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.

Scheherazade is a story of ultimate risk and reward. It begins with the King of Persia discovering that his first wife was unfaithful to him. He orders her to death and vows to kill a virgin each night for retribution. Scheherazade, the daughter of the vizier, saves her life by telling the king a story each night, but continuing to stop in the middle each time. He spares her life for 1,001 night, and ultimately falls madly in love with her, sparing her life, and making her his queen.

You've probably heard Rimsky Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee. But have you heard Vaughan Williams Overture to the Wasps? You can on the June 7th broadcast. 

Classical Voice North America

The unusual instrument, the Ondes Martenot, is featured in Messiaen's Turangalîla-symphonie on the May 3rd broadcast.  

Here, Valérie Hartmann-Claverie talks about why she chose to play the Ondes Martenot.

(Photo by Sophie Wingland)

Meet 28 year-old composer-in-residence Elizabeth Ogonek, whose work, "All These Lighted Things" was written for the CSO.  Learn more about Elizabeth.

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.