Chicago Symphony Orchestra Launches Online Magazine, ‘CSO Sounds & Stories’

By Louise Burton on Dec 18, 2013 12:23 PM EST

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has launched CSO Sounds & Stories, an online multimedia magazine designed to enhance the concert-going experience and bring the CSO's concerts and programs to music lovers around the world.

"To the best of our knowledge, with CSO Sounds & Stories, the CSO becomes the first major American orchestra to have a dedicated music journalism site," said Philip Koester, vice president of sales and marketing for the CSO.

The CSO's innovative web zine features original, high-quality content created by professional writers and videographers. Visitors are invited to read previews of upcoming concerts, watch videos about music director Riccardo Muti, CSO musicians and visiting artists, and listen to excerpts from CSO Resound recordings. This is just a small sample of the multimedia experiences awaiting visitors to the site.

In fact, CSO Sounds & Stories provides a single location for all of the CSO's audio and video content, ranging from interviews with artists, to recordings of the CSO's Beyond the Score concerts, to the live streaming of selected concerts.

"Whether or not the users of the site attend concerts at Symphony Center, CSO Sounds & Stories will deepen their knowledge of the music--from CSO concerts to our Jazz Series to MusicNOW--as well as the stories behind the music," said Deborah Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

For instance, CSO Sounds & Stories currently features an interview with Muti on why Verdi's music transcends time, and an article about Mexican pianist Jorge Federico Osorio's insights into the Cesar Chavez Piano Concerto.

There is also a story about the CSO's season-long "Schubertiade"--encompassing performances of Schubert song cycles, piano sonatas, chamber music, and all eight of Schubert's symphonies. Orchestra Hall will be transformed into an intimate chamber for the next "Schubertiade" in this series, the song cycle Die schöne Müllerin on January 19.

CSO Sounds & Stories is part of the CSO's main website, It replaces the former "Listen & Watch" section of the main site, providing a single location for all of the CSO's varied media content. Sounds & Stories is designed to function effectively on mobile phones, tablets and computers.

The only advertising is for CSO Resound recordings.

Koester said that the site was created in part to adapt to the new realities of arts coverage in the media. "We are responding to changes in media consumption behavior and shifts in the media landscape, which have especially affected arts and music journalism," Koester explained. "Since publications now have fewer resources to devote to the arts, it is more difficult for the CSO to obtain media coverage, especially previews of coming programs. Therefore, we are using brand journalism and content marketing to tell our stories."

It is a change that other orchestras around the world are embracing, although the CSO seems to be the first in the U.S. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra recently launched a video magazine called RCO Editions, expressly for iPhone and iPad. Users pay for each edition, while the CSO's content is free.

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TagsCSO Sounds & Stories, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, Philip Koester, Deborah Rutter, Beyond the Score, Die schöne Müllerin, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, RCO Editions

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