World-Class Artists. Spectacular Concerts.

From the biggest names in classical music to the icons and innovators of jazz, pop, world music and more, there are so many unforgettable performances to see at Symphony Center. Explore the 2018/19 Symphony Center Presents season below and join us at “Chicago’s most prestigious musical address” (Chicago Tribune).

Dec 19

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass

SCP Specials

8:00 PM Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Witness the staggering power, amazing precision and brilliant virtuosity that make the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass the best in the world. Don't miss these acclaimed musicians in their annual showcase.

This concert is presented in collaboration with the Midwest Clinic, an international band and orchestra conference.

 

To be announced.

Jan 26

Live From Here with Chris Thile

SCP Specials

4:45 PM Saturday, January 26, 2019

Live from Here, public radio’s most popular Saturday night destination, is coming to Chicago! Acclaimed musician and songwriter Chris Thile brings the beloved variety show, known for its signature combination of comedy, spoken word and musical performances, back to Symphony Center for a one-night-only live broadcast featuring special guests.

Performers

Chris Thile host, mandolin, vocals

Jan 27

Leif Ove Andsnes

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, January 27, 2019

“Andsnes is not just a superb pianist, with one of the finest techniques one will witness, but is one of the most interesting musicians on the classical scene” (New York Classical Review). The celebrated Norwegian pianist performs a wide-ranging program of music by Bartók and Schumann, plus the first book of Janácek’s intimate, evocative cycle On an Overgrown Path.

Program

Schumann Three Romances, Op. 28
Janácek On an Overgrown Path, Book I
Bartók Three Burlesques
Schumann Carnaval, Op. 9

Performers

Feb 1

Joshua Redman Quartet — Anat Cohen Tentet

SCP Jazz

8:00 PM Friday, February 1, 2019

Saxophonist Joshua Redman’s strong tone and fluid approach match his wide palette of styles. Since his first album in 1993, which was soon followed by his first Orchestra Hall appearance in 1995, he has collaborated with a diverse array of musicians on everything from hard bop to jazz standards.

Israel-born clarinetist Anat Cohen brings elements of swing to a musical vision that embraces sounds from Brazil, Africa and the Middle East. With a tentet of horns, strings and percussion, Cohen expands on this sound and her global musical journey. This performance will include a Symphony Center co-commission of a concerto for solo clarinet and ensemble by Cohen’s longtime colleague Oded Lev-Ari.

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

Joshua Redman Quartet
Joshua Redman saxophones
Aaron Goldberg piano
Reuben Rogers bass
Gregory Hutchinson drums

Anat Cohen Tentet
Anat Cohen clarinet

Feb 10

Chinese New Year Celebration

SCP Specials

3:00 PM Sunday, February 10, 2019

Join us for a celebration of the Chinese New Year featuring traditional Chinese music and instruments. This dazzling event is perfect for the whole family!

Feb 12

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

SCP Orchestras

7:00 PM Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hear Amsterdam's legendary Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a rare tour performance. One of the world’s finest orchestras, hailed for its “gloriously rich brass, gleaming strings and impeccably blended ensemble” (The Financial Times), makes a not-to-be-missed appearance.

Program

Brahms Symphony No. 4
R. Strauss Ein Heldenleben

Performers

Inspired by the musical life of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer Ralph Ellison, Jazz in the Key of Ellison is a multimedia concert featuring music by Ellison’s favorite artists including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Thelonious Monk. This star-led evening includes Grammy® Award-winning trumpeter Nicholas Payton, R&B and jazz vocalist Will Downing, iconic Labelle singer Nona Hendryx and 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz vocal competition winner Quiana Lynell with the Andy Farber Jazz Orchestra.

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

Will Downing vocals
Nona Hendryx vocals
Quiana Lynell vocals
Nicholas Payton trumpet
Andy Farber Jazz Orchestra

Feb 24

Beatrice Rana

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, February 24, 2019

Don’t miss the Symphony Center debut of rising performer Beatrice Rana, recent winner of Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year Award. The Italian pianist performs Chopin’s brilliant Twelve Etudes, Ravel’s poetic Miroirs and Agosti’s virtuosic arrangement of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. “Rana’s playing has a kind of Orphic seductiveness, a transcendent lightness of touch” (The London Times).

Program

Chopin Twelve Etudes, Op. 25
Ravel Miroirs
Stravinsky The Firebird (trans. Agosti)

Performers

Beatrice Rana piano

Feb 28

KODO

SCP Specials

7:30 PM Thursday, February 28, 2019

Japanese taiko-drumming troupe Kodo returns to Symphony Center for a dramatic performance full of pulsing rhythms, athletic virtuosity and stirring passion. “Indeed, if there is such a thing as perfection in music, Kodo comes as near to it as any group in the world” (The New York Times).

 

To be announced.

Performers

Mar 2

The Chieftains

SCP Specials

8:00 PM Saturday, March 2, 2019

Start your St. Patrick's Day celebration early at Symphony Center with the world's most popular Irish traditional music group, six-time Grammy® Award-winners The Chieftains. Celebrating 55 years together, The Chieftains continue to reinvent themselves, infusing traditional music with a refreshing modern sound.

 

To be announced.

Performers

The Chieftains

with Paddy Moloney and special guests

Mar 3

Behzod Abduraimov

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, March 3, 2019

Uzbekistan native Behzod Abduraimov is highly regarded for his captivating playing and brilliant technique. He makes his Symphony Center debut with a program of well-known works by Prokofiev and Liszt. “Jaw-dropping brilliance. Abduraimov showed his supreme skill with fingers flowing freely across the octaves, producing an exhilarating performance” (Bachtrack).

Program

Liszt Isolde's Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde
Liszt Sonata in B Minor
Prokofiev Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet

Performers

Enjoy a night of Latin jazz featuring two generations of Cuban masters. In his Symphony Center debut, 14-time Grammy® Award-winning clarinetist and saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, a co-founder of the landmark ensemble Irakere, performs with his masterful quintet. 

World-class Afro-Cuban hand percussionist Pedrito Martinez and Alfredo Rodríguez, a classically trained pianist and protégé of producer Quincy Jones, form a lively duo, exploring Cuban dance through a modern jazz lens.

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

Paquito D'Rivera Quintet
Paquito D'Rivera clarinet and saxophone

Pedrito Martinez & Alfredo Rodriguez Duo
Alfredo Rodríguez piano
Pedrito Martinez drums

Returning to Symphony Center in a special performance featuring influential guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and the group's new pianist Orrin Evans, The Bad Plus draws from a wide range of influences to create compelling original songs and reinventions of hits by artists such as Blondie, Nirvana and Black Sabbath. 

José James’ smooth baritone voice and coolly assertive delivery have made him “one of the suavest vocal improvisers on the scene” (Pitchfork). He makes his Symphony Center debut with a tribute to superstar R&B singer-songwriter Bill Withers.

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

The Bad Plus
Orrin Evans piano
Reid Anderson bass
David King drums
Kurt Rosenwinkel guitar

Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers
José James vocals

Mar 17

Anne-Sophie Mutter

SCP Chamber

3:00 PM Sunday, March 17, 2019

Anne-Sophie Mutter, renowned for her “immense technical security, brilliance and tonal purity, overlaid with romanticized touches” (Chicago Tribune), returns with a program that pairs Ravel’s dreamlike Violin Sonata with Poulenc’s own passionate Violin Sonata, written in memory of Federico García Lorca. Also featured is Beethoven’s ethereal Ghost Trio, inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Program

Mozart Violin Sonata in E Minor, K. 304
Ravel Violin Sonata
Currier Trio
Beethoven Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1 (Ghost)
Poulenc Violin Sonata

Performers

Mar 20

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

SCP Specials

8:00 PM Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The playfully irreverent Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain offers up whimsical and expertly played covers of well-known songs, from Bach to Lady Gaga and anything in between. The internationally celebrated group makes its Symphony Center debut in what promises to be an evening of “superbly tuneful fun” (The New York Times).

Mar 26

San Francisco Symphony

SCP Orchestras

7:30 PM Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Michael Tilson Thomas brings the San Francisco Symphony, renowned for its “precise technique, notable muscularity and the musical breadth to excel at everything” (New York Classical Review), for a program of dynamic works. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to see Tilson Thomas conduct the ensemble he has nurtured for nearly 25 years as they undertake their final domestic tour together.

Program

Tilson Thomas Agnegram
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
Beethoven Symphony No. 3 (Eroica)

Performers

San Francisco Symphony 
Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Christian Tetzlaff violin

Mar 31

Maurizio Pollini

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, March 31, 2019

With a long career of legendary performances, Maurizio Pollini returns to Symphony Center for a highly anticipated recital. “It’s the sense of being pulled forward that paradoxically gives Pollini’s famously tranced, beautiful sound its special quality. The back-and-forth between charm and something darker was riveting” (The Daily Telegraph).

Program

Program to be announced.

Performers

Apr 5

An Evening with Nils Frahm

SCP Specials

8:00 PM Friday, April 5, 2019

Berlin-based keyboardist Nils Frahm moves effortlessly between producing spare, melancholic melodies on solo piano and dense rhythms from vintage synthesizers. For his 2018 disc, All Melody, Frahm spent two years crafting the ideal recording conditions in a 1950s-era East Berlin studio, resulting in an array of richly layered soundscapes. The L.A. Times declares, “Frahm is a polymath with few peers in music today.”

 

To be announced.

Performers

Nils Frahm piano

The 25th anniversary of the Symphony Center Presents Jazz series celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival by bringing this touring ensemble of today’s young all-stars to our stage. Two-time Grammy® Award-winner Cécile McLorin Salvant, called “the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade” by The New York Times, returns to Symphony Center to star alongside Chilean-born saxophonist Melissa Aldana, trumpeter and singer-songwriter Bria Skonberg, and drummer and vocalist Jamison Ross. Musical director and pianist Christian Sands leads this incredible ensemble from one of the world’s greatest jazz festivals.

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

Cécile McLorin Salvant vocals
Melissa Aldana tenor saxophone
Yasushi Nakamura bass
Bria Skonberg trumpet
Jamison Ross drums
Christian Sands musical director and piano

Apr 14

Midori & Jean-Yves Thibaudet

SCP Chamber

3:00 PM Sunday, April 14, 2019

Midori, whose “ethereal phrasing gives the audience a glimpse into her inner world” (Bachtrack), and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, celebrated as “commanding and precise, with a buoyant simplicity and charm” (Los Angeles Times), come together for a performance of music brimming with romanticism that ranges from the turbulent to the quirky to the intoxicatingly atmospheric.

Program

Schumann Violin Sonata No. 1
Fauré Violin Sonata No. 1
Debussy Violin Sonata
Enescu Violin Sonata No. 3 (in Romanian Folk Style)

Performers

Midori violin
Jean-Yves Thibaudet piano

Apr 19

Zakir Hussain and the Masters of Percussion

SCP Specials

8:00 PM Friday, April 19, 2019

The greatest living master of the tabla and one of the architects of modern world music, Zakir Hussain returns with his international ensemble of the world’s finest percussionists. Continually pushing boundaries and exploring new and old musical traditions, this world-class group makes each of its performances an entirely unforgettable experience.

Apr 28

Murray Perahia

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, April 28, 2019

An artist of extraordinary eloquence, Murray Perahia brings freshness and distinction to his interpretations. Don’t miss his return to Symphony Center for a stirring afternoon recital. “His sound was robust, full of light and color, his playing true to the music's mingled fantasy and lyricism” (Chicago Tribune).

Program

Program to be announced.

Performers

 

May 1

Itzhak Perlman & Evgeny Kissin

SCP Chamber

8:00 PM Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Celebrated worldwide for his singular talent, as well as his charm and humanity, Itzhak Perlman partners with Evgeny Kissin, whom The Telegraph calls “a rare and miraculous piano legend.” Experience this truly remarkable collaboration of two of the foremost interpreters of violin and piano repertoire.

Program

Mozart Violin Sonata in D Major, K. 306
Brahms Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100
Beethoven Violin Sonata in A Major, Op. 47 (Kreutzer)

Performers

May 3

Chick Corea & Béla Fleck

SCP Jazz

8:00 PM Friday, May 3, 2019

Iconic keyboardist, composer and bandleader Chick Corea, a 22-time Grammy® Award-winner and NEA Jazz Master, teams up with banjo innovator Béla Fleck, himself a 14-time Grammy® Award-winner, for a collaboration between two globally minded virtuosos. Through their compositions, the duo’s combined love for jazz, bluegrass and flamenco shines through.

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

May 12

Evgeny Kissin

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, May 12, 2019

Evgeny Kissin, whose effortless virtuosity and revelatory performances sell out concert halls around the world time and again, returns for an intimate recital. “Supple, elegant, unsentimental and suffused with poetry and nostalgia… Kissin’s mastery is so complete and his expression so natural in this music that he doesn’t seem to be interpreting at all” (Chicago Classical Review).

Program

Chopin Selected Nocturnes
Schumann Sonata in F Minor, Op. 14
Debussy Selections from Preludes, Book I
Scriabin Sonata No. 4

Performers

Evgeny Kissin piano

May 24

Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration

SCP Jazz

8:00 PM Friday, May 24, 2019

Pianist Jason Moran, a 2010 MacArthur Fellow with a command of jazz history that seems to flow from his fingertips, returns to Symphony Center for a performance of Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration, a Symphony Center Presents Jazz series premiere. For this ambitious project, Moran and his wife, mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran, weave together a broad spectrum of musical styles to tell the story of the African-Americans who relocated from the South and how their journey shaped American culture.

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

Jason Moran piano
Alicia Hall Moran mezzo-soprano
Pastor Smokie Norful piano and vocals
Imani Winds
Kenwood Academy Jazz Band
Joseph Joubert musical director
Additional Artists to be Announced

 

Jun 7

Wayne Shorter Quartet

SCP Jazz

8:00 PM Friday, June 7, 2019

NEA Jazz Master Wayne Shorter is one of the most revered saxophonists and influential jazz composers of all time. His signature tone and improvisational genius stand at the center of his quartet, which has been performing together for more than 18 years. Of their last performance at Symphony Center, the Chicago Tribune said “These weren't straightforward renditions of a band’s working repertory so much as occasions for crafting abstract portraits in sound.”

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

Jun 9

Rudolf Buchbinder

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, June 9, 2019

“Buchbinder’s ability to bring the music to life, to inhabit each of the phrases, is extraordinary” (Bachtrack). The Austrian pianist performs works by Haydn and Beethoven, plus Schubert’s final, majestic sonata, for an unforgettable close to the 2018/19 Symphony Center Presents Piano season.

Program

Haydn Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob. XVI:52
Beethoven Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 (Waldstein)
Schubert Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

Performers