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Source: Chicago Symphony Orchestra

CHICAGO—Music Director Riccardo Muti returns to Chicago in April to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in two subscription concert programs and two invited open rehearsals. Muti and the CSO perform a program of works that embody the American spirit on Thursday, April 12, at 8:00 p.m., Friday, April 13, at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, April 14, at 8:00 p.m. and Tuesday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. In addition to Pulitzer Prize-winning African American composer George Walker’s Lyric for Strings and Dvořák’s New World Symphony, the program includes Copland’s Lincoln Portrait featuring distinguished actor John Malkovich reciting the words of Abraham Lincoln. For the second program of Muti’s April CSO residency the Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Duain Wolfe, join Muti and the Orchestra to perform Debussy’s Nocturnes in subscription concerts on Thursday, April 19, at 8:00 p.m., Friday, April 20, at 1:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 21, at 8:00 p.m. This program also features CSO Principal Harp Sarah Bullen as soloist in Debussy’s Sacred and Profane Dances and concludes with Tchaikovsky’s symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini and the Suite from Swan Lake, in performances that mark the conclusion of the CSO’s season-long recognition of the 125th anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s death. Muti also leads two open rehearsals for invited groups during his April residency including an April 11 rehearsal open to CSOA donors and an April 18 rehearsal open to senior, community and veterans groups.
In the first program of his April CSO residency (April 12-15 & 17), Muti leads a program that surveys a century of American music and music inspired by America. The program opens with Lyric for Strings by composer George Walker. Composed in 1946, the work was originally the middle movement to the composer’s String Quartet No. 1 and titled “Lament” as an elegy to Walker’s grandmother. The program continues with Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, featuring texts written by Abraham Lincoln. Copland’s homage to one of America’s most important historical figures includes stately, sweeping themes and quotations of American folk songs that offer a musical portrait of an individual life and a diverse nation. Completing the program is Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (From the New World). One of Dvořák’s most familiar works, the Ninth Symphony was written in 1893 during the Czech composer’s expatriate years in the United States. Fascinated and influenced by traditional and folk music melodies that he found in his adopted country, the composer once described the symphony as his “impressions and greetings from the New World.”

Muti’s second April program (April 19-21) features celebrated works by Debussy and Tchaikovsky. The first half of the program opens with Debussy’s Nocturnes. Inspired by the impressionistic paintings of American artist James McNeill Whistler, Nocturnes suggests scenes of a bustling festival and idyllic cloudscapes through colorful, atmospheric orchestration. CSO Principal Harp Sarah Bullen is the featured soloist in Debussy’s Sacred and Profane Dances, a virtuosic showpiece for strings and harp. Appointed as Principal Harp of the CSO in 1997 by then-music director Daniel Barenboim, Bullen has performed more than 50 concertos during her career including performances with the CSO under Barenboim and Pierre Boulez and with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and Erich Leinsdorf. Also an author and committed educator, Bullen was recognized by Harp Column magazine as one of the foremost harpists of the 20th century. The second half of the program opens with Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini, a brooding, dramatic symphonic poem inspired by the story of the doomed lovers Francesca and Paolo in Dante’s Divine Comedy, followed by the Suite from the ballet Swan Lake.
During his most recent CSO residency in March, Muti led the CSO in two subscription programs, an open rehearsal for invited community groups and a free open rehearsal with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. The first of these programs, presented March 15-17, featured works by Haydn and Mozart, including Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 (Linz). This program was also performed at Wheaton College as part of the CSO’s annual series at the venue in Chicago’s west suburbs. The second program, presented March 22-24, included Weber’s Overture to Oberon as well as the world premiere of Three Lisel Mueller Settings by CSO Viola Max Raimi, the third world premiere of a new work by a contemporary American composer led by Muti this season. These concerts also marked the 60th anniversary of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, which was featured in Schubert’s Mass in E-flat Major.
Following his April CSO residency, Muti heads to Australia to lead the Australian World Orchestra in concerts at the Sydney Opera House and Hamer Hall, Melbourne on May 2, 4 and 5, featuring Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. On May 17, Muti conducts the Orchestre National de France at Maison de la Radio in Paris, leading a program of works by Brahms and Schumann. Muti then returns to Paris to launch a European tour (May 25-30) with the Cherubini Youth Orchestra that includes stops in Paris, Luxembourg, Geneva and Turin and features an all-Italian program featuring works by Catalani, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Martucci, Giordano, Puccini and Verdi.

The CSO’s music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation.
Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. United Airlines is the official airline of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The performances on April 19, 20 and 21 are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The appearance of the Chicago Symphony Chorus is made possible by a generous gift form Jim and Kay Mabie.
Support for the 60th Anniversary of the Chicago Symphony Chorus is provided by the Walter E. Heller Foundation in honor of Alyce DeCosta.
Tickets for all CSOA-presented concerts can be purchased by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312- 294-3000; online at, or at the Symphony center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.
Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.

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