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Chicago Symphony Orchestra 

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It's the promise of crystalline, thought-provoking interpretations from the eminence grise of modernism, the 70-year-old Pierre Boulez, now officially the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's principal guest maestro, that makes his winter residency so special. Though confining his attention almost entirely to worthy entries in the postromantic repertoire, Boulez is also rethinking the works that impressed him in his youth. In this week's CSO concerts he turns to Mahler, whose music he didn't discover until he was in Paris after the war, after the establishment stopped slighting Austro-Germanic music. His previous Mahler performances with the CSO have been remarkable, and he's likely to bring clarity to the sprawling, stoically tragic, autobiographical Symphony no. 9 (to be recorded for Deutsche Grammophon). A chat with Boulez precedes each concert. Friday, 1:30 PM, Saturday, 8 PM, and Tuesday, 7:30 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Cheri Eisenberg.

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