Grant Park Music Festival Announces Its Summer Lineup

February 14, 2013

by Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

The Grant Park Music Festival will have an even more international flavor than usual this summer, with a vocal work by a Chinese composer and a large-scale multimedia event about the Incan civilization.

Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra will open the 79th season of the lakefront festival June 12 and offer ten weeks of concerts running through August 17.

The centennial season of Benjamin Britten will be marked with a performance of his War Requiem (June 28-29) with soloists Erin Wall, Jeremy Ovenden and Alan Held. The Grant Park Chorus will also be heard in Prokofiev’s cantata Alexander Nevsky (June 14-15), Schubert’s Mass in E flat (August 9-10),  and John Adams’ Harmonium, which will close the festival, along with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring August 16-17.

Iris dévoilée by Chinese composer Qigang Chen will be presented June 21-22, a work that features two vocal soloists and traditional Chinese instruments, on a program with works by Ravel and Faure. Miguel Harth-Badoya leads the Grant Park Orchestra in Caminos del Inka, a tribute to the ancient Peruvian civilization July 12-13.

Other offbeat items on tap this summer include Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto, Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2, Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, and Roberto Sierra’s Concerto for Saxophones featuring jazz great James Carter.

There will also be ample orchestral standards including Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, Saint-Saens’ “Organ” Symphony, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

Soloists include pianists Kirill Gerstein, Valentina Lisitsa, and Alessio Bax, violinists Karen Gomyo and Stefan Jackiw, clarinetist Martin Frost, and saxophonist James Carter. In addition to Kalmar, guest conductors include Hannu Lintu, Thierry Fischer, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Eugene Tzigane, and Jeff Tyzik,

In an attempt at the neighborhood cultural outreach promoted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, this year chorus director Christopher Bell and the Grant Park Chorus will present their a cappella program August 1 at the South Shore Cultural Center rather than the Harris Theater with a program TBA. There will also be more lightish programs with Pink Martini June 19, a “Grant Park Pops” dance program July 10, and Rodgers and Hammerstein evening July 17.

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