Thirty spectacular concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, including a week-long collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, led by conductor Marin Alsop; and a world premiere commission by American composer Michael Gandolfi
CHICAGO (January 13, 2016) — Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and Chorus Director Christopher Bell announce a rich array of programming for the Festival’s 2016 season, taking place June 15 – August 20 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park and venues throughout the city. The season includes an ambitious roster of Festival, regional, and world premieres; revivals of important classical works from the 20th century to present day; with guest artists of national and international renown, and collaborations with Chicago cultural organizations.
All concerts are free and most will take place on Wednesday and Friday evenings at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. (a complete schedule follows).
The Grant Park Music Festival is presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association with key support from the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. BMO Harris Bank is proud to be the season sponsor of the Festival for the third year.
- The world premiere of a new orchestral work specially commissioned for the Festival by American composer Michael Gandolfi, drawing inspiration from two new structures featured in Charles Jencks’ magnificent garden in Scotland, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation. To accompany the world premiere, Gandolfi will hold a week-long residency at the Festival. (Carlos Kalmar conducts, August 5 and 6)
- A week-long collaboration with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, featuring the renowned conductor and MacArthur Fellow, Marin Alsop, showcasing programming specially curated by Alsop for Festival audiences. On Wednesday, Alsop will conduct the Grant Park Orchestra and “genius grant recipient” cellist Alisa Weilerstein in Azul by Osvaldo Golijov, followed by the Illinois premiere of the multimedia work LIFE: A Journey Through Time, featuring imagery by acclaimed wildlife photographer Frans Lanting set to music by composer Philip Glass. On the weekend, Alsop and MacArthur fellow and jazz violinist Regina Carter explore the African American experience through music with works by Duke Ellington, on a program that is anchored by Dvorak’s New World Symphony. (July 20, 22 and 23)
- Choral masterworks, conducted by Carlos Kalmar, including the Midwest premiere of Bohuslav Martinu’s rarely performed 1955 oratorio The Epic of Gilgamesh (July 1 and 2), Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor (August 5 and 6) and Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust (August 19 and 20)
- An all-Tchaikovsky program including the Orchestral Suite No. 3 and Piano Concerto No. 1 with acclaimed international pianist Kirill Gerstein (Carlos Kalmar conducts, August 12 and 13)
- Festival favorite Storm Large performs her new program The Crazy Arc of Love, exploring the many facets of romance through classics from the Great American Songbook. (Carlos Kalmar conducts, June 22)
- A Cole Porter Celebration, led by Broadway conductor Kevin Stites with the Grant Park Chorus and guest artists Kathy Voytko, Karen Mason, Hugh Panaro and Ben Crawford from the Broadway stage (July 8 and 9)
- CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra, one of the nation’s premiere youth orchestras, joins the world-renowned, 110-voice National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS). Christopher Bell, NYCoS’ founder and Artistic Director, will conduct this annual Independence Day Salute, full of patriot favorites from the Armed Forces Salute to America the Beautiful, with a few Scottish folk songs on the roster. Presented by the Grant Park Music Festival; the Grant Park Orchestra will not perform on this night (Monday, July 4)
- The Festival will premiere modern/contemporary works by Aaron Jay Kernis (Whisper, Echo, A Cry) Christopher Rouse (Thunderstruck), James MacMillan (Britannia), and Carlisle Floyd (Of Mice and Men, Act I, featuring rising vocalists from Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center). The Festival will also reprise notable American works by Michael Torke (Book of Proverbs), Roy Harris (Symphony No. 3 in One Movement) and Walter Piston (Symphony No. 2), as well as Rimsky-Korsakov’s seldom performed Symphony No. 2
- The Festival debuts of pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, performing Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos (alongside returning guest artist Andrew von Oeyen); Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2; accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman and percussionists Jamey Haddad and Cyro Baptista in Golijov’s Azul; and cellist Christian Poltéra in Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1. The season will also feature the debuts of guest conductors Michal Nesterowicz (Artistic Director, Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife and newly appointed Principal Guest Conductor of Sinfonieorchester Basel), and Edwin Outwater (Music Director, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Ontario).
- Return engagements by violinist Rachel Barton Pine, performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G minor; violinist Christian Tetzlaff, performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor; pianist Stephen Hough, performing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; conductors Christoph Konig, leading Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 and Thomas Wilkins at the podium for Mendelssohn’s Italian
FESTIVAL CONNECT: MUSIC EDUCATION AND ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE
The Grant Park Music Festival renews its commitment this season to its comprehensive initiative aimed to increase music education and engagement opportunities for audiences of all ages. Working with the Chicago Park District and Mayor Emanuel’s Night Out in the Parks program, Festival Connect will continue to bring a focus to the neighborhoods with performances by the Grant Park Orchestra, the Grant Park Chorus, Project Inclusion and the Apprentice Chorale.
- PROJECT INCLUSION: The Festival partners with the Chicago Sinfonietta on Project Inclusion, a professional development program that guides young minority musicians in their career, with a goal of increasing diversity among orchestral ensembles. After a rigorous audition process, four string musicians will be selected in March to spend their summer rehearsing and performing with Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra. The Project Inclusion fellows will also perform at Chicago Park District sites throughout the summer.
- APPRENTICE CHORALE: The Festival’s Apprentice Chorale, led by Christopher Bell, provides advanced training and performance opportunities for pre-professional vocal students, offering students the opportunity to perform alongside the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus at the Pritzker Pavilion, and at locations throughout the city with the Project Inclusion The Apprentice Chorale is a collaboration with DePaul and Roosevelt Universities.
- GRANT PARK CHORUS: Christopher Bell and the Grant Park Chorus return to two of the city’s cultural hubs —the magnificent South Shore Cultural Center and the Columbus Park Refectory — with Shakespeare in the Park, a concert of a cappella choral songs and settings of The Bard’s verse. The program will be a featured event in Shakespeare 400 Chicago, the year-long city-wide celebration of William Shakespeare’s 400-year legacy in 2016,
- CLASSICAL CAMPERS: The Festival hosts Classical Campers, its popular half-day music immersion program for children ages 6-12, in collaboration with the Chicago Park District. Throughout the season, over 2,000 students from more than 30 different Chicago neighborhoods will learn about the instruments and sections of the orchestra with Festival educators and Project Inclusion fellows, take part in hands-on musical activities, and conclude their day with a visit to a Festival rehearsal and talkback with Grant Park Orchestra members. Classical Campers often provides children with their first exposure to a live classical music performance.
- PRE-CONCERT LECTURES: The Festival continues to provide educational experiences for people of all ages that encourage the audience to learn more about the music. The Festival’s popular pre-concert lectures series returns with guest lecturers sharing insights about the evening’s program. Lectures take place in Millennium Park’s Family Fun Tent, on the walkway to the west of the Pavilion, one hour before each concert.
- YOUNG ARTISTS SHOWCASE: Every Friday at 5:30 p.m. before the Grant Park Orchestra takes the stage, audiences are treated to concerts by students from local music schools and summer music programs at the front of the Great Lawn at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
- OPEN LUNCHTIME REHEARSALS: Orchestra and chorus rehearsals take place June 14—August 19, Tuesdays through Fridays typically between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Audiences are welcome to sit in the Pavilion Seating Bowl during rehearsals and Festival docents will talk about the week’s concerts during rehearsal breaks.
- BROADCAST: Several of this summer’s concerts will be broadcast on 98.7WFMT, Chicago’s classical and fine arts radio station, and also online at wfmt.com/streaming.
MEMBERSHIP AND GROUP SEATING INFORMATION
Memberships to the Grant Park Music Festival 2016 season are available beginning January 12 and include reserved access for every Festival concert, along with exclusive benefits like access to concert receptions and discounts on parking and restaurants. The Festival also offers packages with nine and 13 concerts that include reserved seats with complimentary exchange privileges. For the first time, the Festival will offer patrons the opportunity to choose their own eight or 12 concert series. Memberships begin at $169.
In addition, every Grant Park Music Festival concert has seats that are free and open to the public. Seats in the Seating Bowl and on the Great Lawn are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Priority access to reserved seats in the Pavilion is available for groups of ten or more. Exclusive seating on the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in the Choral Balcony is available for groups of 50 or more. Group seating begins at $15 per person.
For information about memberships and groups or to learn more about the Grant Park Music Festival, visit gpmf.org or call 312.742.7647. For additional information, visit the Grant Park Music Festival Facebook page or follow the Festival on Twitter @gpmf.
GRANT PARK MUSIC FESTIVAL
Acclaimed by critics and beloved by audiences, the Grant Park Music Festival is the nation’s only summer-long outdoor classical music series of its kind, with free seats available for every concert. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, located between Michigan and Columbus Avenues at Washington Street, is the official home of the Grant Park Music Festival.
The Grant Park Music Festival is led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar, along with Grant Park Chorus Director Christopher Bell, Grant Park Orchestral Association President and CEO Paul Winberg, and Board Chair Chuck Kierscht.
The Grant Park Music Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support from its 2016 sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Season Sponsor; Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, Official Hotel; Macy’s, Official Picnic Sponsor, and ComEd, Concert Sponsor; with additional support from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and The Walter E. Heller Foundation.
The Grant Park Music Festival participates in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Night Out in the Parks series. Night Out in the Parks is an initiative featuring more than 1,000 cultural activities in Chicago Park District locations citywide, in support of the City of Chicago’s Cultural Plan.
Carlos Kalmar has been Principal Conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival since 2000, and in 2011 was named Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Under Kalmar’s leadership, the Festival has become one of the world’s preeminent classical music festivals, and he has played a central role in shaping its artistic vision.
In addition to his role at the Grant Park Music Festival, Carlos Kalmar is the Music Director of the Oregon Symphony, a position he has held since 2003, and Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica de Radio Televisión Española in Madrid. He has served in artistic leadership roles for the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, the Opera House and Philharmonic Orchestra in Dessau, Germany and the Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna, while also traveling the world as a guest conductor appearing with some of the world’s most important orchestras. Kalmar has made six recordings with the Grant Park Orchestra.
Christopher Bell has served as Chorus Director of the Grant Park Chorus since 2001, and led the Chorus through its 50th anniversary in 2012 with a series of special events, including the release of its first ever a cappella recording entitled Songs of Smaller Creatures and other American Choral Works, available on Cedille Records.
In addition to working with the Grant Park Music Festival, Bell is the Chorus Master of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, and the Belfast Philharmonic Choir. Largely responsible for the formation of the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) in 1996, he has been its Artistic Director ever since. In 2012, Bell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow for his contributions to music in Scotland. He is the recipient of the 2013 Michael Korn Founders Award given by Chorus America, established in 1978 to honor an individual with a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art. In 2015, Bell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
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