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Among the conductors and guest artists making debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the 2020-2021 season are:
Hanna-Elisabeth Müller, Sept. 24-26: The German soprano, who has sung roles at the Metropolitan Opera, Bavarian State Opera, the Royal Opera Covent Garden and La Scala, makes her CSO debut in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.
Gerhild Romberger, Sept. 24-26: The German contralto specializes in concert performances, from lieder recitals to contemporary music, with an extensive repertoire in the oratorio and concert literature. She makes her CSO debut in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.
Tareq Nazmi, Sept. 24-26: Fresh from his 2020 debut at the Metropolitan Opera, the Kuwait-born bass makes his CSO premiere in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis. An alumnus of the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, he trained at the Bavarian State Opera Studio and then joined that company’s ensemble.
Constantine Kitsopoulos, Oct. 8-10 and 13: Known for his versatility, conducting operas, symphonic works, music theater and film with orchestra, he directs the Festival of the Arts Boca, Chatham Opera and New York Grand Opera. He conducts the CSO and Chorus in Amadeus Live.
Benjamin Grosvenor, Oct. 15-17: The British pianist makes his highly anticipated CSO debut in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, under conductor Marek Janowski. The young virtuoso has been winning awards since the age of 11 and made his Symphony Center Presents recital debut in 2017.
Yulianna Avdeeva, Nov. 19-22: The Russian pianist Yulianna Avdeeva first came to international prominence in 2010 when she won first prize in the 16th International Chopin Piano Competition. She makes her CSO debut under with guest conductor Emmanuel Krivine in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
Jane Glover, Dec. 3-5 and 8: Known to Chicago audiences as the longtime music director of Music of the Baroque, the British conductor makes her CSO debut in a program of 18th century music by Haydn, Handel and Mozart.
William Welter, Dec. 3-5 and 8: The CSO’s principal oboe will make his solo debut in Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in C Major, K. 314, led by Jane Glover. A 2016 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Welter has performed as a guest musician with the Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic and as guest principal oboe of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Kara Dugan, Dec. 10-12: An alumna of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, the mezzo-soprano makes her CSO debut as a vocalist in the CSO premiere of Michael Tilson Thomas’s Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind, a role she originated in the world premiere of the eclectic, semi-staged work.
Kristen Toedtman, Dec. 10-12: A vocalist as well as a bandleader and songwriter, she makes her CSO debut in Michael Tilson Thomas’s Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind. She has collaborated with a variety of performers and composers, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philip Glass Ensemble and Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.
Stella Chen, Dec. 17-19: An alumna of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, the American violinist makes her CSO debut in Beethoven’s Romance No. 2 in F Major with Edo de Waart conducting. A recent graduate of a dual degree program at Harvard and the New England Conservatory of Music, she won first prize in the 2019 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition.
Timothy Chooi, Dec. 17-19: An alumnus of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, the Canadian-born violinist makes his CSO debut in the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso by Saint-Saëns with Edo de Waart conducting. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Ida Kavafian and at Juilliard with Pinchas Zukerman. He won the 2018 Joseph Joachim Violin Competition.
Sergei Dogadin, Dec. 17-19: The first-prize winner of the 2019 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition, the Russian native makes his CSO debut in Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34, with Edo de Waart conducting.
David Herbert, Jan. 14-16: The CSO’s principal timpani makes his CSO solo debut in William Kraft’s First Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra, with Riccardo Muti conducting. Before joining the CSO, Herbert served as principal timpani of the San Francisco Symphony and the New World Symphony. In 2005, he performed the world premiere of Kraft’s Timpani Concerto No. 2 (The Grand Encounter) with the San Francisco Symphony, a commission written specifically for him.
Igor Levit, Feb. 11-13: Following his 2018 performance with the CSO at Ravinia and his SCP recital debut in 2017, the 2018 Gilmore Artist winner makes his CSO subscription concert debut in Schumann’s Piano Concerto.
Lorelei Ensemble, Feb. 26-27: Founded and directed by Beth Willer, the vocal ensemble has commissioned and premiered more than 50 new works since its founding in 2007. The group makes its CSO debut in Wolfe’s Her Story, led by Marin Alsop.
Thomas Adès, March 25-26 and 30: The British conductor and composer leads the CSO in its first performance of his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Kirill Gerstein, for whom it was written, as soloist. Gerstein and Adès have been performing this concerto since its premiere with the Boston Symphony in 2019. The program also includes works of Liszt and Janáček.
Fabien Gabel, April 8 and 10: The rising French-born conductor makes his highly anticipated CSO debut in a program of Wagner and Saint-Saëns, after first appearances with several major orchestras, including those of San Francisco, Detroit, Houston and Toronto.
Amanda Majeski, April 8 and 10: The lyric soprano, an Illinois native, Northwestern University graduate, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute alumna and Ryan Center alumna, will sing Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, a song cycle originally written for voice and piano.
Julie Boulianne, April 29-30 and May 1 and 4: The French-Canadian mezzo-soprano makes her CSO debut in Baroque arias by Handel and Vivaldi. Noted for her agile ornamentation in works of Handel as well as Rossini, she appears regularly in concert with leading symphony orchestras.
Yulia Van Doren, April 29-30 and May 1 and 4: Known to local audiences for her performances with Music of the Baroque, the Russian-American soprano makes her CSO debut in works by Handel and Vivaldi. Recognized for her interpretations of Baroque music, she is the only singer to win a top prize in all four U.S. Bach vocal competitions.
Behzod Abduraimov, May 13-16: The Uzbek-born pianist marks his CSO debut in a Russian program featuring Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
Lahav Shani, May 13-16: The rising star conductor-pianist makes his CSO debut in a program of music by Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, including the first CSO performance of Rachmaninov’s Prelude in C-sharp Minor, as orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski. Shani is chief conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and music director designate of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, following Zubin Mehta’s 50-year tenure.
Vilde Frang, May 20-22 and 25: Born in Oslo, the violinist was unanimously awarded the 2012 Credit Suisse Young Artists Award, which led to her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Festival. She makes her CSO debut in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 on a program directed by Mikko Franck.
TOP: Jane Glover, longtime music director of Music of the Baroque, will make her CSO podium debut next season.