Today marks the beginning of a new era for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Riccardo Muti steps in as music director for the 2010/11 season. During a press conference held earlier today, which was streamed live over the Internet, Muti set the stage by saying he “doesn’t believe in themes” and hopes to regularly include opera performances.
The season will officially commence on September 19 with a FREE “Concert for Chicago” in Millennium Park with Muti conducting Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino and Respighi’s Pines of Rome. The free concert is exemplifying his commitment to the local community, which is one of the reasons former music director, Daniel Barenboim, got the boot, if my memory is correct.
What really caught my attention is Muti’s commitment to México 2010, with performances of Carlos Chávez’s Sinfonía india and the world premiere of Bernard Rands’ Danza Petrificada as well as an open rehearsal with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in the Pilsen neighborhood.
To add to my excitement, the superb violinist Gil Shaham will lead his own concert programs in October featuring concertos by Haydn and Mozart, as well as anti-Nazi German composer Karl Amadeus Hartmann in its first CSO performances.
Other2010/11 season highlights include:
- First CSO subscription concerts led by Muti pair Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique with its companion piece, Lélio, featuring Gérard Depardieu as narrator
- CSO’s Symphony Ball features Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Muti and the CSO, her first performance with the Orchestra in nearly 20 years
- The CSO performs four commissioned works by Osvaldo Golijov, Bernard Rands, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Esa-Pekka Salonen
- The CSO and Muti celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Luigi Cherubini with rare performances of his Requiem in C Minor
- Exciting residencies by Yo-Yo Ma and Evgeny Kissin span both the CSO subscription and Symphony Center Presents series
The Chicago Sun-Times published additional details.
For a taste of what is to come, here is a performance of Brahm’s Symphony No. 2, fourth movement with Muti conducting the La Scala Philharmonic: