Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first music director was Theodore Thomas. Home to many of the world’s finest musicians, including the largest professional chorus in America, the CSO continues its reputation as a world-renowned orchestra under the direction of Maestro Riccardo Muti.
The CSO offers over 150 performances each year, with special rates for students and seniors to help to make concerts accessible to all. For children, the Kraft Family Matinées series of family-friendly concerts is a wonderful way for kids to learn about classical music. Afterwork Masterworks concerts are a special treat for the working crowd, with an early start time of 6:30 p.m., followed by a nice wine reception.
The CSO’s website offers a great resource for patrons to learn more about classical music and CSO programs. A special section titled Discover Classical Music hosts a useful classical-music glossary, along with an Ask an Expert section dedicated to answering people’s questions about classical music.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Information
- Public Transportation: Very good (easily reached by the Metra, CTA El Train and buses)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: More than 150 performances are given each year
- Ticket Prices: Prices vary; student tickets $12 (bought online); student tickets day of concert $15; and senior tickets $20. These specially priced tickets may be purchased with cash at the box office only on the day of the performance (after 5 p.m., noon for matinées). Rush seating for general-admission pricing may be available immediately before the event. Some concert tickets may be obtained at a substantial discount at goldstar.com
- Group Discounts: Discounts available for groups of 20 or more
- Subscriptions: Multiple subscriptions are available, including a create your own series, where you choose up to nine concerts and save up to 20%. Multiple packages include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Main Series, Afterwork Masterworks, Beyond the Score, and many others. Benefits include quick and easy ticket exchanges and access to discounted pre-paid parking at the Grant Park South garage
- Membership: Donor fees begin at $75 and offer discounts at Symphony Store and dining. Larger donations may be rewarded with admission to open rehearsals, invitations to galas and salon series concerts, and other perks
- Activities for Children: The Kraft Family Matinée series offers family-friendly concerts. Tickets are required.