An audience of 12,000 people poured into Millennium Park Monday evening to hear maestro Riccardo Muti lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a thrilling performance of works by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky on the Pritzker Pavilion stage.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Thursday evening’s bravura production was a major event in Muti’s penultimate season as the CSO’s music director. And it was a grand homage to both the composer whose work he has long cherished, and the orchestra he has embraced and nurtured since becoming its music director in 2010.
With the pandemic still bedeviling live performance these days understudies have become heroic figures. Now, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has its very own “last minute hero” story, too.
Performed earlier this month, a trio of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts led by guest conductors and featuring guest violinists deserve to be chronicled.
Tony Award-winning Broadway star Kelli O’Hara performed a bravura solo concert Thursday accompanied by that ever dazzling “band,” the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Guest conductor Karina Canellakis led the CSO in “Brio” (by Augusta Read Thomas); Robert Schumann’s lushly beautiful “Piano Concerto in A Minor” (featuring pianist Kirill Gerstein); and finally “Ein Heldenlaben (A Heroic Life),” Richard Strauss’ sweeping, fiercely emotional tone poem.
While her residency at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is ending, a New York-based composer hopes her influence on contemporary classical music will be long-lasting.
The world may be in a terrible state of upheaval at the moment, but two different concerts performed during the past week — played brilliantly by the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — were a potent reminder that music is an astonishingly powerful emotional balm.
Breathtaking is nowhere near a powerful enough adjective to describe Gustav Mahler’s masterwork, “Symphony No. 6 in A Minor,” or its bravura rendering by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that was led by guest conductor Jaap van Zweden.
If you needed to be reminded of the genius of two groundbreaking early 20th century composers or hoped for an introduction to a fascinating contemporary composer, Thursday’s concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra unquestionably lived up to expectations.
Maestro Riccardo Muti and the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra featured three very different and extremely challenging works Thursday night that, as always, showcased the brilliance of both the composers and their interpreters.
The CSO's bravura rendering of this masterwork was, indeed, a temporary balm for the soul and evidence of how great works of art speak to us throughout time.
The pairing began with Beethoven’s demonically difficult 1806 “Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major,” with Mitsuko Uchida as the incomparable soloist. And it was followed by Philip Glass’ “Symphony No. 11,” which had its world premiere in 2017, and now received a volcanic rendering by a monumental gathering of Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians.
Rachmaninov’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor,” is a nerve-shatteringly difficult work. Backed by the full orchestra, which was in its usual sublime form, Lukas Vondracek rendered the extraordinary work with a superb mix of both titanic power and surprising lyricism.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra traveled back in time with a program of works by early 18th century Baroque masters Antonio Vivaldi and George Frideric Handel.
What this glorious, superbly performed concert did prove was that listening to these works without the element of dance that ordinarily is a crucial partner of the music, you begin to hear them in a wonderfully fresh and exciting way.