Acclaimed conductor Matthias Pintscher will make his CSO debut leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in subscription concerts this spring with a program of works  by French composers Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. The program features French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist in Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand. It also includes performances of Ravel’s orchestration of Debussy’s Sarabande and Danse and his iconic masterpiece, Daphnis and Chloe, featuring the Chicago Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Duain Wolfe.

The program opens with Ravel’s orchestration of Debussy’s Sarabande and Danse, two works originally written for piano. Debussy’s stately Sarabande comes from the composer’s popular suite, Pour le Piano, while the Danse comes from Debussy’s Tarantelle styrienne, a lively work inspired by the traditional folk dance of the same name. Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand follows. A daring and inventive work, the concerto was written for talented pianist Paul Wittgenstein who sustained the loss of his right arm while serving in the Austrian army in World War I. Though the solo duties in the piano are reduced to material playable by a single hand, the composition still represents an extraordinary feat of virtuosity with rhapsodic, jazz-inspired gestures backed by rich orchestral accompaniment. Completing the program is one of Ravel’s most celebrated works, Daphnis and Chloe. The composer himself conducted the popular second suite from the ballet, as well as his orchestrations of Debussy’s Sarabande and Danse, with the CSO in 1928. These concerts feature a performance of the ballet score, originally commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes, which features participation by a wordless chorus.

Matthias Pintscher is the Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain and became Principal Conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra at the start of the 2016/17 season. He is currently in his eighth year as Artist-in-Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. After studying conducting in his early twenties with Peter Eötvös, Pintscher began a dual career as a conductor and composer, rapidly gaining critical acclaim in both areas of activity. As a composer, Pintscher's music is championed by some of today's finest performing artists, orchestras, and conductors. His works have been performed by such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, among others. The CSO gave the world premiere of Pintscher’s Osiris on February 21, 22, and 23, 2008, and also at Carnegie Hall on February 25, with Pierre Boulez conducting; it was a co-commission with Carnegie Hall and the London Symphony Orchestra.

The program will be presented April 5, 6, 7 and 10. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 800‑223‑7114 or 312-294‑3000; online at cso.org, or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.

Acclaimed Conductor Matthias Pintscher to Make CSO Debut in French Program

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Conductor Matthias Pintscher to lead the CSO in an all French program this spring (photo courtesy of Symphony Center).