Home Alone in Concert this Thanksgiving weekend starts off the robust schedule of holiday programming for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) at Symphony Center.
Conductor Richard Kaufman leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in John Williams’ Academy Award-nominated score while the beloved holiday film is shown on the big screen (November 26-28). Chicago actors Tracy J. Connor and Ann Whitney, who make memorable appearances in the film, will be on hand for preconcert conversations at each of the performances.
According to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra website, Connor and Whitney, who had small roles in Home Alone, share pride in their movie experience. “If that was the extent of my 15 minutes of fame,” Connor says, “it’s paid huge dividends.” Connor plays the curious check out clerk who questions the precocious Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin) as he stocks up on groceries.
Ann Whitney plays the checkout clerk at the drugstore where resourceful Kevin inadvertently swipes a toothbrush. “Not too long ago, I was taking my coat off in the cloakroom at my church, and I heard this little voice say, ‘Mom, mom, it’s the Home Alone lady’,” Whitney says. “They drove up to see their grandparents and had watched the film on an iPad.”
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concerts
Lindberg, Lalo & Brahms 4 (December 2-4)
Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu, chief conductor of the Finnish National Opera, returns to the podium to lead the world premiere of a CSO co-commissioned work, Serenades, by renowned Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg. Violinist Ray Chen, who made his critically acclaimed CSO subscription debut in 2019, returns to perform Lalo’s Symphonie espagnolewith the Orchestra. Brahms’ Fourth Symphony completes the program.
Hilary Hahn, Dvořák Violin Concerto & Tchaikovsky 5 (December 9-11)
Violinist Hilary Hahn, the newly appointed CSO Artist-in Residence, is the featured soloist in performances of Dvořák’s Violin Concerto, a work given its U.S. premiere by the Orchestra in 1891. Hahn joins the CSO and conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada, music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra for these performances. Completing the program is Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and the world premiere of Haillí-Serenata, a CSO-commissioned work by Gabriela Lena Frank, who explores her multicultural heritage (Peruvian/Chinese, Lithuanian/Jewish) through her music.
Handel’s Messiah (December 16-19)
For the first time since February 2020, the Chicago Symphony Chorus returns to the stage of Orchestra Hall, joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and distinguished soloists for performances of Handel’s landmark oratorio, Messiah, led by Baroque specialist and Music Director Laureate of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale Nicholas McGegan. The Chicago Symphony Chorus is prepared by Chorus Director Duain Wolfe. Featured soloists include soprano Yulia van Doren, countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenor Ben Bliss and bass-baritone Dashon Burton.
Civic Orchestra of Chicago
Bach Marathon (December 6)
The Civic Orchestra of Chicago brings performances of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos to communities across Chicago throughout the day as part of the seventh annual Bach Marathon. With artistic guidance from Principal Conductor Ken-David Masur, The Robert Kohl and Clark Pellett Principal Conductor Chair, the event’s finale performances of the six concertos take place at Fourth Presbyterian Church (126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago). Ticket availability may be limited for this event. Visit cso.org for more information.
Home Alone in Concert (November 26-28)
The holiday season at Symphony Center begins Thanksgiving weekend with Home Alone in Concert. Audiences can enjoy the hilarious, heartwarming family favorite shown on the big screen at Symphony Center as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Kaufman, performs John Williams’ delightful, Academy Award-nominated score. Chicago actors Ann Whitney and Tracy J. Connor, who make memorable appearances in the film, will be on hand for preconcert conversations at each of the performances. The conversations are approximately 30 minutes and begin at 6:15 p.m. on November 26 and 27 and at 1:15 p.m. on November 28.
A Chanticleer Christmas (December 7-8)“The world’s reigning male chorus” (The New Yorker), the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer returns for its 2021 presentation of “A Chanticleer Christmas,” with a cappella arrangements of holiday music both familiar and new, performed at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass (December 15)
Experience the power and precision of the legendary brass section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of symphonic works by Batallán, Brahms, Holst, Mahler, Mozart and Walton arranged for brass ensemble. This concert is presented in collaboration with the Midwest Clinic, an International Band and Orchestra Conference.
Merry, Merry Chicago! (December 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23)
Chicago’s favorite musical holiday celebration, Merry, Merry Chicago!, returns to Symphony Center under the baton of Grammy-nominated conductor Alastair Willis. Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra share music of the season in this program for the whole family — with a much-anticipated appearance by a certain gentleman in red. Festive musical selections include “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and more, along with orchestral music of the season including Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves and music from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.
Acclaimed Broadway star Jessica Vosk is the featured vocalist in this year’s Merry, Merry Chicago! program, coming to Chicago following her sold-out November 8 debut at Carnegie Hall in a solo show titled “My Golden Age.” Her Broadway credits include The Bridges of Madison County, Finding Neverland, Fiddler on the Roof, and most notably, her star turn as Elphaba in Wicked the musical both on tour and in the 15th Anniversary Broadway company. The recording of Vosk’s performance as Anita in West Side Story was also nominated for a Grammy. She made her solo debut on the Billboard charts in 2018 with her album Wild and Free and released a Christmas album in 2020 titled A Very Coco Christmas.
Patron Information | Safe and Sound at Symphony Center
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) is committed to creating a comfortable, enjoyable and safe environment for its musicians, patrons and staff. To ensure everyone’s visit to Symphony Center is safe and sound, the CSOA will continue to modify guidelines and the concert experience, based on the latest public health recommendations and in consultation with leading health experts.
Patrons will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test upon arrival at all performances. Options for proof of vaccination include presentation of a vaccination card or by the use of the mobile app My Bindle, which is accepted at Symphony Center and other Chicago-area performing arts venues. Alternatively, proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the performance date or antigen test within six hours of the performance must be shown upon arrival. Anyone currently unable to get a vaccination, including children under 12, is required to present proof of a negative test.
Visit cso.org for more information.