CSO: Beethoven's 9th

Bernstein's "Ode to Freedom"

Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Marin Alsop, conductor
Chicago Symphony Chorus soloists

Tamara Wilson
, soprano
Michelle DeYoung
, mezzo-soprano
Paul Appleby
, tenor
Ryan Speedo Green
, bass-baritone

Saturday, July 14, 2018
4:30 PM
Donor Gates Open
5:00 PM
Public Gates Open
7:30 PM
Concert Starts

Tickets: $100 / $25
Lawn: $10

Dining Availablity For Tonight: Ravinia Market, Lawn BarTree Top and Park View are all open tonight.


Bernstein:   Chichester Psalms
Beethoven:   Symphony No. 9

With projected English supertitles

About The Artist

Program Notes

  • On Christmas Day 1989, just weeks after Germany was reunified, Leonard Bernstein led a celebratory performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Konzerthaus, near where the Berlin Wall used to stand. Musicians from both sides of the wall assembled under Bernstein’s baton, and adding to the symbolism of the event was a change to the lyrics of the final movement: the poet Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” was instead made an “Ode to Freedom.”
  • Two of the soloists in this performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Michelle DeYoung and Paul Appleby, once trained at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and are now major stars in opera and concerts around the world. DeYoung has since made a half-dozen appearances at Ravinia and rejoined RSMI to lead master classes, and this will be Appleby’s first return.


  • Leonard Bernstein took one year of vacation from his post as music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1965 so he could rededicate himself to writing music. This renewal of spirit manifested in the Chichester Psalms for chorus and orchestra, putting to music six life-affirming passages from the Book of Psalms.
  • Besides Chichester Psalms, the only other major work Leonard Bernstein composed in the 1960s was his Third Symphony (“Kaddish”), written in memory of President Kennedy. Both featured choruses singing Hebrew texts, but the “Kaddish” Symphony was, understandably, a statement of anguish and despair rather than hope.
  • In his Third Symphony (“Kaddish”), Leonard Bernstein experimented with some 12-tone and atonal composing, but he returned to his personal, signature brand of melodic writing in Chichester Psalms.
  • Both pieces on this program feature the Chicago Symphony Chorus, which celebrated its 60th anniversary over this past winter; four of its members will be soloists in Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Both pieces also feature texts that recognize the strength and kinship of humankind.
  • The “Ode to Joy” melody in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has been the official anthem of Europe since 1972.
  • The Dean of Chichester Cathedral in England wanted Leonard Bernstein to write Chichester Psalms to show that choral, cathedral music wasn’t stuck in the past and specifically hoped for some of the magic that the composer brought to musical theater with West Side Story. It actually contains the melody of a song that was cut from that musical, as well as four more from one he never finished.

Park Details

You’re invited to join us as we celebrate Carl Grapentine’s incredible radio career with a special champagne reception before the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus’s performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at tonight's concerts. Say farewell to the longtime WFMT morning show host and join us for a reception using promo code GOODBYECARL.

Experience Ravinia's KidsLawn
at today’s concert!

For select concerts, including today’s, our new interactive, family-friendly space on the north lawn will be open for you to experience with your children. Today's KidsLawn features our large-scale percussion instruments on the lawn that will be open to kids of all ages.  See a full listing of KidsLawn dates.

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