CSO Announces 2024-25 Season and New Artist-In-Residence

By Keegan Morris |

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Daniil Trifonov smiles while under a sunlit tree

Daniil Trifonov

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has announced its 2024-2025 season, a full year of concerts in its mainstage subscription series, as well as chamber, solo, family, and other programming.

The announcement is anchored with the appointment of a new artist-in-residence. Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, who gave a much heralded CSO performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto in 2023, will hold the title in the 2024-25 season. Culminating in a performance of the Brahms’ Piano Concerto 2 with Klaus Mäkelä in May 2025, Trifonov will appear in a solo concert in November as part of the piano series and a chamber concert with Leonidas Kavakos in March. The artist will also give masterclasses and other outreach activities in Chicago.

The season opens with conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the CSO’s current (and inaugural) artist-in-residence violinist Hilary Hahn.

John Williams and Anne-Sophie Mutter (Photo: Prashant Gupta / Deutsche Grammophon)

In October, John Williams will conduct frequent collaborator Anne-Sophie Mutter and the CSO in his Violin Concerto No. 2 as well as highlights from his legendary catalog of film scores.

December will see a performance of Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto by Johannes Moser under the direction of conductor Dima Slobodeniouk in his CSO subscription series debut.

That same month, Lahav Shani will return for his second conducting appearance with the orchestra. In the program, Shani will make his debut as pianist as he conducts and solos in Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto.

January audiences will hear the Chicago debut of a new work for organ. Conducted and composed by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the performance will feature Iveta Apkalna.

In February, David Afkham will welcome Christian Tetlzaff for a performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto plus works by Wagner and Schoenberg.

Violinist Randall Goosby sits with his instrument on a black couch against a tan background

Randall Goosby (Photo: Jeremy Mitchell)

In May, James Gaffigan will lead the CSO and Chicago-born soprano Janai Brugger in works by Dvořák (the CSO premiere of his American Suite), Bernstein, and Gershwin.

Other guest artists appearing on the Symphony Center stage will include Lang Lang (September), Ekaterina Gubanova (February), Seong-Jin Cho (March), Simon Trpčeski (March), and Randall Goosby, who makes his orchestra debut with the first CSO performance of Florence Price’s once-lost Second Violin Concerto.

Orchestra principals Robert Chen, John Sharp, and Esteban Batallán will feature as soloists over the course of the season. Another key orchestra player being spotlit will be Stephen Williamson, the ensemble’s principal clarinetist who in May 2025 performs the world premiere of the CSO-commisioned Indigo Heaven, a concerto written for Williamson by Christopher Theofanidis.

Considering the CSO is between music directors, it’s no surprise that the season promises an impressive roster of guest conductors. Those include Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider (September and March), Christoph Eschenbach (October), Marin Alsop (October), Hannu Lintu (November), Dame Jane Glover (February), Jakub Hrůša (March), and Karina Canellakis (April).

Beyond the previously mentioned engagements, Esa-Pekka Salonen (January/February) and Klaus Mäkelä (April/May) will both conduct additional programs.

Jaap van Zweden, who concludes as NY Phil music director in the 2024 season, will make visits in April and May 2025 to lead two Mahler Symphonies.

Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali (March) makes his debut with the orchestra.

Lahav Shani looks playfully around a corner in a sunlit urban scene

Lahav Shani (Photo: Marco Borggreve)

But the CSO’s former music director will be returning to the podium several times during the season. Riccardo Muti, who in 2023 was named the CSO’s Music Director Emeritus for Life, will do two stints in Chicago and lead a two-week domestic tour in January 2025. In late-October into early-November, Muti will conduct two of Beethoven’s most famous works: the Emperor Concerto with pianist Mitsuko Uchida and the Eroica Symphony. The week after, he will lead the world premiere performance of an Osvaldo Golijov-composed suite commissioned by the CSO as well as works by Donizetti, Verdi, and more.

Muti returns in June with the final two subscription programs of the season. The first showcases symphonies by Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert plus a pair of 18th-century trumpet concertos featuring the CSO’s Esteban Batallán. And the second — the final subscription concert of the season – is a full-length performance of Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust featuring vocal soloists Marianne Crebassa, John Osborn, and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, all with the backing of Uniting Voices Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

The Chicago Symphony Chorus is featured in programs all season long. In October, the chorus unites with Music of the Baroque principal guest conductor Nicholas Kraemer, soprano Amanda Forsythe, and other vocal soloists in Mozart’s Coronation Mass. In March, Manfred Honeck conducts the chorus and orchestra in the CSO premiere of Haydn’s Mass in Time of War.

brightly dressed dancers move onstage with orchestra members in the background

A previous CSO-Joffrey collaboration sees dancers and musicians performing Cather Marston's Heimat (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

The orchestra reteams with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet in April. The third such collaboration in recent years, the program will feature world-premiere choreography set to music by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson and Darius Milhaud as well as the CSO’s first performance of Joseph Bologne’s First Symphony, all under the baton of Harry Bicket.

Symphony Center plays host to a unique lineup of guest ensembles: Jordi Savall and La Capella Reial De Catalunya & Hespèrion XXI (October), the Berlin Philharmonic and Kirill Petrenko (November), Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (January), Awadagin Pratt and Sphinx Virtuosi (Feb), and Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (April).

Also appearing in chamber programs will be a duo of Julia Fischer and Jan Lisiecki (March) and a trio of Anne-Sophie Mutter, Pablo Ferrández (his debut in Symphony Center), and Yefim Bronfman (May).

Red tinged closeup portrait of Mao Fujita

Mao Fujita (Photo: Dovile Sermokas)

The CSO’s piano series will see solo concerts from Trifonov in November, as well as recitals by Jean-Yves Thibaudet performing Debussy in January, Emanuel Ax (April), Evgeny Kissin (May), Maria João Pires (May), Víkingur Ólafsson (June), while Alexandre Kantorow in February and Mao Fujita in March make their debuts.

The CSO’s contemporary MusicNOW series will continue and be steered by two to-be-announced Mead Composer/Curators.

For the holiday season, the orchestra will present the Vienna Boys Choir Christmas, ChanticleerElf in Concert, CSO Brass, and its Merry, Merry Chicago! showcase.

The season offers frequent children’s and family programming. Most notably in October, conductor Eric Jacobsen of The Knights leads the CSO co-commissioned Mason Bates orchestra showpiece/film Philharmonia Fantastique. In addition to ElfThe Wizard of Oz (November/December), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (January), Field of Dreams (May/June), and Back to the Future (June) will receive live score performances.

For the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s complete 2024-25 lineup of programming, visit cso.org.

This article has been updated to correct the status of Hilary Hahn’s CSO residency, update the title of the Mead Composer/Curators, and correct conductor debut information.