Monday
Apr172017

Summer Shuffle: Songs for the Heart(land)

From blues chords to bluegrass, Chris Thile takes listeners of his genre-bending quintet the Punch Brothers on as immersive an adventure as listeners of A Prairie Home Companion. “The question of genre becomes one of orchestration and texture,” Thile says of writing for and with his bandmates.

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Monday
Apr172017

Summer Shuffle: Some Kind of Blue

What Motown was to Detroit, Stax was to Memphis, developing a signature soul sound for the South, melding blues, jazz, and funk. But unlike its northern companion and competitor, Stax had a house band that became so intimately involved in recording that they began cutting their own tracks as Booker T.

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Monday
Apr172017

Summer Shuffle: Living Harmoniously

The living legacy of some artists, however, is just as much in the sound as much as the songs. Few have achieved such universal recognition as Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, who were an early highlight of Ravinia’s 2016 season in their festival debut.

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Monday
Apr172017

Summer Shuffle: Rock of Ages

Before there was glam rock, there was “progressive rock,” that nebulous genre that saw the music of ’60s psychedelia taken to new, expansive dimensions of lyrical poetry and symphonic instrumentation. The groundwork was perhaps laid by the sweeping sonorities of Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but if a single album were to have firmly established what “prog rock” was, that album was The Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed.

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Monday
Apr172017

Summer Shuffle: Music Without Frontiers

In the 30 years since they fired up the world’s collective imagination with the vivacious flamenco spirit of “Bamboléo,” the Gipsy Kings have kept kindling the heated fervor for Spanish and South American rhythm, recently earning their first Grammy Award for Savor Flamenco. On the long-awaited album of all-original material, “the group’s trademark virtuosity and verve are as engaging as ever. …

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Thursday
Mar232017

Ravinia Announces 2017 Season


On March 15, Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman announced the not-for-profit 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 NicksJohn MellencampPentatonixCommonHamilton 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 Ravinia.orgSee the complete 2017 lineup at Ravinia.org.

Tuesday
Feb142017

The 2017 Grammys Honor Ravinia Stars

On Sunday evening, the world tuned in for music’s biggest night, with past Ravinia stars highlighting the winners’ list and performing center stage! Congratulations to Chucho Valdés, Dolly Parton, Fantastic Negrito, James Conlon, John Scofield, John Williams, Lalah Hathaway, Ted Nash, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble, and Zuill Bailey on their monumental Grammy wins!

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Tuesday
Dec132016

Televised 1966 Ravinia Special Is A Blast From The Past

In 1966, LBJ was president, miniskirts were quickly gaining popularity, and Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" became a hit. This was also the year that WBKB aired The Sound of Ravinia, an hour-long television special that showcased the many sides of Ravinia including classical, jazz, opera, pop, and folk music. It aired on Thursday, August 11, and contains footage from four separate concert dates.

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Wednesday
Nov162016

Explore the Gorgeous Artwork of Vintage Ravinia Program Books

The covers of Ravinia's programs from its opening in 1904 through the 1930s were gorgeous “mini-posters” designed by well-known Chicago-area illustrators. I’d run across them in used bookstores and junk shops, where they were usually mixed in with old magazines and comic books. By the time I left for college, I’d been able to gather together most of the run. You’ll notice names like Hamilton King, James McCracken, Stark Davis, and intaglio artist Allan Weary. There’s also a 1930 program cover designed/illustrated by then Chicagoan Hal Foster, who was between Tarzan strip assignments.

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Tuesday
Oct182016

Ravinia Park Depicted Beautifully In These Vintage Program Ads From The '50s And '60s

There is something magical in viewing vintage advertisements, especially from the ’50s and ’60s. From the photographic/illustrative choices to the verbal style of the copy, it’s possible to get a small sense of what culture was like back then. Ravinia’s old program books contain a wealth of these vintage advertisements, with companies pitching such varied products as stereos, records, fashion, pianos, jewelry, and more. Some make overt references to Ravinia, many containing photographs or illustrations of the park itself to make the Ravinia connection that much stronger. The selections in this post focus on these very ads.

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