Classical 91.5

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Thursdays, 8 to 10 pm on WXXI-FM 91.5, WXXY 90.3, WXXI-FM/HD 91.5-1, WITH-FM/HD 90.1-2 and online at
  • Hosted by Lisa Simeone

Produced by Marty Ronish and hosted by Lisa Simeone, this weekly, two-hour series offers a unique format of engaging and lively content, including produced segments created to provide deeper insight into the music and programmatic themes found within the CSO’s concert season; interviews with CSO musicians, guest artists, and composers; and an exploration of the stories found within the CSO’s rich heritage of recordings and the Orchestra’s illustrious history in Chicago.

Penderecki's The Awakening of Jacob can be heard on the 3/29 program, or you can hear a version online here. 

3/1          Prokofiev: Suite from The Love for Three Oranges Poulenc: Gloria Gounod:  Messe solennelle en l’honneur de Sante-Cecile Ravel: Mother Goose Suite (Sandrine Plau, s; Michael Schade, t; Andrew Foster-Williams, bs-bar; Chicago Symphony Chorus, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Alain Altinoglu, cond)

Leopold Stokowski

Learn more about the principal players of the CSO and the history of their performance hall.

According to some, when J.S. Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier, he did not have any particular keyboard instrument in mind, as he equally loved and played many different forms of keyboard instruments, including the organ, harpsichord, clavichord, lute-keyboard - whatever was available at the time.  Learn more. We'll hear the work on January 11th.

World Atlas

This month we'll hear the complete Brandenburg Concertos by J.S. Bach (12/28). Pictured is the Brandenburg Gate, a neoclassical famous landmark in Berlin, located on the western edge of the city.  Learn more about the Gate.

Verbier Festival

11/2      Britten: Sinfonia da requiem Strauss: Death and Transfiguration Elgar: Enigma Variations Dvorák: Violin Concerto (Christian Tetzlaff, v; Donald Runnicles and Esa-Pekka Salonen, cond)

Aphra Music

On October 5th listeners will become acquainted with Jorge Luis Borges’ Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, a masterpiece of magical realism and narrative puzzles creating a compendium of mythological creatures. Imaginative creatures provoke new sounds and instrumentation, for instance “Nymphs” features two frolicking clarinets, while “The Gryphon” uses timpani and brass to conjure a flying lion that hunts horses (violins). Read more.

CSO Sounds & Stories

Saturday, October 21 at 1:00 p.m.  As part of the American Opera Series, the Chicago Symphony presents a concert performance of Verdi's final opera, Falstaff, under the baton of Riccardo Muti, with soloists Ambrogio Maestri, Laura Polverelli, Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani and Saverio Fiore.

Read the reviews from opening night of Falstaff.

September 2017 Chicago Symphony programs

Sep 1, 2017

Written in 1893 for the Viipuri Students' Association, Jean Sibelius' Suite from Karelia (the area between Finland and the Soviet Union pictured below) is one of his earliest, yet one of his most popular works.  We'll hear it on the Sept 14th broadcast.

9/7        Lutoslawski: Musique funébre Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathétique Mussorgsky/Shostakovich: Two Excerpts from Khovanschina (Kirill Petrenko, p; Christoph von Dohnányi and Paul Lewis, cond)

August 2017 Chicago Symphony programs

Jul 28, 2017

Cockaigne is an imaginary place in Medieval myth of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand.  We'll hear Sir Edward Elgar's Cockaigne Overture this month (8/24).

8/3        Stravinsky: Scénes de ballet Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No.1 Prokofiev: Suite from Romeo and Juliet Strauss: Death and Transfiguration (Gautier Capuçon, c; Michael Tilson Thomas, cond)

July 2017 Chicago Symphony programs

Jun 29, 2017

  7/6        Gershwin/Rose: Overture to Strike up the Band Gershwin/Tovey: A Foggy Day Gershwin/Grofé: Rhapsody in Blue Gershwin: An American in Paris Sousa: Washington Post March
Clyne: Masquerade Ives: Three Places in New England Williams: Excerpts from Lincoln (Bramwell Tovey, p; Marin Alsop, Susanna Mälkki and John Williams, cond)