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Ravinia Music Festival announces 2020 season

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HIGHLAND PARK, IL — Welz Kauffman today announced his 20th and final season as President and CEO of the country's oldest and most programmatically diverse music festival.

The 2020 season boasts more than 120 events from May 30 through September 15, including the annual summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with MacArthur "Genius" Marin Alsop stepping into the role of Chief Conductor and Curator, a position created specifically for her.

This summer will also bring 35 artist debuts, including Wayne Marshall, Teddy Abrams and My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, Ziggy Marley, six-time Latin Grammy winners Jesse & Joy, and Dispatch. Repertoire features 24 festival premieres, including Ravinia's co-commission of Paola Prestini's Hindsight for Piano and Orchestra as part of a summer-long celebration of the talents and achievements of women who have paved the way, as well as the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote. Ravinia will also celebrate birthday milestones of Christoph Eschenbach, Itzhak Perlman, Bob Marley, Misha Dichter, Isaac Stern, Clara Schumann, and Beethoven.

"With a different program almost every day, Ravinia prides itself on presenting something for everyone, and nowhere is this more evident than in our CSO residency, which boasts an appealing variety of options for music lovers of every walk of life," said Kauffman, who programs all of Ravinia's concerts. "We're proud to welcome the world's finest artists to demonstrate once again that this music is not just timeless, but also borderless, genderless, ageless, and eminently approachable in our casual, outdoor setting. Marin Alsop is at the top of that list of artists who have made the Ravinia experience so appealing, and we're thrilled to welcome her back in this expanded role."

Tickets are available to donors as early as March 17. Tickets will go on sale to the public on April 28 for June and July concerts and April 29 for August and September concerts, exclusively at .


Critically acclaimed and charismatic conductor Marin Alsop has agreed to a two-year contract to lead Ravinia as Chief Conductor and Curator, a new title created for Alsop. The Chief Conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony, Honorary Conductor of the Sao Paolo State Symphony, and Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Alsop has earned myriad honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the prestigious Association of British Orchestras Award. Throughout the Beethoven anniversary year, she will lead a "Global Ode to Joy," conducting 10 orchestras on six continents in reimagined settings of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with local color influencing the work, including a new translation by Baltimore rapper Wordsmith. She is very involved in music education and funding it, using the same El Sistema—based method that Ravinia uses to create student orchestras through its Reach Teach Play programs. Alsop, the final and only female protege of Leonard Bernstein, was appointed in 2018 to curate Ravinia's multi-season celebration of Bernstein. As a result of her resounding success, that role has been expanded to help guide Ravinia's musical future in 2020, which marks the final season with Kauffman at the helm of the festival.

"I've been involved in some extraordinary experiences at Ravinia and feel a real connection to the audiences, trustees, Women's Board, and staff, and, of course, there's nothing like standing in front of the inimitable Chicago Symphony Orchestra," Alsop said. "I'm certain this appointment promises even more extraordinary experiences to come."

Kauffman and Alsop share a long history. He was the first to book her to conduct the New York Philharmonic in 1999 and introduced her to Chicago audiences at Ravinia between 2002 and 2005 when she led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in works by Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, and Corigliano, as well as excerpts from John Adams's Nixon in China.Since then, she has frequently led the CSO at Symphony Center downtown. Collaborating with Kauffman over the past two years, she has programmed a collection of intimate and large-scale Bernstein concerts that have proven popular with audiences and critics, particularly the rarely performed music theater work Mass, which was performed in both 2018 and 2019 and filmed live at Ravinia to air nationally on the PBS series Great Performances this spring.

Alsop will lead five CSO concerts at Ravinia in 2020, including the July 10 opening night of the residency. In addition to concerts highlighted in subsequent sections, these dates include:

All-Rachmaninoff Evening: Alsop leads some of Rachmaninoff's most beloved works, including his Vocalise for orchestra, Piano Concerto No. 3, and Symphonic Dances. ( July 11 )

Osorio's Paganini Rhapsody: Pianist Jorge Federico Osorio performs Rachmaninoff's "Paganini Variations" on a program that also includes the Haydn Variations by Brahms and Elgar's "Enigma" Variations, the composer's celebrated musical sketchbook of his friends, conducted by Alsop. ( July 17 )


More than a decade ago, Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman assembled members of Ravinia's boards and staff to explore ways that the festival—already a great place to discover classical music because of its low prices and casual atmosphere—might bring new listeners to this timeless music. That's when he planted the seeds of an "experience center" where guests who had come to Ravinia for non-classical performances could "bump into" symphonic repertoire and its place in modern society. That longtime dream becomes a reality this summer with the opening of the RaviniaMusicBox.

"There are so many reasons for me to be both sentimental and proud as I head into my final year with the festival, but at the top of that list sits this magical opportunity to connect the passion for music—a passion that I and the Ravinia Family share with the great Leonard Bernstein—to the audiences of tomorrow," Kauffman said.

The RaviniaMusicBox opens this summer with two major Bernstein installations, including Bernstein's Answer, a wrap-around, 4K film experience that traces the power of music as a social force as seen through the prism of the great American composer. While it may look like an average theater at first glance, the RaviniaMusicBox experience is amplified by the room's ability to completely transform its structure. The film and 65-seat theater, designed as a cohesive unit by BRC—the company behind similar projects at the Kennedy Space Center, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Lincoln Library and Museum—features Bobby McFerrin as a guide into Bernstein's world when a skeptical girl, serving as the audience proxy, asks about the relevance of classical music. The theater's drapes and pillars disappear, transforming the entire room into a "magic box" with more than 200 degrees of 4K projection and immersive sound. BRC transports the audience seamlessly into the world of Leonard Bernstein by using large, high-definition theatrical screens with more than 28 million pixels and state-of-the-art hologram-like projections. McFerrin, who studied conducting with Bernstein, sets the stage for the experience with a pre-show experience in which he swaps stories with second-generation artist Jamie Bernstein, author of Famous Father Girl, about her experiences growing up with such an influential and involved father.

The building is also home to the Ravinia Associates Board Gallery, presenting the Midwest premiere of Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music, the first large-scale exhibition to illustrate the legend's life, faith, and activism. On display will be such exhibits as Bernstein's annotated copy of Romeo and Juliet, which he used in creating West Side Story, and the piano where he composed much of his music. Ravinia previewed the gallery space last year with a completely different Bernstein exhibit on loan from the Grammy Museum. Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music is orchestrated by the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

The RaviniaMusicBox will be open on all Pavilion nights, free of charge to concert ticketholders. Free tickets to the timed experience will be available onsite. Bernstein's Answer takes about 15 minutes, after which guests exit into the gallery space, where they can pace themselves through the exhibit. ( A technology and media information sheet can be found here. )


Ravinia continues its multi-season celebration of Leonard Bernstein in his many roles as conductor, composer, pianist, activist, mentor, and "America's Music Teacher."

"We've been happily eager to present such an extraordinary array of famous and not-so-famous Leonard Bernstein compositions over the past two seasons, but we knew we needed to save A White House Cantata for the 2020 election year; the timing is perfect," Kauffman said.

Anniversaries with Jamie Bernstein: Throughout his life, Bernstein delighted his friends and colleagues with short piano pieces just for them, titled Anniversaries. His daughter Jamie Bernstein has collected these works into a multimedia concert that she will host. ( July 27/BGH )

A White House Cantata: Bernstein's best moments—running the gamut from blues ballads and torch songs to calypso music and marches, as well as the often-performed "Take Care of This House"—from his collaboration with the brilliant lyricist Alan Jay Lerner, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, were distilled into this 90-minute concert adaption. This Chicago premiere will be the first performance of the work for Ravinia and the CSO. Lyric Opera's Dead Man Walking star, Ravinia favorite Patricia Racette, who won raves for her performance in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti last summer after starring here as Tosca, Salome, and Madama Butterfly, leads the cast as a number of First Ladies throughout history. Baritone Rod Gilfry, who starred in Ravinia's The Most Happy Fella and Camelot, co-stars as the succession of Presidents. Wayne Marshall, a Bernstein expert who conducted the piece in Europe, makes his Ravinia debut as conductor. Gary Griffin directs. The Apollo Chorus of Chicago, which celebrates its sesquicentennial in 2022, is featured along with the cast of eight vocal soloists, including soprano Lauren Michelle. ( July 30 )

Shostakovich and Slava!: Alsop conducts a program that celebrates the Russian composers who influenced Bernstein, featuring Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7, the "Leningrad" Symphony. The Chicago Tribune redubbed it the "Lennygrad" Symphony after Bernstein conducted the CSO in a "euphoric" performance in 1988. The program also features Slava!, the overture Bernstein composed for his friend Rostropovich's first season leading the National Symphony Orchestra in 1977, and Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 performed by Midori. The Prokofiev concerto has long been associated with Isaac Stern, who, like his contemporary Leonard Bernstein, was an activist and advocate, credited with saving Carnegie Hall from the wrecking ball. Stern's own centennial is celebrated in 2020. ( July 10 )

Mass on Great Performances: Last summer's highly acclaimed command performance ofBernstein's rarely performed music theater work, commissioned in 1971 by Jacqueline Kennedy for the opening of the Kennedy Center, was filmed for national television. It will air as an episode of Great Performances at 8 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 15, on WTTW Channel 11. Alsop conducted more than 200 artists on stage, including the CSO and Tony-winner Paulo Szot in the lead role. Ravinia will host a live screening of the television premiere that will be free and open to the public in Bennett Gordon Hall. Popcorn and other movie snacks will be served. The evening begins with a 7:30 p.m. panel discussion with Kauffman, who booked the Ravinia and CSO premiere of Mass; Josephine Lee, who conducted the Chicago Children's Choir and Vocality for the work; and Joshua Chodoroff, who conducted the Highland Park High School Marching Band's appearance in the concert. The panel discussion will be moderated by George Preston, vice president and general manager of classical radio station WFMT.


To mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the U.S. Constitution's 19th Amendment, assuring American women's right to vote, Ravinia will celebrate the talents and cultural achievements of women who have paved the way.

Clara Schumann at 200: The bicentennial of German pianist, composer, and mother of eight Clara Schumann—whose own piano career spanned six decades—is celebrated by pianist Lara Downes. Schumann's works on the program include Valses romantiques; Three Romances, Op. 11; Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann; and the Ballade, Nocturne, and Polonaise from Soirees musicales. Downes also essays the works of other strong women composers, including Clarice Assad, Florence Price, Paola Prestini, Georgia Stitt, and Lita Grier. ( June 18/BGH )

Legendary Women's Voices: The year's most-buzzed-about singer/actress, Cynthia Erivois just an Oscar short of becoming the youngest EGOT recipient, and her new film, Harriet, nearly brought that Academy Award. The scintillating star of Broadway's revival of The Color Purple and the big screen's Widows and Bad Times at the El Royale is also portraying Aretha Franklin on television's Genius in the spring, and a few short months later she makes her concurrent Ravinia and CSO debuts with a program titled Legendary Women's Voices, saluting the strong role models that have inspired generations of singers. This gala benefit evening, hosted by Ravinia's Women's Board, is the only concert fundraiser supporting the not-for-profit music festival and its Reach Teach Play education programs. ( July 12 )

Voices of Light: Richard Einhorn's 1994 oratorio, inspired by Carl Dreyer's groundbreaking The Passion of Joan of Arc, will be performed live in its CSO and Ravinia premieres as the silent film is shown on video screens in the Pavilion and on the Lawn. The libretto, based on the writings of ancient mystics, includes the charges made by St. Joan's accusers. Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920, the year American women won the right to vote. The work will be conducted by Alsop, who counts it among her signature pieces. ( July 16 )

Hindsight: Paola Prestini's new piano concerto, co-commissioned by Ravinia, plays with the fact the amendment's centennial occurs in the year 2020 and the saying that hindsight is 20/20, taking a look back at women who have led the way over the past 100 years. Downes, who has delighted audiences of Ravinia's BGH Classics series, makes her CSO debut with Hindsight, which was written for her, as well as the Piano Concerto by Florence Price, the first widely recognized African American woman composer, who was championed by the Chicago-based Frederick Stock and the CSO. The evening's conductor, Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra Teddy Abrams, will also lead the Midwest premiere of a collection of songs called The Order of Nature, which he composed and arranged with the evening's vocalist, Louisville's own Jim James, the frontman singer/guitarist of the rock band My Morning Jacket. ( July 25 )

Still I Rise: Perhaps one of the strongest women's voices of modern literature is Maya Angelou's, and her "Still I Rise" gets its Ravinia premiere poetry reading on concert devised by RSMI alumna mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung. The program, a collaboration with pianist Kevin Murphy, Director of RSMI's Program for Singers, also includes Strauss's Four Last Songs and collections by Beethoven, Mahler, and Bridge interspersed with excerpts from the poetry of Shakespeare and Blake. ( Aug. 6/Martin Theatre )


Ravinia's Music Director from 1994 through 2003 and current Chief Conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Christoph Eschenbach returns to celebrate his milestone birthday with three concerts, leading works with which he is widely associated.

Symphonie fantastique: Eschenbach conducts one of his favorite works, Berlioz's groundbreaking five-movement symphony, which he has recorded and toured worldwide. The program also features Khachaturian's Flute Concerto performed by Eschenbach protege Stathis Karapanos in his CSO debut. ( Aug. 7 )

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony: Eschenbach returns to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Beethoven's massive Symphony No. 9, with Erin Wall taking the soprano solo in the glorious "Ode to Joy" movement alongside mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, tenor Paul Appleby—both of whom are alumni of RSMI—and baritone Matthias Goerne. The program also includes Mikis Theodorakis's Zorbas Suite, arranged by Achilleas Wastor and flute soloist Stathis Karapanos. ( Aug. 8 )

Mahler Symphony No. 1: Eschenbach essays Mahler's First Symphony on a classic Viennese program that includes William Hagen playing Korngold's Violin Concerto in his CSO debut. ( Aug. 9 )


One of the most beloved musicians in all of classical music celebrates his diamond jubilee with three Ravinia concerts, including two with the CSO. Not only are we celebrating Itzhak Perlman's 75th birthday, but also his 50th Ravinia appearance as violinist.

An Evening with Itzhak Perlman: With piano accompaniment, Perlman, the biggest name in classical music, shares his life stories and musical achievements in a multimedia celebration that includes such video clips as the Ed Sullivan Show appearance that launched his stardom. ( Aug. 13 )

Perlman's 50th Ravinia Concert: Perlman makes his 50th Ravinia appearance as violin soloist, having made his Ravinia and CSO debuts in 1966. Under conductor Edo de Waart, the program includes Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, Dvorak's Seventh Symphony, and John Adams's The Chairman Dances, which the composer described as an "outtake" from his opera Nixon in China. ( Aug. 15 )

Tchaikovsky Spectacular: In what's become an annual tradition, Perlman returns to conduct the CSO in the most popular classical concert of any season, Ravinia's Tchaikovsky Spectacular. In addition to the bone-rattling 1812 Overture with live cannon fire, the all-Tchaikovsky evening features Symphony No. 5 and Piano Concerto No. 1 performed by Ravinia favorite Garrick Ohlsson. ( Aug. 16 )


Ravinia will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of the architect of Romantic music with performances in all three concert venues, including monumental CSO concerts, such as the aforementioned Ninth Symphony.

Lincoln Trio's "Archduke": One of Ravinia audiences' favorite ensembles, the Lincoln Trio performs Beethoven's Piano Trio No. 7 ( "Archduke" ) on a program that also includes works by Ernst Bacon. ( June 19/BGH )

Feltsman's "Eroica": Ravinia fan-favorite pianist Vladimir Feltsman performs Beethoven's technically difficult Thirty-two C-minor Variations and the "Eroica" Variations, which features a favorite original theme that Beethoven often employed. The program also features Schubert's second set of Impromptus. ( July 3/Martin Theatre )

Bavouzet's "Waldstein": One of Sir Georg Solti's final talent discoveries, pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet makes his Ravinia debut with Beethoven's essential Piano Sonata No. 21 ( "Waldstein" ) on a mostly French program that also offers Boulez's Notations, Ravel's Miroirs, Debussy's L'isle Joyeuse, and Clementi's Piano Sonata in A Major, Op. 50, No. 1. ( July 20/Martin Theatre )

"Tempest" and "Hunt" Sonatas: "Prodigiously gifted" ( New York Times ) 25-year-old pianist/composer Conrad Tao returns to Ravinia to perform Beethoven's Piano Sonatas No. 17 ( "Tempest" ) and No. 18 ( "Hunt" ) on a program that also includes Chopin's Preludes Nos. 15 and 16, Jason Eckardt's Echoes' White Veil, and the pianist's own all I had forgotten or tried to. ( July 28/Martin Theatre )

Piano Concerto No. 3: Daniil Trifonov performs Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3. In his CSO debut, Mostly Mozart conductor Louis Langree also leads the Brahms Symphony No. 4. ( July 29 )

Triple Concerto: Michael Stern—son of Isaac Stern, the supremely talented violinist and music activist who would be celebrating his centennial this summer—conducts the superstar teaming of violinist Joshua Bell, RSMI alumnus pianist Jeremy Denk, and cellist Steven Isserlis in Beethoven's "Triple" Concerto along with works for each soloist with the orchestra. ( Aug. 1 )

Zukerman Trio: One of the most admired names in classical music, violinist Pinchas Zukerman returns with his Zukerman Trio to perform Beethoven's "Kakadu" Variations and Piano Trio No. 5 ( "Ghost" ) on a program that also includes the beloved Brahms Piano Trio No. 2. ( Aug. 10/Martin Theatre )

Complete Cello Sonatas: Beethoven is considered the first great composer of cello sonatas. Accompanied by pianist Alexei Grynyuk, Leonard Elschenbroich performs all five of the composer's cello sonatas in a single evening. ( Aug. 24/BGH )

Complete String Quartets: The highly acclaimed Pacifica Quartet takes on all 16 of Beethoven's string quartets in five concerts over three days. ( Aug. 28—30/BGH )

Misha Dichter—75 Squared: Piano great Misha Dichter celebrates his 75th birthday with his 75th concert at Ravinia in a program that boasts Beethoven's Op. 126 Bagatelles and Piano Sonata No. 32, along with Schubert's final Piano Sonata. ( Sept. 14/BGH ). He returns the next night with his wife, Cipa Dichter, for an evening of piano duos, including five Hungarian Dances by Brahms, eight Slavonic Dances by Dvorak, and Grainger's Fantasy on Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. ( Sept. 15/BGH )


The Lion King: Disney's 2019 live-action, photorealistic retelling of its classic 1994 animated reinterpretation of Hamlet, which also became one of the most successful shows in Broadway history, features the voices of Donald Glover, Beyonce, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones, and Chicago's own Chance the Rapper. The Jon Favreau film features a score by Hans Zimmer and songs from the 1994 film such as "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" by Elton John and Tim Rice, as well as new songs by Beyonce and others. ( July 22 )


Ravinia's 850-seat Martin Theatre—the only building dating back to the festival's 1904 creation—is considered one of the best places in the country to experience recitals and chamber music. Martin Theatre concerts are broadcast to the Lawn.

Bach's Complete Brandenburg Concertos: Bach's collection of six concertos—one of the cornerstones of Baroque music—are performed in one evening by Apollo's Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra that "brings joyous spontaneity to its performances" ( The New Yorker ). The program features the group's conductor Jeannette Sorrell on harpsichord. ( July 7 )

Och & Oy!—A Considered Cabaret: Stage and screen star Alan Cumming ( Cabaret, The Good Wife ) teams up with NPR's All Things Considered host and frequent Pink Martini collaborator Ari Shapiro for an evening of songs, stories and lots of laughs in a program that Cumming describes as fresh and ever-changing. ( July 8 )

The Sarod Trilogy: Amjad Ali Khan is billed as the "Master of the Sarod" and described in the media as "god-like" when he plays the string instrument, which, along with the sitar, is crucial to Hindustani music. He is joined by fellow sarod titans Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash in a unique concert adventure. ( July 9 )

Piano Prodigy Alexander Malofeev: Russian wunderkind Alexander Malofeev—who conductor Valery Gergiev described as "a considerable musician … impetuous and highly dynamic"—makes his Ravinia debut with a mostly Russian evening, featuring Rachmaninoff's Piano Sonata No. 2, Tchaikovsky's Dumka: Russian Rustic Scene, and Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 7. The program also includes the Op. 119 Piano Pieces by Brahms and the Symphonic Etudes by Schumann. ( July 15 )

Mames Babegenush: After making a splash last year with their Ravinia debut, the Danish Klezmer band returns with a new program. ( July 21 )

Beatrice Rana Debut: The Van Cliburn International medalist brings her "ferocious technique distinguished by her musical intelligence" ( New York Times ) to Ravinia with a program that features Bach's Italian Concerto, Schumann's Concerto Without Orchestra( 1936 ), Book 3 of Albeniz's Iberia, and Stravinsky's Three Movements from Petrushka. ( Aug. 3 )

Farewell Tribute to Welz Kauffman: The Ravinia Women's Board presents an evening of music, film clips, and anecdotes to send off Welz Kauffman in style in his final summer after 20 years as chief executive and programmer of Ravinia. On a program that promises a fair share of surprises, friends and colleagues—including pianists Kevin Cole, Josephine Lee, and Marta Aznavoorian as well as singers Sylvia McNair and Michelle Areyzaga—perform music connected to Kauffman's successful tenure. Repertoire will include Bach's Concerto in D Minor for Three Pianos and Rachmaninoff's Two Pieces for Six-hands Piano. ( Aug. 23 )


Ravinia's most intimate space, the 450-seat, state-of-the-art Bennett Gordon Hall, is home to Ravinia's Steans Music Institute, an on-campus summer conservatory featuring 60 of the best young, professional musicians from around the world honing their skills beside Ravinia's concert headliners. In addition to their intensive studies, these select fellows also perform throughout the summer.

Third Annual Bridges Competition: RSMI alumni perform the winning compositions in Ravinia's third annual Bridges Competition for classical/jazz fusion composers. The program will also include last year's winning entry, Staircase by Michael Orenstein of Berkeley, CA. Winners are chosen by RSMI faculty leaders Billy Childs and Rufus Reid. ( June 5/BGH )

RSMI Jazz Grandstand: Participants in the Program for Jazz at the on-campus summer conservatory RSMI showcase their talents in an evening of original charts, created during their time at Ravinia specifically for this program. ( June 12/BGH )

Fried and Friends: Regarded as one of the premier teachers in the world, concert violinist and longtime Director of RSMI's Piano & Strings program, Miriam Fried has assembled her fellow faculty members—violinist Pamela Frank, violists Atar Arad and Paul Biss, cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, and pianist Gilbert Kalish—into a powerful ensemble for this program of Mozart's Piano Quartet No. 2 and String Quintet No. 4 plus Dvorak's Terzetto for Two Violins and Viola. ( June 25/Martin Theatre )

RSMI Rolls with Beethoven: Artists in RSMI's Piano & Strings program take on the architect of Romantic music in a series of concerts. ( July 14, 21, 23/BGH )

Poulenc and other Parisians: Vocal coach and host Graham Johnson leads singers from RSMI in an evening of Poulenc and more French composers. ( Aug. 4/BGH )

From Russia with Love: The many voices of RSMI's Singers program give a tour of the songs that shaped Russian culture. ( Aug. 14/BGH )

The American Songbook: Renowned jazz, classical and Broadway arranger and bandleader Lee Musiker—who has worked with everyone from Tony Bennett to Kathleen Battle—hosts the evening as he plays piano for RSMI singers performing the great songs everyone knows. ( Aug. 20/BGH )

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 before a live audience. This summer's master classes will be led by jazz pianist Billy Childs and bassist Rufus Reid, June 10; cellist Christoph Richter, July 1; and RSMI alumna and mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, Aug. 7.

Free Matinee Concerts: Participants in RSMI give free matinee concerts all summer long. Repertoire will be set based on the pieces the fellows explore with their mentors over the summer. Piano & Strings concerts are set for July 3, 8, 9, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24, and 25; the Program for Singers will perform "Beethoven to Bel Canto" on Aug. 9, a collection of art songs on Aug. 12, and Arias and Barcarolles with Kauffman on piano and RSMI alumna Areyzaga, Aug. 17.


A majority of Pavilion seats for all CSO concerts, with the exception of the gala, cost just $25 each when purchased as a 10-punch pass, or $35 individually. Lawn tickets for most classical concerts are just $10 each, and Lawn admission for all classical concerts—CSO, special events, recitals, and chamber music—is free for children and students through college. The 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 $9 for a reserved seat when purchased as a 10-punch pass, or $12 individually. Tickets to the new RaviniaMusicBox will be free to all concertgoers on Pavilion nights on a first-come, first-served basis.


Ravinia presents an extraordinary mix of genres from jazz to classic rock to country. Artists making their Ravinia debuts this year ( in date order ) include six-time Latin Grammy winners, the brother-and-sister pop duo Jesse & Joy, June 12; Musiq Soulchild opening for singer-actress Jill Scott, June 14; one of the earliest American Idol breakout stars, Ruben Studdard, singing the Luther Vandross songbook on a night headlined by the legendary Patti LaBelle, June 18; the hip-hop duo Black Violin on their "Impossible" Tour with Soul Children of Chicago and Blind Boys of Alabama, June 20; Tonic opening a night with Collective Soul and Better Than Ezra, June 24; Ani DiFranco splitting a bill with the Indigo Girls, June 26; a pair of Ravinia newcomers in King Crimson and The Zappa Band, July 5; singer/actor and multi-instrumentalist Brian McKnight and Macy Gray, July 14; the outsized independent band Dispatch, July 26; Ziggy Marley celebrating his legendary father, Bob Marley, in a 75th birthday tribute, Aug. 12; and The Australian Pink Floyd Show in its "All You Can Feel" Tour, featuring songs from Meddle, The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon and other classic albums, Sept. 2.

Returning favorites ( in date order ) are Sheryl Crow, June 13; Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie co-headlining at Ravinia for the first time, June 17; Andrew Bird with Calexico and Iron & Wine, June 19; Classic Albums Live performing The Eagles' Hotel Californiaand other hits, June 21; the Steve Miller Band and Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives with Gary Mule Deer, June 27; The Roots sharing a bill with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, June 28; Creedence Clearwater founder John Fogertyrecounting "My 50-Year Trip," July 1; Carrie Underwood in two guises, with her band on July 18 and with orchestra, July 19; jazz pianist/composer Chick Corea with special guest star singer/actor Rubin Blades, July 24; a cavalcade of hitmakers from the 1980s in "Lost '80s Live," July 31; Willie Nelson & Family, Aug. 2; cabaret king and Gershwin acolyte Michael Feinstein and one of the all-time great Broadway belters, Betty Buckley, Aug. 14; chart-toppers Train over three nights, Aug. 21, 22, and the just-added Aug. 23; Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry, Aug. 23; singer/songwriter John Hiatt and the Jerry Douglas Band, Aug. 25; Diana Ross, Aug. 26; Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo leading the Gipsy Kings, Aug. 27; Tony Bennett with special guest Antonia Bennett, Aug. 29; the incomparable Gladys Knight headlining an evening also featuring Broadway's Tony-winning Aida, Heather Headley, Aug. 30; John Legend in his "Bigger Love" tour with special guest The War and Treaty, Sept. 6; Ms. Lauryn Hill, Sept. 11; The Beach Boys, Sept. 12; and Rodrigo y Gabriela, headlining the annual Ravinia Fiesta daylong festival of Latin music, food, and culture, Sept. 13.


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. This year, the Kids Concerts series features Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players, Aug. 1; popular children's entertainer Laurie Berkner, Aug. 15; Opera for the Young with their fun-sized adaptation of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, Sept. 5; and the very popular The Performer's Schoolwith four performances of Disney's Frozen Jr., Sept. 12—13.


Ravinia Festival is a not-for-profit cultural institution that depends on the support of individual donors, foundations, and corporations. Ravinia is grateful to welcome back for a fourth year Allstate Insurance Company as its Lead Reach Teach Play Sponsor. Over 85,000 Chicagoland residents are served through Ravinia's Reach Teach Play programs each year, with the goal of making music accessible to all. The programs are designed to educate, foster diverse audience involvement, and provide the population with equitable access to live music experiences in their communities and at Ravinia.

Featured Sponsors: In memory of Keene H. Addington II; BMO; The Dancing Skies Foundation; Discover, Official Card; Hyundai, Official Vehicle; Midtown Athletic Clubs, Official Club; The Negaunee Foundation; Jennifer W. Steans and James P. Kastenholz; Terlato Wines, Official Wine Sponsor; United Airlines, Official Airline; Wintrust, Chair Rental Sponsor

Season Sponsors: In memory of Charles and Margery Barancik; Harriet Bernbaum, in memory of Keren-Or Bernbaum and Harry H. Bernbaum; Elizabeth Crown and Bill Wallace; In honor of Sandra K. Crown; Fortune Brands Home & Security; Illinois Arts Council Agency; ITW; Katten Muchin, Rosenman, LLP; Holly and John Madigan; PNC Bank; RBC Wealth Management; Virginia and Paul Uhlenhop; Nancy Zadek

Program Sponsors: AbbVie; Megan P. and John L. Anderson; Baxter International Inc.; Beam Suntory; In memory of Marshall Bennett; Deloitte LLP; Ernst & Young LLP; Fifth Third Bank; Christine and Stephen Fussell; Howard L. Gottlieb and Barbara G. Greis; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; The Hunter Family Foundation; Lori Ann Komisar and Morris Silverman; KPMG LLP; Latham and Watkins LLP; Mayer Brown LLP; Tera and Richard McBlaine; Northwestern Medicine; Perkins Coie LLP; Reed Smith LLP; Louella Sachs, in memory of Michael Sachs; Sidley Austin LLP; Stepan Company; Testa Produce, Inc; Linda and Craig Umans; Lynne and David B. Weinberg

Sponsors: Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The Beethoven 9 Consortium; The Bruning Foundation; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Winnie and Bob Crawford; The Fisher and Marks Families, in memory of James and Roslyn Marks; The Lion King Consortium; The Perlman Consortium; Sue and Tom Pick; Diana and Bruce Rauner; Ravinia Associates Board; Ravinia Women's Board; The Tchaikovsky Consortium.


—From a press release

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