Tickets for Bill Murray, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Jon Batiste, and Herbie Hancock are among the special concerts at Symphony Center that go on sale June 1. The events are part of the Symphony Center Presents and Chicago Symphony Orchestra programming for the 2017-18 season.
The concerts, in chronological order, are:
Symphony Ball, Sept. 22, 7 p.m.: Hosted by the Women’s Board of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, the CSO’s annual Symphony Ball officially launches the 2017-18 season. The evening begins with a pre-concert reception open to all ticketholders, followed by a performance with the CSO and Music Director Riccardo Muti in Rossini’s Overture to William Tell, Tchaikovsky’s suite from The Sleeping Beauty and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with international superstar Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist. Gala patrons continue their evening with a post-concert dinner and dancing at the Four Seasons. The concert is generously sponsored by the Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Family Fund for the Canon.
Bill Murray, with cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m.: In a concert billed as “New Worlds,” humorist-actor Bill Murray joins German cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez in literary readings and songs paired with chamber music,. The program mixes works by Bach, Beethoven and Shostakovich with readings of texts by Ernest Hemingway and Walt Whitman. Along with the concert, tickets are available for the VIP experience “Pizza and Beer with Bill Murray,” a post-concert meet-and-greet with food, drinks and a photo opportunity with Murray. Proceeds of this event will benefit the CSO’s educational and community programs. A separate $150 ticket, available only to patrons with concert tickets, is required for entry.
Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Oct. 14 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.: In addition to its SCP Jazz Series concert Oct. 13, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform two SCP Special Concerts on Oct. 14. The first program at 11 a.m. is a Jazz for Young People concert titled “Who Is Count Basie?,” which explores the legacy of pianist, composer, bandleader and NEA Jazz Master William “Count” Basie. For the evening program, jazz pianist Jon Batiste, bandleader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and artistic director at large of Harlem’s National Jazz Museum, joins Marsalis and JaLCO. Batiste also appears on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s critically acclaimed album “The Music of John Lewis” (2017).
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, Oct. 15, 3 p.m.: Universally acclaimed as “The World’s Greatest Mariachi,” Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán returns for its 11th annual Symphony Center appearance, once again during Hispanic Heritage Month. Founded in 1897, in the state of Jalisco, the orchestra has been essential in establishing ranchera and other Mexican folk styles as the defining musical genres of Mexico. The group has recorded dozens of albums, with its most recent being “Boleros, Baladas y Bachatas” (2016).
Herbie Hancock, Oct. 21, 8 p.m.: One of the most influential artists in jazz, pop and R&B history, and the winner of 14 Grammy Awards, Chicago-born pianist-composer Herbie Hancock continues to push musical boundaries. From his beginnings with Miles Davis to his more recent collaborations with world-music pioneers, Hancock always defies expectations.
Ludovico Einaudi, Oct. 24, 8 p.m.: Making his Symphony Center debut, Italian pianist-composer Ludovico Einaudi straddles the worlds of classical and popular music. Known for his scores for the films “The Intouchables” (2011) and “This Is England” (2006), he has built an online fan base with more than 2.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Recorded in a monastery near Verona, Einaudi’s “In a Time Lapse” (2013) served as a breakthrough to the American market.
China NCPA Orchestra, Oct. 28, 8 p.m.: Returning for its second appearance here, the China NCPA Orchestra, led by conductor Lü Jia, is the resident orchestra of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Joining the orchestra will be guest artists Wu Man, pipa virtuoso and member of the Silk Road Ensemble, in Lou Harrison’s Pipa Concerto, and violinist Ning Feng, in the U.S. premiere of Zhao Jiping’s Violin Concerto No. 1.
Tickets for these 2017-18 special concerts go on sale at 10 a.m. June 1 , 2017, at 10 a.m. by phone at (312) 294-3000, online at cso.org, or in person at the Symphony Center box office, 220 S. Michigan. Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.