The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has announced programming details for its free public concerts this season, including the annual Community Concert with Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 24, as well as the 2019-20 concerts of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the six-concert All-Access Chamber series.

Free tickets for these performances may be reserved beginning Aug. 23.


Muti and the CSO return to Lane Tech College Prep High School, 2501 W. Addison, at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 for this season’s free Community Concert. Muti and the orchestra first performed at Lane Tech for a Community Concert in November 2017. This year’s all-Prokofiev program features a Suite from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Symphony No. 3. (The program also will be performed by Muti and the CSO at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Nov. 16 and in the opening concert Jan. 9 in Cologne of the 2020 European Tour.)

Lane Tech College Prep High School is one of seven Chicago Public School Instrumental Music Partner schools supported by the CSO’s Negaunee Music Institute. Each year, students and teachers from CPS Instrumental Music Partner schools participate in educational activities with CSO and Civic Orchestra of Chicago musicians through their orchestra/band programs.

This year’s Community Concert marks the 10th event of its kind since Muti became CSO music director in 2010, when he led a concert in Millennium Park for more than 25,000 people. Muti’s commitment to connect all Chicagoans with the CSO has led to return performances in Millennium Park, as well as in other community venues such as Morton East High School in Cicero and the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago South Side.


The All-Access Chamber Series features traditional and contemporary chamber music selections performed by musicians of the CSO. This season, the six concerts are presented in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, as well as community venues throughout Chicago, including the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.; Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., and Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood. Program details for the All-Access Chamber series can be accessed here.

Nov. 3, 3 p.m., South Shore Cultural Center: The Wabash Avenue Music Collective (with Rong-Yan Tang, violin; Max Raimi, viola; Karen Basrak, cello; Emma Gerstein, flute, and Daniel Paul Horn, piano) performs Beethoven’s Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola in D Major and Mendelssohn’s Piano Quartet No. 3, as well as Havenu Sholem Aleichem: Variations and Theme, composed by Max Raimi.

Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m., Symphony Center: The CSO Chamber Players (with Robert Chen, violin; John Sharp, cello; Stephen Williamson, clarinet, and Kuang-Hao Huang, piano) perform Bartók’s Contrasts and Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps.

March 10, 6:30 p.m., Senn High School: The Addison Ensemble (with Aiko Noda, violin; Diane Mues, viola; Loren Brown, cello, and Andrea Swan, piano) performs Beethoven’s String Trio in D Major, Op. 9, No. 2, as well as Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor.

April 1, 6:30 p.m., Symphony Center: Chicago Pro Musica (Jennifer Gunn, flute; Michael Henoch, oboe; John Bruce Yeh, clarinet; Oto Carillo, horn, and William Buchman, bassoon) performs an all-French program including Ibert’s Trois pièces brèves, Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, as well as works by Debussy and Pierné.

May 13, 6:30 p.m., Symphony Center: The Pressenda Trio (David Taylor, violin; Gary Stucka, cello, and Andrea Swan, piano) performs Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1 and Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 2.

June 14, 3 p.m., Beverly Arts Center: The Linden Ensemble (with Kozue Funakoshi, violin; Daniel Katz, cello; Daniel Gingrich, horn, and Yoko Yamada, piano) performs Beethoven’s Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B-flat Major and Brahms’ Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano in E-flat Major.


Founded in the 1919-20 season by Frederick Stock, the CSO’s second music director, the Civic Orchestra celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019-20. This season, Civic will perform four programs over six concerts with its newly appointed Principal Conductor Ken-David Masur, who also serves as music director of the Milwaukee Symphony. Masur will have three weeklong residencies in Chicago and also lead the rescheduled Civic Centennial Celebration Benefit Concert with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto on March 1. Masur will conduct four concerts in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, as well as a concert at the South Shore Cultural Center and a Chicago public school to be announced.

Civic also welcomes three guest conductors: former CSO Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice Erina Yashima; Rossen Milanov, who returns to the Civic podium for the first time since the 2016-17 season, and Thomas Wilkins, who has led CSO School and Family Concerts, in his Civic Orchestra podium debut.

Oct. 21, 8 p.m., Symphony Center: In his first program as the Civic’s principal conductor, Ken-David Masur will lead the musicians in a 2012 work by Scottish composer Helen Grime, Near Midnight, which evokes the solitary, and sometimes melancholy, hours of nighttime with lyrical melodies played by the strings and woodwinds punctured with bell-like tones from the brass. The program continues with Four Sea Interludes from Britten’s Peter Grimes, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (Scottish), with its own depiction of the seaside, the Scottish Highlands and hints at folk music of the region. This program also will be performed at the South Shore Cultural Center on Oct. 20 at 3 p.m.

Dec. 8, 8 p.m., Symphony Center: Erina Yashima, former CSO Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice and now assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, leads the Civic in a program of Strauss, Berio and Prokofiev. Mezzo-soprano and Ryan Opera Center alumna Annie Rosen performs folk songs that Luciano Berio set for voice with an orchestral accompaniment. The program also includes Strauss’ tone poem Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, as well as Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.

Feb. 3, 8 p.m., Symphony Center: Ken-David Masur conducts masterworks by Stravinsky and Saint-Saëns. First up is Stravinsky’s 1947 revision of the score to his ballet Petrushka. Organist and Civic alumnus Patrick Godon is featured in Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 (Organ), showcasing Orchestra Hall’s Casavant Frères with more than 3,400 pipes.

March 29, 8 p.m., Symphony Center: Masur leads the Civic in its 100th anniversary concert, held 100 years to the day after the orchestra’s first-ever performance. This special program opens with Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres), a 2013 work by CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Missy Mazzoli that was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. CSO horns Oto Carrillo, Daniel Gingrich, David Griffin and James Smelser, all Civic Orchestra alumni, appear as soloists in Schumann’s virtuosic Konzertstück for Four Horns and Orchestra. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 closes the program.

May 4, 8 p.m., Symphony Center: In his Civic debut, Thomas Wilkins conducts the orchestra in a program of music with American roots. Two of the featured works were written by African-American composers Adolphus Hailstork and William Grant Still. Hailstork’s An American Port of Call depicts the strident energy of a coastal port city, while Still’s Symphony No. 1 (Afro-American), uses a traditional tonal idiom infused with blues-inspired melodic lines and harmonic colorings. The program closes with Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (From the New World), his ode to America.

June 2, 8 p.m., Symphony Center: Rossen Milanov, music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and newly appointed chief conductor of the Slovenian RTV Orchestra in Ljubljana, leads music by Thomas Adès and Shostakovich. Adès’ 1997 Asyla explores the tension between the safety of tradition and the daunting freedom of innovation. The second half of the program features Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, which displays the composer’s full emotional range, from brooding tragedy to a jovial playfulness.

Special events

Nov. 18, Bach Marathon: The Civic Orchestra presents a marathon of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in communities throughout the city and in a culminating 7 p.m. concert at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut, with guest harpsichordist Nicholas Kraemer. Launched in 2014 as one of several “artistic challenges” issued to the Civic Orchestra musicians by the CSO’s then Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma, the event has become an annual tradition.

March 1, 8 p.m., Symphony Center: For the rescheduled Civic Centennial Celebration Benefit Concert, Ken-David Masur leads a program of Berlioz, Ravel and Dvořák’s Cello Concerto featuring Yo-Yo Ma as soloist. Tickets issued for the original date of the Centennial Celebration Benefit Concert will be honored for the new date. Additional general public, free ticket reservations are currently unavailable; more tickets may become available at a later time.

March 30, 7 p.m., location to be announced: The Civic Orchestra performs a CPS Community Concert, led by Masur at a Chicago Public Schools location to be announced at a later date, featuring Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

April 27, 7 p.m., Symphony Center: CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti leads the Civic in an open rehearsal featuring the first and third movements of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Tickets for the annual CSO Community Concert, the All-Access Chamber series concerts and Civic Orchestra concerts may be reserved beginning Aug. 23 by phone at (800) 223-7114 or (312) 294-3000, online at, or at the Symphony Center box office, 220 S. Michigan. All Civic performances are free, but tickets are required, with a nonrefundable $5 per ticket service fee for all Symphony Center dates. A maximum of six tickets will be allowed per concert, per household.