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Fall preview: Classical music goes mostly online

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 9/10/2020 By Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
Mei-Ann Chen holding a microphone: Chicago Sinfonietta music director Mei-Ann Chen rehearses orchestra musicians at Symphony Center in Chicago on Monday, June 8, 2015. © Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Chicago Sinfonietta music director Mei-Ann Chen rehearses orchestra musicians at Symphony Center in Chicago on Monday, June 8, 2015.

Chicago’s classical institutions mostly have made the switch to online musicmaking. Among the highlights:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “CSO Sessions” will feature the orchestra’s musicians in streamed chamber concerts, beginning with episodes every Thursday in October. The CSO ensembles will range from duos to octets and feature music of Brahms, Mozart, Chevalier de Saint-George and Caroline Shaw, among others. Individual episodes are $15, with a 20 percent discount for those who bundle three or more episodes;

Lyric Opera of Chicago. “For the Love of Lyric” will feature Renee Fleming, Heather Headley, Ailyn Perez, Soloman Howard, J’Nai Bridges, Doug Peck, members of the Ryan Opera Center and of the Chicago Children’s Choir in a filmed online concert; 6 p.m. Sept. 13; free;

Chicago Opera Theater. The company’s season will be online, starting with Stacy Garrop and Jerre Dye’s “The Transformation of Jane Doe,” in English with English subtitles, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15; followed by Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Kashchej The Immortal,” in Russian with English subtitles, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21; $20;

Chicago Sinfonietta. Music director Mei-Ann Chen launches the online season with “Common Ground: Collective Stories,” featuring the world premiere of a work by composer-in-residence Kathryn Bostic, plus music of Beethoven, Copland, Astor Piazzolla, Florence Price and Enoch Mankayi Sontonga. Oct. 17;

Haymarket Opera Company. The Chicago early music group celebrates its 10th anniversary by streaming a high-definition filmed concert performance of Handel’s “Acis and Galatea,” Oct. 30-Nov. 8; $25;

Music of the Baroque. Though the organization has pushed its 50th anniversary season into 2021, its schedule of online programs will include “A Conversation with John Eliot Gardiner and Jane Glover, 7 p.m. Sept. 18;

PianoForte Chicago. The recital hall’s in-person events will include “Charlie Chaplin’s Smile,” featuring violinist Philippe Quint and pianist Marta Aznavoorian, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17; $20-$70. Anthony Molinaro, 6 p.m. Oct. 29; $20. 1335 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-291-0000 or

Apollo’s Fire. The Cleveland-based early music group launches its Windy City Series with “ALLURE: The Three Amandas,” featuring sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Amanda Powell, and mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston; ticket prices vary; 800-314-2535 or

Howard Reich is a Tribune critic.


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