From Bach to Boulez: Chicago Symphony Orchestra Announces Brilliant 2014-15 Season

By Louise Burton on Feb 04, 2014 11:56 PM EST

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced two pieces of important news yesterday: The orchestra's widely-respected music director Riccardo Muti signed a new contract with the CSO, extending his tenure as music director through 2020; and the CSO announced programming for their 2014-15 season.

Poring through the CSO's new online season catalog is like mining for riches. The 2014-15 season opens with Maestro Muti leading a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, 'Choral' on September 18 with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and soloists. Other gems include a concert of J.S. Bach's complete Brandenburg concerti, and Muti leading the CSO and chorus in Mozart's Requiem.

The CSO is also planning an unprecedented series of concerts devoted to 200 years of French music, entitled "From Berlioz to Boulez: Color and Sensuality."

During this exploration of French music, listeners are invited to indulge in "Reveries and Passions," a festival in May devoted to 20th-century French dramatic and operatic works.

And a special "Beyond the Score" concert will honor composer Pierre Boulez, the CSO's conductor emeritus, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in 2015. This multimedia program, "Boulez at 90," invites listeners to go on an acoustic and theatrical journey through Boulez's musical adventures, innovations and discoveries.

But these are just a small fraction of the unbelievable variety of concerts the CSO has planned for next season.

Muti is also planning to spotlight two famous Russian composers, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Alexander Scriabin.

By juxtaposing the symphonic works of Tchaikovsky and Scriabin, Muti and the CSO will explore the contrasts between these two composers who share a common heritage while owning distinctive styles.

While Scriabin does not enjoy the name recognition of his more famous countryman, his music has attracted its share of passionate advocates. One of them is Maestro Muti, who is a celebrated interpreter of Scriabin's music. Muti will lead the CSO in four of his symphonic masterworks, including the famous Poem of Ecstasy.

In their fifth and final season as CSO Mead Composers-in-Residence, Mason Bates and Anna Clyne will contribute two new works that were commissioned by the CSO. Violinist Jennifer Koh will premiere Anna Clyne's Violin Concerto, led by guest conductor Ludovic Morlot, in May 2015.

On the final program of the season, scheduled for June 2015, Muti will lead the premiere of Mason Bates' Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, a 20-minute acoustic work based on the book of magical realism of the same title by Jorge Luis Borges. Sprites, nymphs, sirens, banshees and other creatures populate this surreal, imaginative suite of short movements.

This is just a small sample of the musical riches the CSO has in store for next season. The full season brochure is available online at

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TagsRiccardo Muti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 2014-15 season, J.S. Bach, Pierre Boulez, Tchaikovsky, Alexander Scriabin, Mason Bates, Anna Clyne

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