Print Shortlink

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

One of the oldest orchestras in the United States, it was founded in 1891 when Theodore Thomas was invited by the Chicago businessman, Charles Norman Fay, to establish one in Chicago.  It performed its first concert at the Auditorium Theatre on 16th October 1891 and in 1904 the Orchestra Hall became their home.

Following the founder and conductor Theodore Thomas’s death the orchestra renamed themselves as the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in 1905 and the Orchestra Hall still has this name for them engraved at the front of the building.  They were renamed again to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1913.

They have had many music directors including Frederick Stock, Fritz Reiner, Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim and the current Conductor Emeritus, Pierre Boulez, and Principal Conductor,  Bernard Haitink.  They have also had many acclaimed guest conductors that include Claudio Abbado, Arnold Schoenberg, Richard Strauss, Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Slatkin, Seergei Prokofiev and Maurice Ravel.

With over 100 musicians it gives more than 150 national and international performances per year.   The orchestra is resident for the yearly Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois, and holds the annual “Symphonathon” fundraiser.

Since Frederic Stock led the orchestra in its first recording on 1st May 1916, they have made over 900 recordings and received 62 Grammy Awards up until 2017.

Isaac Albeniz recordings
Fete-Dieu a Seville
RCA 09026 62586 – 2 (CD: Spain)
Conductor – Fritz Reiner

RCA 09026 62586 – 2 (CD: Spain)
Conductor – Fritz Reiner

Dmitri Kabalevsky recordings
Colas Breugnon Overture
RCA 5602 (CD:  Tchaikovsky “Pathetique” Symphony)
Conductor – Fritz Reiner

RCA 82876 61394-2 (CD:  Mussorgsky:  Pictures at an Exhibition; A Night on Bald Mountain)
Conductor – Fritz Reiner