Concerts led by Sir Georg Solti and Jean Martinon, a recital with acclaimed pianist Jorge Federico Osorio and a tribute to veterans are among the digital programs announced for November by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.
In addition, details for the next two episodes of the premium series CSO Sessions have been released: contemporary and Classical-era chamber-music works on Nov. 12, followed by Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, conducted by Erina Yashima, former CSO Solti Conducting Apprentice, on Nov. 19. The on-demand, high-definition recordings feature performances by Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians, filmed in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center. CSO Sessions programs have been developed with artistic guidance from Music Director Riccardo Muti. The series launched with five inaugural episodes in October and continues with two more episodes in November.
Here’s a rundown of the November programming:
Nov. 5, From the CSO’s Archives: Great Music From Chicago , Episode 1: Jean Martinon and Isaac Stern — Originally broadcast by WGN-TV in March 1962 as part of its weekly “Great Music From Chicago” series, this free program features Jean Martinon leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Concerto grosso in G Minor, along with the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, plus Mozart’s First Violin Concerto with Isaac Stern. Two months after this concert, Martinon was appointed as the CSO’s seventh music director.
Nov. 11, Tribute to Veterans: Trumpeting the Power of Music — To honor Veterans Day, CSO trumpet John Hagstrom hosts a free, hourlong video program about the trumpet’s key role in military and orchestral music. Hagstrom, the CSO’s Pritzker Military Museum & Library Chair, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and an alumnus of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. Weaving together musical excerpts, interviews and archival footage, the program will showcase performances by Hagstrom, the CSO and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, in works such as Nowlin’s “Let Freedom Ring” and Sousa’s “Semper Fidelis.”
Nov. 12, CSO Sessions, Episode 6: Prestini, Perkinson and Mendelssohn — Featuring three works for small ensembles, the premium program begins with G-Force, for Mickey (2013) by contemporary composer Paola Prestini, written for string quartet and vibraphone. Performing the work will be Ni Mei (violin), Gina DiBello (violin), Danny Lai (viola), Assistant Principal Cello Kenneth Olsen and Principal Percussion Cynthia Yeh on vibraphone.
The program continues with the String Quartet No. 1 (Calvary) by American composer Coleridge Taylor Perkinson, who lived in Chicago from the late 1990s until his death in 2004. Written in 1956, the work incorporates the melody of the traditional spiritual “Calvary.” It will be performed by So Young Bae (violin), Gina DiBello (violin), Danny Lai (viola) and Katinka Kleijn (cello).
Closing out the program is Mendelssohn’s Octet, which he wrote when he was just 16 years old. The work will be performed by Assistant Concertmaster Yuan-Qing Yu, Gina DiBello (violin), Ni Mei (violin), So Young Bae (violin), Sunghee Choi (viola), Danny Lai (viola), Assistant Principal Cello Kenneth Olsen and Katinka Kleijn (cello).
Nov. 19, CSO Sessions, Episode 7: Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) — Based on Russian folk tales, Stravinsky’s landmark theater piece chronicles a soldier’s encounter with the devil. Scored for seven musicians playing a diverse array of instruments, it depicts high-stakes thrills and bitter irony with the devil emerging in triumph. Erina Yashima, assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra and former CSO Solti Conducting Apprentice (2016-19), leads this performance with actor James Earl Jones II (in multiple roles) and Concertmaster Robert Chen, Principal Bass Alexander Hanna, Assistant Principal Clarinet John Bruce Yeh, Principal Bassoon Keith Buncke, Principal Trumpet Esteban Batallán, CSO trombone Michael Mulcahy and Principal Percussion Cynthia Yeh.
Nov. 26, Solti’s Beethoven: The Fifth Symphony Revisited: Originally recorded for PBS’ “Great Performances” series, this 1989 program begins with Sir Georg Solti, the CSO’s eighth music director, at the piano in his London studio. He then rehearses the CSO in Chicago, followed by a performance at Orchestra Hall of Symphony No. 5, one of the composer’s most recognizable works. This special archival program is presented as part of the CSO’s Beethoven 250 celebration, which marks the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
Nov. 29, Symphony Center Presents Jorge Federico Osorio on Demand — Internationally acclaimed pianist Jorge Federico Osorio returns in the first of a premium series of SCP digital recitals. His wide-ranging program consists of Soler’s Sonata in G Minor; Granados’ Three Selections from Spanish Dances; Debussy’s Three Selections from Preludes, Books 1 and 2; Brahms’ Three Selections from Seven Fantasies and Liszt’s Vallée d’Obermann from Années de pèlerinage, First Year, Switzerland.
CSO for Kids
Oct. 22, “The Music in George’s Head” — The Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO has created free animated programs for young audiences and their families. Premiering Oct. 22, “The Music in George’s Head” explores the story of composer George Gershwin and his creation of the piano concerto Rhapsody in Blue. Based on a children’s book by Suzanne Slade and illustrator Stacy Innerst, and set to a 2015 CSO performance of the Gershwin work, conducted by Marin Alsop, with Jon Kimura Parker as soloist, the video is narrated by Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling. Already available is “My Magic Breath,” featuring CSO musicians performing the music of J.S. Bach with narration by Chicago’s first lady Amy Eshleman.
InterMISSION at the CSO — Free audio content includes the recently launched podcast series, InterMISSION at the CSO, with behind-the-scenes conversations about what it takes to make the CSO one of the world’s greatest orchestras. The next two episodes will be released Nov. 2 and 16. More information is available at cso.org/intermission.
Individual episodes of CSO Sessions and the on-demand SCP piano recital will be available for $15, with a 20 percent discount for three or more episodes. New premium episodes on CSOtv will be available for streaming for 30 days after each premiere. CSOtv programs may be accessed via desktop or laptop computers, tablets or mobile phones, with additional options to cast to a compatible TV from a preferred device. More information about viewing and accessing premium CSOtv videos is available at cso.org/tv.
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TOP: Erina Yashima, John Hagstrom and Jorge Federico Osorio are among the artists featured in CSOA-produced digital programs in November. | Photos: Todd Rosenberg (Yashima and Hagstrom).