The Chicago Symphony Winds (CSW) were organized in 1978 by then-CSO Principal Oboist Ray Still. During the subsequent decades, the CSW have performed on chamber music series and at universities around the United States and made two recordings, including the 1986 Grammy Award-nominated Mozart: Music for Basset Horns album on CBS Masterworks. A landmark project of the group was the presentation of the complete Wind Music of Mozart at the University of Chicago. This project was so successful that a return visit was arranged in order to present the monumental Wind Symphonies of Richard Strauss. The Chicago Symphony Winds’ 1983 recording of Mozart’s Serenade K. 375 and Willard Elliot’s delightful transcription of Grieg’s Four Lyric Pieces was performed direct-to-disc for Sheffield Lab Records on the historic movie soundstage in Culver City, California, site of so many legendary MGM film classics.
The Chicago Symphony Winds, now in their fourth decade, together with a new generation of Chicago Symphony Orchestra wind players and distinguished colleagues, continue to breathe life into the great masterpieces of the repertoire.