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).

Oct 23

When I was One-and-Twenty: a celebration of the Armistice

SCP Specials

5:30 PM Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Two singers from Lyric Opera of Chicago’s renowned Ryan Opera Center are showcased in a recital that reflects on the patriotism and adversity of World War I. Before George Butterworth fought in The Great War, he wrote his Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad as an expression of his love for traditional English folksong. Ives’ powerful In Flanders Fields communicates the American composer’s sentiments about war, while composer and British army member Ivor Gurney’s Ludlow and Teme evokes the English town of his youth. Songs by some of America’s greatest Tin Pan Alley songwriters complete this program of extraordinary musical storytelling.

5:30   Doors open for cocktail hour.
6:30   Recital begins.

Tickets are $100 and include a special cabaret-style, food and drink package. A limited number of these special package tickets are available and will be required for entry.

Program

Ives He Is There!
Butterworth Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad
Ives In Flanders Fields
Gurney Ludlow and Teme
Henderson Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue
Friedman Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Fischer Peg O' My Heart
Henderson Don't Bring Lulu
Gilbert The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo

Performers

Mario Rojas tenor
Christopher Kenney baritone
Shannon McGinnis piano
Dr. William Brooks guest speaker

Oct 24

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band

SCP Specials

7:30 PM Wednesday, October 24, 2018

America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band is known for its devoted musicianship and polished performances. Don’t miss this national treasure in what promises to be an inspiring performance at Symphony Center. 

Tickets are free, limited four per household.

Tickets available to reserve September 24.

All tickets are null and void 15 minutes prior to the performance. At that time, seats will be available to those without tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. For security purposes, items larger than a purse will not be permitted.

Oct 28

Pierre-Laurent Aimard & Tamara Stefanovich

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, October 28, 2018

French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the brilliant Yugoslav-born pianist Tamara Stefanovich offer works by Bartók, Ravel and Messiaen, as well as Harrison Birtwistle’s Keyboard Engine, newly commissioned for them. “[Aimard and Stefanovich gave] a breathtaking performance of both profound musical and personal faith and love, and an extraordinary display of bravura pianism” (Bachtrack).

Program

Bartók Seven Pieces from Mikrokosmos
Ravel Sites auriculaires
Birtwistle Keyboard Engine
Messiaen Visions de l'Amen

Performers

Nov 2

Branford Marsalis Quartet with Special Guest Roy Hargrove

SCP Jazz

8:00 PM Friday, November 2, 2018

One of the most highly esteemed saxophonists performing today, NEA Jazz Master Branford Marsalis and his quartet play with a seemingly telepathic connection to one another. They return to Symphony Center with special guest trumpeter Roy Hargrove, whose bold and flexible tone has made him a star since his emergence in the early 1990s.

In an SCP commission commemorating the centennial of the World War I Armistice, Chicago contemporary ragtime pianist and composer Reginald R. Robinson will present a tribute to James Reese Europe, whose 369th Regiment “Hellfighters” first brought black American music to France during the war.

 

To be announced from stage.

Performers

Branford Marsalis Quartet
Branford Marsalis saxophones
Roy Hargrove trumpet and flugelhorn
Joey Calderazzo piano
Eric Revis bass
Justin Faulkner drums

Reginald R. Robinson celebrates the great James Reese Europe
Reginald R. Robinson piano

Nov 4

Czech Philharmonic

SCP Orchestras

3:00 PM Sunday, November 4, 2018

Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic bring their distinctive, celebrated sound to Symphony Center for a program of much-loved works by Dvorák. They are joined by acclaimed cellist Alisa Weilerstein, whose recording of Dvorák's Cello Concerto with the orchestra was called “an interpretation of passion, with a spine-tingling thrill and generosity of feeling that make it irresistible” (The Daily Telegraph).

Program

Dvorák Cello Concerto
Dvorák Symphony No. 9 (From the New World)

Performers

Nov 5

Barenboim Conducts West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

SCP Specials

7:30 PM Monday, November 5, 2018

Founder Daniel Barenboim brings his groundbreaking ensemble of young professional musicians from the Middle East to Symphony Center to perform their “high-voltage interpretation” of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, which “captures the work’s progression from darkness to light with remarkable vividness” (The Guardian).

Program

R. Strauss Don Quixote
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

Nov 11

Denis Matsuev

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, November 11, 2018

Denis Matsuev, winner of the 1998 Tchaikovsky Competition, presents a program of varied and expressive works including Rachmaninov’s beguiling Variations on a Theme by Corelli. “Matsuev offered Chicagoans a performance both dreamily shaded and ferocious, gigantic in scale and exhilarating” (Chicago Tribune).

Program

Beethoven Sonata in C Major, Op. 2, No. 3
Rachmaninov Variations on a Theme by Corelli
Chopin Ballade No. 4
Tchaikovsky Meditation, Op. 72, No. 5
Prokofiev Sonata No. 7

Performers

Denis Matsuev piano

Nov 16

Soweto Gospel Choir

SCP Specials

8:00 PM Friday, November 16, 2018

The Grammy Award®-winning Soweto Gospel Choir’s vibrant and infectiously joyful voices have inspired audiences across the globe for nearly two decades. These uplifting performers have shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music, including Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. Enjoy the incomparable power of African gospel music in a two-part performance of songs that celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth and international gospel classics, including the choir’s world-renowned interpretation of “Amazing Grace” and an unforgettable version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” With their soaring voices and rousing drumbeats, you’ll find it difficult to stay in your seat!

Performers

Nov 24

Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna

SCP Specials

2:00 PM Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Vienna Boys Choir brings its youthful spirit and marvelous talent to Symphony Center for a lively concert of popular folk songs, classical masterpieces and beloved holiday favorites.

 

To be announced.

Performers

Dec 2

Cédric Tiberghien

SCP Piano

3:00 PM Sunday, December 2, 2018

Imaginative and probing French pianist Cédric Tiberghien makes a highly anticipated return to Symphony Center following his critically acclaimed recital debut in 2015. He performs a program of works composed between 1914 and 1918 that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. “Tiberghien’s technique is formidable, but it’s his intensity and poetic impulsiveness that catch the ear” (The Boston Globe).

Program

Scriabin Vers la flamme
Bridge Three Improvisations for the Left Hand
Debussy Etudes
Szymanowski Twelve Etudes, Op. 33
Hindemith In einer Nacht, Op. 15

Performers

Dec 4

A Chanticleer Christmas

SCP Specials

7:30 PM Tuesday, December 4, 2018

“The world’s reigning male chorus” (The New York Times) returns to Chicago’s beautiful Fourth Presbyterian Church for a heartwarming concert of beloved Christmas favorites. Performing music from medieval to modern, Chanticleer sings with a breathtaking clarity that is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

 

To be announced.

Performers

Dec 5

A Chanticleer Christmas

SCP Specials

7:30 PM Wednesday, December 5, 2018

“The world’s reigning male chorus” (The New York Times) returns to Chicago’s beautiful Fourth Presbyterian Church for a heartwarming concert of beloved Christmas favorites. Performing music from medieval to modern, Chanticleer sings with a breathtaking clarity that is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

 

To be announced.

Performers

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