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World-renowned Chicago orchestra to play in Japan

by Chiho Iuchi

Classical music fans in Japan are set for a treat when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the most important orchestras in the United States, performs here under the baton of Bernard Haitink, one of the world’s foremost maestros, on Jan. 31, Feb. 1, 3 and 4.

The CSO is one of the “Big Five” U.S. orchestras, and has been considered one of the best in the world since it was founded in 1891. It has also collaborated with such maestros as Hungarian Fritz Reiner (in the 1950s), Sir Georg Solti (in the ’70s) and Daniel Barenboim (from 1991 to 2006). These experiences have built up the orchestra’s virtuosity and earned it a reputation for thrilling audiences worldwide with its sound — especially through its brass section.

Dutch conductor Haitink, now almost 80, has been serving as the CSO’s principal conductor since 2006, after his long career at various other top orchestras, including the Dutch Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dresden Staatscapelle, as well as serving as musical director at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London.

In 2008, the CSO announced that it had named Italian conductor Riccardo Muti as its music director, starting in 2010.

As a result, the tour is the first and last chance for audiences here to appreciate the collaboration of Haitink and the CSO. Featured are such masterpieces as Mahler’s symphony No. 6 in A minor “Tragische” (Tragic), Bruckner’s symphony No. 7 in E major and the symphonic poem “Ein Heldenleben” (A Hero’s Life) by Richard Strauss.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall on Jan. 31 (6 p.m.) and at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo on Feb. 1 (4 p.m.), Feb. 3 and 4 (7 p.m.). Ticket prices range from ¥25,000 to ¥40,000. Call Yokohama Minato Mirai Ticket Center (045) 682-2000; Kajimoto E+ (0570) 06-9960 or visit kajimotoeplus.com