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Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, February 10, 2018 7:30 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Riccardo Muti by Todd Rosenberg Photography
“The passion and dramatic verve Riccardo Muti masterfully elicited … is simply magnificent,” said NPR of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s music director. One of the legendary Verdi conductors, he conducts the dramatic overture to I vespri Siciliani. While Verdi sizzles, Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 charms with its warm, flowing melodies, and radiant brass-drenched finale.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, Music Director and Conductor


VERDI I vespri Siciliani Overture

SAMUEL ADAMS many words of love (NY Premiere)

BRAHMS Symphony No. 2


SCHUBERT Entr'acte No. 3 from Rosamunde, D. 797

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Fried in support of the 2017-2018 season.

Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

At a Glance

GIUSEPPE VERDI  Overture to I vespri siciliani

I vespri Siciliani (The Sicilian Vespers) was composed following Verdi’s great mid-century trio of Rigoletto, Il trovatore, and La traviata. The monumental overture to the opera, which deals with the French occupation of the island of Sicily during the 13th century, is filled with music of high drama and soaring lyrical melody—hallmarks of all Verdi’s scores, yet characteristics that are personalized, tailored to the specific nature and setting of each story, and made to seem fresh and utterly individual time and time again.


SAMUEL ADAMS  many words of love

Commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Samuel Adams’s many words of love was written during the summer of 2016 in an unfinished shed in North Berkeley. The title of the piece is drawn from a line in Wilhelm Müller’s poem “Der Lindenbaum” (“The Linden Tree”), the fifth song in Schubert’s great cycle of love and loss, Winterreise. The musical nature of the work grew out of Adams’s desire to “imagine what it might sound like to hear ‘many words of love’ carved into the bark of a tree—a gesture both violent and tender.”


JOHANNES BRAHMS  Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

Within months after the long-awaited premiere of his First Symphony, Brahms produced another one. The two were as different as night and day—logically enough, since the first had taken two decades of struggle and soul-searching and the second was written over a summer holiday. When Brahms’s friend Theodor Billroth played through the score for the first time, he wrote to the composer: “It is all rippling streams, blue sky, sunshine, and cool green shadows.” The first performance in Vienna was a triumph, and the D-Major Symphony subsequently found receptive listeners nearly everywhere it was played.


Riccardo Muti

Born in Naples, Italy, Riccardo Muti is one of the preeminent conductors of our day. In 2010, when he became the 10th music director of the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), ...

Born in Naples, Italy, Riccardo Muti is one of the preeminent conductors of our day. In 2010, when he became the 10th music director of the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), he had more than 40 years of experience at the helm of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (1968–1980), the Philharmonia Orchestra (1973–1982), The Philadelphia Orchestra (1980–1992), and Teatro alla Scala (1986–2005). He also has had a close relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Salzburg Festival for more than 45 years, and is an honorary member of Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Vienna State Opera.

Mr. Muti has received innumerable international honors. He is a Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic, Knight Commander of the British Empire, Officer of the French Legion of Honor, Knight of the Grand Cross First Class of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and a recipient of the German Verdienstkreuz and the Russian Order of Friendship. Mr. Muti has also received Israel’s Wolf Prize for the arts, Sweden’s Birgit Nilsson Prize, Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award, Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun Gold and Silver Star decoration, and the gold medal from Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the prestigious Presidente della Repubblica award from the Italian government. He has received more than 20 honorary degrees from universities around the world.

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

Passionate about teaching young musicians, Mr. Muti founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra in 2004 and the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy in 2015. Visit riccardomutimusic.com for more information.

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Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Its music director since 2010 is Riccardo Muti, one of the preeminent conductors ...

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Its music director since 2010 is Riccardo Muti, one of the preeminent conductors of our day. Founded in 1891 by its first music director, Theodore Thomas, the CSO’s other illustrious music directors have included Frederick Stock, Désiré Defauw, Artur Rodzinski, Rafael Kubelík, Fritz Reiner, Jean Martinon, Sir Georg Solti, and Daniel Barenboim. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, and the current Mead Composers-in-Residence are Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek.

The renowned musicians of the CSO command a vast repertoire and annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in Chicago, and, since 1936, in the summer at the Ravinia Festival. The CSO also tours nationally and internationally. Since its first tour to Canada in 1892, the orchestra has performed in 29 countries on five continents during 60 international tours.

Since 1916, recording has been significant in establishing the orchestra’s international reputation, with recordings by the CSO earning a total of 62 Grammy Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Its independent label, CSO Resound, was launched in 2007. The 2010 release of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, with the CSO and Chicago Symphony Chorus conducted by Mr. Muti, was recognized with two Grammy Awards. Listeners around the world can hear the CSO in weekly airings of the CSO Radio Broadcast Series, which is syndicated on the WFMT Radio Network and online at CSO.org/radio.

Thousands of patrons, volunteers, and donors support the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association each year. 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.

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