Classical 91.5

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Thursdays, 8 to 10 pm on WXXI-FM 91.5, WXXY 90.3, WXXI-FM/HD 91.5-1, WITH-FM/HD 90.1-2 and online at
  • Hosted by Lisa Simeone

Produced by Marty Ronish and hosted by Lisa Simeone, this weekly, two-hour series offers a unique format of engaging and lively content, including produced segments created to provide deeper insight into the music and programmatic themes found within the CSO’s concert season; interviews with CSO musicians, guest artists, and composers; and an exploration of the stories found within the CSO’s rich heritage of recordings and the Orchestra’s illustrious history in Chicago.

Composed in 1850 and revised in 1855, Liszt numbered Prometheus No. 5 in his cycle of symphonic poems. The work is based on the Greek myth detailing the Titan Prometheus' theft of fire from the gods. We'll hear it performed by the Chicago Symphony on the January 21st broadcast.

One of Fritz Reiner’s primary goals, early in his tenure as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s sixth music director, was to program major choral works. However, the repertory he wished to perform was too demanding for the amateur and student groups usually engaged. In 1957 he persuaded board president Eric Oldberg to organize a chorus permanently affiliated with the Orchestra in Chicago. On September 22, 1957 the Chicago Tribune reported, “From Orchestra Hall comes word that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus is to be a new factor in the city’s musical life.” We'll hear a tribute to the CSO Chorus on the 12/31 broadcast.

Nocturnal favorites from Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, and more on the Nov 5th archival broadcast, featuring soprano Leontyne Price and the Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

Travel with the Chicago Symphony to Scandanavia where we'll hear music by Sibelius, Nielsen and a traditional Danish Bridal Tune from the village of Sønderho. Don't miss the boat on 10/22.

Stephanie Jeong, the CSO’s associate concertmaster, and Kenneth Olsen, the assistant principal cello of the CSO, tackle Brahms' monumental Double Concerto on the 9/24 broadcast.  The two refer to it as "a technical behemoth for both soloists" in this interview with Lawrence B. Johnson of Chicago on the Aisle.

We'll hear the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story open the August 27th broadcast of the CSO. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story reimagined the most enduring romance ever as a modern musical, with a score and dancing for the ages. Now, more than 60 years later, thanks to endless stagings and film renditions, West Side Story is considered one of the most critical cultural accomplishments of the 20th century.

The Chicago Symphony presents Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Suite from the 1954 film, On the Waterfront (7/23).

Estonian painter August Albo (1893-1963) created "Strauss Waltz" depicting dancers in an elegant ballroom with and orchestra in the balcony above.  We'll hear many of the waltzes that inspired this painting in the June 18th broadcast.

We'll hear two different composer's take on The Four Seasons with the CSO on Thursday, 5/21.  

Berlioz's The Death of Cleopatra is a haunting setting of Cleopatra's final moments for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. Berlioz was an avid Shakespeare fan and wanted the piece to mimic the drama and chilling ending for the timeless story. This month the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Joyce Didonato share the piece (4/30). 

4/2        Prokofiev: Suite from The Love for Three Oranges Poulenc: Gloria Gounod: Saint Cecilia Mass