Performance Sunday, February 1, 2015 | 2 PM

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
“The passion and dramatic verve Muti masterfully elicited … is simply magnificent,” said NPR about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s music director. In this program, Riccardo Muti conducts Scriabin’s Symphony No. 1, a passionate ode to art—the composer’s first major orchestral work. Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, a cantata drawn from his complete score to Eisenstein’s classic film, comprises music accompanying some of the film’s most memorable scenes, including the grim chant of invading Teutonic knights, the Russian people’s rousing exhortation to battle, a heartfelt lament, and the Battle on the Ice—one of the greatest fusions of image and music ever made.


  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Riccardo Muti, Music Director and Conductor
  • Alisa Kolosova, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Sergey Skorokhodov, Tenor
  • Chicago Symphony Chorus
    Duain Wolfe, Director


  • SCRIABIN Symphony No. 1
  • PROKOFIEV Alexander Nevsky

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.


  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Since 2010, the preeminent conductor Riccardo Muti has served as its 10th music director. Pierre Boulez is the CSO's Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus, Yo-Yo Ma is its Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, and Mason Bates and Anna Clyne are its Mead Composers-in-Residence.

    From Baroque through contemporary music, the CSO commands a vast repertoire. Its renowned musicians annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in Chicago and, each summer, at the suburban Ravinia Festival. They regularly tour nationally and internationally. Since 1892, the CSO has made 58 international tours, performing in 29 countries on five continents.

    People around the world listen to weekly radio broadcasts of CSO concerts and recordings on the WFMT network and online at Recordings by the CSO have earned 62 Grammy Awards, including two in 2011 for Mr. Muti's recording with the CSO and Chorus of Verdi's Messa da Requiem (Mr. Muti's first of four releases with the CSO to date).

    The CSO is part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, which includes the Chicago Symphony Chorus (Duain Wolfe, Director and Conductor) and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a training ensemble. Through its Symphony Center Presents series, the CSOA presents guest artists from a variety of genres-classical, jazz, world, and contemporary.

    The Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO offers community and education programs that annually engage more than 200,000 people of diverse ages and backgrounds. Through the Institute and other activities, including a free annual concert with Mr. Muti and the CSO, the CSO promotes the concept of Citizen Musicianship™: using the power of music to create connections and build community.

    The CSO is supported by tens of thousands of patrons, volunteers, and institutional and individual donors. The CSO's music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation. The Negaunee Foundation provides generous support in perpetuity for the work of the Negaunee Music Institute. Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the CSO.

    Riccardo Muti

    Born in Naples, Italy, Riccardo Muti is one of the preeminent conductors of our day. When he became the 10th music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2010, Mr. Muti already had more than 40 years of experience at the helm of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (1968-1980), the Philharmonia Orchestra (1972-1982), The Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-1992), and Teatro alla Scala (1986-2005). He continues to be in demand as a guest conductor for other orchestras and opera houses around the world.

    Since 1971, Mr. Muti has been closely associated with the Salzburg Festival and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he is an honorary member. When he conducted the Philharmonic's 150th anniversary concert in 1992, Mr. Muti was presented with the Golden Ring, a special sign of esteem, and in 2001, his artistic contributions to the orchestra were further recognized with the Otto Nicolai Gold Medal.

    Mr. Muti studied piano at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella in Naples, graduating with distinction. He subsequently received a diploma in composition and conducting from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, also graduating with distinction.

    Throughout his career, Mr. Muti has demonstrated a strong commitment to training young musicians. In 2004, he founded the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini (Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra), and in 2015, he begins the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy to train young conductors, répétiteurs, and singers in the Italian opera repertoire.

    Since 1997, as part of a project of the Ravenna Festival in Italy titled Le vie dell'amicizia (The Paths of Friendship), Mr. Muti has annually conducted large-scale concerts in troubled areas around the world, using music to promote hope and unity and to bring attention to social, cultural, and humanitarian issues.

    Mr. Muti has received numerous honors from Italy, the United States, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Israel, Spain, Russia, Sweden, and the Vatican, as well as more than 20 honorary degrees from universities across the globe.

    His vast catalog of recordings, numbering in the hundreds, ranges from traditional symphonic and operatic repertoire to contemporary works. Mr. Muti also has written two books, Verdi, l'italiano and Riccardo Muti: An Autobiography: First the Music, Then the Words, both published in several languages.

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  • Alisa Kolosova

    A native of Moscow, Alisa Kolosova is quickly becoming one of the most exciting opera singers of her generation. She has sung at international venues that include the Opéra national de Paris; the Bavarian State Opera; Amsterdam's Concertgebouw; the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro; and the Ravenna, Glyndebourne, and Salzburg festivals.

    In 2009, Ms. Kolosova was a member of Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival, and in 2010, she was a member of the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro. A member of the Atelier Lyrique at the Opéra national de Paris, she currently is a resident member of the Vienna State Opera, where she has sung in operas that include Janáček's Kát'a Kabanová, Strauss's Salome, Mozart's La clemenza di Tito, Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame and Eugene Onegin, Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Feen, Verdi's Nabucco, and Puccini's Madama Butterfly.

    In 2010, Ms. Kolosov made her international operatic debut in the role of Giuditta in Mozart's La Betulia liberata at the Salzburg Festival under the baton of Riccardo Muti; the production was revived at the Ravenna Festival. In 2010, she appeared as Marchesa Melibea in Il viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival under Andrea Battistoni.

    Recent engagements include Olga in Eugene Onegin at the Opéra national de Paris; Handel's Messiah at the Den Norske Opera in Oslo and with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, both with Rinaldo Alessandrini; Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice at the Opéra national de Paris; Dvořák's Rusalka at the Glyndebourne Festival under Sir Andrew Davis; and Vivaldi's Farnace with Max Emanuel Cenčić in a tour of concerts under Diego Fasolis.

    Upcoming engagements include Rusalka at the Opéra national de Paris, Eugene Onegin with the Orchestre Philharmonique Luxembourg, Eugene Onegin and Rigoletto with the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Das Lied von der Erde with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris under Mikko Franck, and Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

    In 2009, Alisa Kolosova was awarded the special jury prize at the Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona.

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  • Sergey Skorokhodov

    A native of St. Petersburg, Sergey Skorokhodov studied at the Glinka Choral School and at the Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory. He made his debut at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1999 as Guido Bardi in Zemlinsky's Eine florentinische Tragödie. Internationally, Mr. Skorokhodov has performed at venues that include the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Washington National Opera.

    Mr. Skorokhodov's recent engagements include Giasone in Cherubini's Medea in Valencia; Zemlinsky's Eine florentinische Tragödie and Rachmaninoff's The Bells with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski at London Festival Hall and at the Edinburgh Festival; a tour of Europe featuring concert performances of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, singing Vaudémont with Anna Netrebko in the title role; and Grigory in Boris Godunov and Froh in Das Rheingold at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.

    In May 2013, Mr. Skorokhodov performed at the opening gala of the new Mariinsky Theatre. At the 2013 Glyndebourne Festival, he sang Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos under Vladimir Jurowski. Other engagements during the 2013-2014 season included Ivan in Shostakovich's The Nose at the Metropolitan Opera with Valery Gergiev, Alfredo in La traviata at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Vaudémont in Iolanta in Warsaw, Macduff in Macbeth at the Mariinsky Theatre, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in Moscow with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra) and Vladimir Jurowski, Lensky in Eugene Onegin in Bologna, and Rachmaninoff's The Bells at the Konzerthaus Berlin and in Gothenburg.

    Upcoming engagements include The Bells in Barcelona and Amsterdam; Erik in Der fliegende Holländer at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf; Iolanta at the Dallas Opera and on tour in Copenhagen and Monte Carlo, and at Royal Albert Hall in London; Ismaele in Nabucco at Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Grigory in Boris Godunov and Zinovy in Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District at the Bavarian State Opera.

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  • Chicago Symphony Chorus

    Now in its 57th season, the critically acclaimed Chicago Symphony Chorus has been led by chorus director and conductor Duain Wolfe since 1994. Following successful collaborations with Riccardo Muti in his inaugural season as music director, the chorus sang Orff's Carmina Burana with Mr. Muti both in Chicago and to open the 2012-2013 season at Carnegie Hall, as well as Verdi's Otello and Berlioz's Lélio under Mr. Muti at Orchestra Hall and at Carnegie Hall in April 2011. The chorus opened the 2014-2015 season with performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 2007-2008, the chorus celebrated its 50th-anniversary season with a special concert that showcased the extraordinary talent and musical breadth of the ensemble.

    The chorus's discography includes many hallmarks of the choral repertoire, including Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Bach's B-Minor Mass, Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem, and Orff's Carmina Burana. The chorus is featured on several recordings on the CSO Resound label, including Mahler's Second and Third symphonies, Poulenc's Gloria, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, and Verdi's Otello with Riccardo Muti. Its recording of Verdi's Requiem under Mr. Muti received the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, the chorus's 10th win in that category.

    The history of the Chicago Symphony Chorus goes back to 1957, when Music Director Fritz Reiner invited Margaret Hillis to establish a chorus on a par with the quality of the orchestra. The new ensemble soon achieved an international reputation, with concerts in Chicago, tours in the US and abroad, and many award-winning recordings. Memorable achievements include critically acclaimed performances of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron and Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem with the orchestra at the Berlin Festtage in April 1999.

    In Chicago, the chorus members have performed at numerous events around the city, including the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Macy's, the National Anthem at Chicago Bulls basketball games, and appearances on local news features for ABC 7, NBC 5, and WTTW 11.

    Duain Wolfe

    Now in his 21st season as director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Duain Wolfe has prepared more than 100 programs in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, as well as many works for commercial recordings. Mr. Wolfe also directs choral works at the Aspen Music Festival and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He is also founder-director of the Colorado Symphony Chorus, a position he maintains along with his Chicago Symphony Chorus post.

    Winner of two Grammy Awards in 2010 (Best Choral Performance and Best Classical Album) for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's recording of Verdi's Requiem with Riccardo Muti, Mr. Wolfe received the Michael Korn Founders Award from Chorus America in 2012 in recognition of his contributions to the professional choral arts. He also prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for the 1998 Grammy Award-winning recording of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with Sir Georg Solti, and for the CSO's release of Verdi's Otello conducted by Riccardo Muti.

    Well known for his work with children, Mr. Wolfe retired from the Colorado Children's Chorale in 1999, an organization that he founded and conducted for 25 years. Also active as an opera conductor, he served as conductor of the Central City Opera Festival for 20 years.

    Among the many performances for which Mr.  Wolfe has prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus are Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Cherubini's Requiem, Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, and Verdi's Requiem and Otello-all conducted by CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti. World premieres include John Harbison's Four Psalms and Bernard Rands's apókryphos, both commissioned by the CSO.

    Mr. Wolfe also prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for its Carnegie Hall performances of Verdi's Otello and Berlioz's Lélio in 2011 under Riccardo Muti, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Staatskapelle Berlin in 2000 under Daniel Barenboim, and for performances of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron (led by Pierre Boulez) and Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem (led by Daniel Barenboim) at the Berlin Festtage.

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Pre-concert talk starts at 1:00 PM in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage with Harlow Robinson, an author, lecturer, and Matthews Distinguished University Professor of History at Northeastern University.


Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78 (Alexander's Entry Into Pskov)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus | Fritz Reiner, Conductor
Classical Masters

At a Glance

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN  Symphony No. 1 in E Major, Op. 26

Scriabin began his musical life as a pianist and his composing career writing only piano pieces. When he wrote a piano concerto in 1896—the first of his works to call for orchestra—he had not yet discovered the voice that would ultimately make his music unique. Three years later, he began his first symphony, and a new world of complex sounds and philosophical ideas opened up before him. Although the Symphony No. 1 failed to impress the public when it was first performed in 1900, within little more than a decade it was acclaimed throughout Europe as well as in Russia.

SERGEI PROKOFIEV  Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78

In May 1938, Prokofiev was approached by the great Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, who proposed they collaborate on a film about the 13th-century military hero Alexander Nevsky. The result is one of the rare occasions when a great film not only boasts a great score, but is made infinitely more powerful and meaningful by that score. Although Eisenstein and Prokofiev later collaborated on Ivan the Terrible, Alexander Nevsky that remains their greatest achievement, and it is still unrivalled in the brilliance of its linking music and film.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Great American Orchestras II, and Choral Sundays.