Critic’s Choice

Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Riccardo Muti kicks off his first season as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s music director with a free concert Sunday at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion.

Let the Muti Madness begin.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new music director will open his inaugural season with a free concert 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Millennium Park. The populist program reflects some of Muti’s musical sympathies, with the overture to Verdi’s La forza del destino, Liszt’s Les preludes, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, and Respighi’s Pines of Rome. The CSO season proper begins with an all-Berlioz program on Sept. 23.

The Chicago Chamber Musicians open their season with a bracing program featuring Bartok’s String Quartet No. 2 Schumann’s Piano Quartet and Dohnanyi’s Sextet. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston and 7:30 p.m. Monday at Gottlieb Concert Hall, the Merit School of Music, in Chicago.

The Orion Chamber Ensemble also launches its season next week with Beethoven’s Trio in C minor, Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces, and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Performances are 7 p.m. Sunday at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ganz Concert Hall at Roosevelt University in Chicago and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Hall in Evanston.

Also Fulcrum Point is holding a 12th anniversary benefit concert Wednesday with 6 p.m. reception and 7:30 p.m. concert to follow at Thorne Auditorium. The program will offer music by Randall Woolf, Steve Reich, Mischa Zupko, Elizabeth Brown, Stefan Freund and Law Wing-Fai.

The curtain goes up for the Civic Orchestra 8 p.m. Monday at Orchestra Hall. Cliff Colnot will lead the CSO’s training ensemble in Sibelius’ Symphony No. 4 and the Suite No. 2 from Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe. Admission is free.

And don’t forget Accessible Contemporary Music’s progressive architectural musical event with five world premieres at a series of landmark Loop buildings. Tours start 10 a.m. Saturday at the Cultural Center.

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