The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s multi-faceted 2016-17 season can be categorized historically, thematically or chronologically. But this list takes a little different approach, counting up from 1 to 21. Call it 2016-17: By the Numbers.
1. Trombone concertos are rarities on symphonic programs, but the coming season features one (Oct. 6-8) and it will be a world premiere: Carl Vine’s Five Hallucinations for Trombone and Orchestra. Michael Mulcahy, a longtime member of the CSO brass section, will serve as soloist.
2. Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek are the CSO’s two Mead composers-in-residence. Among other duties, they act as co-curators of the orchestra’s MusicNOW series at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.
3. The CSO will appear in a new subscription series of three concerts in Wheaton College’s Edman Memorial Chapel, a multipurpose auditorium that seats more than 2,400 people (Oct. 28, March 17 and April 21).
4. Four world premieres, including that of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s co-commissioned Cello Concerto, are scheduled for this season. The Finnish composer, who also happens to be an eminent conductor, will lead the three performances (March 9, 10 and 11), with creative consultant Yo-Yo Ma as soloist.
5. Five different master soloists will perform the complete set of Ludwig van Beethoven’s five piano concertos: Emanuel Ax (Oct. 20-22), Richard Goode (Feb. 8 with the Budapest Festival Orchestra), Mitsuko Uchida (March 16-21), Yefim Bronfman (Feb. 16-18) and Radu Lupu (April 27-29).
6. To mark the 125th anniversary of Sergei Prokofiev’s birth, the orchestra has programmed six of the Russian composer’s works, including his score for the film “Ivan the Terrible” (Feb. 23-25), and suites from the composer’s ballets, Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet.
7. Seven years after making his subscription debut with the CSO, Israeli-born violinist Vadim Gluzman returns as soloist in the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 (Dec. 8-10). Gluzman and his wife, pianist Angela Yoffe, founded the North Shore Chamber Music Festival in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, where they reside.
8. Igor Stravinsky’s Scènes de Ballet (Dec. 15-18), a suite of eight dance movements plus an introduction, was commissioned for the 1944 Broadway revue, “The Seven Lively Arts.” It is among 11 dance-related works that will be featured during the season.
9. Beethoven famously wrote nine symphonies. Of them, three will be performed during the CSO season: No. 5 (Oct. 15), No. 6 (April 20-23) and No. 7 (Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 1).
10. The CSO has had 10 music directors, including the present occupant of the post since 2010, famed Italian maestro Riccardo Muti.
11. Muti will lead the CSO on a 11-concert, two-week European tour in January — their fifth trip to the continent together. A highlight will be the orchestra’s first performances since 1981 in Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, where Muti was music director for 19 years.
12. A dozen guest conductors and soloists will make their debuts, including conductor and violinist Fabio Biondi, founder of the well-respected early-instrument ensemble, Europa Galante (Feb. 9-11), and Jakub Hrůša, permanent guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic (May 18-20).
13. The 13 members of the CSO Brass will present their annual concert on Dec. 14.
14. The Music of the Baroque, a Chicago-based chamber ensemble headed by noted conductor Jane Glover, appointed Nicholas Kraemer principal guest conductor 14 years ago. He will lead the CSO in a program of Handel works, including Music for the Royal Fireworks (Dec. 1-3).
15. After writing the score for “Catch Me If You Can,” filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s breezy story of an intrepid con artist, John Williams excerpted part of it as a concerto, “Escapades” for Alto Saxophone. Branford Marsalis will be the soloist when the CSO performs the work 15 years after the movie’s release (June 15-17).
16. The CSO has performed the Symphony No. 3 (Liturgique) by 20th-century Swiss composer Arthur Honegger only twice before. Sixteen years after its most recent CSO performance (in April 2001, under Antonio Pappano) audiences will have a second chance to hear the work under the direction of guest conductor Charles Dutoit (April 13-15).
17. Salonen, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 17 years, ranks among the world’s elite conductors. He returns (March 2, 4 and 7) to lead the first of two programs, including the Chicago debut of John Adams’ 2014 dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra, Scheherazade.2.
18. Eighteen years after Melinda Wagner won the Pulitzer Prize for her Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion, Mälkki and the CSO will present the world premiere of the composer’s Proceed, Moon (June 15-17).
20. The CSO will present 20 excerpts from a variety of operas across the season. Nine of them will be heard June 22-25, when Muti ends the season with a program focused on Italian opera, featuring bass soloist Riccardo Zanellato.
21. Twenty-one years have passed since now-celebrated mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato got her first taste of the professional opera world as an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera. She will make her long-anticipated CSO debut (Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 1) in Giuseppe Martucci’s La canzone dei ricordi (Song of Remembrance).