CANCELED: Ax Plays Brahms

Apr 18

8:00 PM

Bartók, Debussy, Brahms

Thursday, April 18, 2019

We regret that the April 18-23 CSO concerts, and all events associated with these concerts, have been canceled due to the strike by CSO musicians. Patrons holding tickets to these canceled concerts are able to exchange their tickets for upcoming Symphony Center performances, may donate their tickets to the CSO, or may receive a refund. Ticket holders are asked to contact Patron Services at 312-294-3000 or by email, mentioning your patron ID, concert date, and request. In addition, will have the most up-to-date information and updates for patrons about the status of future concerts.


Enjoy an evening of sumptuous orchestral color featuring Debussy’s glistening ode to spring and a work inspired by Bela Bartók’s Hungarian heritage. Symphony Center favorite Emanuel Ax plays Brahms’ vibrant Second Piano Concerto. “Emanuel Ax shone. He played with dazzling comfort, like the music was his oldest and best friend, simultaneously familiar and fascinating” (Bachtrack).


Bartók Dance Suite
Debussy Printemps
Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2


Preconcert conversation with Johann Buis
30 minute run-time

Thursday, April 18, 6:45-7:15 Grainger Ballroom
Friday, April, 19, 12:15-12:45 Armour Stage
Saturday, April 20, 6:45-7:15 Armour Stage
Tuesday, April 23, 6:15-6:45 Armour Stage

Additional Dates for this Program

For many in classical music, Beethoven or Bach lead the list of the genre’s “Three Bs.” For pianist Emanuel Ax, however, the killer B remains Brahms. “I’m a Brahms fanatic,” Ax said. “When I was growing up, at age 14 or so, I fell completely in love with the Second Piano Concerto. I absolutely wore out two LPs of it, I loved it so much." Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories

French conductor Fabien Gabel is especially looking forward to his upcoming CSO debut. “I grew up with the recordings of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” he said. “It’s a legendary ensemble. As a former trumpet player, one of my models was [Adolph] 'Bud' Herseth"— the CSO's principal trumpet from 1948 through 2001. "He was one of my gods.” Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories

Whether pianist Emanuel Ax is making music with 80 other musicians or is going solo, he treats it all like chamber music. “Even when I’m playing alone, I’m already doing chamber music,” Ax said. The Brahms Second Piano Concerto, which he will perform with the CSO,  has the famous cello solo in the third movement, “but I’m also playing with the second violins, with the bassoon, with the conductor,” he said. “With any luck, it’s not that different. Ideally, it’s all chamber music.” Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories


Global Sponsor of the CSO

Official Airline of the CSO

These performances are generously sponsored by the Zell Family Foundation.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.