Pierre Boulez cancels CSO February datesContinue reading.
Riccardo Muti renews contract with Chicago Symphony Orchestra
BY ANDREW PATNER
FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA
No Verdi. No Wagner. No Benjamin Britten.
But a renewed contract signed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti through the 2019-2020 season, and a celebratory season opening of Beethoven’s Ninth in September, was the order of the day today.
The year of multiple bicentennial and centennial composer anniversaries receding, the CSO announced its 2014-2015 season Monday with a contrasting array of repertoire including Muti-led symphony cycles of Russians both popular — Tchaikovsky — and less-known to the wider audience — Alexander Scriabin.
The CSO will salute the 90th birthday of its conductor emeritus Pierre Boulez in 2015 with a “Beyond the Score” program, a two-piano “Symphony Center Presents” program with Boulez protege Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich. Former principal conductor Bernard Haitink will return after marking his 60th anniversary year as a conductor of leading international orchestras with the Mahler Seventh Symphony.
Los Angeles Philharmonic music director laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead a three-week festival of 20th Century French concert music and opera in the spring. Returning conductors Charles Dutoit, Semyon Bychkov, Jaap van Zweden and their younger colleagues Ludovic Morlot and Pablo Heras-Casado each come to Chicago for two weeks.
For the second year in a row there are no new conductors on the CSO roster. Muti said that he and the administration are “working on this” as well as bringing back leading figures who have been absent for some time.
In answer to a press question about the qualities he would like to see in a new president, Muti said that “managers — except for Deborah [Rutter] — always want to be music directors, or consider the director No. 2.” Both individuals should work together, “the one in business and the other artistic.”
New works will come from the two young Mead composers-in-residence Mason Bates (conducted by Muti) and Anna Clyne who will complete their five years in these posts. But there are no other contemporary premieres and very little new music in general.
Muti will open the season with four performances, Sept. 18-23 — including the annual gala Sept. 20 — of Beethoven’s “Choral” Symphony and a free all-Tchaikovsky program in Millennium Park Sept. 19. Muti will continue his schedule of four residencies in fall, winter, spring and at season’s end in June, with Prokofiev’s “Alexander Nevsky” in January and the Mozart Requiem in February 2015 and works of Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Stravinsky, Brahms, Ligeti and Andrzej Panufnik as well as Tchaikovsky, Scriabin and Beethoven throughout the season.
Muti will also lead a European tour in the fall to Paris and a full week in Vienna as well as the CSO’s debut in Warsaw and other cities to be announced. The CSO and Muti will also have a three-night stand at Carnegie Hall in New York in Jan. 2015.
Salonen’s French festival in May 2015 will feature the CSO premieres of Ravel’s “L’enfant et les sortileges,” Debussy’s opera “Pelleas et Melisande” and cantata “La damoiselle elue” and the grand Messiaen “Turangalila” Symphony with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Conductors returning for one week each, include Harry Bicket, Manfred Honeck, Nicholas Kraemer, Cristian Macelaru, Ingo Metzmacher, Vasily Petrenko, Carlos Miguel Prieto and Edo de Waart, who substituted last year for an ailing Muti at the start of the CSO’s Far East Asian tour. Mitsuko Uchida returns to lead her annual concert of Mozart piano concertos from the keyboard, this year supplemented by a lengthy Schumann song cycle, but no other women are on the conducting schedule.
The “Beyond the Score” series, directed by Gerard McBurney, in addition to the Boulez retrospective Nov. 14 and 16, conducted by Heras-Casado, will also feature a Ravel portrait June 5 and 7 with Morlot and a look at the Brahms Third Symphony March 27 and 29, led by de Waart.
The MusicNOW series, curated by Bates and Clyne and with Cliff Colnot as principal conductor, will take place at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance; programs will be announced at a later date.
Two of the popular “CSO at the Movies” programs also were announced: Music and scenes from all 14 Pixar animated films in three late November performances, and Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” on March 13, 2015.
Visit cso.org for tickets and more information.