Chicago Symphony Orchestra to return to live concerts with spring mini-series

Tue May 04, 2021 at 10:00 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Erina Yashima will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra June 3-6. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will return to live performances—with audiences in attendance— beginning May 27 with three weeks of concerts, the orchestra announced Tuesday morning.

“We are truly delighted to welcome audiences back to Symphony Center for live concerts this spring,” said Jeff Alexander, president of the CSO Association. “Consistent collaboration across the organization, the artistic guidance from Music Director Riccardo Muti and our consultation with city and public health officials have made it possible to begin safely sharing the joy of live music with the community again.” 

“The return of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center will put our city that much closer to fully reopening and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement released by CSO. “Having a successful, thriving arts scene is essential to ensuring our city’s post-pandemic prosperity—making programs like these vitally important as we continue our work to revitalize this critical sector.”

The CSO cancelled its entire 2020-21 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying concert hall and public venue shutdowns. Since then the orchestra has only been available via streaming chamber programs and vintage videos on its CSOtv platform.

These spring concerts will mark the first public events at Orchestra Hall since Herbert Blomstedt conducted the CSO in a Mozart-Brahms program on March 7, 2020.

Limited seating will be available due to social distancing. Each program will run about one hour without intermission and be performed four times, similar to a subscription weekend. Masking will be required for all patrons and there will be no late seating. Patrons will be able to utilize eTickets and touchless ticket scanners. 

The three-week series will open with CSO trombonist Michael Mulcahy leading a concert of brass and percussion May 27-30. The program will lead off, aptly, with Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and include Gunther Schuller’s Symphony for Brass and Percussion, Barber’s Mutations from Bach and works by Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Erina Yashima, former CSO Georg Solti conducting apprentice, conducts the June 3-6 program. That lineup includes Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, Novelettes by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Strum by newly appointed CSO composer-in-residence Jessie Montgomery.

The final program (June 10-13) will be conducted by Edo de Waart and offer Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and Overture to Don Giovanni.

Tickets for these concerts go on sale 10 a.m. May 11. Go to or call 312-294-3000.

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