CSO announces new composer in residence, principal oboe

Tue Jun 26, 2018 at 12:19 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Missy Mazzoli

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced today the appointment of Missy Mazzoli as its new composer in residence.

Mazzoli has won critical acclaim for her music across all genres in recent years. The 37-year-old American composer has been especially highly praised for her operas, most notably Breaking the Waves. Her debut opera, Song from the Uproar, received its local premiere in 2016, presented by Chicago Fringe Opera.

Mazzoli’s newest stage work, Proving Up, was given its world premiere by Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center in January. Here is a Washington Classical Review interview with Mazzoli discussing her new work and composing for the opera stage.

The CSO has apparently jettisoned its historic tandem of having two composers in residence simultaneously.

Mazzoli’s two-year appointment begins next week on July 1 and runs through 2020. She will write a commissioned work for the CSO to premiere in the 2019-20 season, as well as a new work to be premiered on the MusicNOW series.


William Welter

In other CSO news, the orchestra has a new principal oboe.

William Welter has won the audition of the crucial woodwind position, the CSO confirmed Tuesday morning.

Welter, 24, recently completed his artist diploma at the Oberlin Conservatory and is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. Pending settlement of a contract, the Iowa native will take up the principal chair in September with the start of the CSO’s 2018-19 season.

Under music director Riccardo Muti, Welter performed two weeks of subscription concerts in March and June this past season.

The orchestra’s first oboe position has been unsettled in recent years. Following the departure of Eugene Izotov to the San Francisco Symphony in 2014, former CSO principal oboe Alex Klein was rehired to his old chair in 2016. Klein failed to pass muster and was let go at the end of his probationary period a year later.

Since then the first oboe chair has been filled on an interim basis by section players and numerous guest artists.

The news of Welter’s appointment was tipped by Izotov on his Facebook page late Monday.

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