Bill Ward and Susan Levy

Bill Ward and Susan Levy serve as Co-Chairs of the CSOA’s 2017 Corporate Night on June 12, 2017. Bill, League Co-Chair, has been attending CSO concerts for more than forty-five years and joined the League in 2015. Now retired, he started his career as a professional musician and clarinetist; he holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from DePaul University, where he studied clarinet with former CSO Assistant Principal Clarinet Jerome Stowell. Susan, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Northern Trust, serves as the Corporate Committee Chair. She is a former CSOA Trustee and has been involved with the CSOA throughout her career, including serving on past Corporate Night committees. She currently serves on the board of Ravinia Festival.

Tell us about this very special event.
Corporate Night is a unique opportunity for audiences to connect to the CSO and Symphony Center. This year Pink Martini is performing with the CSO so we get the best of both worlds. We feature an amazing popular act with our own orchestra for a fun night celebrating the audiences and corporations that do so much to support music and the CSO. The event is made possible by two committees representing these communities: the League of the CSOA and the Corporate Committee. Even though our groups may be a little different, we help bring people together through our shared support of the CSO—whether they’re lifelong fans or new to classical music or Symphony Center. We hope you’ll join us on June 12!

What’s different about this year’s Corporate Night?
This year, Corporate Night will feature two special opportunities for corporate attendees. For the first time, we are honoring two of Chicago’s business leaders with the Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award. We are delighted to recognize Citadel and United Airlines for their contributions to the CSO and to the arts in Chicago. Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin and United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz will both be joining us to accept these awards. It is an exciting opportunity for us to not only thank businesses and business leaders for their support, but also bring people together to celebrate the corporate community of Chicago. To that end, we’ve also changed the way corporate attendees will network before the concert. This year, all corporate attendees will be attending one central networking reception at Symphony Center, instead of dividing up companies into different spaces. We hope this gives people an opportunity to connect with those beyond their immediate networks and celebrate their work and the CSO together.

What role does the CSO play in the city?
The CSO is a gem of Chicago. Having a world-class orchestra as part of the arts and cultural life of the city helps everyone. Audiences from all walks of life, as well as the corporate community, benefit from the incredible cultural scene we have here. And the CSO is just the very best Chicago has to offer. It helps put Chicago on the map across the U.S. and around the world—and that helps its people, its businesses, and its reputation.

How can people get involved with the CSO or Corporate Night?
There are so many ways to get involved with the CSO. Of course, go to concerts, but think about the groups and societies, like the League, that are available to music lovers. Your business can support the CSO through sponsorships, Corporate Partnerships, and special events like Corporate Night. The CSO Family is so supportive—just take the first step like we did!