Chicago Symphony Orchestra

symphony orchestra in Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is an American orchestra based in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the great orchestras of the world. They play in the Orchestra Hall, part of the Symphony Center, in Chicago. In the summer they play at the Ravinia Festival. From 2010 the conductor will be Riccardo Muti.



The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was started in 1891. It was called the "Chicago Orchestra". In 1905 the orchestra was renamed "Theodore Thomas Orchestra" and Frederick Stock became the conductor. He stayed with the orchestra until 1942. The orchestra was renamed "Chicago Symphony Orchestra" in 1913.

Other conductors have included Désiré Defauw, Artur Rodziński, Rafael Kubelík, Fritz Reiner, Jean Martinon, Georg Solti and Daniel Barenboim. When Barenboim left in 2006, the orchestra named Bernard Haitink principal conductor and Pierre Boulez became conductor emeritus. In 2010 Riccardo Muti will become the orchestra’s conductor.

The orchestra has also had many famous guest conductors, including Richard Strauss, John Williams, Arnold Schoenberg, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninov, Maurice Ravel, Edward Elgar, Aaron Copland, Leonard Slatkin, André Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, Erich Leinsdorf, Eugene Ormandy, George Szell and Charles Münch. Many of these guest conductors have also recorded with the orchestra.

The three principal guest conductors of the orchestra have been Carlo Maria Giulini, Claudio Abbado, and Pierre Boulez.

Every summer the Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays in Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois The orchestra helped in the first Ravinia Festival in August 1936 and has been to the Festival every summer since.

Mark Anthony Turnage is the composer-in-residence.

During its history the orchestra have made more than 900 recordings. They have received many rewards.

The orchestra was composed by John Williams for Steven Spielberg's 2012 movie Lincoln.

Main conductors

Titled Conductors

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