CSO plans to resume in-person concerts May 27 at Symphony Center

The first live CSO events in 14 months, programmed in conjunction with maestro Riccardo Muti, are to continue through June 13.

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and audiences will be returning to Orchestra Hall later this month.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and audiences will be returning to Orchestra Hall later this month.

© Todd Rosenberg Photography

The sounds of in-person classical music are returning to Symphony Center.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association on Tuesday announced the first CSO concert performances with live audiences in attendance at Orchestra Hall (220 S. Michigan) since the pandemic shutdown of all performing arts venues in March 2020.

The series of concerts, programmed in conjunction with maestro Riccardo Muti, will take place May 27-June 13 “and feature music for brass and percussion, string ensembles and orchestra,” Tuesday’s announcement said.

The concerts will be presented with adherence to current state and city COVID-19 guidelines for public events, including reduced-capacity audiences, mandatory face masks for audience and staff, hand-sanitizing stations, and an HVAC fresh air system that meets current standards.

Due to social distancing guidelines, musicians must be a minimum of six feet apart on stage, which means the orchestra will be reduced to 45 musicians on stage depending on the program (some concerts will feature smaller, CSO ensembles).

“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. “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.”

Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. May 11, at cso.org or by phone at (312) 294-3000.

Performances will take place over three consecutive weekends at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 1:30 p.m. Fridays, 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.

The schedule includes (according to the official statement):

May 27, 28, 29, 30: Aaron Copland’s iconic “Fanfare for the Common Man” and Samuel Barber’s 20th-century interpretation of a Bach chorale paired with works influenced by jazz and film by Tilson Thomas, Bernstein and Schuller in a program conducted by CSO trombone Michael Mulcahy.

June 3, 4, 5, 6: Works led by former CSO Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice Erina Yashima, featuring two “Novelettes” by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, the string orchestra version of “Strum” by newly appointed CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Jessie Montgomery, and Kodály’s orchestral “Dances of Galánta.”

June 10, 11, 12, 13: Mozart’s Overture to “Don Giovanni“ led by conductor Edo de Waart. Also featured are Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. 

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