CSO Embarks On Seven-City European Tour

Mike Lawson • News • January 13, 2017

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.

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