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Your Guide to Chicago’s Fall Cultural Events

The interior of a grand performing arts center is photographed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra seated on its stage.

This fall offers a roster of cultural events around the city. Here are a few notable performances and exhibitions you should be sure not to miss. 

The interior of a grand performing arts center is photographed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra seated on its stage.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing in Orchestra Hall

CSO’s First Performance Since February, 2020

Ricardo Muti will be conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s grand return to Symphony Hall with music from Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, the only surviving opera from 18th century Guadalupan-born composer, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and a lyrical piece from the string quartet composed by Florence Price, the first African-American woman to have her music played by a major American orchestra. Performances will take place September 23-25. Tickets can be purchased here.

Toward Common Cause

A collaboration between the Smart Museum of Art, the University of Chicago, and the MacArthur Foundation, Towards Common Cause brings together MacArthur Fellows to display their work in exhibitions across the city throughout 2021. Each exhibition will center around themes of air, land, water, culture, and how they may coexist as well as art’s role in society and activism. A list of exhibitions and their schedules can be found here.

Rhona Hoffman, 40 Years Part I

Opening September 16, local gallerist Rhona Hoffman presents the works of iconic and historic artists she has worked with over the years including famed Chicago sculptor Richard Rezac. Hoffman, herself a legend locally and globally, presents the breadth of figures she has worked with in her namesake West Loop gallery space. More information can be found here.

Six ballet dancers dressed in black dressed hold bright red fans in the middle of a dance number.
The Joffrey Ballet

Home: A Celebration at the Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey celebrates its return to the stage with a mixed-repertory series of original works by choreographers Chanel DaSilva, Nicolas Blanc, Yoshihisa Arai, and Gerald Arpino. Taking inspiration from the music of Maurice Ravel, Bosso’s Symphony No. 2, and Verdi, Home is sure to delight the viewer visually and instrumentally. Performances run October 13-24. Tickets can be purchased here.

Christina Quarles at MCA 

Los-Angeles based artist, Christina Quarles showcases her colorful paintings of queer bodies floating through physical and social realms at the MCA in the largest presentation of her work to date. Quarles explores the universal experience of existing in a body through her paintings and through a large-scale installation piece. Other themes explored include how race, gender, and sexuality converge through the physical body. The exhibit runs through January 16 and can be accessed with general admission to the Museum of Contemporary Art.