With more than 40 years of experience to his name, internationally acclaimed conductor Riccardo Muti has been masterfully leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), one of the greatest orchestras in the world, as its 10th music director since 2010. Earlier this year, it was announced that Muti’s contract as music director has been extended through the 2021/22 season.
So, it was only fitting that Muti, who hails from Naples, Italy, headlined the the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s (CSOA) largest annual fundraiser, the Symphony Ball.
Held by the Women’s Board and the Symphony Ball Committee, the Oct. 6 event raised $1.3 million in support of the artistic excellence of the CSOA.
The evening kicked-off with a CSO concert in Orchestra Hall, led by Muti. The concert encompassed a festive program of music by Johannes Brahms, Giacomo Puccini, Josef Strauss, and Johann Strauss II. Pianist David Fray also performed as a soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24.
A post-concert black tie gala was held at the Palmer House, drawing 525 guests. The evening celebration included cocktails, a reception, a gourmet seated dinner, and dancing.
Longtime Symphony supporters, former CSOA Board Chair and Life Trustee Richard Thomas and his wife, Helen Thomas, were recognized during the program.
Guests danced to the sounds of 17-piece musical ensemble Talk of the Town Big Band to polish off the evening.
The 2018 Ball was chaired by CSOA Women’s Board member Leigh Ann Herman and her husband, Casey Herman, and co-chaired by CSOA Trustee Donna L. Kendall and CSOA Life Trustee David E. McNeel.
The event was made possible thanks to the support of gracious sponsors, notably Northern Trust, the presenting sponsor of the Symphony Ball; Bank of America, the global sponsor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and United Airlines, the official airline of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
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Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.