Years ago when I asked a former Chicago Symphony Orchestra manager why we didn’t hear more early music conductors leading the CSO, I was told that most had poor baton technique. Of course, given that the stand-up conductor with a baton was a late innovation during the eras that constitute early music, many early music conductors conducted—as was often true then—within the ensemble itself.
For Trevor Pinnock, the founder of the celebrated and pioneering British early music ensemble the English Concert, that often meant doing so from the harpsichord. There will be no harpsichord at this week’s CSO concerts, where Pinnock will make his long overdue CSO debut, though he has been to Chicago before with the English Concert and the experience was indeed a memorable one.
This Haydn-heavy program includes the Overture to his opera “The Desert Island” and the Cello Concerto, with Russian cellist Pavel Gomziakov also making his CSO debut, along with Fauré’s orchestral suite “Masques et bergamasques” and the monumental penultimate Mozart Symphony No. 40 in g minor, K. 550. (Dennis Polkow)
April 29, 30, May 1 at 8pm; May 4, 7:30pm, Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, (312) 294-3000.
Author: Dennis Polkow
Dennis Polkow is an award-winning veteran journalist, critic, author, broadcaster and educator. He made his stage debut at age five, was a child art prodigy and began playing keyboards in clubs at the age of fourteen. He holds degrees in music theory, composition, religious studies and philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago. Polkow spent his early years performing and recording in rock and jazz bands while concertizing as a classical pianist, organist and harpsichordist and composing, arranging and producing for other artists. As a scholar, Polkow has published and lectured extensively and taught at several colleges and universities in various departments. As an actor, narrator and consultant, Polkow has been involved with numerous films, plays, broadcasts and documentaries. As a journalist, Polkow helped co-create the experiential Chicago Musicale and Spotlight, the award-winning tabloid arts and entertainment section of the Press Publications chain of newspapers, which he later edited. He also created and ran the nationally recognized journalism program at Oakton College and was faculty advisor to its award-winning student newspaper; many former students went on to major media careers, including Channel Awesome’s the Nostalgia Critic. Polkow’s research, interviews, features, reviews and commentaries have appeared across national and international media and he has corresponded from the Middle East, Asia and Africa for the Chicago Tribune. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org