Chicago Symphony launches Citizen Musician program

Posted on: January 24, 2011

In Sunday’s (1/23) Chicago Tribune, Mark Caro writes, “It’s rare for a meeting to end with everyone around some conference tables bursting into song. It may be even rarer for such an eruption to serve as the perfect metaphor for what those present—in this case about 30 representatives of local music institutions—are trying to accomplish. Getting Chicago’s cultural community, and pretty much everyone else, to make beautiful music together is the not-to-modest aim of Chicago Symphony Orchestra creative consultant Yo-Yo Ma and the top brass at the CSO and its Institute for Learning, Access and Training as it launches its ambitious something called Citizen Musician. ‘This is not a project. This is not a program,’ CSO Institute vice president Charles Grode said at that Symphony Center meeting last month. ‘It’s a movement.’ … Spurred by new CSO music director Riccardo Muti’s call for the orchestra to become more engaged in the community and powered by the work of Ma, his Boston-area-based producing partner Cristin Bagnall and [CSO President Deborah] Rutter’s and Grode’s teams, Citizen Musician may be both groundbreaking and familiar. It’s an expansive effort to highlight the role of music and musicians in our lives, even as it celebrates the kind of work that has taken place since the first violin strings were bowed.”

Posted January 24, 2011