Founded by Theodore Thomas in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the world’s great orchestras. Riccardo Muti, the Orchestra’s distinguished tenth music director from 2010 until 2023, was recently named Music Director Emeritus for Life beginning with the 2023–24 season. Jessie Montgomery is Mead Composer-in-Residence, and Hilary Hahn is CSO Artist-in-Residence.
The CSO commands a vast repertoire, and its renowned musicians perform more than 150 concerts annually. The ensemble regularly tours nationally and, since 1892, has made sixty-three international tours.
Patrons around the globe enjoy weekly radio broadcasts of CSO concerts and recordings via the WFMT Radio Network and online at cso.org/radio. Launched in 2007, CSO Resound is the ensemble’s Grammy Award-winning independent record label. Since 1916, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus have amassed sixty-four Grammy awards from the Recording Academy.
The CSO is part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), which also includes the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Symphony Center Presents, and the Negaunee Music Institute. The Chicago Symphony Chorus, founded by Margaret Hillis in 1957, is the country’s largest professional chorus. Founded by second music director Frederick Stock during the 1919–20 season, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago is a training ensemble for emerging professionals. Symphony Center Presents features guest artists and ensembles across an expansive array of genres. The Negaunee Music Institute offers community and educational programs that annually engage more than 200,000 people throughout the Chicagoland area.