Riccardo Muti, Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Jeff Alexander, President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), announce the programming for the CSO and Symphony Center Presents (SCP) 2017/18 season—the Orchestra’s 127th season and Muti’s eighth as its music director.

Riccardo Muti leads 10 weeks of subscription programs with the CSO during the 2017/18 season. Muti’s programs offer diverse repertoire, including orchestral and choral masterworks by Brahms, Bruckner, Dvořák, Rossini, Mozart, Debussy, Schubert and Tchaikovsky, as well as works by contemporary American composers, including CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Elizabeth Ogonek and CSO member Max Raimi, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Aaron Copland, Jennifer Higdon and George Walker. During his opening week residency in September, Muti welcomes renowned violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter for performances of concertos by Mozart and Tchaikovsky in back-to-back programs. In June 2018, during his final CSO residency of the season, Muti and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, join forces with the CSO for a performance of Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto, in a program that also features Prokofiev’s Third Symphony. The 2017/18 season also marks the 60th anniversary of the critically acclaimed Chicago Symphony Chorus. In recognition of this landmark moment, Muti leads two programs of major choral works. In March 2018, Muti returns to the choral music of Schubert as he leads the CSO and Chorus in the composer’s Mass No. 6. In June 2018, Muti’s season finale program includes a performance of Rossini’s Stabat mater. Muti leads the CSO in an April 2018 program that surveys a century of American music and music inspired by America featuring Lyric for Strings by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker, alongside Aaron Copland’s iconic Lincoln Portrait and the Czech composer Antonin Dvořák’s ode to America, the New World Symphony. Three CSO world premieres conducted by Muti also highlight new work by American composers including a concerto for low brass by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon, whose new piece honors the artistic legacy and remarkable sound of the Orchestra’s low brass section; Three Lisel Müller Settings, a new work for mezzo-soprano and orchestra by composer and CSO violist Max Raimi; and a new work by CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Elizabeth Ogonek.

Muti and the CSO also remain dedicated to reaching audiences throughout the Chicago area. For the second consecutive year, Muti and the Orchestra appear as part of a three-concert series at Wheaton College’s Edman Memorial Chapel in a program that includes works by Mozart and Haydn. In addition, Muti leads the CSO’s annual free concert for the community in a November program featuring Schubert’s Eighth Symphony (Unfinished) and Brahms’ Second Symphony. The location is to be announced at a later date. “The CSO's 127th season is one of celebration and exploration. Our distinguished music director, Riccardo Muti, brings his unparalleled interpretations to the great works of the symphonic repertoire, while also offering a series of works to be given their world premieres by the Orchestra," said CSOA President, Jeff Alexander. "We are also pleased to welcome so many of the world's most renowned guest conductors and soloists to our stage, to share the sounds of the CSO during two domestic tours, to reach out to communities near and far through our education and engagement activities, and to present a wide array of concerts as part of our Symphony Center Presents series."

In 2017/18, the CSO continues a tradition of touring. Since its founding in 1891, the Orchestra has made 60 international tours, performing in 29 countries on five continents. The CSO also maintains a distinguished legacy of recording; recordings have earned 62 Grammy® awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, further contributing to the Orchestra’s international reputation. Global engagement continues now also through webcasts, streaming and an online magazine, This season, Muti leads 10 weeks of subscription concerts in six residencies with the Orchestra in Chicago, with appearances in September and November 2017, and February, March, April and June 2018.

Program highlights of note in the 2017/18 season:

  • Muti leads the CSO in world premieres of new works by three American composers: Mead Composerin-Residence Elizabeth Ogonek, Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon and CSO viola and composer Max Raimi.
  • Muti continues his exploration of Bruckner’s symphonies, with performances of the Fourth Symphony (Romantic) on subscription concerts and on CSO tour programs.
  • Several programs during the 2017/18 season mark major composer anniversaries including the 150th anniversary of Gioachino Rossini’s death, the centennial of the birth of American composer Leonard Bernstein, the 150th birthday of Claude Debussy and the 200th birthday of Charles Gounod.
  • Guest conductor Marek Janowski makes his anticipated subscription debut and guest conductor Herbert Blomstedt, who turns 90 this year, returns to lead the CSO for the first time since 2007.
  • Acclaimed composer and conductor John Williams leads the CSO in a special concert program that includes his film music and selections from other classic film scores.
  • Fifteen talented guest artists and conductors make their CSO debuts including violinist Isabelle Faust, and conductors Giovanni Antonini, Jiří Bělohlávek and John Storgårds.
  • The CSO’s acclaimed MusicNOW series celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017/18. Full details to be announced in spring 2017.

Symphony Center Presents (SCP) brings today’s leading artists and ensembles to Chicago. Highlights include the return of pianist Lang Lang for a solo recital, anticipated appearances by Evgeny Kissin, Mitsuko Uchida, Piotr Anderszewski and Maurizio Pollini, and the series debut of award-winning French pianist Lucas Debargue on the SCP Piano series. The SCP Orchestra series for 2017/18 features the Minnesota Orchestra with a program of Sibelius and Beethoven and the Mariinsky Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev. The exceptional group of programs in the SCP Chamber Music series for 2017/18 include the debut of an allstar trio (Yo-Yo Ma, Leonidas Kavakos and Emanuel Ax) in an all-Brahms program, the return of violinist Joshua Bell, the debut of a unique artistic collaboration between Itzhak Perlman and Martha Argerich and a rare collaboration between pianist Evgeny Kissin with the Emerson String Quartet.

The 2017/18 SCP Jazz series programming details will be announced in April. The programs of the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2017/18 complement the CSO’s subscription programs and demonstrate the commitment of Music Director Riccardo Muti, CSO Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma and the CSOA to supporting young musicians and to serving the greater Chicago community through music.


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