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Home » Orchestra News » Chicago Symphony Orchestra Receives Record-Setting Gifts

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Receives Record-Setting Gifts



Chicago Symphony Orchestra Receives Record-Setting Gifts

In early June, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) received two gifts totaling $32 million—the largest in the orchestra’s 123-year history.

The Zell Family Foundation made a $17 million gift to CSO’s endowment and general operating funds. The gift will be used to underwrite, in perpetuity, the position of music director, which has been held by Riccardo Muti since 2010. Muti recently renewed his contract for five years, through the 2019-2020 season.

A second gift of $15 million was pledged by the Negaunee Foundation and will support the work of CSO’s Institute for Learning, Access, and Training, which will now be known as the Negaunee Music Institute. The institute was established as CSO’s education and community outreach arm. It engages approximately 200,000 children, teens, and adults of diverse income every year. 

The previous single largest contribution to the CSO was
$6 million made in 1997 by an anonymous donor to help fund the building of the Symphony Center complex that houses the orchestra’s concert hall and administrative offices.

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