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Chicago Symphony Orchestra

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA


Formed: 1891, Chicago, Illinois

Genre: Classical


With more than 900 recordings and fifty-eight Grammy Awards, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the best-known, most prolific orchestras in the world. For most of its history, the Chicago Symphony has been considered one of the top five orchestras in the United States. In the closing decades of the twentieth century many critics considered the orchestra's brass section to be unequaled anywhere in the world.

The orchestra was founded in 1891, when Theodore Thomas, then one of America's leading conductors, was invited by a Chicago businessperson to put together an orchestra of "the highest quality." Thomas served as the orchestra's music director for thirteen years, until his death in 1905.

Frederick Stock, who had been a violist in the orchestra, took over as music director and performed that role for thirty-seven years. He helped firmly establish the orchestra at the center of the city's cultural life, and also established a training orchestra and music education program. Other music directors include Desire Defauw (19431947), Artur Rodzinski (19471948), Rafael Kubelik (19501953), Fritz Reiner (19531963), Jean Martinon (19631968), Sir Georg Solti (19691991), and Daniel Barenboim (1991). Principal guest conductors include Carlo Maria Giulini (19691972), Claudio Abbado (19821985), and Pierre Boulez (1995).

The orchestra has recorded since 1916, but it was during the Reiner years of the 1950s and 1960s that some of its most significant recordings were made. Many became prized collector's items and in the twenty-first century are still considered important historical performances.

Solti's twenty-two-year tenure at the head of the orchestra built on Reiner's legacy, and he made more that 100 recordings with the orchestra, selling more than 5 million copies. Solti took the orchestra on its first international tours, beginning in 1971, helping cement an international reputation.

In 1991 pianist/conductor Barenboim took over as music director. Barenboim deepened the orchestra's repertoire and expanded its touring, including the orchestra's first tour of South America. Though the classical music recording industry largely collapsed in the 1990s, the Chicago Symphony often found itself on the classical bestseller charts. It was one of the last major American orchestras to lose its recording contract (in 2001), and in the 1990s the orchestra won eleven Grammy Awards.

A sign of its strength was the range of music for which the orchestra won Grammys in the 1990s: Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9, Bela Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1, Johann Bach's Mass in B Minor, and Dmitry Shostakovich's Symphonies Nos. 1 and 7.

Though it is difficult to declare a "best American orchestra," the Chicago Symphony belongs on any potential list for consideration. With one of the orchestra world's biggest budgets, a loyal audience, and an energetic music director, the Chicago Symphony was one of the most successful orchestras of the 1990s.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Collector's Choice: Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Twentieth Century (CSO, 2000).

WEBSITE:

www.cso.org.


douglas mclennan

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"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chicago-symphony-orchestra

"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chicago-symphony-orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1891 when businessman Charles Norman Fay invited the German-born conductor Theodore Thomas to establish and lead a new city orchestra; he conducted it until his death in 1905. Orchestra Hall, designed by Daniel H. Burnham, was built for it in 1904 with funds raised by public subscription; the hall is now part of Symphony Center, which was completed in 1997. Frederick Stock, Thomas's assistant, succeeded him and conducted the orchestra until 1942. Rafael Kubelík (see under Kubelík, Jan), its conductor from 1950 to 1953, was followed by Fritz Reiner, who conducted until 1962. Sir Georg Solti conducted from 1969 to 1991 and was succeeded by Daniel Barenboim, who served as its conductor until 2006. Bernard Haitink subsequently served as interim conductor, and in 2010 Ricardo Muti became principal conductor. The orchestra plays a summer season at Ravinia Park, in the suburbs north of Chicago.

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"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-symphony-orchestra

"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-symphony-orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 3rd oldest sym. orch. in USA. Founded 1891 by Theodore Thomas as the Chicago Orch. Re-named Theodore Thomas Orch. 1906, then present name 1912. Conds.: Thomas 1891–1905; Frederick Stock 1905–42; Désiré Defauw 1943–7; Artur Rodzinski 1947–8; Rafael Kubelik 1950–3; Fritz Reiner 1953–63; Jean Martinon 1963–9; Georg Solti 1969–91; Daniel Barenboim from 1991. First tour of Europe 1971. Salzburg Fest. début 1978 (cond. Solti).

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"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chicago-symphony-orchestra

"Chicago Symphony Orchestra." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chicago-symphony-orchestra