Single tickets for all events presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association in the 2015-16 season will go on sale at 10 a.m. Aug. 7: online at cso.org, by phone (312) 294-3000 or in person at the Symphony Center box office, 220 S. Michigan. Earlier this summer, single tickets became available for certain fall and holiday concerts, but now the entire season is open for non-subscription purchases.
In addition, four events, including three concerts featuring the blockbuster film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), have been added to the Symphony Center calendar since the 2015-16 season was announced in January:
“Raiders of the Lost Ark,” June 30 and July 1-2: To close out its 125th anniversary season, the CSO will perform John Williams’ epic score for Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film that spawned an action-adventure franchise. The screenings mark the 35th anniversary of the iconic title, which stars Harrison Ford as archaeologist Indiana Jones.
Chinese New Year, Feb. 21: This SCP Special Concert, which marks the second annual Chinese New Year celebration concert at Symphony Center, features guest artists from China performing both traditional and contemporary music of China. Artists and program details will be announced later.
Pink Martini, March 25: The eclectic musical group, which last appeared at the hall in 2014, returns for an SCP Special Concert. Founded in 1994 as a retro-vogue “little orchestra,” the group fuses classical, jazz and pop genres for its own unique musical cocktail.
Tallis Scholars, April 5: Dedicated to the performance and extensive recording of Renaissance and contemporary polyphonic choral music, the award-winning British a cappella vocal ensemble returns for an SCP Special Concert, to be presented at the historic Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut, in Chicago.
This fall begins the yearlong celebration of the CSO’s 125th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, the orchestra will perform on almost every subscription program at least one work that had its world or U.S. premiere by the CSO. The CSO concert season kicks off with several one-night-only programs:
Opening night, Sept. 17 (almost sold out): Music Director Riccardo Muti leads the CSO in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and Liszt’s From the Cradle to the Grave.
Concert for Chicago, Sept. 18: The free, annual event, with Muti conducting the CSO in Mahler’s First and Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, returns to the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
Symphony Ball, Sept. 19: For the CSO’s annual fund-raising gala, Muti and the CSO will perform Corigliano’s Campane di Ravello, Elgar’s In the South and Mussorgsky’s Pictures From an Exhibition.
National Brass Ensemble, Sept. 20: Capping the CSO’s opening weekend is a SCP Special Concert by the National Brass Ensemble, which consists of brass players from the world’s leading orchestras, including the CSO, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and more. As a special guest, Riccardo Muti will lead the group in Verdi overtures specially arranged for the ensemble, which also will perform Gabrieli’s Sacrae Symphoniae and a newly commissioned work by Oscar-winning composer John Williams, Music for Brass.
ADDITIONAL CSO CONCERTS
Muti/Boléro, Sept. 24-26 and 29: French harpist Xavier de Maistre, in Ginastera’s Harp Concerto, makes his CSO debut in this Latin-themed program also consisting of Chabrier’s España, Charpentier’s Impressions of Italy and Ravel’s Boléro, conducted by Muti.
Muti & Andsnes, Oct. 1-3: Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes joins Muti and the CSO as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20; also on the program are Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, Hindemith’s Concert Music for Brass and String Orchestra, and Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite.
Bychkov/Brahms, Oct. 8-9 and 13: Frequent guest Semyon Bychkov leads the CSO in a Brahms-themed program featuring the U.S. premiere of Glanert’s Brahms-Fantasie, and Brahms’ Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 1.
Davis and Kissin, Oct. 15: Lyric Opera of Chicago music director Sir Andrew Davis leads a special one-night-only special performance with the CSO and superstar pianist Evgeny Kissin in Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. Also on the program are Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, arranged by Davis, and Stravinsky’s Divertimento, Suite from The Fairy’s Kiss.
Feddeck/Rachmaninov, Oct. 17 and 20: After leading the CSO in two concerts in June at the Morton Arboretum, rising young conductor James Feddeck returns to make his subscription debut in a program featuring Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 and Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, with CSO Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin as soloist.
De Waart/Strauss, Mozart & Adams, Nov. 11-14: The music director of the Milwaukee Symphony, Edo de Waart will lead the CSO in Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks (Nov. 12 and 14 only), Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 (Turkish), with violinist Augustin Hadelich in his CSO debut, and John Adams’ Harmonielehre.
Zukerman/Mozart, Nov. 19-21 and 24: Orchestra Hall favorite Pinchas Zukerman appears as conductor and violin and viola soloist in Mozart’s overture to The Magic Flute, followed by Respighi’s arrangement of Tartini’s Pastorale, Telemann’s Concerto in G Major for Viola and Orchestra, Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor with CSO Associate Concertmaster Stephanie Jeong and Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, K. 543.
Alsop/Gershwin, Nov. 27-29: Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, makes her CSO subscription debut in a program opening with the first CSO performances of Masquerade, composed by former CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Anna Clyne, and closing with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7. Also making his CSO debut is pianist Jon Kimura Parker in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
Muti/Beethoven 8, Dec. 3-5: Riccardo Muti conducts the CSO, the Chorus and pianist Kirill Gerstein in Scriabin’s Prometheus, which 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 Dec. 5 will mark Muti’s 250th concert with the CSO.
Handel’s Messiah, Dec. 10-20: Bernard Labadie, specialist in Baroque and Classical repertoire, leads the CSO, Chorus and vocal soloists in five yuletide performances of Handel’s choral masterpiece, Messiah.
Conlon/Dvořák, Dec. 17-19: Former Ravinia music director James Conlon leads the CSO’s first performance of Czech composer J.B. Vanhal’s Double Bass Concerto in D Major, with CSO Principal Bass Alexander Hanna in his CSO solo debut. Mozart’s Overture to Lucio Silla opens this program, completed by two Dvořák works, The Wild Dove and The Golden Spinning Wheel.
Nott/Haydn & Strauss, Jan. 6-9: British conductor Jonathan Nott returns to lead the CSO in one of its signature works, Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, followed by Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major (with Johannes Moser as soloist) and Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture (Jan. 7-9 only).
Rozhdestvensky/Shostakovich, Feb. 5-6: Returning to the CSO podium for the first time since 1999, Russian maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky leads two symphonies by Shostakovich, Nos. 1 and 15, the composer’s first and last, composed nearly 50 years apart.
Muti/Tchaikovsky & Mozart, Feb. 11-13 and 16: CSO Principal Clarinet Stephen Williamson will make his solo debut under Muti’s baton 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 Mead Composer-in-Residence Elizabeth Ogonek.
Muti/Respighi, Feb. 18-20: In a salute to his homeland, Riccardo Muti conducts Resphighi’s Fountains of Rome and Concerto Gregoriano, along with Casella’s Symphony No. 3 (commissioned for the CSO’s 50th anniversary in 1941).
Salonen/Shostakovich & Salonen, Feb. 25-27 and March 1: Making his annual CSO appearance, composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen leads Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3, Beethoven’s Overture to King Stephen, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (Feb. 25 and March 1 only, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist) and the CSO’s first performances of Salonen’s own Foreign Bodies.
Elder/Elgar & Janáček, March 3-15: British conductor Sir Mark Elder leads two weeks of programs, one of English repertoire and one of Slavic works. The first week features two works by Vaughan Williams, the Overture to The Wasps and Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus.” The program closes with Elgar’s Symphony No. 1. Elder’s second week features pianist Jeremy Denk as soloist in Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto, along with Dvořák’s Scherzo capriccioso, Janáček’s Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen and Taras Bulba. (Taras Bulba also will be the subject of a Beyond the Score exploration on March 13 and 15.)
Tilson Thomas/Beethoven & Sibelius, March 17-19: Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony, leads the CSO in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 (with Emanuel Ax as soloist), Stravinsky’s Scherzo à la russe and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.
Temirkanov/Brahms & Rachmaninov, March 24-26: Appearing in CSO subscription concerts for the first time since 1999, Russian Yuri Temirkanov leads Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Denis Matsuev as soloist) and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.
Mälkki/Bartók, March 30-31 and April 1-2: Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki leads Debussy’s Gigues from Images for Orchestra No. 1 (March 30-31 only), Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with Gil Shaham as soloist, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade.
Muti/Berlioz, April 7-9: Continuing this season’s Shakespeare salute, Riccardo Muti leads the CSO, Chorus and guest vocalists in Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet.
Muti/Mahler & Tchaikovsky, April 14-16, 22 and 24: Tchaikovsky’s Shakespeare-themed The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet are paired with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (featuring soprano Rosa Feola), all conducted by Muti.
Muti/Falstaff, April 21, 23 and 26: Following Otello in 2011 and Macbeth in 2013, Riccardo Muti completes his CSO traversal of Verdi’s Shakespeare-inspired operas with Falstaff, to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.
Haitink/Strauss & Mozart, April 28-30: Bernard Haitink, former CSO principal conductor, leads Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22, featuring soloist Till Fellner.
Runnicles/Elgar & Britten, May 5, 7 and 10: After appearing as a last-minute substitute with the CSO during the 2014/15 season, Donald Runnicles returns to lead Britten’s Sinfonia da requiem, Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
Dutoit/Falla & Stravinsky, May 12-15 and May 19-21: CSO favorite Charles Dutoit conducts two weeks of Latin and Russian-inspired repertoire. The first week features Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso, Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and The Three-Cornered Hat, and Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. (Nights in the Gardens of Spain will be featured in a Beyond the Score presentation on May 13 and 15.) Dutoit’s second program consists of Stravinsky’s Fireworks, Symphony in C and The Firebird. On May 21, the program expands to showcase superstar Lang Lang in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.
Măcelaru/Dusapin & Holst, May 26-29 and 31: Cristian Măcelaru, a Symphony Center favorite, leads the world premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s CSO-commissioned Cello Concerto, with Alisa Weilerstein as soloist. Also on the program are Ibert’s Bacchanale and Holst’s The Planets.
Dohnányi/Mozart, June 2-11, 2016: Returning for two weeks of programs featuring works from the Classical era, Christoph von Dohnányi conducts music by Mozart and Beethoven. CSO Acting Principal Horn Daniel Gingrich performs Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3, and Martin Helmchen is soloist the following week in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
Muti/Beethoven & Brahms, June 16-18 and 21: Violinist Julia Fischer joins Muti and the CSO for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Brahms’ richly lyrical Serenade No. 1 concludes a program of Romantic masterpieces.
Muti/Bruckner, June 23, 25 and 26: Riccardo Muti brings down the curtain on the 2015-16 season with a Bruckner double bill of Te Deum and his Symphony No. 9. Leaving his last symphony incomplete at his death, Bruckner regarded its noble slow third movement as his own “farewell to life.”
SYMPHONY CENTER PRESENTS
Through its Symphony Center Presents series, the CSOA offers a variety of concerts performed by visiting soloists and ensembles in the SCP Piano, Chamber Music, Jazz, Orchestra and Special Concert series. All concerts are at Orchestra Hall, unless otherwise noted.
SCP PIANO SERIES
Keyboard legends, veteran masters, rising stars and returning virtuosos comprise the roster of distinguished artists featured in this series of 10 Sunday afternoon concerts.
Maurizio Pollini, Oct. 4: The Italian virtuoso follows up his acclaimed 2014 recital to open the 2015/16 series. (October 4)
Sir András Schiff, Nov. 1 and Feb. 14: Completing his multi-season exploration of the final sonatas of early classical music composers, the pianist offers two programs that feature, in the first, Mozart’s Sonata in B-flat Major, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31 in A-Flat Major, Haydn’s Sonata No. 61 in D Major and Schubert’s Sonata in A Major. For his second recital, he will perform Haydn’s Sonata in E-Flat Major, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Mozart’s Sonata in D Major, and Schubert’s Sonata in B-Flat Major.
Evgeny Kissin, Nov. 15: The Russian superstar will perform works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Albéniz and Larregla (note special start time of 2 p.m.).
Menahem Pressler, Jan. 24: Known for his commanding presence with the critically acclaimed Beaux Arts Trio for more than five decades, the pianist makes a rare recital appearance with a program featuring works by Kurtág and Schubert.
Lise de la Salle, March 6: The sensational young French pianist makes her Symphony Center debut with a program of Bach, Ravel and Liszt.
Richard Goode, April 3: Known for his interpretations of middle-European Classical repertoire, the American keyboard master returns with all-Bach program to the SCP Piano series for the first time since March 2012.
Yefim Bronfman, May 1: He offers an all-Prokofiev recital program including the Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat Major and Sonata No. 8 in B-Flat Major.
Marc-André Hamelin, May 22: The Canadian pianist marks his fourth appearance on the series and his first since May 2013 in a program featuring two of his own compositions, as well as works by Mozart, Debussy and Schubert.
David Fray, June 5: Named “Newcomer of the Year” by BBC Music Magazine in 2008, the internationally acclaimed French pianist concludes the SCP Piano season.
SCP CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES
The series’ four concerts will showcase some of today’s most exceptional soloists and musicians in intimate settings.
Joshua Bell, Oct. 30: The American violinist returns for a solo recital, with piano.
Mitsuko Uchida, Feb. 28: The masterful Mozart interpreter joins musicians from the CSO for a program including Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-Flat Major.
Complete Brahms Piano Quartets, April 10: Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes assembles an ensemble of internationally acclaimed violinist Christian Tetzlaff, violist Tabea Zimmerman and cellist Clemens Hagen to perform the complete Brahms Piano Quartets (No. 1 in G Minor, No. 2 in A Major and No. 3 in C Minor) on one program.
Yo-Yo Ma, June 12: The world-renowned cellist and the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant returns for his annual chamber music concert with musicians of the CSO and special guests in a program titled “A Distant Mirror.”
SCP ORCHESTRA SERIES
Presenting visiting orchestras from around the world represents a long tradition at Orchestra Hall. In 2015/16, Symphony Center Presents continues this tradition with a three-concert series that features the highly anticipated returns of the Israel Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Nov. 15: A staple on the series since its first appearance at Orchestra Hall under the auspices of Allied Arts in 1951, it returns with Zubin Mehta, its legendary music director for life, in a program that features a work by American composer John Adams, Ravel’s La valse and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica).
Montreal Symphony Orchestra, March 18, 2016: Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov joins the orchestra, led by its acclaimed music drector Kent Nagano, for a program that also includes Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, April 17: Led by its chief conductor Mariss Jansons, the orchestra returns to Symphony Center for the first time since 2006 with a performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (Leningrad).
SCP SPECIAL CONCERTS
Symphony Center Presents offer an array of non-subscription special concerts that showcase today’s internationally renowned soloists and ensembles in a range of genres — classical, world, folk and jazz — as well as holiday programs.
Symphony Ball, Sept. 19: Music Director Riccardo Muti leads the CSO in its annual fund-raising gala. To mark the 125th anniversary season, the concert program consists of Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition; John Corigliano’s Campane di Ravello, which the CSO premiered in 1987 when Corigliano was composer-in-residence, and Elgar’s In the South, a work that received its U.S. premiere by the CSO in 1904.
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, Oct. 11: The acclaimed Mexican ensemble, hailed as “The World’s Greatest Mariachi,” appears in its annual Orchestra Hall concert that celebrates the rich tradition of this joyous and festive musical art form.
Evgeny Kissin, Oct. 15: The celebrated Russian pianist joins the CSO, under Sir Andrew Davis, for a special concert program featuring Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which Kissin and the CSO will perform for the first time together. Also on the program are Davis’ orchestration of Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor and Stravinsky’s Divertimento, Suite from The Fairy’s Kiss.
CSO Brass, Dec. 16: The renowned musicians make their annual appearance with a program of classics and arrangements for brass ensemble.
Zakir Hussain and the Masters of Percussion, March 20: In The multicultural ensemble returns for a genre-defying performance of contemporary world music.
Lang Lang, May 21: The world-renowned pianist performs with the CSO for the first time since his 2011 Ravinia Festival appearances, in an all-Russian program featuring Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Also on the bill are Stravinsky’s Fireworks and The Firebird.
Vienna Choir Boys, Nov. 28: Returning for its annual appearance, the choir performs a festive program of traditional and contemporary vocal selections.
Chanticleer, Dec. 1-2: Called the “world’s reigning male chorus” by the New Yorker, the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble offers a program of familiar and new seasonal pieces in a cappella arrangements at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut.
“Home Alone,” Dec. 11-13: The classic Christmas-themed comedy comes to the big screen for three special presentations. Members of the CSO, led by guest conductor Richard Kaufman, perform the delightful score by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams.
“Merry, Merry Chicago,” Dec. 18-23: The newest addition to the CSO’s roster of holiday programming for all ages, this musical celebration features members of CSO, guest conductor Stuart Chafetz, the vocal ensemble The von Trapps, and Chicago’s own Midwest Young Artists: Voices Rising children’s vocal ensemble, directed by Stevi Marks.