Thielemann, Hrůša, Honeck among the podium guests in Muti’s final CSO season

Tue Mar 29, 2022 at 11:00 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 2022-23 season will be Riccardo Muti’s final one as music director. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 2022-2023 season will be the 13th and final one for Riccardo Muti in the role of music director. But the mercurial Italian is likely not going anywhere just yet.

CSO Association president Jeff Alexander provided a rough roadmap for the next couple of years at Orchestra Hall and the eventual transition to a new music director on Monday.

He said that it is “probably true” that the CSO will not have a music director in place by the fall of 2023. “The process got delayed, as you know [by the pandemic], and we have no desire or need to rush into anything.”

“We’re just going to make sure we take the appropriate amount of time and find the best candidate.”

Alexander indicated that there would not be an interim appointment between music directors—as was the case with Bernard Haitink being tapped as principal conductor in between Daniel Barenboim and Muti—because he anticipates that Muti “will continue to have a strong presence” with the orchestra after his tenure wraps in June of 2023. Though nothing is yet announced, it is likely that Muti will be named something like “music director emeritus” and continue to lead local concerts while the CSO is in the hunt for a successor.

“We’re anticipating Maestro Muti will appear as well in 23-24 and we’re looking forward to maintaining a very close relationship with him,” said Alexander.

Of the 2022-23 concert lineup, Alexander said “I think it’s a great season that Maestro Muti has put together. There are classics from the symphonic canon and we have several wonderful new pieces that are on the programs as well, many of them CSO co-commissions.”

Muti opens the season September 22 with Coleridge-Taylor’s Solemn Prelude, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 2 and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 with Yefim Bronfman as soloist.

Muti will conduct at least nine weeks of programs, not counting tours yet to be announced. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 and a premiere by composer-in-residence Jessie Montgomery are the only large-scale works new to his repertoire in his final season. Muti’s programs will spotlight symphonies of Schubert and Tchaikovsky, all of which he has performed in the past.

Other Muti-led works include Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 39. He will conclude his tenure as music director June 23-25, 2023 with Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. 

While billed with attendant hoopla and promoted as Muti’s CSO swan-song, inevitably a great deal of the interest in the 2022-23 season centers on the fact that it is will be an ongoing audition period to see who clicks with the orchestra enough to merit consideration as the next MD.

Christian Thielemann will return to conduct the CSO in his first appearance with the orchestra in 27 years. Currently chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and director of the Salzburg Festival, the German conductor is widely regarded as one of the finest Wagnerians and interpreters of Austro-German repertoire of our time. His October 25-27 program consists of a single work—Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8.

Christian Thielemann will make his first CSO appearance since 1995 in the 2022-23 season.

Two popular guest conductors—both high on any music director short list—will return. Manfred Honeck leads a November 17-20 program of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila, and the U.S. premiere of  Lera Auerbach’s Diary of a Madman with cello soloist, Gautier Capuçon. Jakub Hrůša will direct performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, June 8-10.

Other podium guests include composer Thomas Adès, Mikko Franck, Vladimir Jurowski, Osmo Vänskä, Klaus Mäkelä, Herbert Blomstedt, Thomas Søndergård, Edward Gardner, David Afkham, Dalia Stasevska, Lahav Shani, Gustavo Gimeno, Harry Bicket, Bernard Labadie, Fabien Gabel, Giovanni Antonini, Thomas Wilkins, Marin Alsop, Bramwell Tovey, and Xian Zhang.

Artist in residence violinist Hilary Hahn will perform concertos by Tchaikovsky and works by Rautavaara and Sarasate with the CSO, as well as a recital of solo Bach works.

Pianists appearing with the CSO include Kirill Gerstein (Adès Piano Concerto), Daniil Trifonov (Rachmaninoff 3), Maurizio Pollini (Mozart 27), Simon Trpčeski (Grieg), Francesco Piemontesi (Beethoven 2), and Beatrice Rana (Rachmaninoff Rhapsody).

Other soloists include violinists Christian Tetzlaff (Bartok 2) and Julia Fischer (Schumann); cellist Andrei Ioniță (Dvorak); organist Cameron Carpenter (Poulenc and Saint-Saens); and guitarist Pablo-Sáinz Villegas (Vivaldi and Boccherini).

Four CSO members will get a turn in the solo spotlight. Concertmaster Robert Chen performs Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4, Stephen Williamson tackles Copland’s Clarinet Concerto,  David Herbert solos in William Kraft’s Timpani Concerto No. 1 and Gene Pokorny performs Lalo Schifrin’s Tuba Concerto.

The season will feature U.S. premieres of Aino by Jimmy López and the aforementioned Diary of a Madman by Auerbach. CSO premieres include Thomas Adès conducting his own Piano Concerto and works by Nokuthula Ngwenyama, Einojuhani Rautavaara and Andrea Tarrodi. Marin Also conducts Julia Wolfe’s Her Story, featuring the Lorelei Ensemble.

Symphony Center Presents events were also announced Tuesday. 

The Berlin Philharmonic makes its first Chicago appearance in a dozen years November 16 with chief conductor Kirill Petrenko leading Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra makes its Symphony Center debut with music director Gustavo Gimeno leading Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole with violinist María Dueñas and Prokofiev’s Suite from Romeo and Juliet.

The Piano Series will present David Fray, Leif Ove Andsnes Marc-André Hamelin, Emanuel Ax, Evgeny Kissin, Víkingur Ólafsson, Seong-Jin Cho, and Maria João Pires.

In the Chamber Music Series, there is Midori and Jean-Yves Thibaudet; Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Mutter Virtuosi; Joshua Bell and Daniil Trifonov; Hilary Hahn; Pinchas Zukerman, Amanda Forsyth and the Jerusalem Quartet; and the Emerson String Quartet in their final Chicago appearance, with Emanuel Ax. 

Two vocal recitals are also on tap with tenor Juan Diego Flórez and pianist Vincenzo Scalera, and Renée Fleming and Evgeny Kissin, the latter a co-presentation with Lyric Opera.

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2 Responses to “Thielemann, Hrůša, Honeck among the podium guests in Muti’s final CSO season”

  1. Posted Mar 29, 2022 at 3:45 pm by Tim

    There seems to be an error in the advertising brochure, promoting two distinct seventh symphonies in late April on the early pages, which turns out to be a solo Shostakovich concert under the detailed calendar listings. Likely no Vaughan Williams that subscription weekend, despite the tease.

    Actually, an anniversary celebration (150th) of the latter composer, in extensive exploration festival fashion, would have been of worth and interest.

  2. Posted Mar 29, 2022 at 3:58 pm by GCMP

    Boy, this is not a thrilling season. Check out Thursday A. Dullsville!

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