CSO pulls in record $32 million from Zells, Negaunee; Lyric Opera announces more outreach projects

Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 9:00 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson


*The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association announced two of the biggest gifts in its history Thursday, totaling a whopping $32 million.

Longtime CSO benefactors Helen and Sam Zell have given a $17 million contribution to the CSOA’s endowment and general operating funds. The gift will endow the naming of the music director chair in perpetuity.

“Sam and Helen Zell have been longtime friends of the Orchestra, and since 2010 they have become my personal friends as well,” said music director Riccardo Muti in a statement released by the orchestra. “I am honored by this demonstration of great affection for the CSO through this generous gift.”

It was also announced Thursday that the Negaunee Foundation has made a $15 million gift to support the CSO’s Institute for Learning, Access and Training. which will now be known as the Negaunee Music Institute of the CSO.

*The Lyric Opera of Chicago announced further developments in its Lyric Unlimited outreach efforts this week. The company has commissioned three new works, all of which will be aired next year.

Lyric has commissioned The Property, a “klezmer opera” with a Holocaust theme by composer Wlad Marhulets in conjunction with its mainstage presentation of Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger. Performances will be presented at UC’s Logan Center in Hyde Park and the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie in February and March.

Next August will bring Second Nature by composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin. This cautionary, environmentally minded musical fable for children will explore “the not-so-distant future, when the environment has deteriorated and humans have decided it’s safer to live in zoo-like habitats.” Two free performances will take place August 19 and 20 at Cafe Brauer at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The previously announced commission of a “mariachi opera” El Pasado Nunca Se Termina by Jose “Pepe” Martinez will take place March 28 and 29 at the Civic Opera House with preview performances taking place at the Benito Juarez Community Academy and the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

For further information, go to lyricopera.org.

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