Follow the Chicago Symphony Musicians as we embark on the Orchestra's 33rd tour of Europe, our sixth with Maestro Muti, and the 60th international tour in our history. Each day we hope to post stories and photos of our experiences on the tour. Join us in our travels to Paris, Hamburg, Aalborg (Denmark), Milan, Vienna, Baden-Baden and Frankfurt. The concerts in Milan serve as a homecoming for Maestro Muti, who was music director of La Scala from 1986 to 2005. The tour programs will include Paul Hindemith's Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass, Edward Elgar's In the South (Alassio), Modest Mussorgsky's A Night on Bald Mountain, Maurice Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures from an Exhibition, Alfredo Catalani's Contemplazione, Richard Strauss' Don Juan, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.
You can read more about the tour on the CSO Sounds and Stories website here and here..
Photos by Yuan-Qing Yu.
"Greek Madonna" by Giovanni Bellini at Brera.
"Head of a Bull" by Picasso at Brera.
"The Kiss' by Francesco Hayez at Brera.
Last Supper by Da Vinci and the refectory.
Last Supper by Da Vinci.
Pinacoteca Di Brera.
Santa Maria Della Grazie.
Santa Maria Della Grazie.
Yuan-Qing at Santa Marie Della Grazie.
In solidarity with the Women's March in Washington, D.C., there were marches all across Europe, including in Milan. A crowd of people congregated in the late morning in the Piazza alla Scala to show support for women across the world.
Violist Max Raimi reads the poem "Hope" by Lisel Mueller at the Milan Women's March.
Photo by Alex Hanna.
A surprise visit to our rehearsal by Zubin Mehta. Photo by Yuan-Qing Yu.
The following photos by David Sanders
The incredible Teatro alla Scala.
Violinists Paul Phillips, Susan Synnestvedt and Gina DiBello warm up before the rehearsal.
Violinist Gina DiBello deep in concentration.
Preparing for the rehearsal.
The Duomo in the Cremona Piazza.
The Bell Tower. It has the biggest astronomical clock in the world.
In the Piazza.
There's a legend that the design of the church is where Stradivari
got his inspiration for his f-holes.
The tour guide Elena with CSO members Danny Lai, viola, Blair Milton and Aiko Noda, violins, and John Sharp and Richard Hirschl, cellos.
Stradivari statue. There's no real record of what he actually looks like, so there are many different images.
He was buried in the Church of San Domenico, but when the church was torn down the tomb was saved and moved to the end of the property where the church had been. There's no knowledge as to whether the body was saved.
Also a resident.
The plaque commemorating Stradivari's house that is still in existence. They know the house was one of two next to each other, and they think it is this one, but there's actually no records to prove it. It's just generally accepted as fact that this is the house.
A statue to Stradivari, which suffers from being vandalized
Photos by David Sanders
Museum of the Violin. Museo Del Violono.
Richard Hirschl, cellist, with the stature of Antonio Stradivari.
A modern reconstruction of the back of the Andrea Amati "King" cello.
The museum has a violin maker working on the weekends.
There was a little workshop with tools, etc.
A Stradivari guitar from 1679.
The Stradivari "Hellier" violin of 1679, from the Axelrod collection.
Stradivari last will and testament.
The Stradivari "Chigiano" cello from 1682.
Some of Stradivari's original forms
After the tour there was a short recital with a young Italian girl who at one time was a student of assistant concertmaster David Taylor. It was a beautiful concert hall.
David played on a Strad and his student played on a del Gesü. It was interesting to hear the two great violins played on the same stage together.
After the recital and a wonderful lunch at the restaurant Il Violino, the patrons and most of the musicians headed back to Milan. A number of musicians stayed in Cremona for a while longer and had a small tour of the area.
Free Day in Milan, Thursday, January 19th. Trip to Lake Como, passing the towns of Como, Bellagio and Lecco.
Photos by David Sanders
Across the street from the hotel.
The Milan Duomo.
The Galleria at the Piazza Duomo.
Good advice at any time, in any country in the world.
A tour of the Viking Burial Grounds in Aalborg. Shown is the guide at the grounds and museum, the director or the museum and a PhD in Viking and Iron Age history.
Weiting Kuo, violist, doing his best Viking imitation. Photo by Sunghee Choi.
Sylvia Kilcullen, Assistant Principal Second Violin, Katinka Kleijn, Cello, Cathy Brubaker, Viola, and Stephanie Jeong, Associate Concertmaster enjoy the traditional Danish desert Flødebolle.
Qing Hou goes for a bicycle ride.
Various Scenes from Aalborg. Photos by David Sanders.
A winter wonderland.
More scenes from Aalborg. Photos by Wendy Koons Meir.
The concert hall in Aalborg before the audience is let in.
A group of CSO wind players wait back stage during the performance of the opening work on the concert, the Hindemith Concert Music for Brass and Strings. Clockwise from bottom left: Scott Hostetler, English Horn, Keith Buncke, Principal Bassoon, Steve Williamson, Principal Clarinet, Greg Smith, Clarinet, Bill Buchman, Assistant Principal Bassoon, and Miles Maner, Bassoon and Contrabassoon. Photo by Sando Shia.
Three photos from the Johannes Brahms Museum in Hamburg, including the program of the
first performance of the violin concerto.
St. Michael's Church.
A view of Hamburg from St. Michael's Church, including the Elbphilharmonie.
The stairs to the main hall of the Elbphilharmonie.
Photos from Hamburg by Soyoung Bae.
The mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, invited the musicians to a brunch
and tour of the Rathaus-the City Hall.
Vadim Karpinos, Percussion, Oto Carrillo, Horn, and Scott Hostetler, English Horn,
inside the Rathaus
Larry Newman, viola and Qing Hou, violin, with the Hamburg City Center in the background.
Saint Michael's Church.
Sunghee Choi, violist, at the top of Saint Michael's Church.
Sunghee Choi ad Wei-Ting Kuo, violists, at the top of Saint Michael's Church.
Soyoung Bae, violin, Weijing Wang and Sunghee Choi, violists,
pose on the stage of the Elbphilharmonie.
Weiting Kuo, violist, takes his turn between Soyoung Bae and Sunghee Choi.
It looks like violist Sunghee Choi is trying to keep Assistant Principal Second Violin Sylvia Kilcullen from entering the "viola" room backstage at the Elbphilharmonie.
The four first stand violinists, Robert Chen, Concertmaster, Stephanie Jeong, Associate Concertmaster, Baird Dodge, Principal Second Violin and Sylvia Kilcullen, Assistant Principal Second Violin, take time out from warming up before the concert to take a selfie on the stage of the Elbphilharmonie.
Our charter plane lands in Hamburg, and Guido Frackers, our travel coordinator, hits the ground running to make sure things go smoothly for us. Photos by Blair Milton.
Guido looks on while John Deverman, Director of Orchestra Personnel,
directs the musicians to the proper buses to the hotel.
Cynthia Yeh, Principal Percussion, picks up the chime for the
Mussorgsky Night on Bald Mountain.
A unique feature of the Elbphilharmonie is a wall where violinists and violists can hang their instruments during rehearsal and concert intermissions. Photos by Sando Shia.
Wendy Koons hoping her violin doesn't fall off the precarious-looking hook.
Cornelius Chiu adding his bow to the hook on the wall.
Simon Michal holding onto his violin while he attaches his bow.
A very unique-looking hall from the inside as well as the outside.
Photos by David Sanders.
A view from the stage of the hall.
Dan Gingrich, Acting Principal Horn sits at the back to warm up.
David Griffin, horn, Greg Smith, clarinet and Stefan Hoskuldsson, principal flute, warm up on the stage before the concert, while several members wander around the seats behind the stage.
The seats behind the stage, with bass players Roger Cline, Dan Armstrong and Steve Lester.
Trumpet players Chris Martin, Mark Ridenour and Tage Larsen in discussion backstage.
Luthiers Pierre and Laurent Causse.
The Louis Vuitton Foundation.
The following paintings by Picasso are part of the Chtchoukine Collection
at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
Warming up before the rehearsal at the Philharmonie.
The Philharmonie auditorium view from the stage.
Yuan-Qing playing for children at the hospital Hotel Armand - Trousseau.
Yuan-Qing and Ken Olsen, Assistant Principal Cellist, play for children
at hospital Hotel Armand - Trousseau.
Ella Ionescu, violinist, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum.
The following seven photos are by Keith Buncke, Principal Bassoon.
View from second level of the Eiffel Tower overlooking the Seine River and Trocadero Gardens.
Looking down from the top of the spiral staircase en route to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Stopping by a fish market in Montmartre. Every sea creature imaginable for sale.
Ascending the butte in Montmartre towards Sacré-Coeur.
Inside the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.
Exiting the Sacré-Cœur, looking out over the city.
Wendy Koons Meir, violinist, and Eran, Maytal and Ayelet Meir
with Sacré-Coeur in the background.
Wendy Koons Meir and Florence Schwartz, violinists, in front of the Philharmonie de Paris.
Florence Schwartz, violinist, with her daughter Sally Bass,
with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Oto Carrillo, horn, with his wife Sarah, son Lucas and daughter Isabelle,
at the Eiffel Tower.
Oto Carrillo, horn, with his children Lucas and Isabelle,
at the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles
Susanna Gaunt, horn, at one of the beautiful flower markets in Paris. At the insistence of her daughter, she is with her tour mascot, Patches, one of her daughters stuffies.
A beautiful flower market in Paris. Photo by Susanna Gaunt.
The magnificent frescos at the louvre. Photo by Susanna Gaunt.
The stunning new hall in Paris. Early morning load-in to the hall.
An incredible sight, looking down at the stage from the back of the hall
Miles Maner, Contrabassoon, finds a little nook to warm up.
Ron Satkiewicz, violin, and Peter Conover, Principal Librarian, discuss something in the music.
Tage Larsen, trumpet, warms up before the rehearsals.
Michael Hovnanian, bass, warms up before the rehearsal.
Maestro Muti rehearses the Orchestra.
Maestro Muti rehearses the brass section during the Hindemith Concert Music
for String Orchestra and Brass.
by John von Rhein - contact reporter. Chicago Tribune. January 10, 2017.
Riccardo Muti and his Chicago Symphony Orchestra, shown in 2014 in Vienna, will revisit the Austrian capital during the upcoming European tour, along with cities in France, Germany, Denmark and Italy. (Todd Rosenberg Photography)
You don't build on your reputation as one of the world's greatest orchestras by playing only to local admirers. Presenting yourself directly to the concert public in the musical capitals of Europe and Asia also is essential.
"The orchestra," said Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti, "must physically be there."
For that and many other reasons, overseas touring has been integral to the operation of the Chicago Symphony since 1971, when Georg Solti took the orchestra on a six-week, nine-country swing through the cultural citadels of Europe.
That historic initial foreign tour certified the CSO's world-class stature at home and abroad, made foreigners regard Chicago with new respect and locals with new pride. It boosted Chicago business interests abroad. It earned the orchestra musicians a ticker tape parade on State Street, an honor perhaps only the Cubs would get today.
Preserving both reputation and tradition is once more the driving force behind the CSO's latest Continental invasion — a tight 11-concert, seven-city, two-week swing through France, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Italy that's set to launch Friday in Paris.
On Monday — the same day the CSO musicians left for Paris — a cargo jet stuffed with the orchestra's trunks and equipment also departed O'Hare International Airport for Luxembourg, where the freight was loaded onto trucks bound for Paris. It was unloaded at the Philharmonie on Tuesday, two days before the scheduled first rehearsal. The loading, unloading and trucking of cargo will be repeated from city to city before the orchestra's return home on Jan. 28.
Along with 93 orchestra members (including eight extra players), the tour party will include a dozen administrative and staff members, and a patron group of 27.
Much as some CSO trustees would like the orchestra to play more often at home, maintaining regular visibility overseas is crucial to the welfare of the institution, officials point out.
Read the complete article at Chicagotribune.com.
The Eiffel Tower
Notre Dame Cathedral
Hotel de Ville
The extraordinary stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle
Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre
Great simple food prepared in a way only the French can.
Croissant, French Onion Soup, Chocolate Pastry with Hazelnut filling.
Principal Percussion Cynthia Yeh takes in the Monet Water Lilies at the Musée de l'Orangerie.
Principal Bass Alex Hanna and Trombone Michael Mulcahy are giddy
at the thought of their upcoming dinner at Pottoka.
Looks like the meal was a definite success.
Principal Bass Alex Hanna, Principal Percussion Cynthia Yeh, Associate Concertmaster Stephanie Jeong and Trombone Michael Mulcahy enjoy an after-dinner stroll by the Eiffel Tower.
Felix the Cat (above) gives Princiapl percussion Cynthia Yeh the "how can you do this to me" face, with those big, beautiful eyes.....while Taco just looks worried..
Meanwhile, cellist David Sanders' cat Josh realizes there's no hope and just walks on through, not even stoppig to look at the camera.
And violinist Gina DiBello's Sophia gives her the "you've got to be kidding me" look.