The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the world’s leading orchestras. In September 2010, renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti became its tenth music director. During his tenure, the Orchestra has deepened its engagement with the Chicago community, nurtured its legacy while supporting a new generation of musicians and composers, and collaborated with visionary artists.
The history of the CSO began in 1889 when Theodore Thomas, the Orchestra’s first music director, was invited to establish symphony orchestra in Chicago. Other former music directors include Frederick Stock, Désiré Defauw, Artur Rodzinski, Rafael Kubelík, Fritz Reiner, Jean Martinon, Sir Georg Solti, and Daniel Barenboim. Jessie Montgomery is the CSO’s current Mead Composers-in-Residence, and violinist Hilary Hahn is the CSO’s Artist-in-Residence.
The musicians of the CSO command a vast repertoire and annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in Chicago. Since 1916, recording has been a significant part of the Orchestra’s activities. Recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus have earned sixty-four Grammy awards from the Recording Academy. Listeners around the world can hear the CSO in weekly airings of the CSO Radio Broadcast Series, which is syndicated on the WFMT Radio Network and online at CSO.org/Radio.