Putting a concert season together is a bit like making a meal. It’s about assembling the right ingredients, combining them in an interesting and enjoyable way, and timing it all just so. Add a pinch of spice and hopefully a generous amount of inspiration and, well, maybe then you can create something special.
Today the Grant Park Music Festival's 2007 season – the 73rd – was unveiled in both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. At times like these I can sit back, relax for just a second, and give thanks for having such a cool job. Getting there isn’t always so easy, but on days like today I am so glad I “do what I do.” and
I feel privileged to work with great conductors like Carlos Kalmar and Christopher Bell. They translate the artistic vision we all share into the great music you hear night after night. And then there is the virtuoso orchestra and chorus, filled with great musicians who come from all over the country to make Chicago their musical home.
What can you expect this summer? For starters, all four of Beethoven’s even-numbered Symphonies - not as often heard as their odd (numbered, that is) counterparts but full of wonderful surprises. How can you go wrong with Beethoven?
What else? Great pianists like Marc-Andre Hamelinopening the season with Brahms’ second piano concerto, Valentina Lisitsa performing both of Shostakovich’s powerful piano concertos in Orchestra Hall, and newcomer Ingrid Fliter playing Chopin. By the way, Ingrid appears in recital at the esteemed University of Chicago Presents series on Tuesday, April 24. Don’t miss it – she’s the real deal.
I’m excited about some of the out of the ordinary concerts, one featuring music from Asian composers; another, called the Devil’s Fiddler with the amazing Hungarian violinist Roby Lakatos; Flamenco guitar and dancing, and some great choral works like Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Duruflé’s Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem.
There are fantastic singers, too, including Chicago’s own Jennie Larmore singing and recording Ravel’s Sheherazade for Cedille Records; one of my favorites, the remarkable Karina Gauvin singing Poulenc and Debussy; and the equally wonderful Nathan Gunn singing John Adams and Vaughan Williams.
Finally, there’s a big Leonard Bernstein Broadway celebration – but I’ll fill you in on that plus a surprise or two sometime later this spring. Stay tuned.