My Favorite CSO: Diane Busko Bryks

Diane Busko Bryks has performed in the alto section of the Chicago Symphony Chorus since 1983.

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's commercial recording legacy began on May 1, 1916, when second music director Frederick Stock led the Wedding March from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Columbia Graphophone Company. The Orchestra has since amassed an extraordinary, award-winning discography on a number of labels — including Angel, CBS, Deutsche Grammophon, Erato, London/Decca, RCA, Sony, Teldec, Victor and others — continuing with releases on the in-house label CSO Resound under tenth music director Riccardo Muti. For My Favorite CSO, we asked members of the Chicago Symphony family for their favorite recordings (and a few honorable mentions) from the Orchestra's discography.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Diane Busko Bryks graduated summa cum laude from the Chicago Conservatory College of Music, where she studied voice with Alice Stephens. At Northwestern and DePaul universities, she also was a student with Norman Gulbrandsen, and she attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Since 1983, Busko Bryks has been a professional member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, also performing with the Resident Ensemble in the Chicago Public School system and touring with the Chicago Symphony Singers. She has performed regularly with the Lira Singers and the William Ferris Chorale, as well as teaching general music at St. Francis Xavier School in LaGrange and serving as music director at St. Mary of Celle Church in Berwyn.

STRAVINSKY Symphony of Psalms
Recorded in Orchestra Hall in 1997 by London
Sir Georg Solti conductor
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Emily Ellsworth director
“This was one of the last recordings Sir Georg Solti made with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. It was recorded live during concerts in Orchestra Hall, and I was fortunate to be part of this performance. I love the dramatic and exciting beginning of the first movement with its strong sustained choral sound. A haunting oboe solo, followed by the other woodwinds, introduce the first theme in the second movement, followed by independent vocal lines, more sustained choral sound and increasing excitement! In the third movement, the swell of “Alleluia” sets the prayerful tone at the beginning, followed by rhythmic drive in the middle and lush expansive phrases at the end. Overall, the Symphony of Psalms is a hypnotic and introspective prayer of praise which never fails to move the listener and this singer!"

LUTOSŁAWSKI Symphony No. 3 
Recorded in Orchestra Hall in 1992 by Erato
Daniel Barenboim conductor
"Witold Lutosławski's Third Symphony was commissioned by the CSO, and I remember the excitement of being at the 1983 world premiere of this vibrant example of contemporary music. At the concert, the Orchestra was conducted by Sir Georg Solti and the composer was present. During the premiere week, a reception was held in Lutosławski's honor in the ballroom of Orchestra Hall, and I had the great privilege of meeting the him and singing his Five Songs for Voice and Piano at that event. Numerous recordings, including this one with our own CSO, shows that this symphony has taken its well deserved place in the modern repertoire."

GÓRECKI Miserere, Op. 44; Amen, Op. 35; and Euntes ibant et flebant, Op. 32
Recorded in Saint Mary of the Angels Church in 1994 by Nonesuch
John Nelson conductor
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus
“Recorded in St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood, this album and the live concerts were a wonderful collaboration between the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus and the Lira Chamber Chorus. In addition to the three a cappella sacred works sung in Latin by the combined choirs of the CSC and Lyric, this recording also includes several of Henryk Górecki's arrangements of Polish folk songs performed by the Lira Chamber Chorus. These selections really speak to my heritage and my Polish heart!"

HAYDN The Seasons
Recorded in Orchestra Hall in 1993 for London
Sir Georg Solti conductor
Ruth Ziesak soprano
Uwe Heilmann tenor
René Pape bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis director
"What a delightful combination of the energetic and descriptive Haydn, the energetic and relentless Solti, three wonderful soloists, and the greatest symphony orchestra and chorus! From the opening excitement of the welcoming of Spring to the fullness of Summer, from the harvest and the hunt of Autumn to the inevitable descent of Winter, and to the concluding section in praise of the passage of time and the triumph of nature, this recording is so refined and uplifting, making it one of my favorites!"

Riccardo Muti Conducts Italian Masterworks (works by Verdi, Puccini, Mascagni, and Boito)
Recorded in Orchestra Hall in 2017 for CSO Resound
Riccardo Muti conductor
Riccardo Zanellato bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe director
Chicago Children's Choir
Josephine Lee director
"This recording features choral and orchestral selections from several great Italian opera composers, conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti, who lives and breathes this music! It was thrilling to prepare and to perform, and it is so exciting to hear again and again. Some of my most memorable performances with the Chicago Symphony Chorus in recent years have been the Italian operas conducted by Maestro Muti, and I look forward to singing Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, which is scheduled to conclude this upcoming CSO season!"

A few honorable mentions:


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