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.

Ken Benshoof is revered as the "Pied Piper of the Piccolo." He has composed numerous incidental and chamber works. In addition to that, he has composed a number of works featuring solo piccolo that have made him somewhat of a household name amongst piccolo players. We will hear one of these pieces with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this month (2/27), featuring Jennifer Gunn on the piccolo.

The CSO Messiah performance, led by Matthew Halls, comes from a longer local Handel tradition than is apparent on the surface. While perhaps not a Messiah for the ages, the English conductor made a largely impressive CSO debut, leading a worthy and stylish performance of Handel’s Christmas perennial. (Chicago Classical Review)

On the December 19th broadcast we'll hear selections from Charles Ives' New England Holidays Symphony and a version of Auld Lang Syne.

Pablo Sáinz Villegas has been acclaimed by the international press as the successor of Andrés Segovia and an ambassador of Spanish culture in the world.  Hear Pablo Sáinz Villegas' debut performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on the 11/21 broadcast.

Pulitzer prize-winning composer George Walker (1922-2018) was a trailblazer for African Americans, with many "firsts" among his life story. We'll hear his Lyric for Strings on the 10/3 broadcast. Learn more here.

9/5       Mozart: Symphony No. 38, Prague Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 3 Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 Strauss: Metamorphosen (Daniel Gingrich, hn; Edo de Waart, cond)

9/12      Mantovani: Threnos Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 Bach/Rachmaninov: Gigue from Violin Partita Bridge:     Lament Copland: Symphony No. 3 Ives/Schuman: Variations on “America” (Daniil Trifonov, p; Marin Alsop and Morton Gould, cond)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra


8/1        Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 Brahms: Tragic Overture (Nicholas Angelich, p; James Feddeck and Sir Georg Solti, cond)

Chicago Classical Review

The Chicago Classical Review stated, Hampson brings swagger, sensitivity to American songs with CSO.  You can hear what they were talking about on the 7/4 broadcast.


Former RPO Music Director Sir Mark Elder leads the Chicago SO in the June 13th broadcast.

6/6       Smetana: Vyšehrad, Moldau, Šárka , From Bohemian Fields and Groves, Tábor, Blanik  Wagner: Siegfried Idyll, Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Daniel Barenboim, cond)
Simon Dodd

A number of classical musicians were recognised in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Sir Mark Elder CBE, music director of the Hallé and former Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra was made a Companion of Honour. He'll conduct the May 30th broadcast.