The CSOThe Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of today’s leading orchestras. Performances by the CSO are much in demand at home and in the most prestigious music capitals of the world. In September 2010, renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti became the CSO’s tenth music director. His vision for the Orchestra—to deepen its engagement with the Chicago community, to nurture the legacy of the CSO while supporting a new generation of musicians and to collaborate with visionary artists—signals a new era for the institution. French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, whose long-standing relationship with the CSO led to his appointment as principal guest conductor in 1995, was named Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus in 2006.

In collaboration with internationally renowned conductors and guest artists, the CSO performs well over 150 concerts each year at its downtown Chicago home, Symphony Center, and at the Ravinia Festival on Chicago’s North Shore, where it is in residence each summer. Through The Institute for Learning, Access and Training, the CSO engages more than 200,000 Chicago-area residents annually. [More]

Lorin MaazelFor over five decades, Lorin Maazel has been one of the world’s most esteemed and sought-after conductors. In spring 2011, he completed his fifth and final season as the inaugural Music Director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain. Music Director of the New York Philharmonic from 2002 to 2009, he assumed the same post with the Munich Philharmonic at the start of the 2012/13 season. He is also the founder, Executive and Artistic Director of a new festival based on his farm property in Virginia, the Castleton Festival, launched to exceptional acclaim in 2009 and expanding its activities nationally and internationally in 2012/13 and beyond.

Maestro Maazel’s 2010/11 season was highlighted by productions of Aïda and his own opera 1984 at the Palau de les Arts; two concerts with the newly formed resident orchestra of China’s National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing;a New Year’s Eve marathon concert of all nine Beethoven symphonies in Tokyo; and return appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He completed a Mahler cycle in London with the Philharmonia (for the Mahler centennial year of 2011) in addition to touring extensively with the Orchestra in Europe. In September 2010, he marked the 100th anniversary of the première of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony at the Ruhr Festival conducting the work with forces numbering in excess of 1,000 performers. In March 2011, he took two Castleton Festival Opera productions to Berkeley, California (Cal Performances) for the West Coast début of the company, with Britten’s Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring. In August 2011 he conducted an all-Beethoven Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On 31 December 2011 he conducted the first New Year’s Concert – televised live for a worldwide audience – in Beijing, China. In February 2012 Maazel embarked on a Scandinavian-American Tour with the Vienna Philharmonic celebrating their 50- yearlong collaboration. [More]

Osmo VänskäPraised for his intense and dynamic performances, Osmo Vänskä is recognised for compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires, as well as the close rapport he establishes with the musicians he leads. In 2003, Vänskä became Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, with which he has received extraordinary acclaim for concerts both at home and abroad. Together they have an annual series at New York’s Carnegie Hall and tour regularly both in the US and Europe. Their recordings of the complete Beethoven Symphonies have amassed rave reviews, and the Ninth Symphony received a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance. Vänskä also holds the position of Conductor Laureate with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

Vänskä is internationally in demand as a guest conductor and has worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Czech Philharmonic. He has developed regular relationships in the US with the San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony and Mostly Mozart Festival, New York, and in Europe with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Future engagements take him across the globe – from Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de São Paulo, via Wiener Symphoniker and Budapest Festival Orchestra, to Sydney Symphony and China Philharmonic Orchestra. [More]

Robert ChenRobert Chen has been concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1999. During his years as the CSO concertmaster, he has been featured as soloist with Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Ton Koopman, and James Conlon. He gave the CSO premiere of György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, Elliott Carter’s Violin Concerto, and Witold Lutoslawski’s Chain Two, as well as the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Astral Canticle. Most recently, he performed with the CSO in December 2012 as soloist in Barber’s Violin Concerto with Vasily Petrenko conducting.

In addition to his duties as concertmaster, Chen enjoys a solo career that include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra of Hanover, and the Bournemouth Symphony, collaborating with conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Pavel Kogan, and Andreas Delfs. [More]

Maxim VengerovBorn in 1974, Maxim Vengerov began his career as a solo violinist at the age of 5, winning prestigious international competitions soon after and has collaborated with the world’s finest conductors and instrumentalists world-wide ever since. He made his first recoding at the age of 10, and has recorded extensively for a number of high-profile labels, including Teldec and EMI, receiving many prestigious awards and nominations including a Grammy and Gramophone Artist of the Year.

He studied first with Galina Tourchaninova and subsequently with Professor Bron.

Maxim has let himself to be inspired by many different styles of music, including baroque, jazz and rock, and in 2007 took four years off the violin to study conducting. He took his first conducting classes from Professor Vag Papian, who himself studied with the legendary Ilya Musin in St. Petersburg, and since 2009 takes regular advise with Maestro Juri Simonov, who comes from the German school of conducting, and is a great mentor to him. Maestro Vengerov has conducted the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra at the invitation of Valéry Gergiev, and made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut during the 2007 Verbier Festival Orchestra tour of North America, to great critical acclaim. He has since conducted major orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow & Russian National Philharmonic, the Moscow Virtuosi, the Jerusalem Symphony, the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bergen Symphony Orchestra and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris with programs that feature works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. He was also chief conductor of the Gstaad Symphony Orchestra performing on tour in major European cities in 2010. [More]