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2008 Wrap-Up (Sam): 2008’s Top U.S. Orchestras – Plan Vacations Accordingly

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MP3: Shostakovich – Symphony No. 5 – Iv. Allegro Non Troppo by Bernstein & the NY Phil


In 2008, the Brit music mag Gramaphone ranked the top-world orchestras with the help of critics and musicians. We could, of course, head to Amsterdam, Berlin, or Vienna to capture the best of the best, but our home turf is rich. Here’s my take on performances that will bring the 2008-2009 season to a wondrous, raucous close.



1. Chicago Symphony Orchestra (pictured right)

We read excellent things about the CSO’s brass, which is, at times Baltimore’s Achilles’ heel.  In Chicago, immerse yourself in contemporary classical. See the noble father-and-sometime-bully, Pierre Boulez conduct a unique “American” homage: the work of Stravinsky who expatriated to Cali, Edgard Varèse, French transplant to New York, and Elliot Carter — the true American centenarian — born on Dec. 11, 1908.  Celebrations and new compositions are being mounted everywhere.


This Carter-champion, Boulez, himself is 83, so witness this living master while the getting is still good: Feb. 26th – Mar. 3rd.


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