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Chicago Symphony Orchestra returns to Krannert Center

On October 10th, one of the great artistic traditions of our community continues as the Chicago Symphony once again comes to Urbana’s Krannert Center to perform a sampling of the world’s great music. This year it is Brahms or music inspired by Brahms and guest conductor Semyon Bychkov that will dominate the program of this much anticipated annual event.

This is the 125 anniversary of the Chicago Symphony and for so many of those years a trip to Champaign-Urbana has been part of their season. In the distant past, they performed in Smith Music Hall or any available venue before our Krannert Center was ready in 1969. The 1968 concert was performed in a very sultry Assembly Hall (now the Sate Farm Center) to an appreciative but uncomfortable audience, but the alternative — a year without the Chicago Symphony — would seem like a lost year in the performing arts in east central Illinois. 
Ever since the Foellinger Great Hall has provided a regular home, this great ensemble (the CSO as it is affectionately known) has made it a point to visit annually with great concerts and large, appreciative  audiences. Concert Master Robert Chen described the Foellinger Great Hall as “one of the best playing venues a symphony orchestra could have” and in 1971 Maestro Georg Solti chose the Krannert Center to record Mahler’s 7th Symphony with the CSO. This recording was widely praised for its opulently brilliant sound. 
The October 10th concert will be conducted by Semyon Bychkov. This esteemed maestro was born in the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in what was then the Soviet Union in 1952. Fleeing to the United States in 1974, he began his musical conducting career soon after as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony from 1980-85. From there, he went on the conduct the Buffalo Philharmonic and quickly became an internationally sought-after conductor. He was well aware of the riches his adopted country had provided and he became a U.S. citizen in 1983.     
Maestro Bychkov will conduct an all Brahms program, well, almost. The opening work, Brahms-Fantasie, is actually a composition by a contemporary German composer, Detlev Glanert. In a more traditional Brahms mode, the CSO and Maestro Bychkov  will feature the Brahms violin concerto with French violin sensation, Renaud Capucon as soloist. The program then concludes with one of the great symphonies of the nineteenth century, Brahms first symphony.  
Once again a 7:30 p.m. evening concert at Krannert’s Foellinger’s Great Hall is shaping up to be something truly special as one of the world’s great orchestras comes to call.
Coda: The CSO can be heard in three feature films. Fantasia 2000 features the Chicago Symphony with conductor James Levine. Casino features segments of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion conducted by Sir Georg Solti. Recently, John Williams recorded his score to Lincoln with the CSO in 2012. 
For further information, read more at KCPA’s website, or call the Krannert Box Office at 217-333-6280. Ticket prices are $60 for a single adult, but discounts are offered for seniors, students, and groups, with Illinois students and youth tickets priced at only $10. 

Images courtesy of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Maestro Bychkov was photographed by Chris Christodoulou and the CSO by Todd Rosenberg. 

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