Solti 100

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Sir Georg Solti - October 21, 2012

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti
Music Director

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In 2012, we commemorate the centennial of the birth of Sir Georg Solti, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's beloved eighth music director from 1969 until 1991 and music director laureate from 1991 until 1997. György Stern is born in Budapest, Hungary. Attends the Liszt Academy in Budapest, where his instructors include (clockwise from left) Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Leo Weiner, and Ernö Dohnányi. Assists Arturo Toscanini at the Salzburg Festival and plays the glockenspiel in Mozart's <em>The
Magic Flute</em>. Debuts as conductor, leading Mozart's <em>The Marriage of Figaro</em> for the Budapest Opera. At the same time, Hitler orders German troops to cross the border into Austria, one step closer to World War II. Wins the piano prize at the Geneva International Music Competition in Switzerland. Appointed music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany. Newly signed with the Decca label, makes first recording as accompanist to violinist Georg Kulenkampff in Brahms's Violin Sonata no. 1 in G major, op. 78. For Richard Strauss's funeral, conducts the second movement from Beethoven's <em>Eroica</em> Symphony and the final trio from Strauss's <em>Der Rosenkavalier</em>. Makes U.S. debut with the San Francisco Opera, leading Strauss's <em>Elektra</em>, with Inge Borkh in the title role. At the Ravinia Festival, debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, leading Mozart's Symphony no. 41, C.P.E. Bach's Concerto for Cello in A major with Paul Tortelier, and Beethoven's Third Symphony. Debuts at Lyric Opera of Chicago leading Strauss's <em>Salome</em> with Inge Borkh in the title role. Debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, leading Wagner's <em>Tannhäuser</em>. Begins tenure as music director of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, conducting Gluck's <em>Iphigénie en Tauride</em>. He served as music director until 1971. Receives first Grammy Award for best opera recording for Verdi's <em>Aida</em>, recorded by RCA in June and July 1961, with Leontyne Price in the title role. Debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall, conducting Bartók's Dance Suite, Dvořák's Cello Concerto with Mstislav Rostropovich, and Schubert's Ninth Symphony. Georg Solti marries Valerie Pitts. Solti and John Culshaw receive the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences first Trustees' Award for the recording of Wagner's complete <em>Der Ring des Nibelungen</em> made between 1958 and 1965. Louis Sudler, president of The Orchestral Association, announces that Georg Solti will become the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's eighth music director beginning with the 1969-70 season. Leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the first time as music director, conducting Ives's <em>Three Places in New England</em>, Dvořák's Cello Concerto with Jacqueline du Pré, and Beethoven's Eighth Symphony. A performance of Mahler's Fifth Symphony in Carnegie Hall earns twelve curtain calls. Begins first recording sessions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Mahler's Fifth and Sixth symphonies in Medinah Temple. Leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's first concert of its first overseas trip to Europe in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is welcomed back from its first European tour with a tickertape parade down State and LaSalle streets. Georg Solti is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. <em>Time</em> magazine proclaims Sir Georg Solti “the fastest baton in the West” and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the top U.S. orchestra, “sine qua non.” Conducts the world premiere of David Del Tredici's <em>Final Alice</em> with soprano Barbara Hendricks as soloist. Begins the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's first tour to Japan with a concert in Tokyo. Conducts a performance of Bruckner's Fifth Symphony at Holy Name Cathedral, given in honor of Pope John Paul II's first visit to Chicago. Conducts the world premiere of Witold Lutoslawski's Third Symphony. Anticipating the Chicago Bears's victory in Super Bowl XX, leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in an encore of “Bear Down, Chicago Bears.” The following week, the work is recorded by London Records. Commemorating Sir Georg Solti's seventy-fifth birthday, a bust is dedicated in the formal gardens in front of the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Conducts the world premiere of Karel Husa's Trumpet Concerto, written for Adolph “Bud” Herseth, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's longtime principal trumpet. <em>Musical America</em> names Sir Georg Solti Musician of the Year. Opens the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's first tour to Australia, leading a concert in Perth. Conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Chorus—in its European debut—and soloists in Berlioz's <em>The Damnation of Faust</em> at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's first concert of its debut in Russia in Saint Petersburg. Makes final appearance as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducting Verdi's <em>Otello</em> at Carnegie Hall. Principal soloists include Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Luciano Pavarotti, and Leo Nucci. The work was recorded live by London Records. Receives the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. Conducts the first concert of the World Orchestra for Peace, founded to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. From the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, receives the Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. Leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the last time, conducting Mussorgsky's Prelude to <em>Khovanshchina</em>, Shostakovich's orchestration of Mussorgsky's <em>Songs and Dances of Death</em> with Sergei Aleksashkin, and Shostakovich's Symphony no. 15. The concert was recorded live by London Records. While on holiday in Antibes, France, Sir Georg Solti dies at the age of 84. Before a funerary banner could be produced to hang on the façade of Orchestra Hall, a simple memorial appeared on the sidewalk in front of the building, placed by an unidentified mourner. Receives thirty-first Grammy Award—more than any other recording artist—for best opera recording for Wagner's <em>Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg</em> (recorded in September 1995) with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

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