Chicago Classical Review » » Chicago Symphony Orchestra Returns to Live Concerts with Spring Miniseries


By Lawrence A. Johnson

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

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

“We are so excited to welcome the public back to the Symphony Center for live concerts this spring,” said CSO Association President Jeff Alexander. “Constant collaboration within the organization, artistic guidance from Music Director Riccardo Muti, and our consultation with city and public health officials have made it possible to begin again to safely share the joy of live music with the community.”

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

The CSO has canceled its entire 2020-21 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying concert hall and public venue closures. Since then, the orchestra has only been available through 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 places will be available due to social distancing. Each program will run for approximately one hour with no intermission and will run four times, like a subscription weekend. Wearing a mask will be mandatory for all customers and there will be no late seating. Customers will be able to use electronic tickets and contactless ticket scanners.

The three-week series will open with CSO trombonist Michael Mulcahy conducting a brass and percussion concert from May 27-30. The program will start, rightly, with Copland Marching Band for the Common Man and include Gunther Schuller Symphony for brass and percussion, barber Bach Mutations and works by Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Erina Yashima, former apprentice conductor of CSO Georg Solti, leads the program from June 3 to 6. This program includes Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, that of Kodály Galanta dances, Novels by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and To scratch by the CSO’s new Composer-in-Residence, Jessie Montgomery.

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

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

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