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Overheard: Musicians' Picks for Festival 2024

Grant Park Orchestra Keyboardist Christopher Guzman and Concertmaster Jeremy Black

Every classical musician has concerts they can’t wait to dig into. On April 16, Grant Park Orchestra concertmaster Jeremy Black and the recently-hired keyboardist Christopher Guzman came together for the first time to perform works for violin and piano at the Festival’s Spring Soirée. They made great music together and had a lively conversation about the upcoming season.


Joachim, Beethoven & Grieg (July 24)


CHRIS GUZMAN “Okay. This is a popular concert, I’m sure—Beethoven Five—But I’m especially excited about the world premiere by Nathalie Joachim [pron. wah SHEM], because she’s a good friend of mine. And what’s not to like about the Beethoven Five and the Holberg Suite?”

Prokofiev and Schumann (July 21-22)

CHRIS GUZMAN “You know, the Prokofiev Six [Prokofiev Symphony No. 6] is a new work for me. I didn’t know it. I think it’s very interesting. And Garrick Ohlsson—he’s fantastic.”

The Season’s Bookends

Jeremy Black and Chris Guzman Performing at the Jay Pritzker PavilionCHRIS GUZMAN “I do think the Elgar and Holst (June 14-15) is going to be an interesting concert. The Elgar is a beautiful piece. And the Mahler Eight—I’ve never had the chance to see it live. The “Symphony of a Thousand” (August 16-17) is this majestic work that you don’t get to see very much just because of the number of personnel. It’s the capstone of the whole summer—and Carlos’s tenure! And there are four keyboard parts! There’s harmonium, celeste, piano and organ. And they’re concurrent, so we’ll have four players.”

Scheherazade (July 26-27)

JEREMY BLACK “Of course, for me Scheherazade is going to be a highlight [Scheherazade has a prominent concertmaster solo]. It’s not incredibly technically challenging, but it’s very exposed. Drawing the line through that beautiful melody—it’s a joy. It’s always fun to do. It’s a great piece.”

CHRIS GUZMAN “When I was growing up, I had a tape of the Cleveland Orchestra playing Scheherazade. And I was eight years old, ten years old. And I would just play it all the time. All the time. So it was one of the first orchestral works that I grew attached to. So I’m excited to hear it.”

Bruckner and Janáček (August 2-3)

JEREMY BLACK “I do like the Bruckner Symphony and the Janáček suite. And The Swan of Tuonela is a good piece, too. The Janáček, I haven’t played, looks tricky. But I love his music. I think it’s underplayed, so I’m very much looking forward to that.”

Dvořák Serenade for Strings (June 25 & 27)

JEREMY BLACK “Interestingly, the Dvořák Serenade for Strings is a wonderful piece. Again underplayed, and I have a new appreciation for it because it has a wonderful second violin part. The seconds begin movements and introduce themes, and I really appreciate those moments.”

Petrushka, Tchaikovsky and Márquez

JEREMY BLACK “Petrushka (June 28-29) is always a lot of fun. And the Tchaik Six, too, with Anne Akiko Meyers playing Márquez (July 3 & 5). Those are both great programs.”