SCP offers the best of classical: orchestras, chamber music and more

On a centennial tour, Gustavo Gimeno and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will stop at Symphony Center.

Next season, Symphony Center Presents revives the SCP Orchestras series, after a hiatus of a few years. Also returning are the popular Piano and Chamber Music series, with the latter expanding to six concerts. In addition, the SCP Specials lineup showcases superstar talents Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming and Evgeny Kissin in recital, and tenor Juan Diego Flórez in a rare Chicago appearance.

Berliner Philharmoniker, Nov. 16: The series opens with a highly anticipated concert by the Berliner Philharmoniker in Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. The internationally acclaimed ensemble, which has not appeared in Chicago in a dozen years, will perform at Orchestra Hall for the first time with chief conductor Kirill Petrenko.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 14: Celebrating its centennial season, the Canadian ensemble makes its Symphony Center debut as part of a tour, in a program of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole with violinist and Menuhin Competition winner María Dueñas as soloist and Prokofiev’s Suite from Romeo and Juliet, the latter compiled by Gustavo Gimeno, the orchestra's new music director.

SCP Chamber Music

This season’s SCP Chamber Music series celebrates stellar violinists and string quartets.

Midori, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Oct. 23: A force in classical music for almost 40 years, the violinist collaborates with the French pianist, whose playing is often praised for its elegance, in three Beethoven sonatas, including the Kreutzer, one of the composer's most famous works.

Anne-Sophie Mutter, Feb. 5: The German virtuoso violinist arrives with her Mutter Virtuosi, an ensemble of current and former Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation scholarship recipients, all rising stars, in a program of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, as well as concertos by Bach and Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Also featured is Unsuk Chin’s Gran Cadenza, a  showcase for two violins.

Joshua Bell, Daniil Trifonov, March 2: The c

harismatic violinist finds an ideal partner in the internationally celebrated pianist for a recital featuring Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 1, Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 1 and Franck’s Violin Sonata in A Major..

Hilary Hahn, March 19: The CSO Artist-in-Residence performs selected violin sonatas and partitas by J.S. Bach. 

Pinchas Zukerman, Amanda Forsyth and the Jerusalem Quartet, April 30: The distinguished violinist-violist and cellist Amanda Forsyth join the Jerusalem Quartet in string sextets by Dvořák and Brahms.

Emerson String Quartet, Emanuel Ax, June 4: The series finale features the acclaimed quartet on its farewell tour, retiring from the concert stage after nearly 50 years. Former Juilliard classmate and pianist Emanuel Ax joins the quartet in a special guest appearance.

SCP Piano

The series consists of locally debuting talents and returning virtuosos.

David Fray, Nov. 6: Familiar to Chicago audiences since his 2013 debut, the French-born pianist performs works by Schubert and Liszt.

Leif Ove Andsnes, Jan. 29: The Norwegian-born favorite offers sonatas of Beethoven and Janáček, along with Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Pictures, Op. 45.

Marc-André Hamelin, Feb. 26: The recital by the Canadian pianist and composer centers on two towering works, Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata and Dukas’ sonata, said to be influenced by Beethoven.

Emanuel Ax, April 2: In one of two appearances at Symphony Center next season, the Orchestra Hall regular presents his eloquent interpretations of works by Schubert.

Evgeny Kissin, April 16: The internationally acclaimed virtuoso returns with a wide-ranging program of works by Bach, Mozart and Debussy, ending with a 150th birthday tribute to composer, conductor and piano icon Sergei Rachmaninov, born in 1873.

Víkingur Ólafsson, May 7: In his series debut, the Icelandic pianist performs works by Mozart, Haydn, C.P.E Bach, Cimarosa and Galuppi.

Seong-Jin Cho, May 21: Winner of the 2015 International Chopin Competition, the South Korean artist surveys works by Handel, Brahms and Schumann, along with a work by composer Sofia Gubaidulina, whose career began in the Soviet era and was encouraged by Shostakovich.

Maria João Pires, May 28: The acclaimed Chopin specialist, lauded by the New York Times as “an elegant technician and probing interpreter,” makes a rare Chicago appearance.

Additional SCP events

Symphony Center welcomes luminaries from a variety of musical genres in several special concert events next season.

Itzhak Perlman, “In the Fiddler’s House,” Dec. 4: In an exploration of traditional klezmer music, the violin virtuoso performs with instrumentalists Hankus Stenky and Andy Statman, along with ensembles Brave Old World and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

CSO Brass, D

ec. 18: The brilliance and artistry of the CSO Brass are on full sonic display in this highly anticipated annual concert, presented in collaboration with the Midwest Clinic.

Juan Diego Flórez, Jan. 31: In his Symphony Center Presents debut, the Peruvian-born tenor brings vocal elegance, virtuosity and charm to operatic selections that showcase his command of the high Cs. He is joined by pianist Vincenzo Scalera.

Kodo, March 5: The sounds of percussion traditions from around the globe take center stage in a return appearance by Japan’s pioneering taiko group Kodo, highlighting the primal power and majesty of drumming.

Zakir Hussain’s Masters of the Percussion, April 7: Tabla virtuoso appears with Masters of the Percussion, who represent multiple cultures, genres, ages and instruments.

Renée Fleming and Evgeny Kissin, May 14: Superstar soprano Renée Fleming and acclaimed pianist Evgeny Kissin offer a recital featuring songs of Rachmaninov and more in a Symphony Center Presents and Lyric Opera of Chicago collaboration.