CHICAGO— With great regret, Pierre Boulez, the Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has informed the CSO that that he will not be able to come to Chicago to conduct in February 2014 due to health issues. With three young conductors hand-picked by Maestro Boulez to substitute for him, the CSO will proceed with the planned programs—during two subscription weeks, beginning on February 20 and ending onMarch 1, 2014—as a celebration of Boulez’s innovative musicianship and mentorship.
“Pierre Boulez is one of the great revolutionaries in the history of music,” said Riccardo Muti, the CSO’s music director. “It is important to honor Maestro Boulez as a living master, and to ensure that his ideas are communicated to the next generation.”
“Pierre Boulez has served as an inspiration to the musicians of our age not only through his career as a composer and conductor, but with his visionary ideas about the design and presentation of concert programs,” said Martha Gilmer, Vice President for Artistic Planning and Audience Development for the CSO (The Richard and Mary L. Gray Chair).
These two programs, which Boulez originally conceived while in Chicago in 2012, highlight not only large orchestral scores, such as Debussy’s Jeux, but also take the audience on a journey through select miniatures by Igor Stravinsky for various-sized chamber ensembles. According to Gilmer, Boulez has devised specific directions for how each program should be choreographed, and has pre-recorded his own thoughts and insights into the music.
Gilmer said that Boulez had invited three young conductors to join him in Chicago during his residency, to work with him as he prepared the programs. They are CSO Solti Conducting Apprentice Matthew Aucoin, Marcelo Lehningerand Cristian Macelaru. With Boulez now unable to travel to Chicago, the young conductors will substitute for him in the two programs.
“Video projections of Boulez’s insights into the creative concept for each concert program, as well as his thoughts on individual works of music, will be an integral part of the programs,” said Gilmer. “So while Pierre Boulez is not able to come to Chicago, the spirit and soul of what he imagined these weeks to be will be very much present.”
“Even without Pierre Boulez on the podium, the CSO is committed to honoring his approach and responding to the challenge that he has given to us to always imagine new ways to present music and connect with audiences,” addedDeborah F. Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. “These programs are two perfect examples of how we do this.”