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June 2014
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CSO, Rising Star Conductor Head to Western Suburbs (video)

Cristian Macelăru

Cristian Macelăru

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has a change of venue this week. In three different programs, they eschew the white tie and tails to offer some music and nature at the Morton Arboretum. The orchestra hopes to attract families, picnics, and people who don’t typically attend concerts downtown.

Is it really okay to bring kids?

Romanian-born conductor Cristian Macelăru, who will lead the orchestra on Friday and Saturday, especially appreciates the little picnickers, “I find that kids who have not experienced many types of music will be a lot more open-minded than their parents.”

“I love to hear kids respond to music…and this is a perfect environment.”

—Conductor Cristian Macelăru

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Morton Arboretum, c. Todd Rosenberg

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Morton Arboretum, c. Todd Rosenberg

According to Mr. Macelăru, when the CSO asked if he’d be interested in doing two of the outdoor concerts (saying “no” was out of the question), he immediately started thinking about repertoire: something to celebrate humanity, hope, and freedom. For him, that meant the Beethoven 7th Symphony.

Mr. Macelăru made his first appearance with the CSO two years ago when Pierre Boulez fell ill and was forced to withdraw from engagements. The young conductor’s programs with the CSO have been all but conventional. The first involved actors and stagecraft (it was a Beyond the Score show planned by Pierre Boulez). The current engagement involves picnickers and trees. For 34-year-old Macelăru, it’s all good.

Cristian Macelăru began his career as a violinist. He was the youngest ever to be hired as concertmaster of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, and made his Carnegie Hall debut with the MSO at 19. He made his professional conducting debut during the 2010-2011 season at the Houston Grand Opera. He was awarded the 2012 Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award and is currently the associate conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

This is the second year in a row that the CSO’s season has concluded at the Morton Arboretum. Thursday’s concert presents film music with Richard Kaufman conducting. Mr. Macelăru conducts Friday’s performances of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Saturday’s concert includes some Brahms Hungarian Dances, Dvorak’s New World Symphony, and the Bruch Violin Concerto with soloist Elena Urioste and Cristian Macelăru conducting.


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