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Sun-Times 2017 Fall Entertainment Preview — Classical Music

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said it best: “Without music, life would be a mistake.” And while there are plenty of “mistakes” plaguing Chicago at any given moment, a lack of music is not one of them. On any given night, this city is alive with the most majestic sounds of every genre, performed by many of the world’s greatest musicians.

Here is a brief sampling of what’s in store this fall for lovers of classical music:

 Chicago Symphony Orchestra ( To open the CSO season, Maestro Riccardo Muti will join forces with renowned violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter for a program (Sept. 23 and 26) featuring Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto,” along with Schumann’s “Symphony No. 2” and Penderecki’s “The Awakening of Jacob.” A program featuring Bruckner’s “Symphony No. 4” (Sept. 28, 19 and Oct. 1), will include the world premiere of a work by CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Elizabeth Ogonek. And Muti will return to the podium Nov. 16-21 for a concert that features Kirill Gerstein, the exceptional Russian born (now American) pianist, playing Brahms’ “Piano Concerto No. 1,” with works by Puccini and Richard Strauss also part of the mix.

As a bit of a warmup for the worldwide celebration in 2018 of the centennial of the birth of composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, there will be a program (Oct. 26 and 27) conducted by James Gaffigan that will include Bernstein’s “Symphonic Suite from ‘On the Waterfront’,” along with Rachmaninov’s “Symphonic Dances” and Barber’s “Violin Concerto,” with violinist James Ehnes as soloist. Another violinist, Arabella Steinbacher, will perform Berg’s “Violin Concerto” on a program conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi (Nov. 9 and 11) that will include Schubert’s “Symphony No. 9.”

The massive Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. | Todd Rosenberg Photography

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus, that massive…

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