Sitar Virtuoso, Ravi Shankar Dies at 92

Ravi Shankar has been introducing western audiences to traditional Indian ragas for eight decades. He has worked with such artists as George Harrison, John Contrane, and David Crosby; and is also the father of nine-time Grammy award winning jazz artist Norah Jones. Though a gap still persists between the sitar and western audiences, Shankar left a lasting impact on music wordwide.

Congratulations to 2012 YEA! Highland Park Grant Recipients

Jazz Pianist Dave Brubeck Passes

Dave Brubeck, just one day short of his 92nd birthday, passed of heart failure this Wednesday while on route to a routine treatment with his cardiologist. Brubeck leaves quite a legacy on the jazz world. The works he penned helped to bring Jazz from the clubs into an accepted art form in academia. He also found himself at the forefront of integration, playing black clubs throughought the deep south in the 50's, a major point of pride for him. He is survived by his wife; four sons, and a daughter; grandons and a great granddaughter.

via Chicago Tribune

Welz Kauffman to Lead Orchestral Talk

On January 25, 2013, Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman will present a talk entitled “The Orchestra in the 21st Century—Challenges and Opportunities,” in a special event held by the Rockford Symphony Orchestra Allegro League. The luncheon, which takes places at the Mau-Nah-Tee-See Country Club in Rockford, IL, will also feature music by the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Sterling String Quartet. Click here for more details.

RSMI Accepting Applications for 2013 Summer Program

Ravinia's Steans Music Institute is the festival’s summer conservatory for young professional classical and jazz musicians, providing participants the opportunity to study with an internationally known faculty of performing artists and to appear in recitals as part of the festival’s summer concert schedule. The institute is now accepting applications for the 2013 Program for Piano and Strings and Program for Singers. Fellows in the Program for Jazz are accepted by invitation only. RSMI fosters a supportive, non-competitive environment for study and performance, with participants from around the world creating a distinctive international community.

The application deadline for the Program for Singers is Monday, December 3. For more information and the online application, click here.

The application deadline for the Program for Piano and Strings is Friday, January 25. For more information and the online application, click here.

Ravinia Offers a Sneak Peek at the 2013 Classical Season

Get your calendars ready! The festival today presents a “sneak peek” at its 2013 classical music concert season which includes a performance of Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and vocalists from the festival’s summer conservatory along with Itzhak Perlman on the same program; the return of pianist Lang Lang to the gala stage that launched him to superstardom; a commemoration of Verdi’s bicentennial with Ravinia Festival Music Director James Conlon conducting the CSO and Chorus in a complete concert performance of Aida, this year’s One Score, One Chicago selection; and the CSO performing Howard Shore’s score to The Lord of the Rings—The Two Towers, while the entire film is broadcast on video screens in the pavilion and on the lawn. Other highlights include the return of Christoph von Dohnányi conducting the CSO in two evenings of Beethoven with pianist Emanuel Ax; Conlon conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 7; The Juilliard String Quartet presenting the final performance of violist Samuel Rhodes and the first by his successor Roger Tapping in a single concert; a program of audience requests performed by The Lincoln Trio; and the return of the massive and massively popular Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Tickets will go on sale to these events next spring, excluding the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert which is on sale now at Ravinia will announce its complete lineup, including the remaining concerts on its 2013 summer residency of the CSO in March.

Give the Gift of Summer for the Holidays! Two Great Days.

Shop Ravinia Gifts on Sunday, December 2nd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Thursday, December 6th from 6 to 8 p.m.

Looking for the perfect hostess gift? Need a present for that music lover in your life? Want something for yourself - Ravinia Gifts has it all!

Choose from a wonderful selection of picnic totes, jewelry, ornaments, apparel and more - all at great prices.

Enjoy free gift wrapping, holiday treats, special discounts and more on both days.

Visit for more information.

Include Ravinia In Year-End Giving; Sign-Up To Receive 2013 Sneak Peek

Those considering making a contribution to the not-for-profit Ravinia Festival can request a copy of our contributors’ packet, which includes a sneak preview of the 2013 summer season. Only about half the money it takes to run Ravinia Festival is raised through ticket sales. The rest comes from members and donors. Not only does your support help maintain Ravinia’s 36 beautifully landscaped acres, support and sustain classical music and the great Chicago Symphony Orchestra and put music programs into schools and neighborhoods that need them most, but it also brings such special perks (depending on giving level) such as priority on-site parking, access to special events, and the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance of the general public and at a 20 percent discount.

Zen Of Bennett In Select Theaters; Documentary Hits Netflix Nov. 12

Perhaps no singer is more associated with Ravinia Festival than the seminal favorite Tony Bennett. The new documentary The Zen of Bennett, shot on the eve of his 85th birthday, became a Tribeca Film Festival sensation last spring and will be given a limited theatrical release this week, followed by exclusive streaming on Netflix beginning Nov. 12. Check out the trailer. A companion autobiography Life is a Gift: The Zen of Bennett also will be available in November.

Ravinia Launches Student Orchestra At Circle Rock Elementary School

Ravinia Festival has announced the creation of a new student orchestra at Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. The orchestra, for children 8 to 12 years old, is modeled on the “El Sistema” training system that forgoes theory lessons to have the students making music with their instruments on the very first day they receive them. 60 children who volunteered to be part of “The Circle Rockets,” will receive their instruments today, learn their first note and perform in their first concert. Under the banner “Sistema Ravinia”™ Ravinia’s student orchestras are part of the festival’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY® education programs.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Returns To Ravinia In 2013

For the first time since their sellout Ravinia debut in 2007, the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir returns to Ravinia Festival on Saturday, June 15, for an evening of choral music joined by the 65-member Orchestra at Temple Square. The choir’s repertoire will cover everything from Bach and Broadway to American folk hymns and spirituals. Starting November 12, Pavilion seats are available for purchase to festival donors and lawn tickets are available to the general public at A full list of 2013 summer events will be announced in March.

Called “America’s chorus” by President Ronald Reagan, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has appeared at 13 world’s fairs, performed at the inaugurations of five U.S. presidents and sung for numerous telecasts and special events. Five of the ensemble’s recordings have earned gold certification and two albums have gone platinum.

BGH $10 Classics: Daria Rabotkina

Daria Rabotkina, winner of the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, has been lauded as “…a pianist full of fire and warmth” (The Plain-Dealer).   Ms. Rabotkina’s burgeoning career has already led to solo appearances with the San Francisco and New World Symphonies under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas and with the Kirov Orchestra and Valery Gergiev in a four concert North American tour.  Whether in front of an orchestra, in the recital hall or in a chamber music setting, Ms. Rabotkina impresses audiences and critics alike with her “clearly prodigious musical gifts” (The Washington Post).

Current featured concerto performances include a return engagement with the Harrisburg Symphony (Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 1) and debuts with Michigan’s Midland Symphony Orchestra Iowa’s Wartburg Symphony (both Schumann Concerto) and Texas’ Victoria Symphony (Grieg), and a special Gala performance with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra (Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue).

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Ingenuity Releases Arts Plan For Chicago Public Schools

The Chicago Public Schools Department of Arts Education, with the support of Ingenuity Inc. (of which Welz Kauffman is a board member) and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, has released its CPS Arts Abstract 2012-2015—a preview of the 2012 CPS Arts Education Plan that outlines the district’s five education priorities for the next four years with arts playing a role in a well-rounded education. It sets the standards for schools to systemically improve, expand and coordinate arts education for all CPS students.

Classical Youth Initiative 2012 Grant Winner

Ravinia Festival, along with the Ravinia Student Advisory Board and the Ravinia Associates, has announced that Central High School in Burlington, IL, has been declared the winner of the festival’s second annual high school attendance contest for Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts. The attendance contest spanned the duration of the CSO summer residency at Ravinia, and any high school student who attended a concert simply showed a valid student I.D. at the Ravinia Box Office for free lawn admission and to receive a point for the high school they attend. Over 100 high schools participated in the teen attendance contest. The first runner-up was Evanston Township, followed by Highland Park, New Trier and Adlai E. Stevenson high schools.
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The "Emmy Nominated" Ravinia 2011 Commercials

When we set out to create the Ravinia Festival Escape to the Music commercials in 2011 we never thought they would end up nominated for Emmys. Much to our pleasurable surprise, last night the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has nominated Ravinia for 2, count that TWO, Emmys for "Outstanding Achievement for Commercials – Single Spot." We can barely contain our excitement! Here are both of the commercials that we have been nominated for:

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BGH $10 Classics: Sebastian Bäverstam

Praised by The Strad for his “…powerfully expressive style,” cellist Sebastian Bäverstam is a winner of the 2009 Concert Artists Guild International Competition.  His recent performance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall was noted in The Strad for its“consummate instrumental mastery,” with critic Dennis Rooney declaring “…the emergence of a mature artist.”  This remarkable recital led to Mr. Bäverstam’s subsequent selection by Musical America as its “New Artist of the Month” for June 2011.

Highlights of 2012-13 include his season-opening recital for the Bennett Gordon Hall Classics series of the Ravinia Festival, where he also spends the summer of 2012 as a member of Ravinia’s renowned Steans Institute.  His cross-country recital tours encompass eighteen concerts in thirteen different states, including performances for the Pepperdine University Center for the Arts and the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock.  Featured concerto performances include the Dupage (IL) and Mankato (MN) Symphony Orchestras (both Strauss Don Quixote) and the South Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, SC (Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 1).

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Calling Student Artists to Create Ravinia Festival’s 2013 Season Poster

The Women’s Board of Ravinia Festival has put the call out to high school and college art students to enter the annual competition to design Ravinia Festival’s season poster. The winning artwork will be used at Ravinia in a variety of ways, particularly on the 2013 poster that will be sold in the park and online. The winning artist will receive a $1,000 cash prize, with $500 going to the second-place designer and $250 awarded to the third. Special consideration will be given to posters that incorporate the theme of Ravinia celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Steans Music Institute, a summer conservatory. Entries are due by Nov. 28. Judging will take place on Dec. 3. Get the full details and entry form here.

Jade Simmons New 'Playing With Fire EP' Available Today!

Jade Simmons performed in the Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia on August 16, 2012. After her performance, we hosted an excluse Q&A with a few of her biggest fans inside the hall, and broadcast it live on the twittersphere. After that, the in-house guests were treated to an exclusive performance of one of Jade's new single off her Playing with Fire EP, released today! To celebrate her album release we are releasing the performance to you below! Enjoy!

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