Highlights include a performance by the Boston Symphony, led by music director James Levine. The BSO, which last visited Chicago in 1996, will perform two of its 125th-anniversary commissions: Peter Lieberson's Neruda Songs, with mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and Elliott Carter's Three Illusions for Orchestra.
Other visiting orchestras include John Eliot Gardiner's Orchestre R_volutionnnaire et Romantique, making its Symphony Center debut; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, with chief conductor Mariss Jansons; and the National Symphony Orchestra, led by music director Leonard Slatkin and featuring pianist Emanuel Ax.
Soprano Cecilia Bartoli will perform a program of music by Handel and other Baroque composers, accompanied by La Scintilla Chamber Orchestra. Leif Ove Andsnes will conduct the Norwegian Chamber Ochestra from the piano. Violinist Gil Shaham will act as soloist and conductor for the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Daniel Barenboim, in his last season as CSO music director, will appear three times as part of the Center's chamber series: in a duo piano recital with Radu Lupu, in recital with baritone Thomas Hampson, and in a chamber concert with a group of CSO musicians.
The chamber series also includes the Emerson String Quartet, performing with pianist Yefim Bronfman, and a recital by violinist Itzhak Perlman and violinist/violist Pinchas Zukerman.
Among the piano recitalists on the schedule are Andršs Schiff, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Krystian Zimerman, Alfred Brendel, Jonathan Biss, Murray Perahia, Lang Lang, Peter Serkin, Maurizio Pollini, and Barenboim.