Steans Music Institute Alumni Earn Top International Awards

Cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan’s recent triumph at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow leads a list of Steans Music Institute alumni who have added significant achievements to their resumes in the past few months. Originally from Armenia, Narek was a 2008 and 2009 fellow in the Program for Piano and Strings and also participated in the Steans alumni tour in 2011, including a performance on Ravinia’s Rising Stars series last March. Coincidentally, violinist Jehye Lee, who was also a Steans fellow in 2008 and 2009 and a tour participant in 2011, took the third prize among violinists.

The Primrose International Viola Competition also saw a strong showing from Steans alumni, with Ayane Kozasa (’10, ’11) taking first prize and Vicki Powell (’08, ’09) coming in third. Also this summer, the International Cello Festival of Canada awarded Se-Doo Park (’10) its first prize, with Karen Ouzounian (’10, ’11) a close second. Karen will appear on the Steans tour in 2013.
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James Conlon Discusses Tagore and Zemlinsky on Oct. 28

Join Ravinia Music Director James Conlon as he explores composers Rabindranath Tagore and Alexander Zemlinsky in a lecture entitled “A Lyric Symphony: Tagore and Zemlinsky,” at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, at the University of Chicago’s Fulton Hall. This lecture is part of a two-day conference titled The Many Worlds of Rabindranath Tagore, which brings together leading scholars from around the world to discuss the different aspects of this extraordinary writer’s life and works. Tagore was a writer of fiction, essays, poetry, plays, critical commentaries and music and is the only person whose songs are the national anthems of two countries, India and Bangladesh. Translated into many languages, his works received much adulation and criticism during his lifetime and across India and abroad, and he has been a critical figure in the history of education in South Asia. For more information, please click here.

Ravinia Throwback: STAR WARS

It's a new week and a new edition of Ravinia Throwback. As this series expands we want your feedback; tell us what you want to see. Do you want to see more photo galleries of shows? Maybe you want me to climb down to our archives and find something that hasn't been seen in decades? Maybe you can send us your Ravinia memories, and we'll feature your unique Ravinia experience!
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Holiday Market at Ravinia Gifts!

Missing summer at Ravinia already? Looking for that perfect holiday gift for the Ravinia fan in your life?

Save the date for you and your friends to visit Ravinia Gifts on Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Your shopping trip will include timeless favorites and new products - just in time for the holidays. Enjoy special savings, hot cocoa, free gift wrapping, fabulous door prizes and more.

The first 25 guests to arrive each day will receive a door prize (no purchase necessary)! Parking is free and the gates are open beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Ravinia Associates Underwrite a $5,000 Grant Towards Teen Attendance Contest

The Ravinia Associates will contribute a $5,000 grant to be received by Highland Park High School, the winning school of Ravinia Festival’s first high school attendance contest for Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts. The Ravinia Associates is a group of young professionals in the Chicago area who volunteer to support the festival by raising funds, increasing awareness of the festival’s programs and developing a younger audience for classical music through REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs.

In an effort to bring awareness and opportunity of classical music performances to young people, Ravinia teamed with teens last year to create the Ravinia Student Advisory Board which collaborated on three main ideas to promote classical music to young listeners: free lawn attendance for high school students at all classical concerts; a summer-long CSO attendance contest in which students could gain points for their school to win a grant; and lastly a special high school night on July 31 entitled “Cannon Ball 2011,” which included a pre-concert tent event complete with free food, refreshments, games, prizes and the chance to gain double points for the attendance contest.

Pianist Joel Fan Joins the Rising Stars Concert Lineup

American pianist Joel Fan joins the 2011-2012 Rising Stars series with a concert on Saturday, Nov. 19. Fan has embraced traditional literature as well as an eclectic range of repertoire, including new music commissioned especially for him, world music and his own transcriptions. As a recording artist, he earned two consecutive Billboard top-10 debuts with his solo CDs, World Keys and West of the Sun. In collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma as a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, Fan has appeared in numerous venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and on television programs Good Morning America and Late Night with David Letterman. As a soloist he has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Singapore Symphony, and Odessa Philharmonic, among others. Fan’s program includes works by Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Kirchner (composed for Fan), Bolcom, Bonds and Succari. This Nov. 19 concert replaces the previously announced performance featuring pianist Daria Rabotkina.

Steinway Piano Sale at Ravinia

Each Year Steinway & Sons provides Ravinia with dozens of Steinway and Steinway Designed pianos for use throughout the year. Now that the 2011 season has closed, Steinway Piano Gallery of Northbrook and Ravinia Festival have partnered to provide you with a unique opportunity to purchase a piano from a large selection of Steinway, Boston, and Essex pianos while providing support for Ravinia Festival.  Most of the instruments available for sale were used at Ravinia and are now available to you at substantially reduced prices.

For three days only, October 7-9, Steinway Piano Gallery is offering an opportunity to choose from an impressive selection of new and used grand and upright pianos of all sizes.  Steinway-designed pianos are rarely discounted. However, through this special arrangement, they will be sold at prices far below retail value. Please click here to learn more about this event and make an appointment. The sale is open to the public on Sunday, October 9 from 12:00-5:00 p.m.

Ravinia Throwback: The Beach Boys

As part of a continuing Ravinia off-season series we bring you the next issue of Ravinia Throwback. We will feature galleries from previous Ravinia seasons that you may not be able to find anymore. Whether you happened to be a guest at this performance or not, Ravinia Throwbacks give you the opportunity to (re)live moments in Ravinia history.

In this issue we feature Beach Boys from September 2002. They put on a very energetic and entertaining show, even asking audience members to join them on stage. Enjoy this gallery and check back next week for our next featured artist in Ravinia Throwbacks.

See full galleries at: Picasa or Flickr


Hi Christine,

     My family and I attended Ravinia this past Sunday for the Family Place events and the CSO concert. We are new to the Chicago area this year and that was our first true experience & picnic and all. My daughter is 4 1/2 and has always loved music at whatever age/stage she has been in. This weekend provided an experience for her (and us) that will stay with us forever.

     The volunteers at the Instrument Petting Zoo were wonderful. They were patient, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and an inspiration to the children. I am attaching photos of Isabelle's (my daughter) violin interaction. You can see the progression in both the volunteer and Isabelle's face as she listened, learned and then produced sound from the violin. She was so excited to hear the music! This happened at each station as my daughter was successful in making sounds on the violin, bass, french horn, trombone, trumpet, saxophone and clarinet.

     I want to thank you and your staff for generously providing this type of opportunity for the children. Not only did Isabelle get to experience music in a way that is truly unique, her mommy (Me!) got to feel the joy as she watched Isabelle's excitement.

     Isabelle also loved hearing and seeing the CSO. We hung out behind the Pavilion for a little while and she danced around like only a child can do as she felt the beautiful music of the orchestra.

Thanks again!


Karen, Ira and Isabelle Smith

Don't Miss A Good Man in Chicago This Week!

Did you miss out on A Good Man this season at Ravinia? Don't miss your chance again.

"4 stars!" - Time Out Chicago

"It's brilliant... A mesmerizing portrait of a great American artist." - Windy City Times

"Filmmakers Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn observe [Bill T.] Jones driving his dancers, musicians, and stage designers to the breaking point. Through it all, you can see what makes him such an effective artist in a collaborative medium: the ability to enlarge his diva moments into a communal experience."  - Chicago Reader

The show premiered this past Friday (click here for photos), but you have 8 chances left to see this amazing performance at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. Reserve your tickets now!

Show Times

Monday, September 26 - 6:00pm, 7:45pm
Tuesday, September 27 - 6:00pm, 7:45pm*
Wednesday, September 28 - 6:15pm, 8:00pm
Thursday, September 29 - 6:15pm, 8:15pm

*Special Q&A w/ dancers from Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company! with Ravinia President/CEO Welz Kauffman

Watch the Official Trailer for A GOOD MAN

Rising Star Spotlight: Gilles Vonsattel

Winner of a 2008 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Vonsattel displays a musical curiosity and sense of adventure that has gained him many admirers. He began touring after winning the top prize of the prestigious 2002 Naumburg International Piano Competition. He made his Alice Tully Hall debut that same year and has since performed at Zürich’s Tonhalle, Warsaw’s Chopin Festival and Tokyo’s Opera City Hall. He has performed in the U.S. with the Utah, Santa Fe, Nashville, and Grand Rapids symphonies as well as with the Boston Pops Orchestra. For the 2006-09 three-year appointment, Vonsattel was a member of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Chamber Music Society Two, with whom he performed extensively both in New York and on tour.


You can see him live on October 1 as part of our 2011/2012 Season of Rising Stars for only $10! Don't miss an opportunity to see this amazing artist.

Ravinia Throwback: Steve Martin

As part of a new Ravinia off-season series we bring you our first (official) Ravinia Throwback. We will feature galleries from previous Ravinia seasons that you may not be able to find anymore. Whether you happened to be a guest at this performance or not, Ravinia Throwbacks give you the opportunity to (re)live moments in Ravinia history.

In this issue we feature Steve Martin. He wowed the Ravinia audience during our 2010 season with his banjo virtuosity. Enjoy this gallery and check back next week for our next featured artist in Ravinia Throwbacks.


Click here to see the full gallery.

Ravinia in the Community: Floral Gardens

It is always flattering to see someone go above and beyond to show their support for Ravinia Festival. We recently came across a Ravinia inspired window installation at Floral Gardens in Highland Park, IL. The season has now ended so we are unsure of how much longer this installation will be up, but we did manage to get a beautiful nighttime shot of the setup. This inspiration for this installation came from our 2011 Ravinia Festival Poster seen in the window to the top left. Thank you Floral Gardens, we greatly appreciate your support of our 2011 season! This also got us thinking… In what unique way do you show your support for Ravinia?


2012 Classical 10-punch Pass Goes on Sale Oct. 1

The “Classical Grass Lawn Pass,” good for 10 lawn admissions to any classical music concert (excluding the annual gala) in the 2012 season, will go on sale Oct. 1 at It is the perfect holiday present for the music-lover in your life. The cost will be $70 through the end of the year and will be raised to $80 on Jan. 1, 2012. That means you get 10 concerts for only $7 each, no matter what the actual ticket price of the concert.

Ravinia’s Hometown Students Win Cash Prize by Attending CSO Concerts

When Ravinia announced that it would award a point each time a high school student attended a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert this summer, with the top point-getting school receiving a cash prize for its music programs, students as far away as Michigan and Iowa came out to hear the CSO. In the end, though, the hometown advantage won out with Highland Park High School getting the most points—followed by New Trier, Stevenson, Evanston, Lake Zurich and Hersey.

The contest was part of a multi-tiered plan devised by Ravinia’s High School Advisory Team which was challenged to find ways to promote classical music peer to peer. Ravinia is working on plans to expand the program in 2012.

Big Head Todd Featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not

The band Big Head Todd & the Monsters, which opens for John Hiatt and the Combo on Sunday, Sept. 11, was recently featured on the popular show Ripley’s Believe It or Not. It was reported that in March, the group became the first band in history to perform a live song to awaken the crew of an orbiting spacecraft. Believe it or not! Pavilion and lawn tickets are available to this final concert of the 2011 Ravinia Festival season

Maroon 5 “Moves” to the Top Spot as Adam Levine Takes “Voice” Back to TV

Maroon 5, which made its Ravinia Festival debut with two of this summer’s most popular concerts, has moved to the top spot on the pop charts with the hit single Moves Like Jagger. The song features Christina Aguiilera, who will return to television with Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine to headline the second season of the competition show The Voice, which premieres on Feb. 5, following the Super Bowl.

Chicago Dancer Patti Eylar Receives Ruth Page Award at Momix’s Botanica

Cited for dedicating her talent and expertise to Chicago’s dance community, Patti Elyar will be given the 2011 Ruth Page Award at Ravinia on Saturday, Sept. 10, prior to the performance of Botanica by the Momic dance company. A member of the Joffrey Ballet Women’s Board, Elyar has also been affiliated with Dance For Life, Dance/USA 2011, Chicago Dance Coalition and many others. She danced with the Lyric Ballet and was a founding member of Chicago City Ballet.

Part of the annual Ruth Page Festival of Dance, the regional premiere of Botanica twists the athletic dancers from Momix into works of floral art. Pavilion tickets are available now for the Sept. 9 and 10 performances.

R.I.P. Salvatore Licitra

By now everyone has heard the tragic news that tenor Salvatore Licitra has died at age 43 following a motorbike accident in Italy. Salvatore’s final performance of his career occurred this summer at Ravinia when he starred with Patricia Racette and Bryn Terfel in Tosca with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of James Conlon. As happy as we are that we got to experience his rare talent, we are sad to have gotten just a taste of what could have been.


Click Here to see a gallery of Salvatore's final performance.