The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s penultimate program of this season is a decidedly offbeat potpourri: a world premiere, a pair of French cornerstones, and a saxophone soloist equally at home in the realms of jazz and classical music ... the results were largely successful with Susanna Mälkki, one of the CSO’s most reliable guest conductors, in charge on the podium."

Chicago Classical Review

Lawrence A. Johnson

Proceed Moon is a strong, audacious and compelling work. It was an inspired idea to have Mälkki–who built her reputation with IRCAM as a contemporary music specialist–entrusted with this premiere. The Finnish conductor is inspired at deconstructing challenging modern scores and Mälkki drew a bracing and powerful performance from the responsive CSO musicians. Wagner’s colors and effects came through boldly with impressive clarity and transparency even in the most uninhibited sections …

At times Escapades morphs into a triple concerto with equally prominent roles for vibraphone and amplified double-bass. Joining Marsalis at the front of the stage, CSO members Cynthia Yeh and Robert Kassenger made a companionable jazz club trio in their  spotlighted moments. Yeh was just as impressive as Marsalis, keeping pace with the saxophonist’s fast tempos with some stunning vibraphone virtuosity. Mälkki was a sympathetic partner, skillfully handling the rapid-fire alternation of soloists and orchestra in the final movement …

Debussy’s Iberia closed the evening … Mälkki led a worthy performance that brought out the brilliance and ingenuity of Debussy’s Spanish triptych.”

Lawrence A. Johnson – Chicago Classical Review