Orchestras: Discipline

Assuming the weighty mantle of the late Fritz Reiner presented problems enough. But when Conductor Jean Martinon, 54, took over the reins of the Chicago Symphony last year, he walked straight into a crossfire of warring factions and a bitter union-management dispute that delayed the opening of the season. Chicago has run its share of conductors out of town (Désiré Defauw, Artur Rodzinski, Rafael Kubelik), but Martinon prevailed, and by season's end there was no doubt who was in charge.

What is more, despite the strains of transition, Martinon and his musicians are making beautiful music together. Under Reiner's exacting baton,...

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