Highlights Include First Performances for Muti and CSO Together at the new Philharmonie de Paris, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and opening of Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie
CHICAGO—Music Director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) embark on their sixth trip to Europe together in January 2017, marking the Orchestra’s 33rd tour to Europe and the 60th international tour in its distinguished history. The tour takes place during the CSO’s 126th season in 2016/17 and includes 11 concerts from January 13-27, 2017, in seven cities—Paris; Hamburg; Aalborg, Denmark; Milan; Vienna; Baden-Baden, and Frankfurt.
Highlights of Muti and the CSO’s 2017 European Tour include the CSO’s first-ever performances at the new Philharmonie de Paris, on January 13; concerts at the state-of-the art Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg which are part of the grand opening week of programs for Europe’s newest concert hall and will be the first performances in the venue by a foreign orchestra, on January 14 and 15; the CSO’s debut at the Musikkens Hus in Aalborg, on January 16 and 17; performances at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan which represent the first CSO tour appearances there since 1981 and the Orchestra’s first performances at the venue with Music Director Riccardo Muti, on January 20 and 21; a highly-anticipated return to the Musikverein in Vienna, on January 23 and 24; and the first CSO appearances since the 1990s at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, on January 25 and at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, on January 27.
Featured tour repertoire for Muti and CSO includes Hindemith’s Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass, Elgar’s In the South (Alassio), Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain, and Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition, Richard Strauss’ Don Juan and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, as well as Catalani’s Contemplazione, which received its first performances by the CSO in subscription concerts led by Muti in September 2016.
Music Director Riccardo Muti and musicians of the CSO are also scheduled to participate in engagement and educational activities supported by the Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO during the 2017 European Tour. These activities begin in Paris on January 11 with a master class led by CSO Principal Clarinet Steve Williamson at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse. Activities in Paris continue on January 13, with a visit to Hôpital Armand Trousseau by CSO musicians Yuan-Qing Yu (violin) and Kenneth Olsen (cello) who perform in patient rooms that afternoon. Additional master classes for students at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse take place January 13 and are led by CSO musicians including Concertmaster Robert Chen, Principal Bass Alex Hanna, Principal Flute Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson, Principal Trombone Jay Friedman and Principal Percussion Cynthia Yeh.
On January 17, in Aalborg, Denmark, CSO musicians including Concertmaster Robert Chen, Brant Taylor (cello), Bill Buchman (bassoon), John Hagstrom (trumpet), Oto Carillo (horn), Michael Mulcahy (tombone) and Cynthia Yeh (percussion) lead coaching sessions with members of the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. CSO musicians Cynthia Yeh (percussion) and Gene Pokorny (tuba) also lead master classes in Aalborg for percussion and tuba and low brass students from the Royal Academy of Music.
Community engagement and educational tour activities continue in Vienna with a January 23 CSO open rehearsal led by Riccardo Muti for more than 300 music students ages 15-19 from partner schools from the Musikverein’s Amiddeus School Projects. A Q&A with select CSO musicians immediately follows the open rehearsal. In addition, a CSO ensemble is scheduled to share an interactive performance at a local elementary school, Akademisches Gymnasium Wien, on January 24. Participating musicians include Gina DiBello and Yuan-Qing Yu, violins; Diane Mues, viola; and Kenneth Olsen, cello.
Other special events and activities during the CSO’s European Tour include a post-concert CD signing with Music Director Riccardo Muti following the January 15 performance at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Recordings available for purchase and signature at this special event include the 2016 CSO Resound release featuring Riccardo Muti and the CSO—Schoenberg: Kol Nidre and Shostakovich: Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti—as well as recordings from the entire CSO Resound catalog of recordings featuring Muti and the CSO and additional recordings provided by Riccardo Muti Music.
On January 16, CSOA senior administrative staff including President Jeff Alexander, VP of Orchestra and Building Operations Vanessa Moss and VP of Artistic Planning Cristina Rocca meet with fellow arts managers and professionals in Aalborg, Denmark to discuss best practices in orchestra management.
Riccardo Muti’s first European tour with the CSO took place in 2007. Muti, who had not made an appearance in Chicago for 32 years, returned in 2007 for month-long residency that included subscription concerts at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, followed by a tour to Europe, with stops in England, France, Germany, and finally to Italy, where the Orchestra had not performed in more than 25 years.
Since becoming music director in 2010, Muti has embraced the Orchestra’s rich legacy of international touring, having led European tours in 2011, in 2012—also including performances in Russia—and in 2014, which included the CSO’s debut in Spain’s Canary Islands, both in Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria, and in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, as part of the opening program for the 30th annual Canary Islands Music Festival. Muti and the CSO also performed in the Mexican cities of Guanajuato and Mexico City as a part of a 2012 tour that also took Muti and the Orchestra to New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Muti and the CSO’s most recent tour to Europe in the fall of 2014 was marked by successful debuts in both Geneva, Switzerland, and Warsaw, Poland. The concerts in Warsaw included performances of Andrzej Panufnik’s Concerto in modo antico in honor of the Polish composer’s centennial in 2014. The CSO also performed a week of sold-out concerts at the Musikverein in Vienna, with the final two concerts featuring triumphant performances of Verdi’s Requiem.
In January 2016, Muti took the CSO on their first tour to Asia together—the Orchestra’s eighth—for an extensive trip that included sold-out concerts in Taiwan, Japan, China, and South Korea.
Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been touring—domestically and internationally—since the beginning of its history. First traveling to Canada in 1892, the Orchestra has since embarked on 59 international tours, performing in 29 countries on five continents.
Bank of America is the International Tour Sponsor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the 2016/17 season.