Why tour? For the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, lots of reasons

Posted on: October 31, 2014

In Thursday’s (10/30) Chicago Tribune (subscription required), Mark Caro and John von Rhein write from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s current European tour, “The term ‘cultural ambassadors’ is heard often when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra travels the world.… The notion is that the orchestra is building bridges, making connections, drawing together a diversity of people through music—all while being greeted by standing, stomping, rhythmic-clapping ovations. These are not insignificant aspects of the orchestra’s function on tour. But orchestras get something back from the process as well.… Jeff Alexander, who will become the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s president in January and joined the current tour for the Paris and Vienna legs, [states] that such touring is vital to the orchestra’s reputation. ‘Typically, you’re performing for audiences that have within the last 12 months or two years heard every other major orchestra that comes through,’ he said.… ‘From the musicians I’ve known and toured with, they see it as a very positive challenge to take on to make sure that they can put their best feet forward.’ … ‘It’s good for the reputation of the orchestra,’ CSO concertmaster Robert Chen said. ‘But it’s also very good for the morale of the orchestra.’ ”

Posted October 31, 2014

Pictured: Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at their first rehearsal in Vienna’s Musikverein this week. Photo by Todd Rosenberg