CSO 2022-23: Muti’s Farewell Season

By Keegan Morris |

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Riccardo Muti (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has announced its 2022-23 season, the orchestra’s 132nd season and its 13th and final year under the baton of music director Riccardo Muti. The season also marks the 25th anniversary of Symphony Center’s opening.

Banner works by Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev headline Muti’s CSO three residencies. The 80-year-old conductor will also lead the US premiere of a Samuel Coleridge-Taylor work: Solemn Prelude. In May, the maestro will conduct the world premiere of a CSO-commissioned work by the orchestra’s composer-in-residence Jessie Montgomery. Muti’s tenure will conclude in June 2023 with performances of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.

Guest artists taking the stage during Muti’s appearances with the orchestra will include Yefim Bronfman, Maurizio Pollini, and Julia Fischer, as well as CSO principal players Robert Chen, David Herbert, and Gene Pokorny as soloists in concertos.

Other landmark performances in the season include CSO co-commissioned US premieres by Jimmy López and Lera Auerbach. CSO will also give its first performances of Julia Wolfe’s Her Story, a co-commission with four other major US orchestras. What’s more, the orchestra will give its first performances of works by composers Thomas Adès (who will be conducting the debut performance), Einojuhani Rautavaara, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, and more.

Hilary Hahn (Photo: Dana van Leeuwen/Decca)

Hilary Hahn (Photo: Dana van Leeuwen/Decca)

Violinist Hilary Hahn will return for two CSO performances in her second year as the orchestra’s inaugural artist-in-residence. The CSO will welcome other high-profile guest artists, including cellist Gautier Gapuçon, pianist Kirill Gerstein, and guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas. Organist Cameron Carpenter and pianist Francesco Piemontesi are among those making their debuts with the CSO.

The CSO will welcome a cast of leading conductors, including Xian Zhang, Marin Alsop, Jakub Hrůša, Thomas Wilkins, Manfred Honeck, Dalia Stasevka, David Afkham, Christian Thielemann, and Vladimir Jurowski. Acclaimed composer and conductor John Williams will take the stage for one night only to conduct some of his beloved film scores.

The music of Sergei Rachmaninoff figures frequently in the season to mark the sesquicentenary of the composer’s birth. Maestro Muti will conduct Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony in May; Daniil Trifonov will perform Rachmaninoff’s legendary Piano Concerto No. 3 with conductor Fabien Gabel; Renée Fleming will perform Rachmaninoff songs alongside Evgeny Kissin, in a recital co-presented with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Kissin will also give a solo concert paying tribute to the composer. Lahav Shani — the 33-year-old music director of the Israel and Rotterdam Philharmonics — will make his CSO debut to conduct Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the latter of which will feature pianist Beatrice Rana.

Symphony Center will also welcome a panoply of guest ensembles. The Emerson Quartet — making its final appearance in Chicago before its retirement from stages — will appear with Emanuel Ax; the Berlin Philharmoniker will return to Chicago for the first time in more than a decade as chief conductor Kirill Petrenko conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. Meanwhile, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will make its Symphony Center debut with music by Lalo and Prokofiev. Chamber ensembles featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter and Pinchas Zukerman will take the Orchestra Hall stage, as will violinists Midori (appearing with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet) and Joshua Bell (appearing with Daniil Trifonov).

Seong-Jin Cho (Photo: Christoph Koestlin)

The venue’s solo piano offerings will include recitals by Marc-André Hamelin, Leif Ove Andsnes, and Maria João Pires, as well as anticipated debuts from Vikingur Ólafsson and Seong-Jin Cho. Hilary Hahn will give a solo recital of music by Bach.

Symphony Center Jazz programming will host artists like Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Kurt Elling.

The CSO will open its doors to Joffrey Ballet in a previously announced collaboration featuring world premiere ballets by Cathy Marston and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, set to music of Wagner and Rameau, respectively.

The CSO’s new music series, CSO MusicNOW, which is commissioned by its composer-in-residence, will return; the release shares that details on the MusicNOW concerts will come at a later date.

Chewbacca (L; Peter Mayhew) and Han Solo (R; Harrison Ford) in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Courtesy of Disney Concerts)

In the Winter Holiday season, the CSO will play host to Chanticleer (performances will be held at the Fourth Presbyterian Church), as well as the family-friendly Merry, Merry Chicago! at Symphony Center. And throughout the season, Symphony Center will serve as both recital hall and movie theater in concert screenings of Amadeus, The Princess Bride, and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Other family-friendly fare will include appearances from the Chicago Phil and Joffrey’s Scott Speck, Tania Miller (who appears alongside Jessie Montgomery), Andrew Grams, and Grammy-nominated children’s musician Justin Roberts.

The 2022-2023 CSO season will run from September 2022 to June 2023. For information, visit cso.org.