The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is spearheading a multi-genre festival, “RIVERS: Nature. Power. Culture,” which runs from May 9 to June 9 and wraps in numerous Chicago-area partners and collaborators for concerts, symposia, and other events focusing on the significance of rivers in music and culture. On May 11, the city’s annual Chicago River Day, the CSO presented Civic Orchestra of Chicago musicians and showcased river-themed projects by Chicago Public School students at several Chicago sites. CSO concerts throughout the four weeks feature works including Florence Price’s Mississippi River; Smetana’s “The Moldau” from Má Vlast; Takemitsu’s riverrun; Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 5, influenced by the composer’s trips to Egypt and containing a Nubian song; and Liquid Interface by CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates. Other partners and performers in the festival include the Chicago Children’s Choir, Chicago Architecture Foundation, and The Wetlands Initiative. A May 18 symposium will feature conversations interwoven with performances tracing connections between music and rivers, with panelists and performers including Yo-Yo Ma; environmental-engineering professors from Harvard University, Vanderbiilt University, and the US. Army Corps of Engineers; musicologist Michael Silvers; and Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad. The festival ends on June 9 with “Shall We Gather at the River?,” comprising free performances and family activities at Chinatown’s Ping Tom Memorial Park, on the banks of the Chicago River, during which CSO brass will travel by boat from Michigan Avenue downtown to the park, serenading plazas and bridges along the way.
Posted May 13, 2013