Monday
Jun262017

The Speedo of Song: Ryan Speedo Green Races to Erase Preconceptions of Race


When Ryan Speedo Green was in fourth grade in southern Virginia, he was placed in a special education class for students with behavior problems. His teacher was Elizabeth Hughes, a petite woman with blonde wavy hair, a heart of gold, and a backbone of stainless steel. Green initiated their relationship by hurling his desk at her. Rather than reacting with expected censure, Hughes calmly told him that she could teach him as well sitting on the floor as anywhere else, and if he demonstrated an incentive to learn, she would restore the desk. He earned his desk back.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun262017

Passed to the Future: The Moody Blues Play Days in One Night in Celebration of their Golden Album


When it comes to rock’s all-time landmark albums, The Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed holds so many distinctions that it’s still being dissected, celebrated, and now performed for the very first time in its entirety 50 years later on a summer tour that swings through Ravinia on June 30. At face value, the iconic collection is stacked with the era-defining smashes “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon,” though it’s also became an archetype for the idea of a concept album. And perhaps equally amazing was the fact this masterpiece was recorded in a ridiculously short amount of time at the request of the band’s record label, Decca, a mostly classical company that, believe it or not, wanted the ever-evolving Moodies to simply provide a test “stereo recording” (which was brand-new in the musical marketplace).

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun262017

Whistler's Mother of Invention: Andrew Bird's Palette goes Beyond the Gamut


To be sure, reducing any artist to only one skill (or one passion or, heaven forbid, one gimmick) is unfair. It’s a particularly egregious sin when discussing a musician as smart and complex as Bird. A Chicago native and musical polyglot, he plays multiple instruments—his signature violin, plus guitar, mandolin, and glockenspiel—and he’s also well-versed in a wide range of genres, from classical to jazz, folk to pop, not unlike Ravinia, where he will play for the first time on July 23.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun212017

Trust Your Heart: Diana Krall flips the swtich on Turn Up the Quiet

Steeped deeply and nestled comfortably in the jazz tradition, Diana Krall is an elegant enigma. The lauded pianist-vocalist, who seemingly can’t help but strike a classy and graceful, yet playfully teasing persona, has creatively carved a unique career defined by meandering musically into a variety of genres with ease and originality.
She follows a sonic path that knows no bounds.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun202017

Rewind: June 28, 2012


There are goodbyes, and then there are farewells. When Glen Campbell embarked upon his career-concluding tour in 2012, which included a stop at Ravinia on June 28, there was a sense that he really wanted to do his fare well for his generations of fans, and also for himself.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun162017

Don't Blink: Unintimidated, Lila Downs Casts Danger to the Wind


Lila Downs sings in many languages, but her listeners need only be fluent in the language of the heart to understand her.

You can hear it throughout her new release, Salón Lágrimas y Deseo (Room of Tears and Desire), just released at the end of May. “It’s also the most emotional album we’ve ever done,” Downs observes. “It’s not from the brain; it’s from the heart. And”—she adds with a modest chuckle—“from below.”

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun152017

Rewind: June 17, 1957

You can’t miss it. Nestled in the center of Ravinia and gazing upon the festival’s grand entrance is the Martin Theatre, the immaculate Arts and Crafts–style concert hall that has stood since the park first opened in 1904. But over Ravinia’s 113-year history, it hasn’t always been a stage for the premier chamber musicians—and even small orchestras—of the world. During the first decade of the park’s existence, it was largely used for motion pictures.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun082017

Rewind: June 8, 2007


In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its original Broadway staging, Leonard Bernstein’s omni-theatrical masterpiece West Side Story came to life at Ravinia in a version devised especially for the occasion by the North Carolina School of the Arts. The school’s chancellor, John Maucieri, was an assistant to Bernstein for 18 years, and he was on hand as

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May312017

Pixel Perfect: Become virtually part of the music in The Virtual Orchestra

In today’s high-tech world of digital sampling and music streaming, the symphony orchestra is a wonderful if curious anachronism, with many of its instruments and much of its repertoire dating back centuries. Even for regular attendees of symphony concerts, the alchemy of how 80 to 100 or more diverse musicians come together under a conductor to produce one coordinated body of sound remains something of a mystery.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May262017

DeLaria Announced as Grand Marshal of Pride Chicago


PRIDEChicago, the organizers of Chicago’s annual LGBTQ pride parade, announced Wednesday that Orange Is the New Black star Lea DeLaria will be the grand marshal in the lead car for the 48th Annual Chicago Pride Parade on June 25, followed by the man who booked her performance later that night, Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman.

Click to read more ...