Grant Park Music Festival to offer a deftly balanced summer season

Tue Jan 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Carlos Kalmar will open the Grant Park Music Festival’s season June 15 with music of Barber, Poulenc and Mussorgsky. File photo: Norman Timonera

In 2016 the Grant Park Music Festival will continue its reign as the most skillfully programmed classical organization in Chicago. This summer’s lineup includes another deft balancing of cornerstone repertoire with rarely heard works, with the usual strong emphasis on music of American composers, past and present

Among the latter this season are the Symphony No. 3 by Roy Harris and Walter Piston’s Symphony No. 2, along with music of Barber, Ellington, Kernis, Rouse, Floyd, Torke, and a world premiere by Michael Gandolfi.

The sole commission this summer will be two yet-to-be named new movements added by Michael Gandolfi to his sprawling existing composition, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, to be performed August 5 and 6. Gandolfi, who will be composer in residence this summer, also wrote Only Converge: An Exaltation of Place for the festival in 2012.

The 82nd season of the Grant Park Music Festival will open June 15 with artistic director and principal conductor Carlos Kalmar leading the Grant Park Orchestra in Samuel Barber’s Essay No. 2 for orchestra, the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition, and Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos with Anne-Marie McDermott and Andrew van Oeyen as soloists.

Kalmar will also lead performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 (June 24-25), Rimsky-Korsakov’s Symphony No. 2 (“Antar”) (June 29), Michael Torke’s Book of Proverbs (June 17-18), and James MacMillan’s Brittania (August 3). The Grant Park Chorus will be spotlighted in Mozart’s Mass in C minor (August 5-6), Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust (August 19-20), and a genuine rarity, Bohuslav Martinů’s oratorio, The Epic of Gilgamesh (July 1-2) with soprano Angela Meade.

Guest conductor Edwin Outwater will team with members of the Lyric Opera’s Ryan Center for American Artists to perform Act 1 of Carlisle Floyd’s celebrated opera, Of Mice and Men (July 27).

There will also be a week-long collaboration with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Conductor and MacArthur fellow, Marin Alsop, will conduct the Grant Park Orchestra in a multimedia work LIFE: A Journey Through Time, featuring wildlife photography by Frans Lanting set to music by composer Philip Glass. Also MacArther “genius grant” recipient cellist Alisa Weilerstein will perform Azul by Osvaldo Golijov. Alsop will also lead a program spotlighting African-American music with MacArthur fellow and jazz violinist Regina Carter that includes Dvořák’s New World Symphony. (July 20-23).

Other guest soloists include Juho Pohjonen playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (June 29), Rachel Barton Pine in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (July 13), Stephen Hough in Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (August 3), Kirill Gerstein playing the original version of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (August 12-13), Christian Tetzlaff with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and Christian Poltéra in Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 .

Also Christoph Konig who led a memorable performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 last summer will return to direct the Austrian composer’s Symphony No. 4 along with Haydn’s Symphony No. 55 (July 15-16). Conductor Michal Nesterowicz will direct a program of Lutoslawski, Bruch and Schumann (July 13). And Christopher Bell will lead the Grant Park Chorus in a Shakespeare-inspired program (July 24-26).

Other events include a concert with Storm Large (June 22), a Cole Porter program with Karen Mason (July 8-9), the National Youth Choir of Scotland (July 4), and a screening of Buster Keaton’s The General with live orchestral accompaniment (July 6).

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One Response to “Grant Park Music Festival to offer a deftly balanced summer season”

  1. Posted Jan 12, 2016 at 1:47 pm by Odradek

    Looks great! particularly the Martinu and Piston selections. Please, can Kalmar just go ahead and take over the CSO while he’s at it?

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