Chamber Concerts, CSO-Connect, and Season Planning: Reflecting on September – October 11, 2019

And we’re off! The 101st Civic Orchestra season is running at full steam, and the fellows already performed their first chamber concert of the season on October 11. The program included the third woodwind quintet by American composer David Maslanka, Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn’s string quartet, and Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů ’s second piano quintet. The fellows really brought their “A” game and dazzled the fully packed Buntrock Hall. This was a great start to a season jam packed with projects and interesting programming.

As a second year Civic Fellow, I am excited to get back into the swing of things at Symphony Center. The Civic Orchestra plays an important role within the tapestry of classical music in Chicago, and the Civic Fellows have a lot of responsibility in realizing the mission of all the projects throughout the season. This season, for example, a lot of autonomy has been given to the fellows in selecting the programs for these projects. We are encouraged to think outside the box and explore new connections between genres and musical landscapes so we can create meaningful performances that connect with our communities all across the city of Chicago.

Another fantastic feature to the Civic Fellowship program is our access to fascinating clinicians and cultural workers through workshops. This part of the program prepares us for the upcoming projects and creates the groundwork for our long-term goals. To start the season, the fellows joined a large team of Chicago Public School teachers and organizers at the American Writers Museum to kick off our annual CSO-Connect project. The AWM also happens to be a partner in this project and is an amazing resource within the city. The theme for this year’s CSO-Connect will be American Voices and I look forward to connecting America’s leading figures in music with their literary counterparts. Stay tuned for updates with this project!

For now, the fellows will continue to hit the woodshed in anticipation for the first Civic Orchestra concert on October 20 and 21, under the direction of newly appointed principal conductor Ken-David Masur.

Stay tuned to this blog throughout the season for reviews and articles about fellowship activity.

By second year Civic Fellow and clarinet Juan Olivares


TOP: Patrons gather in fron of Orchestra Hall before the 2019 Symphony Ball, Sept 2019. | Photo by Todd Rosenberg