Chorus to be in the spotlight this summer at Grant Park Music Festival

Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 11:45 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Grand choral masterworks will offer the big nights in the 76th season of the Grant Park Music Festival, which will run from June 16 through August 21.

While the 2010 installment of Chicago’s free lakefront music festival will mark principal conductor Carlos Kalmar’s tenth anniversary, this summer will also present ample opportunities for the superb Grant Park Chorus to shine at Millennium Park under director Christopher Bell.

On June 18-19, Kalmar will lead Beethoven’s mighty Mass in C on a program that also includes Haydn’s Te Deum and Hindemith’s Nobillisima Visione.

Michael Tippett’s celebrated anti-war oratorio, A Child of Our Time will be performed July 23 and 24 with soloists Jonita Lattimore, mezzo soprano Anita Krause, tenor Garrett Sorenson, and bass John Relyea. 

The Grant Park Chorus will join Kalmar and the orchestra at the Harris Theater July 25 and 26 for a rare performance of Canticle of the Sun by Chicago composer Leo Sowerby, part of a program of Pulitzer Prize-winning American music that will also feature works of Copland and William Schuman.

Bell’s choristers will also be featured in Dvorak’s Requiem August 13 and 14. and perform an a cappella program of French music July 6 and 8. The season will close with Kalmar leading the orchestra, chorus and soloists Karina Gauvin and Allyson McHardy in Mahler’s epic Resurrection Symphony August 20 and 21.

The lakefront summer concert season will open in populist fashion June 16 with Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, on a program that also includes Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture and Respighi’s Feste Romane.

Guest conductor Krzysztof Urbański will lead an all-Polish program June 30 including Kilar’s Krzesany, Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with soloist Krzysztof Jabłoński. New York Philharmonic associate conductor Xian Zhang makes her debut July 9 and 10 in music of Chen Yi, Prokofiev and Sibelius.

Hans Graf returns for an all-Russian program July 14 featuring Stravinsky’s Petrushka and cellist Alban Gerhardt in Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. Christian Tetzlaff will perform Dvorak’s Violin Concerto August 4 on a program that includes John Adams’ Lollapalooza and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9. And Horacio Gutierrez returns to tackle Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 August 18.

Boston Symphony Orchestra assistant conductor Julian Kuerti leads music of Respighi, Brahms and Britten July 16 and 17.  And singers from the Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center will perform scenes from Mozart and Rossini operas August 6 and 7.

There will be no Gilbert and Sullivan performances this summer, a move certain to disappoint Chicago’s ample contingent of Savoyards.

There will, however be several evenings of world music, lighter repertoire and crossover. The jazz-cabaret ensemble Pink Martini performs with Kalmar and the orchestra July 23.  A screening of the film Planet Earth takes place July 21 with composer George Fenton conducting his own score for the documentary. And West African kora player Toumani Diabete will perform Mande’s Variations August 11. The festival will also include Memoria Del Fuego (Memory of Fire), an evening of spoken word and Latin music, conducted by Miguel Harth Bedoya.

As last year, the Independence Day concert will take place in the afternoon with tap dancer Lane Alexander returning as guest artist.

For more information, call the Grant Park Music Festival at 312-742-7638 or visit

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