Ravinia CEO Welz Kauffman Explains $10 Classics Series: 13 Shows Coming

Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman takes very personally the festival’s mission to build new audiences for classical music. In this brief video, he explains that ticket price could be a roadblock for some. To this end, Kauffman has peppered the season with a variety of concerts in Ravinia’s intimate Bennett Gordon Hall that cost only $10 for a reserved seat. Though the price is low, the quality is high as the series presents artists who appear around the world at ticket prices up to 10 times higher.

Several of these $10 Classics occur in the next week, including performances by pianist David Greilsammer, described by The New York Times as “a stand-out musician who has it in him to challenge, inform and delight audiences”; cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Awadagin Pratt, (catch them on WFMT 98.7 FM during the 4:00 p.m. hour on Aug. 16) performing the complete Brahms Sonatas for Cello and Piano; and pianist Sara Davis Buechner, who The New York Times praises for “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess,” playing a mixed program from Mozart to a Chicago premiere.

Kauffman says he hopes the low price and intimate atmosphere of the theater will encourage parents to bring young listeners for their first up-close and personal experience with music. The series has proven so popular that extra audience seating has been added to the stage for some performances.

Yesterday John von Rhein wrote about the series in the Chicago Tribune, saying, “Solo classical and chamber music recitals may be on life support in many parts of the concert world, but not at Ravinia.” Read the full article.