The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Presents Its Spring Festival, TRUTH TO POWER, 5/19-6/8

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Presents Its Spring Festival, TRUTH TO POWER, 5/19-6/8

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) presents its annual spring festival from May 19 to June 8, 2014, which this year is entitled Truth to Power. Inspired by the phrase "speaking truth to power"-part of a 1955 Quaker treatise that outlined alternatives to violence and served as a cornerstone for the pacifist movement-the Truth to Power Festival highlights the works of Dmitri Shostakovich, Benjamin Britten and Sergei Prokofiev, three composers who believed in music's ability to connect people and thus harness the power of shared experience.

"Those who make music know well the importance of using creative expression to influence our society," said CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti. "Far from excusing us from comment and action, our profession gives us a unique voice with which to communicate at the deepest level with those around us. It is only with music that enthusiastic praise and sharp protest becomes possible."

Crossing musical genres, the Festival includes three CSO programs focused on the works of Britten, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, as well as a Symphony Center Presents (SCP) Jazz world premiere, an SCP Piano recital, and the Civic Orchestra performing a Beyond the Score® program. The Festival also features screenings of film clips as well as lectures and discussions on the concept of "truth to power," including the creative challenges and triumphs of poets and filmmakers who were contemporaries of the three featured composers.

Guest conductor Jaap van Zweden leads the CSO in three distinct programs of music by Britten, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Their belief that artists should serve society by creating work that would inspire justice and fairness produced such masterworks as Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No. 7, Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 and Britten's Sinfonia da requiem. The CSO concerts, all led by van Zweden, take place on May 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31 and June 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein and violinist Simone Lamsma-in her CSO debut-perform as soloists during the three-week festival.

"The most beautiful flowers grow on mud," said van Zweden about the theme of the Festival. "Composers in their darkest moments produce the most amazing music, The beauty behind the name 'Truth to Power' is that these composers [ed. Britten, Prokofiev and Shostakovich] stuck to their own personal convictions and power during extremely difficult periods in their lives, writing works which in turn have lasted as powerful statements of that era in spite of their personal situations."

Van Zweden has appeared as a guest conductor with the CSO each season since his debut with the Orchestra as a last-minute substitute in 2008. He last appeared with the CSO during the 2012/13 season leading a program of music by Mason Bates, Mozart and Bartók.

Before all CSO concerts in the Festival there are free discussions led by poets and literary scholars from the Poetry Foundation, as well as the CSO's Artistic Programming Advisor Gerard McBurney, who is a noted expert on Russian music.

The Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a preprofessional training ensemble affiliated with the CSO, participates in the Festival by giving a special Beyond the Score® performance of Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 on Wednesday, June 4 at 8 p.m. Led by van Zweden, the program includes a multimedia and theatrical exploration of Prokofiev's landmark work, followed after intermission by a complete performance of the work.

The SCP Piano series features pianist Vladimir Feltsman in a solo recital on Sunday, June 1 at 3 p.m. with Prokofiev's turbulent Sonata No. 6 as the centerpiece of the afternoon's program.

Truth to Power also reaches to the SCP Jazz series, when pianist Jason Moran and visual artist Theaster Gates collaborate for the first time on a commissioned work, Looks of a Lot, which receives its world premiere Friday, May 30 at 8 p.m. during the festival.

Please click here ( to view a complete listing of Truth to Power Festival events.

Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the CSO. Festival partners and sponsors include the Poetry Foundation, the Art Institute of Chicago, Gene Siskel Film Center, Music Box Theatre, WBEZ 91.5 and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Truth to Power Festival is made possible by a generous leadership gift from The Grainger Foundation. Additional support for the Truth to Power Festival is provided from these generous supporters: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Richard & Mary L. Gray, U.S. Equities Realty, LLC and the Susan and Robert Winslow Charitable Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Franke, and The Wayne Balmer Grantor Trust. CSO Tuesday series concerts are sponsored by United. The Symphony Center Presents Jazz series is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank. The appearance of Simone Lamsma (June 5-8) is endowed in part by the Nuveen investments Emerging Artist Fund.

Program and Ticket Details

Tickets for Truth to Power Festival and all CSO-presented concerts can be purchased by phone at 800?223?7114 or312-294?3000; online at, or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.

Discounted student tickets for select concerts can be purchased, subject to availability, online in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. For group rates, please call 312-294-3040.

Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.

Click here to download complete event listing information forTruth to Power Festival events.

About Vladimir Feltsman

About Theaster Gates

About Simone Lamsma

About Gerard McBurney

About Jason Moran

About Alisa Weilerstein

About Jaap van Zweden
Amsterdam-born Jaap van Zweden has risen rapidly in little more than a decade to become one of today's most sought-after conductors. He has been Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, and in September 2012 he took up the position of Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Appointed at nineteen as the youngest concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, he began his conducting career in 1995 and held the positions of Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra (1996-2000), Chief Conductor of the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague (2000-2005), and Chief Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra (2008-2011) and Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Radio Chamber Orchestras from 2005-2011(he remains Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra). In November 2011 van Zweden was named as the recipient of Musical America's Conductor of the Year Award 2012 in recognition of his critically acclaimed work as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as a guest conductor with the most prestigious US orchestras.

Aside from an extensive symphonic repertoire, opera also plays an important part in Maestro van Zweden's career, and he has conducted La Traviata and Fidelio with the National Reisopera, Madama Butterfly at the Netherlands Opera, and concert performances of Verdi's Otello, Barber's Vanessa and Wagner's Die Meistersinger, Parsifal andLohengrin at the Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic.

Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings which include Stravinsky's Rite of In 1997, Jaap van Zweden and his wife Aaltje established the Papageno Foundation, the objective being to support families with one or more children with autism. Over the years, that support has taken shape in a number of projects, such as Music Therapy and Music Makers, where professional music therapists and musicians, who receive additional training from Papageno, use music and make music with autistic children.

About the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Its music director since 2010 is Riccardo Muti, one of the preeminent conductors of our day. Pierre Boulez is the CSO's Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus; Yo-Yo Ma is the CSO's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant. Mason Bates and Anna Clyne are the CSO's Mead Composers-in-Residence.

The musicians of the CSO annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in downtown Chicago and, in the summer, at the suburban Ravinia Festival. The CSO frequently tours internationally and occasionally performs in other parts of the U.S. Since its founding in 1891, the Orchestra has made 57 international tours, visiting 28 countries on five continents. At home and on tour, tickets are always in high demand and frequently sold out.

People around the globe enjoy the extraordinary sounds of the Orchestra through broadcasts and webcasts of the weekly CSO Radio program and through CSO Resound, the CSO's own record label. Recordings by the CSO have won 62 Grammy Awards®.

The parent organization for the CSO is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA). It also includes the Chicago Symphony Chorus, directed by Duain Wolfe, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a pre-professional ensemble conducted by Cliff Colnot. Through a series called Symphony Center Presents, the CSOA brings internationally known guest artists and ensembles from a variety of musical genres-classical, jazz, pop, world, and contemporary-to Chicago.

The CSOA's Institute for Learning, Access, and Training offers a variety of youth, community, and education programs that engage more than 200,000 people of diverse ages, incomes and backgrounds. Through the programs of the Institute as well as many other activities, including a free annual CSO concert, the CSOA promotes the concept of Citizen Musicianship: using the power of music to contribute to our culture, our communities and the lives of others.

A nonprofit organization, the CSOA is governed by a voluntary board of trustees and supported by tens of thousands of other volunteers, patrons and corporate, foundation and individual donors. Deborah F. Rutter, a highly regarded arts executive, is president of the CSOA.

About Poetry Foundation (
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.