CSO hosts Youth in Music fest

Before Riccardo Muti takes his Chicago Symphony Orchestra on a 13-day, 9-concert tour of the Far East in late January and early February, he will engage in a pursuit close to his heart: the musical education of youth.

The CSO music director will lead an open rehearsal with an orchestra consisting of about 50 area high school musicians, supported by members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 in Symphony Center. Works to be rehearsed include Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and Verdi's "Sicilian Vespers" Overture.

The Muti-led rehearsal will kick off the third annual Chicago Youth in Music Festival, a series of more than 10 events presented free of charge through Feb. 4 at Symphony Center and other locations in and around the city. The festival, celebrating the accomplishments of young musicians, is hosted by the CSO's Institute for Learning, Access and Training, in partnership with 15 area musical organizations.

Others providing artistic leadership for the festival include Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, music director of the YOA Orchestra of the Americas, 20 of whose members will participate in the festival. The YOA is a symphony orchestra of gifted young musicians, ages 18 to 30, representing more than 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere.

In addition to a reading session Jan. 30 at Benito Juarez Community Academy in Pilsen, the YOA musicians will join with Civic and Chicago-area high school instrumentalists to form a super-sized orchestra for the festival's culminating concert, 8 p.m. Feb. 4 at Symphony Center. Prieto will conduct Copland's "El Salon Mexico" and Strauss' "Ein Heldenleben."

Feb. 2 will be the festival's Community Music Day, including concerts, recitals and a reading session hosted throughout the day by partner organizations in various area schools and community centers.

Although the opening and closing events are free and open to the public, tickets will be required for those Symphony Center presentations. To request tickets, call 312-294-3000, or visit cso.org, where a complete schedule of festival events also can be found.

CHICAGO

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