Negaunee Music Institute wraps up another season of creativity and impact

CSO Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti leads the 2022 Chicago Youth in Music Festival Orchestra.

Todd Rosenberg Photography

The Negaunee Music Institute connects the Chicagoland community and people around the world to the extraordinary musical resources of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In collaboration with the CSO’s artistic leadership, partner organizations and guest artists, the Institute presented more than 30 public concerts and events during the 2021/22 Season, as well as dozens of workshops and coachings for young instrumentalists, public school students and teachers, and senior citizens. 

Please enjoy these highlights from the season, which demonstrate the Institute’s exceptional creativity and impact over the past several months. Thank you to the numerous donors who generously supported this programming, and congratulations to the musicians who enriched our hearts and minds with so many incredible performances!

Civic Orchestra of Chicago
First Reading Session

For the first time since March 2020, members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago joined together onstage in Orchestra Hall for a side-by-side reading session with CSO coaches, led by Principal Conductor Ken-David Masur. It was a moving and exhilarating start to the Civic season.

Bach Marathon

After a pandemic hiatus, the Bach Marathon returned on Dec. 6, 2021. Six ensembles of Civic musicians performed Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos at six elementary schools and six retirement communities throughout Chicago. The musicians convened at day’s end for a grand-finale concert of all six concertos at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago. This cherished annual tradition brought Civic members to communities across Chicago and provided connection and celebration to start the holiday season.

Civic Orchestra Concerts

The Civic Orchestra of Chicago presented seven full orchestra concerts throughout the 2021/22 Season, two of which were performed in community venues: South Shore Cultural Center and Kenwood Academy High School. From Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Dimitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 to Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Something for the Dark and Jessie Montgomery’s Caught by the Wind, Civic programs included masterpieces of the canon, alongside works from composers whose backgrounds have historically been underrepresented in classical music.

Learn more about Civic’s Sheherazade concert at Kenwood Academy High School.

CSO for Kids
Once Upon a Symphony: Maybe Something Beautiful

In February and March, the Negaunee Music Institute’s concert series for 3- to 5-year-olds, Once Upon a Symphony, presented Maybe Something Beautiful, based on the book by Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell. The concert experience, which was adapted for live performance from a virtual concert created early in the pandemic, featured members of the CSO, vivid animations of Rafael López’s original illustrations and bilingual narration by actor Jasmin Cardenas, who adapted the script. This program encouraged children to explore their imagination and creativity, and “paint the sky” by waving colored scarves. Once Upon a Symphony is created and produced in partnership with Chicago Children’s Theatre. 

Peter and the Wolf

February’s production of Peter and the Wolf was particularly special for the CSO family because after a decades-long collaboration on more than 12 CSO for Kids productions, these concerts were the final performances with the members of Magic Circle Mime Company before their retirement. Additionally, these concerts marked the Symphony Center debut of conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya. Children ages 5-12 explored the instruments and sounds of the orchestra by meeting the characters throughout this classic tale.

Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra

In a long-awaited Chicago premiere, conductor Edwin Outwater led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in its first performances of former Mead Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates' Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra. The multimedia project and CSO co-commission, a collaboration among Bates, Oscar-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom and animator Jim Capobianco, tells the tale of an animated sprite who takes a journey through the orchestra. 

Learn more about Philharmonia Fantastique.

Community Engagement & Partnerships
Notes for Peace Concerts

In March and April 2022, Civic Orchestra Fellows, members of the Irene Taylor Trust and families of Purpose Over Pain, came together for two Notes for Peace projects that empowered families who have lost children to gun violence to create original songs of tribute. In March, NMI held the first Notes for Peace concert at Symphony Center, featuring never-performed songs of tribute written throughout the pandemic, with a special guest appearance by CSO Artist-in-Residence Hilary Hahn. Then, members of ITT and Civic Fellows worked with new Purpose Over Pain families to produce new songs of tribute, all of which were performed at a poignant concert in April at Austin Town Hall on Chicago’s West Side. 

Explore the project and and the nearly 70 tributes created thus far at

Chicago Youth in Music Festival and National Pathways Summit

The 2022 Chicago Youth in Music Festival and National Pathways Summit was presented in partnership with the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative and National Instrumentalist Mentoring and Advancement Network. The festival and summit brought together more than 100 students and institutional leaders from across the country for three days of musical learning, strategic conversations and collaboration. After a series of rehearsals with CSO Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice Lina Gonzalez-Granados, the weekend culminated with student musicians playing side by side in a Festival Orchestra with musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Chicago Sinfonietta in an open rehearsal led by CSO Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti.

Inspired by Hilary Hahn

In addition to extraordinary performances in Orchestra Hall, CSO Artist-in-Residence Hilary Hahn participated in a variety of Negaunee Music Institute activities during her residencies, including composition and recording of a Notes for Peace song. Hahn also led three master classes, the first of which occurred at Northside College Preparatory High School with their advanced string students, and the second and third at Symphony Center with Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative Fellows. Hahn continues her residency in 2022/23 with many special performances and engagement activities to be announced soon.

The 2022/23 Season is just around the corner, and we can’t wait to see you at a future Negaunee Music Institute event.