Route 66 playlist

Historic Route 66 begins at Adams and Michigan, to the north of Orchestra Hall.


Historic Route 66, spanning more than 2,000 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, passes some of America’s most archetypal roadside scenery: dusty truck stops, neon kitsch and windswept deserts. This playlist evokes passages along the fabled journey, starting with a Verdi overture to mark its eastern terminus, on Adams Street, which forms the northern border of Symphony Center, home of Orchestra Hall.

As the road travels southwest into the Land of Lincoln, we hear a selection from John Williams’ score to “Lincoln” (2012), among other American works. St. Louis, with its historic Czech, Hungarian and Scottish ethnic communities, is captured in works by Smetana, Bartók and Bruch (including a performance conducted by St. Louis resident and booster Leonard Slatkin). Texas’ native son Van Cliburn is featured in a 1961 performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. The American Southwest is evoked in the open spaces of Copland, Dvorak and Williams. Finally, as the journey ends at the Santa Monica Pier, Debussy’s La mer summons the majestic Pacific Ocean.