Summer is on the way and the Grant Park Music Festival is ready

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Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 12:01pm

Summer in Chicago!  Yes, I know, it seems like a distant pipe dream as the winter continues to linger.  But we all know it’s on the way, and nothing reminds me of that more each year than the annual announcement of the Grant Park Music Festival summer season.  The Grant Park Music Festival is the nation’s only free, outdoor classical music series of its kind. Each summer, the Festival presents ten weeks of free classical concerts to all of Chicago at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Summertime in the city offers so many fantastic opportunities, but none (in my opinion) are better than these free concerts offered this summer from June 11 – August 16.  There is a large seating area near the stage, but for me the most extraordinary experiences have always been from the great lawn.  Pack a picnic, your favorite beverages (alcoholic and/or non), a blanket, some chairs, and find a few good friends.  Arrive early to grab your favorite spot, then spend a fantastic evening experiencing some extraordinary music.  All for free!

You can learn much more about the history of this amazing organization on their website.  What's most important today, during this seemingly-endless winter, is to know what treats they have in store for us this year.

Highlights of this coming season include:

  • A week long residency by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom, with a world premiere of his new concerto for orchestra commissioned to honor the 80th Season.
  • The world premiere of The Legend of the Northern Lights by Grammy Award-nominated Christopher Theofanidis, featuring awe-inspiring images by Emmy-nominated astronomer and visual artist Dr. Jose Francisco Salgado.
  • The return of Former Festival Principal Conductors Leonard Slatkin and Hugh Wolff
  • George Fenton conducts The Blue Planet in Concert, featuring his Grammy Award-winning score accompanied by breathtaking underwater scenes from the BBC/Discovery Channel series.
  • Opera superstars Christine Goerke, Jill Grove, Garrett Sorenson, and Shenyang join the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus for Janáček's powerful Glagolitic Mass.
  • Storm Large, of Pink Martini fame, gives a thrilling performance of Kurt Weill's sultry The Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Concert after concert of stunning masterpieces, including Holst's The Planets, Handel's Water Music, Ravel's Daphnis and Chloé, Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 2, and Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony.
  • Performances with the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus in the neighborhoods, part of the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks series.

For detailed information, visit the festival's website.

Look for me on the Great Lawn and join me for a celebratory glass of wine in a toast to one of Chicago’s best summertime events!

TAHensel's picture
Tommy Hensel
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