CSO plans celebrations of Muti, Beethoven, Boulez

Published2/19/2009 12:05 AM

Just back from its 10-concert, five city tour of Asia, including its first visit to mainland China, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Thursday unveiled plans for its 119th season, which opens Oct. 2 at Symphony Center.

The 2009-10 season will include two weeks of concerts under the baton of music director designate Riccardo Muti, a season-ending, three-week Beethoven festival under principal conductor Bernard Haitink and a monthlong celebration of conductor emeritus Pierre Boulez's 85th birthday. The centerpiece of Muti's two-week residency Oct. 15-27 will include concerts featuring Johannes Brahms' "A German Requiem" and Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 2. Muti will assume the music directorship in the fall of 2010.


Boulez's programs will include concert performances of Bela Bartok's one-act opera "Bluebeard's Castle," which he will also conduct in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Jan. 27) and at New York's Carnegie Hall (Jan. 30). The Boulez tribute will include special subscription concerts Jan. 14-19 led by St. Louis Symphony music director David Robertson featuring Olivier Messiaen's "Les offrandes oubliées" and Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," works closely associated with Boulez throughout his career.

Haitink will wrap up his tenure as CSO principal conductor with a three-week European tour, CSO subscription concerts in mid-November that will include performances of Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 and Felix Mendelssohn's complete incidental music to "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and conclude with the aforementioned three-week Beethoven festival in June 2010 featuring all nine symphonies and several shorter works.

The season will open Oct. 2 with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra music director Paavo Järvi conducting a program of two pieces by Leonard Bernstein and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, the latter a CSO signature work since the days of music director Fritz Reiner in the 1950s.

The following night (Oct. 3) the annual Opening Night Gala will feature Järvi on the podium, with soprano Renee Fleming performing Samuel Barber's atmospheric "Knoxville: Summer of 1915" and selected songs by Richard Strauss, whose "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks" is also on the program.

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Others among next season's 25 guest conductors are Lyric Opera of Chicago music director Sir Andrew Davis, film composer John Williams (a tribute to British director David Lean), San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas and Atlanta Symphony music director Robert Spano, along with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Roberto Abbado, Christoph Von Dohnanyi, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Semyon Bychkov, Sir Mark Elder, Charles Dutoit, Markus Stenz, Nicholas Kraemer, Alexander Pollanchko, Ludovic Morlot and Peter Oundjian. Making their CSO conducting debuts will be Trevor Pinnock, Vladimir Jurowski and Gianandrea Noseda.

"Beyond the Score," the CSO's innovative Sunday audience development series, will expand to two performances of each program (1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.) due to high ticket demand. Featured works will be Gustav Mahler's Fourth Symphony, Sergei Rachmaninov's "Isle of the Dead" and Claude Debussy's "La Mer."

Additional highlights include back-to-back settings of the passion during the weeks of March 11-24, 2010, featuring CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Osvaldo Golijov's "The Passion According to Saint Mark" and Bach's "St. John Passion"; the world premieres of James Primosch's "Songs for Adam" with baritone Brian Mulligan; and Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky's Cello Concerto, performed by Yo-Yo Ma; along with the seventh annual collaboration of the CSO with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Piano soloists announced for next season include Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Emanuel Ax, Paul Lewis, Yefim Bronfman, Radu Lupu, Peter Serkin, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Tamara Stefanovich, Shai Wosner, Kirill Gerstein, Jorge Federiao Osorio and Mitsuko Uchida, the latter conducting an all-Mozart program from the keyboard.


Guest violinists are Joshua Bell, Christian Tetzlaff, Vadim Gluzman (CSO debut), Kyoko Takezawa and Elena Urioste (CSO debut).

Featured soloists from the orchestra include concertmaster Robert Chen, principal cello John Sharp, principal flute Mathieu Dufour, principal oboe Eugene Izotov and principal bassoon David McGill.

For additional information on the 2009-10 season, or to purchase tickets for remaining concerts this season, call (312) 294-3000, or visit cso.org.

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