lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 11 weeks of subscription concerts over five residencies, with appearances in September and October, December, February, April and June. In addition, he will conduct the CSO on a three-city U.S. tour in October and a three-week tour of Asia in January 2016 — their first together there.
Of particular note in 2015/16 are concert performances of Verdi’s final opera, Falstaff, to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. Recognized as one of the greatest living interpreters of Verdi’s work, Muti completes his CSO traversal of Verdi’s Shakespeare-inspired operas — Otello in 2011 and Macbeth in 2013 — with three performance of Falstaff.
Throughout the 125th anniversary season, Muti leads wide-ranging repertoire by Charpentier, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Ginastera, Bruckner, Ligeti and Corigliano, among others.
Other highlights of the CSO’s 2015/16 season include 125 free community concerts; the appointment of two new Mead Composers-in-Residence, Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek; world premiere performances of CSO-commissioned works by Pascal Dusapin and Elizabeth Ogonek; explorations of works by Bernstein, Falla and Janáček in the CSO’s multimedia Beyond the Score series, and one-night only appearances by superstar pianists Evgeny Kissin and Lang Lang with the CSO.
Three one-night only programs led by Muti will launch the CSO’s 125th anniversary season:
Sept. 17: The season’s first subscription concert will consist of Liszt’s From the Cradle to the Grave, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
Sept. 18: A free Concert for Chicago features the CSO in Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion. This performance marks Muti and the CSO’s sixth free community concert together, and their fourth in Millennium Park.
Sept. 19: At the annual gala concert, Symphony Ball, Muti will conduct Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition; John Corigliano’s Campane di Ravello, which received its world premiere by the CSO in 1987, and Elgar’s In the South (Alassio), a work the CSO gave its U.S. premiere in 1904.
Regular subscription series programs led by Muti feature CSO debuts by renowned soloists, performances of world premieres and reprises of works that received their world or U.S. premieres by the CSO during its 125-year history.
Sept. 24-26 and 29: Muti welcomes French harpist Xavier de Maistre for his CSO debut in Ginastera’s Concerto for Harp and Orchestra as part of a program with French and Spanish influences. Also featured are Chabrier’s España, Ravel’s Boléro and Charpentier’s Impressions of Italy, of which the CSO gave the U.S. premiere in 1893.
Oct. 1-3: Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes returns to the CSO with Muti conducting Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20. Muti also leads Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, Hindemith’s Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass, and Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite, which received its U.S. premiere in 1918 by the CSO.
Dec. 3-5: Muti conducts the CSO, the Chorus and pianist Kirill Gerstein in Scriabin’s Prometheus, a work that received its U.S. premiere by the CSO in 1915. Opening the program is Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Symphony No. 8. The performance on December 5 will mark Muti’s 250th concert with the CSO.
Feb. 11-13 and 16: CSO Principal Clarinet Stephen Williamson will make his solo debut under the baton of Muti in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. Also on the program are Ligeti’s Ramifications and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for String Orchestra, as well as the world premiere of a CSO-commissioned work by newly appointed Mead Composer-in-Residence Elizabeth Ogonek.