Welcome to the 2013-2014 Chicago Philharmonic Season

Scott Speck, Artistic Director

It is my great joy to welcome you to the Chicago Philharmonic’s remarkable 2013-14 Season. I am thrilled to follow in the footsteps of the great Larry Rachleff as the orchestra’s new Artistic Director, and I look forward to beginning this new era together with you.

You’ve probably noticed that our current season has a theme: The Romantic Impulse. This theme permeates and informs every concert on the series. We love having an overarching theme like this, and it will become a regular feature of our programming. And what a year for Romantic composers this is. Our current season encompasses the 200th birthdays of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, and the 150th birthday of Richard Strauss. And it’s the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring, the piece that put an abrupt end to the Romantic era.

Our season embraces some of the great masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire. Throughout the season you can hear an overture by Verdi, a tone poem by Strauss, a piano concerto by Tchaikovsky, a violin concerto by Mendelssohn, a symphony by Dvořák, a serenade by Brahms, a fantasia by Vaughan-Williams, a song cycle by Mahler, and Prokofiev’s great ballet score to Romeo and Juliet. Through eclectic programming combinations and thought-provoking collaborations, we hope to present these masterpieces to you in new ways, cloaked in innovative concepts. Modern dancers from Oregon in front of the orchestra? A caravan of actors from the Court Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater? Art historians on the stage? Yes, yes, and yes. While honoring the long tradition of orchestral music, we are keenly interested in making sure that our exquisite art form remains relevant to our own community today. And we have brought in some of today’s most forward-thinking performers – including masterful musician and Philharmonic favorite Joel Smirnoff, violin wunderkind Benjamin Beilman, the brilliant mezzo-soprano Susan Platts, and renowned conductor Leif Bjaland – to help bring these works to glorious new life.

Joining us for every concert are the incomparable musicians of the Chicago Philharmonic, who lend their own imagination, passion, and love of music to everything they play. And most important of all, you are here to participate in this experiment with us. Please take a moment to let us know how you like our programming.

Your opinions will help shape our presentations for years to come, making the Chicago Philharmonic an ever more vibrant community resource. We’re here for you.

Scott Speck
Artistic Director