Performance Saturday, January 31, 2015 | 8 PM

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
This concert features two German masterpieces. Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is one of the landmarks of the concerto repertoire. Cast in four movements rather than the usual three, Brahms’s concerto inspires with its impassioned orchestral writing, including a gorgeous third-movement cello solo and a heroic role for the pianist. Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish”—one of his most popular works—is a joyful and warmly melodic snapshot of the Rhineland.


  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Riccardo Muti, Music Director and Conductor
  • Yefim Bronfman, Piano


  • BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2
  • SCHUMANN Symphony No. 3, "Rhenish"

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.

    Please visit for more information.

    More Info

  • Yefim Bronfman

    Yefim Bronfman's commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts have won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences worldwide.

    Mr. Bronfman's 2014-2015 season began with appearances at the festivals of Tanglewood, Aspen, Vail, and La Jolla, as well as a residency at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Other engagements include performances with the St. Louis, San Francisco, and Seattle symphonies; the Dallas, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras; the New World Symphony; the MET Orchestra; the Berliner Philharmoniker; and the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics. Performances of Magnus Lindberg's Concerto No. 2 are scheduled with the Gothenburg Symphony and London Philharmonic orchestras. With The Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst, he plays and records both concertos by Brahms, repertoire that he also takes to La Scala in Milan with Valery Gergiev.

    After a break of many years, Mr. Bronfman returns to Japan for recitals and concerts with London's Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as to Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, Sydney, and Melbourne. In the spring, he joins Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lynn Harrell for their first US tour together.

    Mr. Bronfman has appeared in recital in the leading halls of North America, Europe, and the Far East, including acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall in 1989 and Avery Fisher Hall in 1993. He received the Avery Fisher Prize in 1991 and the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance from Northwestern University in 2010.

    Widely praised for his recordings, Mr. Bronfman was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for his Deutsche Grammophon release of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Piano Concerto with Mr. Salonen conducting, and won a Grammy Award in 1997 for his recording of Bartók's three piano concertos with Mr. Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union in 1958, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro, and the Curtis Institute, and with Rudolf Firkušný, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. Mr. Bronfman became an American citizen in July 1989.

    More Info


Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Op. 83 (II. Allegro appassionato)
Sviatoslav Richter, Piano | Chicago Symphony Orchestra | Erich Leinsdorf, Conductor

At a Glance

JOHANNES BRAHMS  Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83

Containing four movements rather than the standard three, Brahms’s sweeping Piano Concerto No. 2 is a work of extraordinary breadth that taxes the soloist’s technique to the utmost limit without ever being a mere showpiece. The gentle horn call that opens the work gives way to a muscular, heroic concerto-sonata form, followed not by the expected slow movement, but by a powerful, rhythmically vigorous scherzo. The ensuing lyric Andante features a singing cello in a heartbreakingly beautiful duet with the piano, and a joyous, sometimes teasing finale rounds out the work.

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 97, “Rhenish”

Although Schumann sometimes is criticized for being unsympathetic to the symphonic language, the magnificent opening of his Symphony No. 3, known as the “Rhenish,” argues otherwise. Here, Schumann writes for orchestra with the same command we find in his piano music. He called this music “a piece of life by the Rhine,” and working with the full orchestral palette, he created one of the great German Romantic musical landscapes.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Great Symphonies, and Weekends at Carnegie Hall.