Chicago Sun-Times and suntimes.com, Sunday Show, December 30, 2012
A sound year for Chicago’s classical music scene
BY ANDREW PATNER
CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen and Music Director Riccardo Muti. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times Media
Despite the recession and worries about the state of classical music, 2012 found concert music and opera here in good to great condition — even with an unexpected 48-hour strike by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in late September. Here are some highlights:
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra: If the repeated observation sounds like a broken record, then let’s not fix that disc. The partnership of music director Riccardo Muti and the CSO finds both parties at the top of their respective decades-long professional games. In subscription performances at Orchestra Hall, a free concert in Millennium Park, and tours of California, Russia, Muti’s native Italy, and to New York’s Carnegie Hall, these artists have been winning over ticket buyers and critics alike. Muti’s ability to reanimate such popular works as Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony and Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” make the case for neglected works, including those of one of his heroes, Luigi Cherubini, and to sell contemporary work by Mead co-composer-in-residence Mason Bates demonstrates the maestro’s unique blend of technical devotion and lyrical passion. New hires continue to strengthen the orchestra, and three new years of labor peace could allow discussion of serious issues between players and management without the pressure of contract negotiations.