In its 82nd season, the Grant Park Music Festival featured an array of musical favorites which included Martinu's rarely performed oratorio "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and Rachmaninov's tour-de-force "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," performed by virtuoso pianist Stephen Hough. The Festival also celebrated the MacArthur Foundation's contributions to the arts with a weeklong program curated by guest conductor Marin Alsop. Before the season's close, it welcomed composer Michael Gandolfi back for the world premiere of his commissioned piece "The Cosmic Garden in Bloom," inspired by the magnificent Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Scotland.
The 2015 Season included the world premiere of Kenj Bunch's Symphony No. 3, the Midwest premiere of James MacMillan's Quickening, a tribute to legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, and an evening with jazz vocalist Kurt Elling.
In 2014, the Grant Park Music Festival celebrated its 80th Anniversary Season, as well as the 10th Anniversary of Millennium Park. Leonard Slatkin and Hugh Wolff, past principal conductors of the the Festival, returned to lead the orchestra and chorus, and two new world premieres were commissioned in honor of the special season—a concerto-fantasia for orchestra by William Bolcom, and a multimedia piece by Christopher Theofanidis.
The 79th Season of the Grant Park Music Festival included some of the most beloved music of all time. Highlights included a stunning performance of War Requiem in honor of Benjamin Britten's centenary, the return of the sensational pianist Valentina Lisitsa, an unforgettable night with Pink Martini, and a Closing Weekend celebration of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky's landmark The Rite of Spring.
The 78th Season of the Grant Park Music Festival marked the 50th anniversary of the Grant Park Chorus. Celebrations included the world premiere of two new works for orchestra and chorus by American composers Michael Gandolfi and Sebastian Currier, and the release of the Grant Park Chorus' first-ever a cappella recording. Other highlights included the return of George Fenton with the BBC/Discovery Channel documentary Frozen Planet and a groundbreaking simulcast of the Paris Opera Ballet's iconic Giselle.
Highlights of the 2011 Season included a visit by famed Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, a rare stateside performance of Franz Schmidt's The Book With Seven Seals, and the return of violinist Jennifer Koh.
2010 marked Carlos Kalmar's 10th Anniversary as Principal Conductor and featured a performance of BBC's ground-breaking documentary Planet Earth, an appearance by Chinese-American conductor Xian Zhang, and world-premiere recordings of Pulitzer Prize winning works by William Schuman and Leo Sowerby.
Highlights from the 2008 Season included Pinchas Zukerman's Festival debut; U.S. Premiere of ‘A Throw of Dice' film with orchestral accompaniment; Venetian Night Luciano Pavarotti Tribute Concert; and Opera Week.
The 2007 Season was filled with many outstanding performances including The Decemberists, in their Chicago orchestral debut; Barber's choral version of Adagio For Strings; Duruflé's Requiem; and a three-day Festival of concerts and lectures celebrating the music of Leonard Bernstein.