Women take a prominent place next season

Women conductors, soloists and composers figure prominently in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 2022-23 season.

For starters, the orchestra welcomes back two prominent musical figures for the second year of their collaborative posts: Hilary Hahn as CSO Artist-in-Residence and Jesse Montgomery as Mead Composer-in-Residence.

Montgomery again serves as curator for MusicNOW, the Chicago Symphony’s annual contemporary music series in the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, and two of the increasingly recognized composer’s works are featured on the orchestra’s subscription series: Banner (March 16-18) and an as-yet-untitled world premiere (May 11-13 and 16).

Hahn, one of the world’s most esteemed violin soloists, joins the CSO on Dec. 8-10 as soloist in Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular Violin Concerto and April 13-15, in Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy and Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Deux Sérénades (2016/2018). As part of the Symphony Center Presents Chamber Music Series, Hahn also offers a much-anticipated showcase of solo violin works by J.S. Bach on March 19.

Here’s a look at other female artists to be showcased in 2022-23:


Xian Zhang, Oct. 27-28 and Nov. 1: Among the fastest rising figures in her field, she became a cover conductor at the New York Philharmonic in 2002 and ultimately gained the title of associate conductor. Since 2016, she has served as music director of the New Jersey Symphony, and she is also principal guest conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Dalia Stasevska, Dec. 8-10: After completing her conducting studies in 2012 at the Sibelius Academy, where her teachers included famed maestro Leif Segerstam, the Finnish conductor went on to serve as assistant conductor of the Orchestre de Paris for two seasons. She now holds the positions of principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in Finland.

Marin Alsop, Jan. 6-7: Now chief conductor and curator of the Ravinia Festival, the CSO's summer home, she has broken many barriers, becoming the first woman to lead a major American orchestra when she served as music director of the Baltimore Symphony from 2007 to 2021.


Nokuthula Endo Ngwenyama, Primal Message, Oct. 27-28 and Nov. 1:  Born in Los Angeles of Zimbabwean and Japanese descent, she is both a noted violist and composer. She serves as composer in residence for the Phoenix Chamber Music Society and has written a piano quartet for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio that debuts this year.

Lera Auerbach, Diary of a Madman, Nov. 17 and 19-20: The CSO will present the American premiere of this new cello concerto, which was inspired by Gogol’s farcical short story of the same title about Poprishchin, a government clerk who descends into insanity. The piece is a co-commission of the CSO, Munich Philharmonic, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

Andrea Tarrodi, Birds of Paradise, Dec. 8-10: The Swedish composer has had works performed by orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, Deutches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. This 2008 work was inspired by a documentary about what Tarrodi calls the “strange and beautiful birds of paradise.”

Julia Wolfe, Her Story, Jan. 6-7: The CSO is one of five American orchestras that co-commissioned this 40-minute work for 10 female voices and orchestra from the 2015 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Singers from the Massachusetts-based Lorelei Ensemble join Alsop for the Chicago debut.

Soloists and ensembles

Lorelei Ensemble, Jan. 6-7: Since its founding in 2007, this all-female vocal group has presented more than 60 world, American and regional premieres by composers Lisa Bielawa, David Lang, Kareem Roustam and Julia Wolfe. It regularly tours to major U.S. venues across and collaborates with ensembles such as A Far Cry and the Boston Symphony.

Beatrice Rana, Feb. 9-11: Since winning the silver medal and audience award at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, this Italian pianist has gone on to enjoy a top-level career. She made her attention-grabbing Chicago debut in February 2019 on the Symphony Center Presents Piano Series.

Julia Fischer, Feb. 23-25: Like Hahn, Fischer has become one of the classical world's most sought-after violinists, following her victory in 1995 at the International Yehudi Menuhin Competition. She will join Riccardo Muti and the CSO in the Schumann Violin Concerto.

Joélle Harvey, March 16-18: This noted American soprano specializes in the works of Handel and Mozart as well as new music. After her CSO debut this season, Harvey returns to join guest conductor Osmo Vänskä in performances of Carl Orff’s ever-popular Carmina burana.

Sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Yulia Van Doren, May 4-6 and 9: The two sopranos team with guest conductor Giovanni Antonini for an all-Vivaldi program. Both of these fine singers are known for their performances in Baroque-era repertoire, including Van Doren’s collaborations with celebrated choreographer Mark Morris in such works as Dido and Aeneas

Mezzo-soprano Alisa Kolosova, June 23-25: Kolosova first gained widespread attention in 2010 at the Salzburg Festival, where she performed Mozart’s La Betulia liberate with Muti. She rejoins the maestro for his final concerts as Chicago Symphony music director, serving as soloist in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.