In Tuesday’s (1/5) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes, “Pierre Boulez has traveled vast distances since those early years when the incendiary young modernist clawed and shouted his way to the top of the Parisian musical avant-garde. Having made the long journey from enfant terrible to grand old man, he no longer has to shout to be heard. … On March 26, the French composer and conductor, one of the most distinguished figures in contemporary music, will turn 85. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with which Boulez has enjoyed an exceptionally cordial relationship that goes back four decades, is celebrating that milestone with a series of concerts and discussions throughout the month that will bring audiences closer to Boulez’s music, as well as give them the chance to hear him conduct new pieces along with classics of the 20th century with which he has long been identified. … Pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich will perform Book 2 of his pioneering ‘Structures’ (1961) on the same MusicNOW program as his ‘Messagesquisse’ for seven cellos (1971) and ‘Anthemes 2’ (1997) for solo violin and live electronics. And a CSO subscription program will include his 1968 ‘Livre pour cordes’ (‘Book for Strings’), a pivotal piece in Boulez’s catalog.”

Posted January 6, 2010