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June 2016
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Chicago Symphony Orchestra Honors Conductor Fritz Reiner with Bust at Symphony Center


Riccardo Muti, Hungarian sculptor Katalin Gerő, and Hungarian Consul General Szebényi Ferentz pose in front of the Fritz Reiner

When visiting Chicago’s Symphony Center, audiences expect to experience great music from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Now, they can also experience a new piece of visual art.

On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, CSO music director Riccardo Muti and CSO Association president Jeff Alexander unveiled a bust of Fritz Reiner, who served as music director from 1953 – 1962 and advisor from 1962-63. The sculpture was made by Katalin Gerő and has been installed in the lobby of Symphony Center.

Over 100 people attending the unveiling ceremony, including members of the orchestra, invited guests, Hungarian Consul General Szebényi Ferentz, and the sculptor herself. Muti and Alexander spoke about Reiner and his many contributions to the orchestra, which include founding the Chicago Symphony Chorus in 1958 and earning the orchestra its first Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance for the recording Béla Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. Reiner even hired members of the orchestra during his tenure who remain active to this today!

What are your favorite memories of Fritz Reiner? Tell us in the comments.

  • michaael j schlutz

    my introduction to the majesty of classical music came when i was a first and second year student at the u of Chicago on Friday afternoons. tickets for students were $2 in the gallery (best sound in the house) he set impossibly high standards with the Chicago Symphony. to see him conduct bombastic music with his minimalist hand gestures and achieve such an unbelievable sound from the orchestra was astonishing. no one could come close. even in his final performances, when he needed assistance, the audience loved it.

  • Hudson Fair

    Magnificent! Some of the highest artistic achievements for the orchestra came during the time of Reiner. Many modern pretenders are still shown up by him. Muti is, for sure, also excellent. I would like to hear more Lutoslawski music, more modern (last 20 years) German compositions, and more Bruckner from the CSO.