Like all the world’s elite violin soloists, Anne Akiko Meyers brings supercharged skills and innate musicality to the instrument. What sets the San Diego native apart is her uncommon curiosity and openness and a kind of “Aw, shucks” groundedness. Her popular appeal led her to become Billboard’s top-selling traditional classical instrumental soloist in 2014, and it helps explain why many of her 37 albums have debuted at number one on the classical charts.Read More
Kian Soltani, one of classical music’s rising stars, is in a committed new relationship and they are making beautiful music together. She has accompanied the 27-year-old cellist to some of the world’s most celebrated venues, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall (where he made his acclaimed recital debut last spring), and now Ravinia, where he will be the featured soloist for the annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular.Read More
The playing of even the best Chinese orchestras long lagged behind that of their counterparts in the West, but they are quickly catching up and attracting international attention, especially the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.
Famed American conductor Leonard Slatkin, who celebrated his upcoming 75th birthday at Ravinia leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on August 7, has been traveling to Asia as a guest conductor for nearly four decades. He led three of mainland China’s orchestras in March and was particularly impressed with the Shanghai ensemble. “The level of [talent] in that orchestra in the three years since I conducted there last and this year was markedly higher,” Slatkin says. “It’s become a very important orchestra, and they play very well.”Read More
To put in perspective the magnitude of Nickelback’s popularity with the mainstream masses, the Canadian rockers are behind only The Beatles among the best-selling import acts in America throughout the entire 21st century. The group’s more than 50 million album sales include the elusive diamond status (10-times platinum) for the album All The Right Reasons, alongside 23 chart-topping hits and a dozen consecutive sold-out world tours.Read More
One of the classical music world’s leading virtuosos receives a cinematic hug with the documentary “Itzhak” (2017). Billed as “a revealing scrapbook of his favorite stories, “Itzhak” moves through vignettes from his life, including his polio diagnosis at age 4, his breakthrough victory at the Leventritt Competition in 1964 and his five-decade marriage to Toby Friedlander, herself an accomplished violinist.Read More
Stamos, growing up in Southern California, wasn’t as much into The Beatles as he was The Beach Boys, a lifelong love affair that began with an eight-track copy of Endless Summer. “It’s heart music,” he told Ravinia in a phone interview. “You just feel it. Their songs really got to me. ‘God Only Knows’ is a perfect song.”Read More
“We’ve always loved Ravinia,” says Lee Loughnane, the sole trumpeter the band Chicago has had since its inception in 1967. “It’s great to be able to come back and play the music that we’ve all grown up with: we grew up writing and playing it, you folks grew up listening to it. We haven’t played Ravinia in a few years, and we’re excited to come back and play two nights [August 10 and 11]. And if you like the Chicago Symphony and the group Chicago, you will like the surprise we have for you on those two nights! I won’t tell you what it is, but you have to come to the show to see it.”Read More
Angel Blue, a rising American soprano who makes her Ravinia debut with an August 8 recital in the Martin Theatre, remembers exactly where she was when the opera bug bit her—hard.Read More
Last weekend, Paul McCartney gave fans in LA a treat they hadn’t been able to savor for more than 50 years—in the midst of his Dodger Stadium set, the onetime Beatle welcomed his former bandmate Ringo Starr onto the stage they last shared on August 28, 1966. The two knights jammed to their classics “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” and “Helter Skelter” before Starr gave the audience his signature wish of “peace and love.”Read More
For Highland Park High School Marching Band director Josh Chodoroff and members of the marching band, their participation in Ravinia’s encore performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass on Saturday, July 20, has to be the very best “This one time, at band camp” story.Read More
The annual Gala Benefit Evening hosted by Ravinia’s Women’s Board to support the festival and its Reach Teach Play education programs grossed more than $1.1 million, making it one of the most successful in the 53-year history of the event. Chicago’s own Oscar- and Grammy-winning Jennifer Hudson made her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut, headlining the only concert fundraiser Ravinia puts on for itself. George Hanson, who had served as an assistant to Leonard Bernstein, conducted the CSO for the July 14 concert. Nearly 800 guests attended the black-tie-optional gala, which proceeded with cocktails on Ravinia’s famous Lawn after the concert.Read More
No doubt Bernstein would have beamed upon the accomplishments of the 16-year-old cello virtuoso Ifetayo Ali-Landing, who will perform his Meditation No. 3 from Three Meditations from ‘Mass’ at Ravinia this summer with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on July 27—her debut with our nation’s top ensemble. At an age when most people her age are concerned with acne or just making it through gym class alive, Ms. Ali-Landing has already amassed a slew of important awards and concert appearances.Read More
Yankovic is a hit-after-hit-after-hit wonder who has built a devoted, multigenerational fan base one song parody at a time. It is a testament to his longevity that he has outlasted many of the musicians he has spoofed. Earlier this year, he won his fifth Grammy (Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package) for his aptly titled 15-disc career retrospective Squeeze Box, which came in a package designed like his accordion. His last three albums, Straight Out of Lynwood, Alpocalypse, and Mandatory Fun, ranked in the top 10 on the Billboard charts, with Mandatory achieving number-one status.Read More
While music is, of course, a central part of his life, much less known is that he is an avid fan of fine art, especially European painting. Although has acquired some small paintings, sculptures, and original prints, he considers himself more an admirer than a collector. He makes a point of visiting the art museums in the dozens of cities he visits each year as part of his international touring schedule. “It’s a continuing love of mine,” Goode says.Read More
At 61 years old, Grammy Award–winning singer, accomplished composer, and much-loved actor Lyle Lovett finds himself a different man than he once was. He’s breathing deeper and living a tad slower, and he’s content, both on and off the stage.
And he’s never been happier.Read More
A few years ago, the Tony-nominated director Diane Paulus was anticipating a production of Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses for an upcoming Chicago Opera Theatre season. Based upon the second half of Homer’s Odyssey, Monteverdi’s opera is concerned with Ulysses’s return from the Trojan wars to his wife, Penelope. Paulus had not settled upon her approach to the piece, but one inspiration coursed through her conversation like a conceptual leitmotif: “Penelope,” she said presciently. “I am very interested in Penelope.”Read More
Slatkin stepped down as music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2018, marking the end of a 39-year run as a music director in the United States—first in Saint Louis, then the National Symphony in Washington, DC, then Detroit, which has named him its Music Director Laureate. (He has also been Conductor Laureate of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra since the 1996 conclusion of his tenure.) His calendar has far more open weeks now, but he will return to Ravinia to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of Rachmaninoff and Rimsky-Korsakov on August 7.Read More
Movie music has been part of symphonic pops concerts at least since the 1940s, but Henry Mancini, the famed composer of scores for such movies as The Pink Panther and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, took things even further beginning around the 1960s, when he led more than 50 performances of his most popular themes each year across the United States and beyond. But David Newman, who returns to conduct On the Waterfront after leading West Side Story, points to John Williams as the biggest catalyst in changing attitudes in the classical world about film music.Read More
Some opera singers might dabble in jazz or record a one-off Broadway album, but Brazilian baritone Paulo Szot has made musical variety the hallmark of his career. He has performed with Liza Minnelli and Marvin Hamlisch and appeared in prestigious New York cabaret rooms like the Café Carlyle and 54 Below. Most notably, he won a 2008 Tony Award for his portrayal of Emile de Becque in a revival of South Pacific—his Broadway debut—and won another major award later in London for the same role. “I was never a closed-genre person,” Szot says. “I was always open to everything.”Read More
Yankovic quickly became one of the biggest-selling comedy recording artists in history. Since his self-titled debut release, the singer has released 13 more studio albums, several of which have gone platinum, and has won five Grammy Awards, accepting the latest earlier this year for Squeeze Box, an anthology bringing together his original songs and signature parodies of such hits as “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “Piano Man” by Billy Joel, and more.