“How is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Marking Christmas?” by S.M. O’Connor

      The world-famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra has a wide variety of concerts this Thanksgiving Weekend and during Advent to put classical music lovers in the spirit for Christmas, including performances of the instrumental music from the film scores of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and Home Alone (1990) while the films play on the big screen in Orchestra Hall.  In addition, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association will also present two concerts by the twelve member vocal ensemble Chanticleer.  All performances take place at the Symphony Center on Michigan Avenue, unless otherwise noted.

       For “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert,” the film will be screened in high-definition in the Orchestra Hall at the Symphony Center on a thirty-two-foot screen while the C.S.O. performs Patrick Doyle’s film score tonight, Friday, November 29, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.; tomorrow night, Saturday, November 30, 2019, again at 7:30 p.m.; and on Sunday afternoon, at 3:00 p.m.  [Famed film composer John Williams wrote the film score for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) – called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.A. – and subsequent film scores incorporated some of his themes.]  Click here to purchase tickets for the concert Friday, here to purchase tickets for the concert Saturday, and here to purchase tickets for the concert Sunday.  Tickets start at $82 for the concert Friday and $58 for the concerts over the weekend.  On Friday, there will be a “Preconcert conversation” from 6:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on the Armour Stage.  This will be the first time Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is screened at the Symphony Center as part of the CSO at the Movies series.  Justin Freer will be the Conductor.  This is the fourth film in the Harry Potter franchise of Anglo-American urban fantasy films produced and released by Warner Brothers as adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s astoundingly popular series of children’s fantasy novels.  Steve Kloves wrote the screenplay.  Mike Newell was the director.  Please note this is a PG-13 rated film. Megan and Steve Shebik sponsor film screenings at the Symphony Center.

      The Vienna Boys Choir will be returning to the Symphony Center tomorrow afternoon.  They will be singing classic Christmas carols, folk songs, and other songs.  The concert “Christmas in Vienna” will take place in Orchestra Hall at 2:00 p.m.  Click here to purchase tickets.  Tickets start at $29.  Founded over 500 years old, the Vienna Boys Choir consists of 100 choristers between the ages of ten and fourteen.  They are divided into four choirs that tour Europe, Asia, and North America.  On an annual basis, they perform 300 concerts for nearly 500,000 people.

      “A Chanticleer Christmas” will take place the first week of December.  The San Francisco-based, Grammy® Award-winning male chorus will perform “holiday music” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.  Click here to purchase tickets for Tuesday and here to purchase tickets for Wednesday.  Tickets start at $49.  Founded in 1978, Chanticleer celebrated its fortieth anniversary last year.  Chanticleer is returning to Chicago for the nineteenth year in a row. This concert will take place not at the Symphony Center, but at the Fourth Presbyterian Church on the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue.  The address is 126 East Chestnut Street

Members of the C.S.O., led by Conductor Richard Kaufman, will perform “Home Alone in Concert” at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6, 2019; at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, 2019; and, again, at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, 2019.  Roosevelt University’s CCPA Conservatory Chorus will also perform, under the guidance of Chorus Director Cheryl Frazes Hill, as will the Walter Paton College Prep Concert Choir, under the guidance of Chorus Director Kathleen Johnston.  Click here to purchase tickets for December 6th, here to purchase tickets for December 7th, here to purchase tickets for December 8th.  Tickets start at $48 on Friday, $46 on Saturday, and $48 on Sunday. Local screenwriter, director, and producer John Wilden Hughes, Junior (1950-2009) wrote and produced Home Alone, which Twentieth Century Fox released. Chris Columbus was the director.  John Williams composed the Oscar®-nominated film score for Home Alone.  Macauly Culkin, who had had a supporting role in the comedy Uncle Buck (1989), which Hughes had written and directed, became a child star as a result of this film and also starred in the first of three sequels.  The film has had a total of three sequels and one made-for-television remake and has been referenced or parodied in many films and television shows.  

      Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass will perform at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18, 2019.  Click here to purchase tickets.  Tickets start at $38.  In a press release, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association stated, “Known for its power and precision, the CSO Brass performs traditional brass repertoire and symphonic masterworks. Among this year’s selections highlighting the power and beauty of this extraordinary ensemble are works by Ravel, Debussy, Sibelius, and Puccini.”

      Members of the C.S.O. and the Chicago Symphony Chorus will perform “Merry, Merry Chicago!”  Emil de Cou is the Conductor and Duane Wolfe is the Chorus Director.  They will perform at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, 2019 and Sunday, December 15, 2019; Saturday, December 21, 2019; and Monday, December 23, 2019; and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 20, 2019 and Sunday, December 22, 2019.  Click here to purchase tickets for the 14th, here to purchase tickets for the 15th, here to purchase tickets for the 20th, here to purchase tickets for the 21st, here to purchase tickets for the 22nd, and here to purchase tickets for the 23rd.  Tickets start at $54 on the 14th, $38 on the 15th and 20th, $55 on the 21st and 22nd, and $40 on the 23rd.  A gift of Jim and Kay Mabie makes possible performances by the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

Credit: Chicago Symphony Orchestra Caption: Conductor Emil de Cou gives viewers an idea of how challenging it is to design the program and insight into what he likes most about the Christmas season.

      For more information and updates, check https://cso/org/holidays.  One can also purchase tickets for all Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association-presented concerts by calling 1(800) 223-7114 or (312) 294-3000 or online at https://cso.org or in-person at the Symphony Center Box Office. The address of the Symphony Center is 220 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

      Students can purchase discounted tickets for select concerts, subject to availability online in advance or at the Box Office on the day of the concert.  For group rates, call (312) 294-3040.  C.S.O. tickets for select programs are available through the City of Chicago’s new Teen Arts Pass (T.A.P.) program.  More information is available at https://teenartpass.urbangateways.org/.

      Please note, musicians and singers are subject to change, as are ticket prices.  United Airlines is the Official Airline of the C.S.O. A grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency provides partial supports for these programs.

      Theodore Thomas (1835-1901), a German immigrant violinist and conductor, founded the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1891.  The C.S.O. is consistently ranked amongst the greatest orchestras in the world. Since 2010, the Neapolitan conductor Riccardo Muti, O.M.R.I., has served as its tenth music director.  The French-born Sino-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma is the C.S.O.’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant.  Samuel Adams, Elizabeth Ogonek, and Missy Mazzoli are its Mead Composers-in-Residence.

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