2014-2015 Season

2014-2015:  Our 25th Anniversary Season, Celebrating the Senses

To celebrate 25 years of great music, we have chosen an array of great masterpieces that best demonstrate what this Ferrari of an orchestra can do.” — Scott Speck, Artistic Director

Click here to view our season brochure!

This season, the Chicago Philharmonic celebrates its 25th anniversary with a focus on the five senses. “We wanted something fresh to celebrate our 25th year,” said Executive Director Donna Milanovich. “When we think of music, we think of full-throttle passionate playing, or quiet reflection evoking every kind of feeling. So the artistic committee thought of the five senses as a way to explore each sense through music and create related experiences that tie into the music.” Join us for our subscription series of five orchestral concerts, and catch our Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players series in a suburban venue near you. We’re also the official orchestra of the Joffrey Ballet, and we will perform dozens of times with this beloved Chicago Institution. We can’t wait to see you in the audience!

Five Subscription Concerts
The Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players
Official Orchestra of the Joffrey Ballet
NEXT! Music in the Foyer

Five Subscription Concerts

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Nordic Sounds
September 21, 2014, 7:30p.m.
Pick-Staiger Hall, Evanston

Scott Speck, Conductor
Christina Åstrand, Violin

Tchaikovsky: Hamlet Overture
Gade: Violin Concerto
Pärt: Wenn Bach Bienen gezüchtet hätte (If Bach Had Been a Beekeeper)
Nielsen: Symphony No. 1

“To hear or not to hear?” is the question as the Chicago Philharmonic takes your ears on a journey to Denmark. We begin with the Overture to Hamlet, Tchaikovsky’s dramatic portrayal of the famous Danish Prince. Then Danish violinist Christina Åstrand performs the Midwest premiere of the exhilarating Romantic-era violin concerto of her cherished countryman, Niels Gade. You may swat at the air around your ears when you hear Arvo Pärt’s most whimsical work, If Bach Had Been a Beekeeper. We close this program with Denmark’s best known composer (and best kept secret), Carl Nielsen. His First Symphony is unforgettable and highly accessible; Nielsen’s youthful and vibrant energy explodes in the very first bar and never lets up.

Nordic Sounds: Program Notes

Power of Touch
November 16, 2014, 3:00p.m.
Nichols Hall, Evanston

Joel Smirnoff, Conductor
Asako Tamura, Soprano

Rossini: Overture to La scala di seta
Mozart: “Batti, batti, o bel Masetto” from Don Giovanni
Mozart: “Vedrai, carino” from Don Giovanni
Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Haydn: Symphony No. 103 (“Drumroll”)

Beloved guest conductor Joel Smirnoff returns as we focus on the sense of touch in music. The program opens with the Overture to La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder), Rossini’s operatic farce about a clever couple who carry on a secret marriage, staying “in touch” using a silken ladder lowered from the lady’s bedroom window. Brilliant soprano soloist Asako Tamura touches our hearts with her performances of Samuel Barber’s sentimental work Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and select arias by Mozart. We close with Haydn’s penultimate symphony, featuring the dramatic touch of sticks on the drums.

Power of Touch: Program Notes

Taste the Music
February 15, 2015, 3:00p.m.
Nichols Hall, Evanston

Scott Speck, Conductor
David Perry, Leader, Violin
Carol Cook, Viola

Milhaud: Le boeuf sur le toit
Martinu: La revue de cuisine
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major, K.364 (320d)
Strauss: Champagne Polka

The sense of taste in music? Yes! Darius Milhaud’s jaunty amuse-bouche, Le boeuf sur le toit (The Ox on the Roof), may start your toes tapping and make your stomach hungry for more.  Next, we tease your palate with Bohuslav Martinu’s one act comedic ballet La revue de cuisine, where kitchen utensils such as a pot lid, dishcloth and mop come to life in a romantic culinary soap opera.  Special guests Visceral Dance Chicago bring the story to life with original choreograpy by Nick Pupillo.  Mozart’s delicious Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola follows, with soloists David Perry and Carol Cook — always in good taste.  We close the concert with Johann Strauss’s sparkling Champagne Polka.

Taste the Music: Program Notes

Scents of Beauty
April 19, 2015, 7:00p.m.
Pick-Staiger Hall, Evanston

Scott Speck, Conductor
Jorge Federico Osorio, Piano

Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
De Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain
Ravel: Piano Concerto for Left Hand
Debussy: La mer

Can you smell it? Spring is in the air as we open our April concert with Debussy’s fragrant Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.  Actress Barbara Robertson will perform a dramatic reading of the poem by Mallarme that inspired Debussy’s famous work.  Next, pianist Jorge Federico Osorio takes our senses on a stimulating walk through Nights in the Gardens of Spain; the perfumes of orange, jacaranda, pomegranate and Valencia rose abound in this aromatic work by Manuel de Falla. Osorio also performs Maurice Ravel’s sensuous and spicy Concerto for the Left Hand. And if you can smell salt and fish, it is only because we are setting off to explore Claude Debussy’s wildly impressionistic picture of the sea, La mer. You’ll be transported by scents, colors and evocative orchestrations to take you far beyond our shores.

Scents of Beauty: Program Notes
Single Tickets

A Vision in Sound
June 7, 2015, 7:00p.m.
Pick-Staiger Hall, Evanston

Scott Speck, Conductor

Higdon: blue cathedral
Bunch: Symphony No. 1: “Lichtenstein Triptych”
Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

We close our season with a celebration of sights in music. Contemporary American composer Jennifer Higdon pondered the loss of her dear brother, Andrew Blue Higdon, by dedicating a marvelous blue cathedral to his memory. American composer Kenji Bunch was inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s cartoonish pop art to create his funny, jazzy and inspiring Symphony No. 1. We close out the season with the ultimate symphonic work inspired by visual art: Pictures at an Exhibition. Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky and master orchestrator Maurice Ravel take us on a promenade through a gallery of fascinating paintings and designs, from the ruins of an old castle to the vast glory of The Great Gate of Kiev.

Before the concert, take your own promenade through a gallery of artwork, including the works that inspired Mussorgsky, and contemporary artistic interpretations of Mussorgsky’s music rendered by artist and Chicago Philharmonic bassoonist John Gaudette.

Vision in Sound: Program Notes
Single Tickets

Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players Series:
Fall 2014

cp2 at City Winery and Jazz Showcase


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Sunday Series at City Winery
1200 W Randolph
Chicago, IL 60607

October 5, 2014:  Classical Jazz
November 9, 2014:  Feel the Beat!
December 7, 2014:  American Songbook

cp2 at Jazz Showcase
806 S Plymouth Ct.
Chicago, IL 60605
cp2 at Jazz Showcase: Monday, November 3, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players
Spring 2015:

Hinsdale Union Church Series
137 S Garfield
Hinsdale, IL 60521

March 1, 2015, 3:00 p.m.:  Classic Winds:  Dance Music of Mozart, Dvorak and More
April 12, 2015, 3:00 p.m.:  Quintessential Romanticism:  Beethoven and Schumann
May 10, 2015, 3:00 p.m.:  Mother’s Day Potpourri:  Ravel, Elgar, James Taylor and More

cp2 at City Winery
1200 W Randolph
Chicago, IL 60607

March 8, 2015, 12:00 p.m.:  Rags, Rhythm and Reels:  Jazz and Popular Music of the ’20s and ’30s
April 26, 2015, 12:00 p.m.:  Magic of Rhythm:  A Family-Friendly Concert for Ages 5-105
May 31, 2015, 12:00 p.m.:  Heavenly Harps:  Dance Music from Handel to Muse

Official Orchestra of the Joffrey Ballet

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Stories in Motion
September 18th – 21st, 2014
For more information visit the Joffrey Ballet website.

Swan Lake
October 15th – 26th, 2014
For more information visit the Joffrey Ballet website.

The Nutcracker
December 5th – 28th, 2014
For more information visit the Joffrey Ballet website.

NEXT! Music in the Foyer

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The Chicago Philharmonic established its NEXT! initiative to give extraordinary young musicians the opportunity to be heard by Chicago Philharmonic patrons, musicians and conductors. These fresh young talents of merit are showcased in the foyer before Chicago Philharmonic concerts. This past season we welcomed Evanston Escola de Samba, music students from DePaul University, Academy award-winning quartet Lumiere from the Music Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble.

Banner photo by Elliot Mandel