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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s history began in 1891, when Theodore Thomas founded the ensemble and organized its first concerts. After his death in 1905, Frederick Stock took over as leader. His 37-year tenure remains the longest of all ten music directors to date. Following the Second World War, Rafael Kubelík (1950–53), Fritz Reiner (1953–63), and Jean Martinon (1963–68) shaped the ensemble’s artistic development. Georg Solti, whose 22-year leadership began in 1969, reinforced the CSO’s international reputation; under his tenure the Chicago Symphony Orchestra undertook its first overseas tour in 1971, which was followed by numerous international tours. In 1991 Daniel Barenboim was chosen to succeed Solti. During his 15-year tenure the new Symphony Center was opened; Barenboim also enriched subscription concerts with contemporary works, established an educational program, and strengthened the commitment to touring, so that the CSO now regularly performs in Lucerne, Berlin, London, Vienna, Tokyo, and New York. From 2006 to 2010 Bernard Haitink served as Principal Conductor; Pierre Boulez continues his longstanding partnership with the Orchestra as Conductor Emeritus. In September 2010 Riccardo Muti began his tenure as Music Director; cellist Yo-Yo Ma was also appointed to a three-year term as Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant. Every summer the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs as part of the outdoor Ravinia Festival, continuing a partnership that originated in 1905 at Ravinia Park. The Orchestra gives more than 150 concerts a season. Its artistic legacy has been preserved on numerous recordings, which have received a total of 62 Grammys; in 2011 Muti’s recording of Verdi’s Requiem won two of these coveted awards.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 2 September 1978, with Georg Solti conducting the Third and Fourth Symphonies by Brahms.