Announcing Concerts with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, following the success of their number-one, critically acclaimed album Cheek To Cheek, will perform two concerts together at Ravinia on June 26 and June 27. This will be Lady Gaga’s Ravinia debut and the 28th season Tony Bennett has appeared at the festival, where he first performed in 1984. Both artists will be accompanied by
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Ravinia: There and Back Again #2

As winter approaches, we would like to shake up our version of a snow globe to reminisce about summer days.  On August 23, 1974, patrons enjoy the warm summer breeze as The Joffrey Ballet dances Remembrances to music by Richard Wagner and choreographed by Robert Joffrey.

RSMI Alum Marquis Hill Wins International Accolade

Chicago native and 2010 Ravinia Steans Music Institute Jazz Alum, Marquis Hill, has taken top honors at the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition. He adds this an already impressive streak over the last few years with his Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition win in 2013 and International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition in 2012. The win comes with a $25,000 music scholarship and guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group.

Marquis talked briefly about his time here as a fellow of the Ravinia Steans Music Institute Program for Jazz in the video celebrating 25 years of the Ravinia Steans Music Institute in 2013 below.

Ravinia: There and Back Again #1

Although Ravinia Park originally served as an upscale destination for passengers of the new Chicago & Milwaukee Electric Railroad in 1904, within a few years it became apparent that the enterprise was not profitable, and the railroad company looked to unload the Highland Park property it owned. Fearing the site would devolve into a cheap amusement park, local residents purchased the land and in 1911 established The Ravinia Company, under whose supervision the park became primarily a summer venue for classical music. Performances of operatic music began to dominate the repertoire, and by the end of the decade Ravinia had established a reputation as summer opera capital of the world. From June 30 to September 3 of 1917, the year this photo was taken, Ravinia presented 54 performances featuring scenes and acts from no fewer than 20 different operas.

Three Improvement Projects Under Way

This fall Ravinia is working on three projects recently approved by Highland Park City Council: rebuilding the north bus turnaround to make it safer and more efficient, reducing noise and exhaust; refacing the back of the Harza Building to match the south entrance; and widening the south parking lot gate to the same width as the street that feeds it, removing the bottleneck. For more information: click here

Associates Board's Music Matters Honors Kauffman, Supports Education

The Ravinia Associates Board will host its most important event, the annual Music Matters fundraising dinner, dance and auction at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, at Radisson Blu Aqua, 221 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago. Performing live will be one of Chicago’s most popular bands, the high-energy Maggie Speaks. Proceeds from this spirited black-tie event support the not-for-profit Ravinia Festival’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs. Last year’s event grossed a record $494,214 for the programs, which reach 75,000 people in Cook and Lake Counties, largely in underserved Chicago Public Schools. Each year, a person or group who has made a tremendous impact on Ravinia’s education programs is honored at Music Matters. This year’s honoree will be the man who actually gave REACH*TEACH*PLAY its name, Welz Kauffman, who celebrates his 15th anniversary as President and CEO of Ravinia in 2015.

Remembering Composer Stephen Paulus

We were saddened to learn on Monday of the passing of the great composer Stephen Paulus. He suffered a stroke last summer, mere weeks before he was to join the faculty of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute (RSMI) to work with our fellows in the Program for Singers. Stephen was one of seven composers commissioned to write a song to commemorate the 25th anniversary of RSMI in 2013, and his song, “Was It All a Dream,” was premiered in Bennett Gordon Hall by bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana and pianist Renate Rohlfing on August 12 of that year. This was one of the last compositions of a prolific and celebrated career. Listen to Musa's performance on InstantEncore.

RSMI Alumna Joins 2015-16 Lyric Opera Of Chicago Ensemble

Every summer Ravinia's Steans Music Institute has the opportunity to work with a handful of talented musicians. Once they depart our program we make a point to keep in touch and are always excited to hear about their next milestones. With that in mind, we are happy to share the news that 2014 alumna Diana Newman has become part of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble for the 2015-2016 season at the Lyric Opera of Chicago! Congratulations Diana! You can learn more about Ms. Newman on her website and by watching the video of her August 11, 2014 performance (below) of three songs by George Crumb in the Bennett Gordon Hall.

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2014 Ravinia Selects - Pedro

Ravinia is a very unique place in that there is a such a variety of concert experiences, I am still learning more and more every summer. From the picnic on the lawn, to dining on the Park View Terrace, to Lawncierge, or sitting in reserved seating, everyone ones experience is unique.

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2014 Ravinia Selects - Patrick

In his selects, Patrick aims to capture the essence of the Ravinia experience. While for some that means sitting inside the pavilion, getting as close to their favorite stars as they can, for others that might mean sitting on the lawn with a picnic getting as close to their favorite people. This variety of experience is what makes Ravinia such a special venue to see a performance. Below he shares his favorite captures in no particular order.

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2014 Ravinia Selects - Russell

After a deep breath we plunge—spiraling into each day of our lives with as much fortitude and focus as we can muster. Many times we loose our way and have to reset ourselves, begin again with fresh eyes and mind. For the last 9 years, I have dedicated my Ravinia career to helping millions find that escape and rejuvenation in their lives—as music can heal all. 

Often times, one thinks of a sticky floored theatre with egregious beer prices and bad sound to be an agreeable concert experience. I, on the other hand, am spoiled with the offerings of our famous lawn and any beverage I choose to bring in. This place is so much more—Ravinia changes you.

The first of my three image choices from this summer is a whimsical one. Richard Hunt, a Ravinia Life Trustee, world-famous artist and, more important, a man whom I call my friend, is pictured here interacting with a sculpture.

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Food Network Addiction

A while back, South Park aired a very funny episode in which one of the boys’ fathers becomes hooked on cooking shows. I can sympathize; I should be standing in front of a self-help group and declaring, “My name is John, and I am

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20 Feet From Stardom Star Lisa Fischer Says It Rejuvenated her

You may not know her name, but you know her voice. As documented in the Academy Award–winning film 20 Feet from Stardom, the mutlitalented R&B singer Lisa Fischer has sung backup for everyone from Tina Turner to Nine Inch Nails, and many know her as the growler who steals the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” from Mick Jagger himself. Fischer said the film has given both her outlook and her career a boost. So much so that she is taking center stage at Ravinia on Sept. 10 when she’ll open for blue-eyed-soul star Joss Stone.

Photo by Djeneba Aduayom

August 28 Concert by ZZ Top and Jeff Beck Canceled

Ravinia regretfully announces that the Aug. 28 concert by ZZ Top and Jeff Beck has been canceled due to injury. ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill slipped and fell on his hip while aboard his tour bus last night. As a result of Hill’s injury which requires immediate attention, all ZZ Top performance dates have been temporarily suspended while he recovers.  Tour dates affected by the suspension include

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Celebrating James Conlon In 2015

From the multiyear Mahler cycle, traversal of the complete Mozart Piano concertos, taking the Chicago Symphony into the Martin Theatre for a collection of Mozart operas and numerous other works, James Conlon has brought us many magical moments at Ravinia. James Conlon announced today that 2015 will be his final season as a music director of our CSO residency. Conlon and Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman have shaped the 2015 season as a celebration of Conlon’s long association with Ravinia, where he has been a guest conductor since 1977.

Bailey Preps For '80s Tour Playing Thompson Twins Hits At British Club

His sound helped define an era and supply a new-wave soundtrack to more than a few teen-angst comedies, but Tom Bailey has not performed his old Thompson Twins songs in 27 years. Now that he’s on the ’80s tour “Retro Futura”—an all-synth-pop revue that also features Howard JonesUltravox’s Midge UreChina Crisis and Katrina (ex–Katrina and the Waves)—Bailey took the old tunes out for a spin in preparation for his return to America by playing them to an enthusiastic crowd at the small club Sub89 in Reading, England. Fan video taken at the gig can be found on YouTube.

Ravinia Presents Encore Screening Of Oscar-winning The Lady In Number 6

Ravinia will present an encore screening of this year’s Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short Subject, The Lady in Number 6, in Bennett Gordon Hall with free general admission to ticket holders for the Monday, Aug. 25, performance by Pedja Muzijevic featuring Chopin’s complete Op. 28 preludes. The film tells the riveting, true story of the world’s oldest pianist, who also happened to be the world’s oldest concentration camp survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer. Chopin was a particular favorite of the 101-year-old, who died just one week before the film won the Oscar. The 38 minute film begins at 4:45 p.m. with the concert starting at 6:00 p.m.

Ravinia's Hometown Hosts Big Events; Parking Will Be Scarce

In addition to Ravinia’s sold-out concerts by Train and The Wallflowers on Aug. 22 and 23, our hometown will be hosting both the Port Clinton Art Festival and the Taste of Highland Park. Parking spaces will be in especially high demand through the weekend, particularly on Saturday. Ticket holders are advised to plan ahead for heavy traffic and are reminded that the Metra Union Pacific North Line can be a convenient option, as it lets off and picks up passengers right at our gate. Those who must drive are highly encouraged to carpool. Ravinia’s parking lots will open at 3 p.m. and will fill quickly. Customers will experience the worst traffic after 5:30 p.m.