CSO Sessions

CSO Sessions

28 Episodes

CSO Sessions is your front-row seat to the exceptional artistry of the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing the works of composers of the past and of today. With CSO musicians as your guide, discover programs that connect listeners to the transformative power of music, filmed in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, the home of the CSO.

CSO Sessions
  • Gershwin, Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos, Gabaye & Nielsen

    Episode 1

    The debut of a new concert series takes viewers on a musical journey to three continents with works by Gershwin, Nielsen, Piazzolla and more. For musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, this lively chamber concert represents a welcome homecoming to the Orchestra Hall stage.


  • Mozart & Tchaikovsky

    Episode 2

    The masterful skill of CSO musicians is on display in works as challenging to perform as they were to compose. Mozart quickly rewrote his serenade for six woodwinds to add a pair of oboes in a campaign to win a position in the Vienna Court. Tchaikovsky spent years trying to balance six virtuosic ...

  • Stravinsky, Saint-Georges & Dvořák

    Episode 3

    Tune in for a program of three composers making their mark. World-famous Stravinsky shocked audiences with his unexpectedly neoclassical turn in his octet for woodwinds and brass. Saint-Georges captivated Parisian society with works like this violin duo. Dvorák’s international career was launched...

  • Mozart, Shaw & Brahms

    Episode 4

    Ingenuity defines this episode featuring Mozart’s alluring String Quintet in C Minor, a clever rearrangement of an earlier wind serenade, Brahms’ own exceptional second viola quintet and Caroline Shaw’s work inspired by a pioneering engineer of traffic theory, Boris Kerner, arranged for cello and...

  • Rossini, Dahl & Prokofiev

    Episode 5

    Don't miss a concert sure to delight with a sparkling sonata for strings written by a 12-year-old Rossini, followed by Ingolf Dahl’s vigorous Music for Brass Instruments and closing with an arrangement of Prokofiev’s superb Romeo and Juliet Suite for wind ensemble.

    ROSSINI Sonata No. 6 i...

  • Prestini, Perkinson & Mendelssohn

    Episode 6

    Rhythmic energy propels three diverse works for various strings ensembles. A composer celebrated for her “otherworldly … outright gorgeous” music (The New York Times), Paola Prestini wrote G-Force for vibraphone and string quartet as a tribute to a close friend. Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, former...

  • Stravinsky The Soldier's Tale

    Episode 7

    During the First World War, Stravinsky conceived of this singular piece inspired by Russian tales of a soldier who tricks the devil into drinking too much vodka. Using just seven players and an actor, Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale displayed a sonority new to music, with its accents of military ...

  • Tower, Walker, Milhaud & Tchaikovsky

    Episode 8

    CSO musicians present a feast of music for chamber orchestra, opening with Joan Tower’s first Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, written for large brass ensemble and percussion and dedicated to conductor Marin Alsop. George Walker’s serene Lyric for Strings and Darius Milhaud’s musical homage to his...

  • A Little Night Music with Dvořák, Mazzoli & Mozart

    Episode 9

    A program bursting with exuberance and optimism features Dvorák’s warmly lyrical Serenade in D Minor and Mozart’s brilliant Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Death Valley Junction by CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Missy Mazzoli is a sonic depiction of a town on the border of California and Nevada with a po...

  • Home for the Holidays

    Episode 10

    The perfect way to celebrate the holidays is at home with the CSO! CSO musicians share the sounds of the season including Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, as well as Baroque and festive works for brass quintet performed by members of the CSO brass section. ...

  • Gounod, Mozart & Ravel

    Episode 11

    A bewitching trio of works by Gounod, Mozart & Ravel highlights the CSO woodwind and string sections. Gounod’s sparkling Petite symphonie follows the plan of a Haydn-style classical symphony. Mozart’s charming flute and string quartet has been called the perfect image of the spirit and feeling of...

  • Mozart & Brahms

    Episode 12

    This program of sophisticated music is filled with mystery. No one knows for sure when or why Mozart composed his dark-hued Serenade for Winds, but it is a more serious and profound work than its name suggests. Brahms’ rich, almost orchestral String Sextet memorializes the end of a tumultuous rel...

  • Coleridge-Taylor & Bach

    Episode 13

    This pair of dynamic works features composers at their most innovative. Inspired by traditional African American music, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor draws on influences of folk music and Romanticism in his subtle, sophisticated Clarinet Quintet, while Bach elevates the harpsichord to a starring role i...

  • Beethoven & Price

    Episode 14

    Two titans of classical music are paired for this emotion-filled concert. Florence Price, the first African American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, weaves familiar spiritual melodies into her technically challenging Five Folksongs in Counterpoint. Bookending this work are two cha...

  • Montgomery & Beethoven

    Episode 15

    Strum, a string quintet by acclaimed New York composer Jessie Montgomery, is an expansive work that draws upon American folk melodies and the spirit of dance and movement. It's paired with the sparkling Septet in E-Flat Major, one of Beethoven's most popular works during his lifetime.


  • Harberg, Gabrieli & Bach

    Episode 16

    Amanda Harberg’s Hall of Ghosts, written in 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, evokes haunting loneliness through the use of a single piccolo and dance soloist. Gabrieli’s Sacred Symphonies were first published in 1597, and the selections featured here immediately transport the liste...

  • Mozart Gran Partita

    Episode 17

    Mozart’s Gran Partita is a sublime achievement in wind music, easily capturing the many emotions of the heart — sometimes all within a single movement. It is a playfully subversive variation on the popular serenade, scored for 13 musicians, which flows naturally between simplistic melodies and el...

  • Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time

    Episode 18

    Written in a German prison camp during World War II, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was premiered by the composer to an audience of guards and fellow prisoners. Evoking sounds and imagery from his surroundings, including the famous birdsong clarinet solo, Messiaen’s powerful quartet trans...

  • Elliot, Sowerby & Prokofiev

    Episode 19

    This varied program of 20th-century music features two works by Prokofiev, both originally intended for ballets: an idiosyncratic quintet, scored for the unusual combination of oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and bass, which evokes a circus setting while still maintaining the composer's signature e...

  • Mazzoli & Schoenberg

    Episode 20

    Mead Composer-in-Residence Missy Mazzoli's Volume is a raucous and joyful work that combines traditional percussion instruments with found and recycled noisemakers in a celebration of innovative music making. Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night is one of the last great romantic works of the canon, in...

  • Cult of Electromagnetic Connectivity

    Episode 21

    Mead Composer-in-Residence Missy Mazzoli curates a dynamic program featuring two world premieres: Cult of Electromagnetic Connectivity, an evocative new commission by award-winning composer and flutist Nicole Mitchell, founder of the Black Earth Ensemble, and Delta Blues, a work by composer and t...

  • Requiem

    Episode 22

    The second of two programs curated by Mead Composer-in-Residence Missy Mazzoli brings a season of streamed performances to a poignant close. It features the debut of award-winning composer Courtney Bryan’s ethereal and reflective Requiem, which Mazzoli calls “a requiem for a new era.” Vocal quart...

  • Ortiz, Villa-Lobos & Ginastera

    Episode 23

    CSO musicians perform an exciting program of music with pulsing Latin rhythms by composers from Central and South America. Gabriela Ortiz’s Denibée-Yucañana has each musician take a solo turn in her rhythmic, jazz-infused trio to conjure a palette of vivid tonal colors inspired by a Mexican paint...

  • Strauss & Mozart

    Episode 24

    CSO musicians perform a program of chamber music works inspired by opera and tone poems. Opening the program is the opening String Sextet from Richard Strauss’ final opera, Capriccio. The opera revolves around the question: which is more important, poetry or music? The lushness of this sextet, co...