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Anne Akiko Meyers performs with Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Chicago on the Aisle review

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What an engaging, stimulating change of pace, this weekend's all-American concert fare offered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Leonard Slatkin at Orchestra Hall. Extending from classics by Barber and Gershwin through William Schuman's bold, robust Sixth Symphony to youthful Mason Bates' cleverly crafted Violin Concerto, the program heard April 17 offered a resounding reminder of this country's enduring contribution to orchestral music in the modern era.

And it could be argued that no conductor has a better handle on classical Americana than the Los Angeles-born Slatkin. As this concert demonstrated to a fare-thee-well, the 69-year-old maestro, music director of both the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre National de Lyon, resonates to the pulse and spirit that define our cultural temperament.

With violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, Slatkin presented the Chicago premiere of the Violin Concerto by CSO composer in residence Mason Bates. The conductor and soloist also gave the work its world premiere with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in December 2012, and their sharply focused, yet free-wheeling account of Bates' densely wrought work bespoke thorough familiarity. READ THE FULL Chicago on the Aisle ARTICLE.