In Concert

Monday, 10 April 2017 12:08

Ravinia Announces 2017 Summer Season 

Written by
Willie Nelson will be performing at Ravinia Friday, June 16, 7:30 p.m. Willie Nelson will be performing at Ravinia Friday, June 16, 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Ravinia Festival

James Levine, Christoph Eschenbach, Gustavo Dudamel, Susanna Mälkki, Kent Nagano, a “virtual” Esa-Pekka Salonen, and three conductors making Chicago Symphony Orchestra debuts take the podium. 

CSO soloists include Lang Lang, headlining the gala fundraiser; Joshua Bell; Sir James Galway; Pinchas Zukerman; Denis Matsuev; Garrick Ohlsson; and pianist Yuja Wang, one of 30 classical artists making Ravinia debuts. 

Guest ensembles include the Lucerne Symphony; National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela; and Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, all in their Ravinia debuts; along with the returns of The Knights and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. 

CSO performs the award-winning scores to all three Lord of the Rings films as the movies are shown on consecutive nights; Oscar darling La La Land Live with Orchestra receives Midwest premiere. 

Tributes set for three great Americans: Henry Mancini, Ira Gershwin, and a multi-concert celebration of the 70th birthday of John Adams. 

Chamber/recital series features Pacifica Quartet with the complete Beethoven quartets; Jonathan Biss, continuing his multiyear Beethoven cycle; bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green, subject of bestseller Sing for Your Life; and the Simón Bolívar String Quartet. 

Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp, Common, Pentatonix, Lila Downs, TLC, Alanis Morissette, John Butler Trio, Andrew Bird, Sammy Hagar, and the Tony-winning Leslie Odom Jr., Burr from Broadway’s Hamilton, among 59 artists making Ravinia debuts. 

Double bills pair John Legend/Gallant, OneRepublic/Fitz & the Tantrums, Michael Bolton/Gladys Knight, Garbage/Blondie, Lifehouse/Switchfoot, The Beach Boys/The Temptations, and Judy Collins/Stephen Stills. 

Returning favorites include Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Diana Krall, Santana, Tony Bennett, Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Smokey Robinson, The Gipsy Kings, and The Moody Blues, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Days of Future Passed.

Los Tigres del Norte and Natalia Jiménez headline second annual daylong Fiesta Ravinia, celebrating Mexican Independence Day. 

Ravinia renews Chicago Symphony Orchestra summer residency with unprecedented eight-year extension. 

Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman today announced the not-forprofit festival’s complete 2017 summer lineup—more than 140 events from June 3 through Sept. 17— including the 82nd annual residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as visits by the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela with conductor Gustavo Dudamel in his Ravinia debut. In addition to Dudamel, 58 artists make their Ravinia debuts, including Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp, Pentatonix, Common, Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr., and Ryan Speedo Green. Tickets are available to donors beginning March 22 and go on sale to the general public on May 9, exclusively at “I’m frequently asked what defines a successful season. Because there are so many ways to enjoy Ravinia, that answer is different for everyone, and their defining moments might be a big light-and-sound spectacular with a legendary hit machine or a quiet evening on the lawn with a chamber concert flowing from the Martin Theatre, one of our popular film projects or one of our magnificent classical masterpieces, performed as only the Chicago Symphony Orchestra can,” Kauffman said. “It’s an all-of-the-above summer at Ravinia in 2017.” 

$25/$10/FREE CLASSICAL PRICING Ravinia’s popular pricing returns this summer, with most Pavilion seats for all CSO concerts selling for just $25 apiece. Most lawn tickets will be priced at $10 each, and lawn admission for all classical concerts—CSO, special events, recitals, and chamber music—is free for children and students through college. A 10-punch lawn pass will also be sold, granting lawn admission for as little as $7 per concert. On film nights, the $25 price for a reserved seat in the Pavilion is the same for a lawn ticket, so patrons can choose the experience they prefer—a seat under the roof with a view of the orchestra or a picnic on the lawn before the giant movie screen—without cost being an issue. The $10 BGH Classics series offers up close-and-personal musical experiences in Ravinia’s most intimate concert space, the 450-seat Bennett Gordon Hall, for only $10 for a reserved seat, less than the cost of a movie ticket. 

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA RESIDENCY Ravinia has hosted the CSO in its summer residency since 1936, and the two institutions recently agreed to an eight-year extension of their current contract—which would have expired in 2018— extending the unique relationship through 2026. “I’m so proud that one of my first opportunities in becoming chairman of the Ravinia Festival Association was to work with my predecessor John Anderson and Welz Kauffman in negotiating this unprecedented agreement with our CSO counterparts, Helen Zell and Jeff Alexander,” said Jennifer Steans. “I literally grew up attending CSO concerts at Ravinia and find particular satisfaction in seeing today’s youngsters discovering the ensemble that stands as one of Chicago’s eternal assets.” Modeled on the successful 2016 CSO residency, which averaged more than 6,000 listeners per concert, the 18 concerts of 2017 intertwine staples of the symphonic repertoire; a variety on the podium, from the returns of James Levine, Christoph Eschenbach, and Susanna Mälkki to three conductors making their CSO debuts; popular movie nights, with all three Lord of the Rings films; and attractively priced tickets. 

• LEVINE’S CREATION: One of the most important figures in Ravinia’s history is also one of the most important musicians in the world. James Levine so enjoyed his long-awaited return to the festival podium last year after a two-decade absence that he agreed to return this summer to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in one of his favorite “party” pieces, Haydn’s The Creation, an oratorio based on the Old Testament story, on Aug. 8. The evening features the stars of Levine’s current Metropolitan Opera production of Mozart’s Idomeneo, soprano Nadine Sierra in her CSO debut and tenor Matthew Polenzani, along with bass John Relyea.  

• ESCHENBACH/LANG LANG/GALA: In a rare return to the festival, Christoph Eschenbach teams up with his most celebrated discovery, superstar pianist Lang Lang, for the Women’s Board’s July 29 Gala Benefit Evening to raise funds for Ravinia and its Reach*Teach*Play education programs. Lang Lang will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on a program that also includes Dvořák’s Carnival Overture and Symphony No. 8. On a separate program, Eschenbach also showcases one of his newest protégés, Ray Chen, playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in his CSO debut on a July 28 program with the composer’s “Reformation” Symphony, and the CSO debut of soprano Marisol Montalvo with Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. The soloists share the spotlight in Mozart’s “L’amerò, sarò costante” for soprano and violin from Il rè pastore. 

• RACHMANINOFF’S MASTERWORKS: In addition to Lang Lang’s gala performance of the composer’s First Piano Concerto, Garrick Ohlsson returns for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (often featured as a harrowing high-wire act in films such as Shine, the biopic on resurgent touring concert pianist David Helfgott). The Aug. 10 concert, conducted by Krzysztof Urbański, also features Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10. Denis Matsuev plays Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini under conductor Gianandrea Noseda on Aug. 1. (The visiting Lucerne Symphony Orchestra will perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, as noted below.) 

• PIANIST YUJA WANG: Yuja Wang makes her Ravinia debut with the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. Recently featured in the New Yorker for being fashion-forward in terms of musicality and couture, Wang has become an international sensation, with the New York Times reporting, “She seems to have everything: speed, flexibility, pianistic thunder, and interpretive nuance.” One of the hottest conductors in the world at age 26, Wang’s recording partner Lionel Bringuier makes his concurrent Ravinia and CSO debuts on the July 11 program, which also includes Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. 

• JOSHUA BELL’S SCOTTISH FANTASY: Superstar violinist Joshua Bell returns—after last season’s soaring success sharing the Ravinia stage with longtime friend Chris Botti—to perform Bruch’s homage to the highlands, the Scottish Fantasy. Music director of the National Orchestra of Belgium, Andrey Boreyko makes his Ravinia debut with the July 12 program, which also features selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. 

• BACK-TO-BACK MÄLKKI: One of the few women conductors of international repute, the charismatic Susanna Mälkki, who recently won rave reviews for her Metropolitan Opera debut with L’amour de Loin, pairs Beethoven with her Finnish compatriot Sibelius on two programs. She conducts the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Vadim Repin and Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony on July 20, and then returns to conduct Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Kirill Gerstein and the Sibelius Symphony No. 2 on July 21. 

• LORD OF THE RINGS CYCLE: Over three different summers—to increasing buzz and demand— Ravinia presented each of the Lord of the Rings films with their scores digitally removed so that the CSO could perform Howard Shore’s award-winning music live as the movies were shown in their entirety on screens in the Pavilion and on the lawn. Ravinia will bring back all three films, The Fellowship of the Ring (Aug. 18), The Two Towers (Aug. 19), and The Return of the King (Aug. 20), over three consecutive evenings, with Ludwig Wicki reprising his conducting role. The Chicago Children’s Choir, Chicago Chorale, and The Lakeside Singers will combine to perform the score’s extensive choral parts. 

• GALWAY TRIBUTE TO MANCINI: Sir James Galway pays tribute to one of the most prolific and awarded (20 Grammys and four Oscars) composers of all time, Henry Mancini, on an Aug. 6 program that includes music from The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (“Moon River”), Victor/Victoria, The Days of Wine and Roses, and much more. The tuneful concert features flutist Lady Jeanne Galway and vocalists Ashley Brown and Tony DeSare under the baton of film expert Steven Reineke. Reineke was a protégé of “Prince of Pops” Erich Kunzel, who enjoyed a close collaborative relationship with Mancini and the Galways, and he will conduct from Kunzel’s personally notated scores. 

• TRIBUTE TO IRA GERSHWIN: Chicago pianist Kevin Cole, who built a career on his acclaimed interpretations of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, reprises that masterwork and also turns his attention to the composer’s famous partner and brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin—the wordsmith who actually gave Rhapsody in Blue its title. Cole has presided over wildly popular tributes to Marvin Hamlisch and Cole Porter at Ravinia, and has developed this program in that style, applying his loving attention and musical know-how to one of America’s all-time greatest songwriters in I Love to Rhyme: A Tribute to Ira Gershwin on Aug. 13. Dancer/singer Ryan VanDenBoom and vocalist Sylvia McNair, who also headlined the Hamlisch and Porter tributes, return with conductor Emil de Cou. 

• ZUKERMAN PLAYS AND CONDUCTS: Legendary violinist Pinchas Zukerman returns on Aug. 3 as soloist and conductor with the CSO premiere of Elgar’s Deux Chansons for violin and orchestra, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

• TCHAIKOVSKY SPECTACULAR: Tchaikovsky gets his turn at telling the tale of the immortal star-crossed lovers when his Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture kicks off Ravinia’s annual “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” on July 16. Making his simultaneous CSO and Ravinia debuts, Moscowborn Dima Slobodeniouk, artistic director of the Sibelius Festival, conducts the popular concert that features the “1812” Overture with live cannon fire. Simon Trpčeski joins the all-Tchaikovsky evening for the First Piano Concerto. 

• BRONFMAN’S BRAHMS: In his simultaneous CSO and Ravinia debuts on July 18, Edward Gardner, who recently led Der Rosenkavalier to raves at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, conducts Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations and the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with one of the world’s most admired pianists, Yefim Bronfman.  

• LUGANSKY’S EMPEROR: Pianist Nikolai Lugansky performs Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto on a July 25 program that also features Harmonielehre (The Book of Harmony) by John Adams, under the baton of Kent Nagano in his Ravinia debut. 

VISITING ORCHESTRAS/ENSEMBLES In addition to the CSO residency, Ravinia will host several ensembles throughout the summer. 

 • LUCERNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Visiting Ravinia for the first time, the orchestra of the Swiss town where Rachmaninoff and Wagner lived will be led by its music director, James Gaffigan, in two Pavilion concerts populated with music associated with the namesake lake. On Aug. 22 they will play the William Tell Overture, which Rossini set on Shepherd’s Day on Lake Lucerne; Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with RSMI alumnus InMo Yang as soloist; and the Symphony No. 1 by Brahms, for whom a visit to Lucerne figured into his rumored love triangle with Clara and Robert Schumann. On Aug. 23 they’ll perform Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist Behzod Abduraimov (“His sound has an appealing warmth even in the most testosterone-fueled outbursts,” says the New York Times); and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. 

• NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF VENEZUELA: One of the most influential conductors on the planet and chief proponent of the El Sistema model of student orchestras, used by Ravinia in its Reach*Teach*Play programs, Gustavo Dudamel comes to Ravinia for the first time with his youth orchestra, comprising young Sistema musicians handpicked by the conductor. The Sept. 14 concert features Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 in addition to works by Hispanic composers Evencio Castellanos, Julián Orbón, Camargo Guarnieri, Silvestre Revueltas, and Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez, as well as Ginastera’s Danza final from Estancia. Dudamel and his young musicians will also work with students from Cook and Lake Counties who participate in Ravinia’s education programs—headed by Ravinia’s Director of Reach*Teach*Play, who was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of El Sistema USA—which serve 75,000 people annually. Using the El Sistema model, which avoids classroom music theory and instead gets students playing their instruments from day one, Ravinia establishes orchestras, providing instruments and instructors to schools that do not have music programs of their own. 

• LA LA LAND LIVE: The 2017 winner of six Oscars, including Best Director and Best Actress, writer-director Damien Chazelle’s charming movie about a wannabe movie star (Emma Stone) who falls for a jazz-obsessed pianist (Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling) will be shown on screens on the lawn and in the Pavilion while the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra plays the Oscar-winning score (including Best Song “City of Stars”) live on June 18. John Legend, who makes his third Ravinia appearance this summer, also has a supporting role in the film that he also co-produced. 

• APOLLO’S FIRE: Performing Vivaldi’s seminal The Four Seasons, the acclaimed periodinstrument ensemble Apollo’s Fire, The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, makes its Ravinia debut with its music director, Jeannette Sorrell, conducting from the harpsichord on July 27. 

• THE KNIGHTS: In its 10th concert at Ravinia, one of the classical world’s most cutting-edge and elastic ensembles will perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Purcell’s Fantasy upon One Note, and selections from Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, joined by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. The Aug. 17 Martin Theatre concert also features two works by John Adams (see Adams section below).

VIRTUAL REALITY ORCHESTRA London’s Philharmonia Orchestra will also come to Ravinia—“virtually.” Ravinia ticketholders are invited to virtually take a seat within the orchestra, playing the thrilling climax of Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, for a once-in-a-lifetime vantage point through this unique virtual reality experience from July 11 through 23 at the Ravinia Tent on the North Lawn. Admission is free for those attending concerts on those nights. Free tickets can be arranged in advance at or in person on concert nights, pending availability. “The Philharmonia’s digital projects have taken place all over the world and I am delighted that we are now bringing our latest virtual reality experience, The Virtual Orchestra, to Ravinia,” said Salonen. “The incredible power of virtual reality is that it is disappointing to leave it, to come back to reality. There is no doubt that for classical music, virtual reality will be a very powerful, useful medium, and I am very excited to be taking part in this project.” 


NONCLASSICAL LINEUP Superstars abound on Ravinia’s 2017 roster, including long-awaited debuts and the returns of audience favorites. Playing the festival for the first time are Sammy Hagar & the Circle with Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham, and Vic Johnson on June 19; Chicago’s own Common on June 24; multiple Grammy winner Lila Downs on July 1; Andrew Bird on July 23; Tony-winning Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. on Aug. 13; Alanis Morissette on Aug. 25; John Mellencamp on Aug. 26 and 27; Pentatonix on Aug. 28; Australian roots-rockers the John Butler Trio with special guest The Waifs on Aug. 30; and Stevie Nicks on Sept. 9 and 10. Returning favorites include Pat Metheny with Antonio Sanchez, Linda May Han Oh, and Gwilym Simcock on June 14; Seu Jorge Presents The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie on June 15; 2017 Grammy winner Willie Nelson on June 16; Aretha Franklin on June 17; the Gipsy Kings on June 23; jazz pianist/singer Diana Krall June 28; The Moody Blues with their Days of Future Passed 50th Anniversary Tour on June 30; Sheryl Crow on July 7; Tony Bennett on Aug. 4; Darius Rucker on Aug. 5; Santana in his Transmogrify Tour on Aug. 11 and 12; Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons on Sept. 8; and Motown legend Smokey Robinson on Sept. 15. Ravinia will also present bigger-than-life pairings such as John Legend in his Darkness & Light Tour with special guest Gallant on June 10; Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald on June 27; the all-American The Beach Boys and The Temptations on July 2; OneRepublic with Fitz & the Tantrums in their Ravinia debut and James Arthur on July 14 and 15; Blondie and Garbage in its Ravinia debut on July 22; Judy Collins and Stephen Stills (he wrote “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” about her) on July 26; Chris Thile’s Punch Brothers and I’m With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan) on Aug. 14; Lifehouse and Switchfoot on Aug. 29; Michael Bolton, in his Ravinia debut, and Gladys Knight on Sept. 1; and Los Tigres del Norte and Natalia Jiménez on Sept. 17. The festival also brings together six hit-making bands in “I Love the ’90s: The Party Continues,” starring TLC, Biz Markie, All4-One, O-Town, and Snap!, all in their Ravinia debuts, along with Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath on Sept. 16. 



After presenting the Chicago premieres of the composer’s El Niño and The Gospel According to the Other Mary, Ravinia will celebrate the 70th birthday of Pulitzer Prize winner John Adams with concerts this season. 

• NAGANO DEBUT: One of the world’s most sought-after conductors of John Adams, the acclaimed Kent Nagano makes his long-awaited Ravinia debut on July 25, leading the CSO in Harmonielehre (The Book of Harmony). The program also features pianist Nikolai Lugansky performing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto. 

• SHAKER LOOPS: Ravinia favorites and 2017 Grammy nominees the Lincoln Trio will be the core players for Shaker Loops for string septet. The title reflects two concepts that Adams envisioned, concentric circles of water and the repetitive dance movements of the Shakers, both represented by oscillations on the strings in this 1978 piece. The program also includes the first installment in a multiyear cycle of Beethoven’s piano trios. (Part of the $10 BGH Classics series) 

• CHAMBER SYMPHONY/COMMON TONES IN SIMPLE TIME: Inspired by an odd mix of Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony score and frenetic cartoon energy, Adams’s 1992 Chamber Symphony will be performed by The Knights on Aug. 17 in the Martin Theatre. They will also perform the composer’s Common Tones in Simple Time, which toys with the listener’s perception of time and space. 

• ADAMS FOR TWO PIANOS: Twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton perform two pieces Adams composed for two pianos, Roll Over Beethoven (in its Midwest premiere) and Hallelujah Junction. The Aug. 24 program also features sets of variations for four-hands piano by Mendelssohn and Mozart, as well as further two-piano works in a rondo by Chopin and Debussy’s En blanc et noir. (Part of the $10 BGH Classics series) 

• ROAD MOVIES: Adams had motion in mind when he composed this melodic piece with a “swing” component, which will be performed by violinist Chad Hoopes and pianist David Fung on Aug. 30. The program also includes Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 20, Dvorak’s Romantic Pieces, and Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 7. (Part of the $10 BGH Classics series)

CHAMBER MUSIC/RECITALS Although celebrated for providing one of the finest outdoor music experiences, Ravinia also presents one of the world’s most expansive chamber music series, hosting more than 50 indoor concerts and recitals in its two halls, the exquisite 850-seat Martin Theatre and the state-of-the-art 450-seat Bennett Gordon Hall, home to the $10 BGH Classics series. Martin Theatre concerts are broadcast to the lawn; Bennett Gordon Hall concerts are not. Highlights include:

• RYAN SPEEDO GREEN: After getting off to a rough start in an abusive home and a stint in juvenile detention—as cinematically depicted in the New York Times bestseller Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music and Family—the bass-baritone turned his life around and is building an international career launched by the Metropolitan Opera National Council competition. He makes his Ravinia debut in a Martin Theatre recital on July 3. 

• QUARTET DUET: The Emerson String Quartet and the young Calidore String Quartet (which Gramophone magazine praises as “the epitome of confidence and finesse”) team up for a July 24 Martin Theatre concert built around Two Pieces for String Octet by Shostakovich. The program also features Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 (“Serioso”), the String Sextet from Capriccio by Richard Strauss, and Mendelssohn’s String Octet. 

• CATALOGUE OF THE BIRDS: Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, a close, personal friend of Olivier Messiaen, performs the composer’s complete Catalogue of the Birds, which re-creates the songs of nature’s winged music makers, on July 31 in the Martin Theatre. 

• WALDEN POND: The St. Charles Singers celebrate the bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau with the musical adaptation of his existential masterpiece Walden by Dominick Argento on Aug. 20. (Part of the $10 BGH Classics series) 

• DANISH STRING QUARTET: Amusingly casting themselves as “modern Vikings” whose weapon of choice is music, the acclaimed Scandinavian foursome make their Ravinia debut on Aug. 2 in the Martin Theatre with Haydn’s String Quartet No. 25, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 7, and Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, featuring pianist Juho Pohjonen. 

• A ‘KNIGHT’ WITH SIR JAMES AND LADY JEANNE GALWAY: In addition to their CSO concert, the flutists will put together an intimate recital in the Martin Theatre on Aug. 7. 

• MORRIS ROBINSON: The award-winning bass sings works by Schubert, Bernstein, Verdi, and Jerome Kern along with American spirituals on Aug. 9 in the Martin Theatre, accompanied by Kevin Murphy, director of the RSMI Program for Singers. 

• JONATHAN BISS BEETHOVEN CYCLE: After launching his multiyear complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas last year, one of the foremost authorities on the composer returns with two more installments. On Aug. 15, Biss will perform Piano Sonatas Nos. 15 (the “Pastoral”), 20, 3, 27, and 28. On Aug. 17, he will perform Piano Sonatas Nos. 19, 16, 7, 2, and 31. (Both concerts are part of the $10 BGH Classics series.) 

• SPIDER SALOFF TRIBUTE TO PEGGY LEE: One of the most popular cabaret singers Chicago has ever produced pays loving tribute to the sexy jazz singer in the one-woman show The Cool Heat of Peggy Lee on Aug. 25. (Part of the $10 BGH Classics series) 

• MAHLER FOR FOUR HANDS: Pianists Daniel Schlosberg and Inna Faliks perform a four-hand transcription of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony on Aug. 31. (Part of the $10 BGH Classics series) 

• COMPLETE BEETHOVEN STRING QUARTETS: Postponed from last season, the Pacifica Quartet performs all 16 of Beethoven’s string quartets over five different programs between Sept. 1 and 3. (All part of the $10 BGH Classics series) 

• SIMÓN BOLÍVAR STRING QUARTET: Principal musicians from Venezuela’s acclaimed orchestra perform Haydn’s String Quartet No. 29, Ginastera’s String Quartet No. 1, and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 9 on Sept. 4 (Part of the $10 BGH Classics series) 

• CONCERT DANCE INC.’S CHICAGO PROJECT: The performing arm of the Ruth Page Foundation does the impossible, literally dancing about architecture in The Chicago Project, which explores the kinesthetic and emotional bonds between the human body and the city’s world-famous architecture on Sept. 7 and 8. (Part of the $10 BGH Classics series) 


RAVINIA’S STEANS MUSIC INSTITUTE The best young musicians from around the world compete for about 60 coveted fellowships each year to Ravinia’s highly immersive and highly regarded summer conservatory to work individually and in ensembles with the superb faculty.  

• $10 BGH CLASSICS: Current RSMI participants will perform seven concerts on the $10 BGH Classics series. The mostly Chicago-based jazz musicians will showcase their ensemble, writing, and improvisational skills in the “Jazz Grandstand” on June 16; participants in the Program for Piano and Strings will perform works by Dvořák along with a selection of other composers on July 10, 17, and 19; and participants in the Program for Singers celebrate the music of Finland on Aug. 3, Schumann and Brahms on Aug. 10, and American music theater—including songs by John Adams, Leonard Bernstein, and William Bolcom—on Aug. 14. 

• MASTER CLASSES: Among the most intriguing events Ravinia offers is the series of free master classes at which the young professionals of RSMI expose themselves to critique and instruction in front of the festival’s discerning audiences. This summer the master classes will be led by bass player Linda May Han Oh—herself an RSMI alumna, who performs with Pat Metheny on the same evening’s Pavilion concert—on June 14; pianist Robert Levin on June 29; cellist Frans Helmerson on July 7; violinist Miriam Fried, director of the Program for Piano and Strings, on July 13; pianist Kevin Murphy, director of the program for Singers, on July 26; bass Morris Robinson on Aug. 7; and bass John Relyea on Aug. 9. 

• MATINEE CONCERTS: Participants in the institute give free matinee concerts all summer long at 2 p.m. in Bennett Gordon Hall. Piano and Strings concerts are set for June 30 and July 1, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 21, and 22, and participants in the Program for Singers will perform on July 30 and Aug. 12. 

• FACULTY PERFORMANCES: Violinists Miriam Fried and Mihaela Martin, violists Paul Biss and Atar Arad, cellist Frans Helmerson, and pianist Anton Nel, all RSMI faculty members, join forces for a recital of Mozart and Ravel on July 5 in the Martin Theatre; pianist Kevin Murphy and bass Morris Robinson unite in a recital of classical composers and American spirituals on Aug. 9 in the Martin Theatre; and pianist Jonathan Biss continues his multiyear traversal of the complete Beethoven sonatas on Aug. 15 and 17. 

• ALUMNI PERFORMANCES: World-class artists who have honed their craft at RSMI perform with the most accomplished ensembles—including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The Knights—in the most illustrious halls around the world, and Ravinia is always thrilled to welcome them back. This summer 19 alumni return on a variety of concerts, including bass player Linda May Han Oh with Pat Metheny on June 14; pianist Alon Goldstein and the Fine Arts Quartet with Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 23 and 24 on June 17; violinist Joseph Lin as first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet on June 20; Yuja Wang, who has become one of the most important pianists of her generation, making her Ravinia debut on July 11; cellist Paul Dwyer as a member of Apollo’s Fire, which makes its Ravinia debut in the Martin Theatre with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons on July 27; soprano Nadine Sierra performing solo parts in Haydn’s Creation with the CSO under the baton of James Levine on Aug. 8; and violinist InMo Yang joins the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra in its Ravinia debut on Aug. 22.

FIESTA RAVINIA The world’s most celebrated Norteño band, Los Tigres del Norte, and Spanish singer and Telemundo star Natalia Jiménez headline Ravinia’s second annual celebration of Mexican independence in a daylong festival on Sept. 17 that will include Latin cuisine throughout the park, Mariachi bands, children’s performances, family activities, dance lessons, and a Mexican-American art show. The park opens for the special festivities at 2 p.m. and the main-stage show begins at 6 p.m. 

KIDS CONCERT SERIES In addition to admitting all children and students through college for free to the lawn for every classical performance, Ravinia also presents a popular series of concerts intended specifically for young listeners. Tickets are specially priced at $10 to $15 for reserved seats or $5 on the lawn (where applicable). 

• CATSKILL PUPPET THEATER: The ensemble gives three performances of Sister Rain and Brother Sun, a nature-themed show featuring colorful set and costumes, plenty of audience interaction, and original songs, at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. on June 3 in Bennett Gordon Hall. 

• STARS OF THE PEKING ACROBATS: These international entertainers pack their shows with everything but gravity as they defy the senses with a dazzling array of colorful costumes, exotic music, and out-of-this-world stunts at the special family time of 7 p.m. on June 29. 

• OPERA FOR THE YOUNG: The company that reimagines classic opera for kids presents its adaptation of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love on Aug. 12. 

• JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT: The Performer’s School, which made its Ravinia debut last summer with a hit adaptation of Winnie the Pooh, returns with a new production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice classic in six performances: 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. Sept. 16 and 17 in Bennett Gordon Hall. 

• The Kids Concerts series will also feature the Magical Strings of Youth of the Betty Haag Academy of Music on June 3; the Ko-Thi Dance Company on June 17; Laurie Berkner on July 15; and the Joyous String Ensemble on July 29.

MISSION STATEMENT Ravinia is an internationally renowned, not-for-profit music festival that presents outstanding performances by the world’s greatest artists. Ravinia’s principal objectives are: 

• to present performances of a full range of classical music in its open-air Pavilion and enclosed recital halls, by the world’s greatest composers and musicians, along with a variety of other kinds of light classical, jazz, and popular music; 

• to maintain a beautiful park that is welcoming to all and attractive to families in which the music experience is enhanced by a beautiful environment and excellent dining opportunities;

• to enable gifted young performers to study under great teachers and perform in concert settings; and

 • to develop broader and more diverse audiences for classical music through education and outreach programs and by maintaining affordable ticket prices.



Ravinia is a not-for-profit that earns about half its annual operating revenue to achieve its mission through ticket sales. The rest comes from support of private donors, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Everyone involved at Ravinia would like to thank the following sponsors for their support: 

• Lead Reach*Teach*Play Sponsor: Allstate Insurance Company “As a longtime Ravinia supporter, Allstate is pleased to partner with the organization in its mission to enrich young lives through the Reach*Teach*Play programs,” said Don Civgin, President, Emerging Businesses. “Because Allstate recognizes that Good Starts YoungSM, we applaud Ravinia’s commitment to education and public outreach with their focus on Chicago’s children.” 

• Featured Sponsors: Audrey L. Weaver, in Loving Memory of Michael D. Vogan; BMO Harris Bank; The Dancing Skies Foundation; Discover, Official Card; Exelon; Hyundai, Official Vehicle Sponsor; In Memory of Howard A. Stotler; In Memory of Keene H. Addington II; McCormick Foundation; Midtown Athletic Club, Official Club; Negaunee Foundation; Terlato Wines, Official Wine Sponsor; United Airlines, Official Airline; Wintrust, Chair Rental Sponsor 

• Season Sponsors: The Avrum Gray Family, in Memory of Joyce Gray; Beam Suntory; Conagra Brands; Ernst & Young LLP; Fortune Brands Home & Security; Harriet Bernbaum, in Memory of Keren-Or Bernbaum and Harry H. Bernbaum; Holly and John Madigan; Illinois Tool Works; In Honor of Sandra K. Crown; Kirkland & Ellis; Marcus Lemonis LLC; PICNICLIGHTS; PNC Bank; RBC Wealth Management; Steinway Piano Gallery of Northbrook, Official Piano Sponsor; Xfinity, WiFi Sponsor 

• Program Sponsors: AbbVie; ABN AMRO Clearing; Aon; Baxter International Inc.; Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Consilio; Deloitte LLP; The Fremont Foundation; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Jenner & Block; Joan and Bob Feitler; J.P. Morgan Chase; Kerrygold; KPMG LLP; Latham and Watkins LLP; Lifeway Foods; Lori Ann Komisar and Morris Silverman; Mayer Brown LLP; Megan P. and John L. Anderson; Mesirow Financial; Michael A. Sachs and Family; Perkins Coie LLP; Reed Smith LLP; Sidley Austin LLP; Stella Artois and Goose Island Beer Company, Official Craft and Import Beer Sponsor; Testa Produce 

• Sponsors: Barbara and Jim Herst; The Creation Consortium; Diana and Bruce Rauner; The Family of James and Roslyn Marks; Jo and Newt Minow; Leslie Berger and Paul Williams; The Mancini Consortium; Nancy Zadek; Ravinia Associates Board; Ravinia Women’s Board; Sue and Tom Pick; The Tchaikovsky Consortium; Winnie and Bob Crawford



• Location: Ravinia is located at Lake Cook and Green Bay Roads in Highland Park, about 20 minutes north of Chicago. The Metra Union Pacific North line stops right at Ravinia’s main entrance. On-site parking is limited, so Ravinia runs a free, handicap-accessible bus service to and from remote lots, mostly along the railroad line. Parking on residential streets is prohibited by City ordinance, and violators will be ticketed by local police. 

• Drop-offs: Personal cars, driver services (such as Uber), and taxis may not drop guests off on residential streets. The general drop-off points are the Braeside Metra Station and the main (west) gate. Local police will ticket violators. 

• Secondary Market: Ticket buyers should be certain to obtain tickets through Ravinia is not affiliated with any secondary-market ticket sellers and cannot be held responsible for fraudulent tickets. Tickets for some shows will sell out to donors prior to public sales. The best way to obtain tickets to the summer’s hottest shows is to become a financial supporter of the not-for-profit festival. 

• No Smoking: Smoking of any type, including “vaping” and use of electronic cigarettes, is prohibited on Ravinia’s grounds and on Highland Park streets. There are designated smoking areas in Ravinia parking lots. 

• Security: Guns, explosives, and other weapons are strictly prohibited at Ravinia. Guests will be subject to bag search and a “wanding” of their person upon entrance and reentrance both to the park and to the Pavilion. Those refusing cooperation will not be allowed to enter. 

• Weather: Ravinia concerts go on rain or shine. Should a concert be canceled due to severe weather in the area, Ravinia will make every effort to contact ticket buyers. Guests can monitor local Highland Park weather through the National Weather Service (ZIP code is 60035). 

• Box Office: Tickets for these events and the rest of the summer 2017 lineup may be requested by Ravinia donors at the Affiliate level and above beginning March 22, and the Friend level on April 27. Bravo- and Encore-level donors can begin requesting lawn tickets on May 2. General public ticket sales begin at 5 a.m. on May 9, at The Ravinia Box Office phone lines will open for orders on May 10 at 847-266-5100. For more information, please visit

• ALL ARTISTS, PRICES, AND PROGRAMS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Refunds are not given unless a concert is canceled in its entirety.


Last modified on Friday, 14 April 2017 13:23



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