Six recently retired Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians will receive the Theodore Thomas Medallion for Distinguished Service. Named for Theodore Thomas (1835–1905), the orchestra’s founder and first music director, the medallion is presented to retiring musicians for outstanding service to the CSO.
Suspended on a black and red ribbon, the medal has an engraved likeness of Theodore Thomas, the CSO’s founder and first music director. The name of the recipient is inscribed on the back. The Theodore Thomas Medallion also carries an honorarium, both of which are made possible through an endowment from an anonymous donor.
The following CSO musicians will receive the medallion this season:
John Bartholomew, viola: Appointed in 1980 by music director Sir Georg Solti, he attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1976 until 1980. Bartholomew retired in October.
Roger Cline, bass: A native of Tacoma, Wash., he was appointed in 1973 by Sir Georg Solti. An accomplished woodworker, Cline also makes percussion instruments that are used by the CSO and other orchestras worldwide. He was a longtime member of the Chicago Symphony Members Committee. Cline retired in September 2018.
Richard Graef, assistant principal flute: Appointed as assistant principal flute in 1968 by Jean Martinon, he also is on the faculty of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and is a member of the Grammy Award-winning chamber ensemble Chicago Pro Musica. Graef retired in September.
Michael Hovnanian, bass: The Seattle native was appointed in 1989 by Sir Georg Solti. Throughout his CSO tenure, he actively participated in the chamber music series at Orchestra Hall and the Art Institute of Chicago. Hovnanian retired in September.
Daniel Orbach, viola: Born in Washington, D.C., he was appointed in 1988 by Sir Georg Solti. Previously, he was assistant principal viola of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, as well as principal viola of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and New York City Opera Orchestra. Orbach retired in September 2017.
Jonathan Pegis, cello: Originally from Rochester, N.Y., he was appointed by Sir Georg Solti in 1986. During his tenure, he was a regular performer on the CSO’s chamber music series and served on the faculty at Northwestern University. Pegis retired in September 2018.