University Symphony Orchestra Recordings

Liszt and Sibelius: Masters of Romanticism - December 2021

Hauntingly beautiful works by the great Scandinavian composer Jean Sibelius frame the USO’s December concert: his early Overture to Karelia, designed to capture the rough-hewn quality of folk music, and his masterful Symphony No. 1 in E minor, which moves from the austere and desolate soundscape of its opening to soaring melodies, blazing fanfares, rich chorales, and charming folk melodies, before returning to the realm of melancholy and uncertainty. At the center of the program, 2020 Concerto Competition Co-Winner Baron Cao performs Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major.

Wild Rides - Annual Halloween Concert 2021

With storytelling, costumes, and special effects, the University Symphony Orchestra takes you on some decidedly Wild Rides for Halloween 2021. Featuring Liszt’s Mazeppa and Malcolm Arnold’s Tam O’Shanter, along with Saint-Saëns’ Danse macabre, the Witches Ride from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and excerpts from Wagner's Ride of the ValkyriesHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and E.T., the USO and the Hyde Park School of Dance kick off the 2021-22 season with unparalleled energy and enthusiasm! Maestra Barbara Schubert conducts – and makes a grand entrance.

University Symphony Orchestra with Quatuor Diotima

The acclaimed French string quartet Quatuor Diotima, this year’s Don Michael Randel Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Chicago, joins forces with the University Symphony Orchestra for its upcoming Winter Quarter concert. Known as ardent champions of contemporary music and artists who bring new insights to the standard quartet canon, Quatuor Diotima will collaborate with the USO on Edward Elgar’s richly textured Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet and Orchestra, Op. 47. To frame that distinctive musical offering, the USO performs Antonín Dvořák’s exquisite Serenade for Strings, Op. 22, and the evocative Four Sea Interludes from Benjamin Britten’s masterful opera Peter Grimes.

Serenade for Strings in E Major - Antonín Dvořák, performed by the UChicago Symphony Orchestra

University Symphony Orchestra: Reflection and Hope

The University Symphony Orchestra culminates the 2021-22 concert season with two profoundly moving symphonic works: William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 2 in G minor, subtitled “Song of a New Race,” and Johannes Brahms’ deeply personal Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98. Still viewed his second symphony, composed in 1936-37, as an extension of the earlier Afro-American Symphony, crafted to represent both the evolution of his people and a vision of a more hopeful future. Brahms’ final work in the symphonic genre is arguably the most compelling of his four masterful creations. Characterized by a sense of urgency as well as an extraordinary lyrical beauty, the E minor Symphony features both complex counterpoint and older formal models that Brahms incorporated into his own richly textured musical language. To close the evening, the University of Chicago Chorus joins the University Symphony in a poignant excerpt from Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem: “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen,” in reflection of our collective experience of the past several years.

Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98.

Ein deutsches Requiem - Johannes Brahms’, UChicago Symphony Orchestra and UChicago Chorus