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Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1891 when businessman Charles Norman Fay invited the German-born conductor Theodore Thomas to establish and lead a new city orchestra; he conducted it until his death in 1905. Orchestra Hall, designed by Daniel H. Burnham, was built for it in 1904 with funds raised by public subscription; the hall is now part of Symphony Center, which was completed in 1997. Frederick Stock, Thomas's assistant, succeeded him and conducted the orchestra until 1942. Rafael Kubelík (see under Kubelík, Jan), its conductor from 1950 to 1953, was followed by Fritz Reiner, who conducted until 1962. Sir Georg Solti conducted from 1969 to 1991 and was succeeded by Daniel Barenboim, who served as its conductor until 2006. Bernard Haitink subsequently served as interim conductor, and in 2010 Ricardo Muti became principal conductor. The orchestra plays a summer season at Ravinia Park, in the suburbs north of Chicago.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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