Classical Youth Initiative Student Profile: Jonas Tarm

As you may have heard or seen on the Ravinia website, this summer will be the inaugural summer of the Classical Youth Initiative (CYI). A wonderful group of students from Highland Park High School worked alongside the Ravinia Communications Department to encourage young listeners to attend the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performances at Ravinia.  We will be featuring students on the blog all summer. Here we have our talk with Jonas Tarm about his love for western art music.

Jonas just finished his junior year at Highland Park High School. He is heavily involved in his high school’s music program along with many other music programs in the Chicago area. He played in the Midwest Young Artists program for four years. Currently, he plays in Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program. He also composes his own pieces; some of his which were featured in the Institute’s “Generation Next: Composers Concert”, which was aired on WMFT this year. He is an extremely talented violin player and composer. This fall, he was placed in the IMEA All-State honors orchestra. In the spring, he won Highland Park High School’s concerto audition, which led to him being featured in the top orchestra’s performance of the third and fourth movements of Edouard Lalo’s  “Le Symphonie Espagnole.” He has had a wonderfully accomplished music career so far.

Jonas’s background is far different from your typical suburban teenager. He was born in Estonia, and lived there for the first ten years of his life. He began playing music while still living in Estonia. He started playing the violin when he was seven years old. He chose to play violin mainly at the request of his mother who hoped buying violins would cheaper than buying pianos! He moved to Highland Park at age ten and began playing in the school orchestras. As he has grown up, Jonas said his main influences are musicians and composers that display diversity and refuse to be narrowly defined. He stated that Yo-Yo Ma and Leonard Bernstein are of his biggest influences because both used classical training to fuel explorative careers in both performing and composing music. His favorite pieces to play are anything written in the 20th century, and one day hopes to play Mahler’s renowned compositions. Kids like Jonas Classical music is not dead as some would lead you to believe. There are teenagers out there who love blasting Bartok’s symphonies out of their stereo just as much as they love blasting out Kanye West’s music.

Jonas chose to be a part of the student marketing team because Ravinia has always been a big part of his life. He wanted to show other kids the positive experiences he has every time he sees a CSO performance. He lives in the neighborhood surrounding Ravinia, so he hears every concert from his house. He attends many CSO shows every summer. He even visits CSO rehearsals to learn how professionals rehearse. Jonas also hoped working on the team would help him develop skills that would allow him to help sell his own playing as he begins to pursue a professional music career. He feels the marketing team’s biggest challenges are coming this summer. He specifically mentioned the challenge of executing the CYI successfully so that students actually come see CSO shows. He really hopes that this summer’s Cannon-Ball Event will open teenagers from other schools who may not know as much about Ravinia. Working on this team has helped him learn more of the business obstacles facing classical music. The challenge above led Jonas to a few beliefs about the state of classical music today. Jonas feels the solution to the problems facing the world’s top orchestras is finding an effective way to present traditional western art music to a young audience.

That belief demonstrates what struck me the most about Jonas. He is extremely aware of the challenges that a musician faces; and is willing to ask himself difficult questions that most shy away from. For example, when I was in high school, I vividly remember one guy who is one of the best singers I have ever heard. He was good enough to compete on American Idol last year. Even though he was ridiculously talented, he did not have Jonas’s foresight. He never spent time learning musical marketing skills while he was in high school. Jonas’s decision to work on these skills at such a young age demonstrates his character. It bodes well for him that he is willing to look around and ask himself difficult questions like “Can western art music be sold to kids? Does the art need to change?” Kids like Jonas and the other students I will be interviewing make those difficult choices, which is one of the biggest reasons why all of us at Ravinia believe that we can find a way to market the CSO to teenagers through the Classical Youth Initiative.

Edwin Pratt

Communications Intern




Picnic For Two

Our Magnolia Picnic Tote for two is new for this year and comes complete with a variety of picnic accessories for a great night on the lawn. It’s crafted with eco-friendly bamboo exterior and insulated interior. Your purchases help us provide great programming at an affordable cost. Plus a portion of the proceeds goes right back into the festival’s ongoing music education programs.


Pick Up Your Picnic Box

Are you coming to see The Judds this weekend? Order your Picnic Box now and get 10% off! Use code JUDDS at checkout. The Picnic Box is the perfect solution for an easy and delicious instant picnic.


Construction Alert

Please be aware of construction on Lake Cook Road if you are driving to Ravinia this summer. Lanes will be reduced and traffic may be heavy throughout the summer. Avoid the traffic and take the Metra to get dropped off right at the front gate or find alternative driving routes.


Ravinia Members Get 20% Off “Applause! Applause!” at Northwestern University

Join the Johnny Mercer Foundation and American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, for “Applause! Applause! “. This star-studded concert celebrates the Tony Award-winning talents of Charles Strouse (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie) and his mentorship of young songwriters in the tradition of the beloved Johnny Mercer. Headlined by the North Shore’s very own Broadway star Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens) and featuring performances from Strouse’s landmark shows by award-winning guest artists Craig Carnelia, Marcy Heisler and Lari White, as well as Charles Strouse himself, this one-night-only event is not to be missed! For tickets call 847-491-7282 or buy online. Ravinia Members mention code RAVINIAMEMBER to receive 20% off. (Offer subject to availability. Advance purchase recommended.)


UBS and Ravinia Team Up for REACH*TEACH*PLAY!

Did you know that Ravinia’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs touch the lives of more than 75,000 people in communities throughout the region? These programs provide music education and live performance opportunities at underserved schools. Ravinia and UBS, its lead sponsor, are teaming up to promote these wonderful programs on selected dates throughout the summer. Look for us before the concert on Sunday, June 12 and find out how to get a free CD. We’ll be located at a tent just outside the Martin Theatre. We hope to see you there!


Sunday in the Park at Ravinia Festival

Bring your group of 15 or more to Ravinia to see the legendary rock group Chicago on August 28 for the perfect "Sunday in the Park" party package, which includes a lawn ticket, food and beverage package, reserved lawn area, and a server for your group. This great package is only $85 per guest! Group catering is great for corporate events, reunions and parties. Contact Hilary Saurer at at 847-266-5406 or at 847-266-5087 to reserve the space now.


WGN Morning News Party at Ravinia!

Enter to win a pair of lawn tickets to see the Go-Go’s and The B-52s on Friday, June 17, through WGN News. Winners will be invited to a reserved lawn spot with the morning news crew from WGN. Levy Restaurants will provide your picnic food with wine provided by the luxury portfolio of Terlato Wines. Rules and restrictions apply. Visit the WGN contest page and click on the Ravinia link to enter.


Kraft Hoopla Kicks Off at Ravinia Festival on June 19

Kraft Foods Foundation is pairing up with some of kids’ favorite partners to launch 2011’s Kraft Great Kids Hoopla. The Hoopla kicks off at Ravinia on Sunday, June 19. Get free lawn admission for the Kraft Great Kids Concert with The Dirty Sock Funtime Band. While admission is free, tickets are still required. Free lawn tickets are limited to six per household. Activities start at 11 a.m. and the concert begins at 1 p.m.

Hoopla events offer families the opportunity to build an Imagination Playground, learn line dancing and yoga, play games and visit an instrument petting zoo at a different venue each month throughout the summer. Each program partner focuses on nutrition education, fitness and literacy, all packaged as creative play at museums and other family venues throughout the Chicago area.


This Week in Tweets: May 30-June 7

Each week this summer we post the top tweets of the week about Ravinia Festival under the heading This Week in Tweets. During the last week we scoured the depths of the twittersphere to bring you the best tweets that mention your favorite outdoor music festival. Log on to Twitter, follow @RaviniaFestival, tweet about us or twitpic your lawn set-up and you might wind up in our blog feature! Featured tweets will win you great prizes all summer long. We’ll contact you to claim your prize if you are featured. Don’t forget to read the contest rules too!

  1. Surprising the gf. Taking her to see the at on June 11.
    26 May via Tap11
  2. my first concert was the vacation tour in '83 , planning to take my daughter to her first show to see them !
    30 May via web
  3. Being retired means summer concerts in Ravinia Park with people transfixed under the stars. I remember my 1st,1967. Van Clyburn was playing.
    31 May via web
  4. My daughter just gave me tickets to the Moody Blues concert on June 11 for my birthday. Love it & lover her!!
    2 Jun via TweetDeck
  5. Hanging out in the line for the booth at
    4 Jun via TweetDeck
  6. friend. ill buy a wallet if you come to the ravinia LOTR CSO event. i wont dress up as frodo.
    7 Jun via TweetDeck