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CSOA and WFMT Announce Seven New Programs in FROM THE CSO'S ARCHIVES Series


CSOA and WFMT Announce Seven New Programs in FROM THE CSO'S ARCHIVES Series

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) and WFMT (Chicago's Classical Music Station) announce the release of a new set of seven programs in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) radio broadcast series From the CSO's Archives: Maestro's Choice-For All Music Lovers in These Difficult Times. The new programs come after the success and positive response from listeners to the initial set of six programs selected by CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti. Originally created in response to the COVID-19 crisis by the CSOA and WFMT in a special cultural and community partnership, the weekly radio broadcast series launched in April 2020 and offers a meaningful connection to the music of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra while live performances have been interrupted during the pandemic.

Airing weekly on Tuesday evenings from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (CDT), the new programs begin May 19 and continue through June 30 and are available to listeners on WFMT (98.7 FM), and streaming on and the WFMT app ( More information about CSO radio broadcasts is also available

Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 2010, curated the new set of seven programs with an emphasis on concert performances from the Orchestra's past and present, as well as repertoire that highlights specific themes such as CSO musicians as soloists, music inspired by America, French and Italian music, and music of the opera. Selections include CSO concert programs from Muti's tenure as music director, including works featured on his CSO Resound recordings with the Orchestra; a program led by Fritz Reiner featuring a world premiere of music by Aaron Copland; and a program led by the CSO's eighth music director Sir Georg Solti that includes the finale from Wagner's Das Rheingold recorded in 1983, the year he made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival. Additional highlights include specific selections led by former CSO music directors Jean Martinon and Rafael Kubelík, as well as guest conductor Erich Leinsdorf.

New programs in the From the CSO's Archives: Maestro's Choice series for May 19 through June 30 include:

May 19: Riccardo Muti and Italy
Charpentier's Impressions of Italy, which received its U.S. premiere in 1893 by the Orchestra and founder and first music director Theodore Thomas, opens this program that also includes a suite from the film score to the 1963 period drama Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) by Nino Rota, one of Muti's mentors. A 2013 performance of Verdi's Four Sacred Pieces featuring the Chicago Symphony Chorus, prepared by Chorus Director Duain Wolfe, concludes the program.

May 26: Riccardo Muti and Soloists from the Orchestra
Notable performances featuring CSO principal players as soloists on this program include Concertmaster Robert Chen in Hindemith's Violin concerto, Principal Cello John Sharp in Schumann's Cello Concerto and former principal players David McGill and Christopher Martin in Mozart's Bassoon Concerto and Panufnik's Concerto in modo antico for trumpet and orchestra. A 2015 performance of Ravel's orchestral showpiece Boléro concludes the program.

June 2: Riccardo Muti conducts Dvořák and Mussorgsky
This program features an April 2018 performance that surveys a century of American music and music inspired by America with works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers George Walker and Aaron Copland. Walker's Lyric for Strings opens the program followed by Copland's Lincoln Portrait with award-winning actor John Malkovich as narrator and Antonin Dvořák's ode to America, the New World Symphony. The program concludes with a 2016 performance of Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures from an Exhibition, a work Muti led in his 1973 CSO debut at the Ravinia Festival and has gone on to lead in subscription concerts and on international tours during his tenure as music director.

June 9: Fritz Reiner conducts Copland, Hindemith, and Prokofiev
This program features live concert performances led by the CSO's sixth music director Fritz Reiner, many of which have not been released for broadcast for decades. Included are performances of Kodály's Dances of Galánta from 1954, Reiner's first season as music director; the 1958 world premiere of the suite from Copland's opera The Tender Land; a 1957 performance of Hindemith's Cello Concerto featuring the Orchestra's principal cello János Starker as soloist, and a powerhouse performance of Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony from 1958.

June 16: The CSO in Debussy, Faure, and Ravel
Several musical eras of the CSO are represented in this program that highlights major works of the French repertoire including Debussy's La mer led by guest conductor Erich Leinsdorf in a 1978 performance, and Fauré's Requiem led by the CSO's seventh music director Jean Martinon in 1968, when the Chicago Symphony Chorus marked its 10th anniversary.
Music by Ravel under three former music directors completes the program with a 1983 performance of Le tombeau de Couperin with Rafael Kubelík, a 1987 recording of the second suite from Daphnis and Chloe under Sir Georg Solti, and a 1960 recording of La valse with Fritz Reiner.

June 23: Sir Georg Solti conducts Mozart, Strauss, and Wagner
Performances from Sir Georg Solti's tenure as music director are highlighted in this program that opens with the overture to Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream and also includes Mozart's C minor mass with the Chicago Symphony Chorus (featuring mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter in her U.S. debut) from 1985, as well as a 1977 recording of Strauss's Death and Transfiguration. The program concludes with Solti leading the finale from Wagner's Das Rheingold in a recording from 1983, the year he made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival.

June 30: Riccardo Muti at the Opera

Widely recognized as today's leading interpreter of the music of Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Muti has regularly returned to the composer's works and other major Italian opera composers throughout his tenure as the CSO's tenth music director. This program opens with two selections from Muti's 2007 residency-his first concerts with the Orchestra in more than 30 years-Verdi's Overture to La forza del destino and arias by Verdi and Puccini with soprano Barbara Frittoli. Two Rossini overtures, William Tell and La scala di seta. follow, as well as the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, "Va, pensiero," from Verdi's Nabucco, featuring the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Rounding out the program are selections from the CSO Resound Italian Masterworks release, including Mascagni's Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana and Verdi's Overture to I vespri siciliani. The program concludes with the first act of Otello, recorded in 2011, and later released by CSO Resound, a recording that was recognized with an International Opera Award.

A link to full program information for this set of seven programs is available here.

The Tuesday evening broadcasts of From the CSO's Archives: Maestro's Choice-For All Music Lovers in These Difficult Times take place weekly from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. (CDT) through June 30, 2020. WFMT's Kerry Frumkin hosts the special CSO radio broadcasts, adding commentary for featured selections each week. The nationally syndicated CSO Radio Broadcast Series continues to air weekly on Sunday evenings at 8:00 p.m. (CDT) in Chicago on WFMT (98.7 FM), and via streaming on and the WFMT app (

The CSO's music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation.

Programs for From the CSO's Archives: Maestro's Choice are prepared with special support from Frank Villella, Director of the Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

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