Critic’s Choice

Thu Mar 14, 2019 at 1:15 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Gregory Hughes

Anne-Sophie Mutter’s concert, scheduled for Sunday at Symphony Center, would have been a shoo-in for this week’s Critic’s Choice. Sadly, that event is now cancelled, having fallen victim to the strike by Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians.

The ongoing strike means not just the cancellation of CSO programs, but the scuttling of all musical events at Orchestra Hall since no musician is about to cross their colleagues’ picket line. Let’s hope that the sides can reach an agreement soon for their sakes and that of Chicago audiences. (You can read the NYCR review of Mutter’s Tuesday concert at Carnegie Hall here.)

In the meantime, the local concert calendar offers a serendipitously timed reminder that there are other orchestras in the city and suburbs worth hearing. While none can equal the CSO’s gleam and corporate virtuosity, many of these ensembles have shown they can deliver very impressive performances on their best nights.

Under the direction of Gregory Hughes, the Lakeview Orchestra has come a long way in a very short time. On Tuesday night, we’ll hear just how far, when the young conductor leads his charges in Stravinsky’s tortuously demanding Rite of Spring. An all-Mozart first half will set the table with the Overture to The Magic Flute and the Bassoon Concerto, with CSO contrabassoonist Miles Maner as soloist. Performance time is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Athenaeum Theatre.

The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra continues its season with a mostly Russian program Saturday night in Palos Heights. Music director Stilian Kirov leads his southwest suburban players in Rachmaninoff’s epic and tuneful Symphony No. 2, and the excellent William Wolfram will tackle Tchaikovsky’s fearsome Piano Concerto No. 2. The evening will lead off with a (still-unnamed) world premiere by Ben Ash, the IPO’s composer in residence. Concert time is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights.

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