SCHEDULE FEATURES 64 CONCERTS WITH RAVINIA’S SIGNATURE MIX OF GENRES, INCLUDING CLASSICAL, JAZZ, ROCK & POP, BROADWAY, COUNTRY, DANCE, FAMILY PROGRAMS, AND MORE
Tickets on Sale in Two Phases This Year:
June 16 for Concerts Scheduled July 1–August 15
July 21 for Concerts Scheduled After August 15
Health of Ravinia’s audiences, artists, community, and staff remains top priority
HIGHLAND PARK, IL – The Ravinia Festival, under the direction of its new President and CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon, announced the concert schedule for 2021 today, celebrating the reopening of the park for the first time since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The summer season will include 64 performances between July 1 and September 26, and marks the 85th concert season in the history of the oldest outdoor music festival in the country.
Tickets for 2021 performances will go on sale in two phases, in order to provide flexibility for updating seating protocols and programming in the second half of the season. Tickets for the general public will go on sale on Ravinia’s website, ravinia.org,on June 16 for concerts between July 1 and August 15, and on July 21 for concerts after August 15.
“More than ever before, we look forward to welcoming audiences back to Ravinia to be re-inspired by live music together,” said Ravinia President and CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon. “As one of the nation’s best outdoor music venues, Ravinia is perfectly positioned to welcome audiences to comfortably experience live music together again.” He continued, “While this year’s experience may be a little different, we look forward to continuing one of Chicagoland’s favorite summertime traditions with music under the stars.”
Ravinia’s three-month summer schedule represents the range of musical genres for which the festival has earned renown, while maintaining its commitment to classical music of all kinds, including the annual six-week residency by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Marin Alsop celebrating her inaugural year as the festival’s Chief Conductor and Curator. New this summer are Carousel Concerts, a series of casual evening performances of jazz, folk, and bluegrass music at the carousel-styled rotunda on the North Lawn with general admission Lawn seating only.
HEALTH & WELL-BEING
The health and well-being of audiences, artists, staff, and the community is Ravinia’s top priority. With expert guidance from Northwestern Medicine and local public health authorities, festival leadership has developed protocols for attendance that will be kept up to date to ensure best practices for health and safety. Notable changes at Ravinia this year include shorter concerts without intermission, reduced audience capacity, and shortened park hours prior to concerts. All public performances will take place outdoors, either on the stage of the open-air Pavilion or on the North Lawn at the Carousel. Ravinia will follow current protocols from the CDC and local authorities; concertgoers should check ravinia.org/page/2021Policies for the latest guidelines.
Ravinia Chairman Don Civgin expressed his gratitude to the many partners with which the festival has worked: “I extend special thanks to Northwestern Medicine, local and state officials, as well as the Ravinia family, for working together to re-open the park for the Chicagoland community this summer.”
Ravinia will offer a range of seating options at concerts. Seating in the Pavilion will be physically distanced and sold in groups of two or four. The South Lawn will provide audiences with pre-reserved, distanced pods for two, four, or six people and will feature a dedicated screen showing the live video feed of the stage. The North Lawn will have a reduced capacity of general admission access with first-come, first-served seating. The capacity of the North Lawn will be scaled according to current guidelines at the time but guests are expected to distance appropriately.
New this season, in partnership with Metra, all trains on the Union Pacific North line will honor Ravinia tickets as train fares; patrons can show their concert e-ticket for a free train ride to and from the park on concert days.
This summer, only the downtown Highland Park park-and-ride lot will be utilized; buses will have reduced capacity to maintain passenger distancing and cycle as needed to and from the park on concert days.
THANKING THE COMMUNITY
The summer season begins with three free events, July 1, 2, and 3, to thank invited audiences of essential, frontline, and healthcare workers; first responders; neighborhood partners; and families who participate in Reach Teach Play programs at Ravinia. Three days of programs are designed to spotlight Chicagoland and longtime Ravinia artists and welcome them back to the park for their first public performance opportunities in more than a year.
July 1: Renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson offers the first of four Ravinia recitals this summer dedicated to solo piano works by Brahms.
July 2: Chamber music showcase featuring RSMI faculty, broadcast to the Lawn from Bennett Gordon Hall. Artists include violinist and longtime Director of RSMI’s Program for Piano & Strings Miriam Fried and violinist Mark Steinberg, violists Atar Arad and Paul Biss, cellist Peter Stumpf, and pianist Alon Goldstein in a program that includes Mozart’s String Quintet No. 5 and Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1.
July 3: “Chicago Festival” – a day of performances by Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik, Shemekia Copeland, Chicago Jazz Orchestra Sextet, South Shore Drill Team, and Mucca Pazza
CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Ravinia has been the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) since 1936. This summer, 15 programs from July 9 through August 15 will be led by Marin Alsop and seven guest conductors, including Yue Bao, Jonathan Rush, and George Stelluto in their CSO debuts. Nine soloists also make their CSO debuts at Ravinia in 2021—pianist Lukáš Vondráček, vocalists Matt Doyle and Cynthia Erivo, sopranos Julia Bullock and Larisa Martínez, clarinetist Anthony McGill, violinists Stella Chen and William Hagen, and violist Matthew Lipman—while acclaimed violinists Midori, Joshua Bell, and Pinchas Zukerman, vocalist Betsy Wolfe, and pianist Jorge Federico Osorio make welcome returns. Returning guest conductors include former Ravinia music director James Conlon, with whom Hagen makes his debut; Zukerman, who will play and conduct his program; Steven Reineke, who leads a special Broadway-themed evening with Wolfe and Doyle; and Michael Stern, who leads a program with Bell and Martínez and one with Bell solo.
Cynthia Erivo makes her CSO debut headlining the Ravinia Women’s Board’s annual Gala Benefit Evening on July 18, benefitting Ravinia’s Reach Teach Play education programs, which serve more than 75,000 children and adults each year.
Classical music programming at Ravinia continues to reflect the breadth and depth of talent in the field through a diverse roster of both performers and composers. CSO and chamber music programs in 2021 feature a robust list of music by women, Asian, Black, and Latinx composers throughout the season, including Jessie Montgomery, who was recently named the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s next Mead Composer-in-Residence, and Amy Beach, Margaret Bonds, Rebecca Clarke, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Stacy Garrop, James P. Johnson, Laura Karpman, Arturo Márquez, Shawn Okpebholo, Florence Price, Caroline Shaw, Carlos Simon, Tyshawn Sorey, Augusta Read Thomas, Joan Tower, Davóne Tines, George Walker, Chen Yi and others.
Complete updated programs can be viewed on the Ravinia website or in the chronological listing that accompanies this press release.
Sixteen chamber music and recital programs will be presented this summer, ranging from a four-concert recital series by pianist Garrick Ohlsson surveying much of Brahms’s solo piano works, to a unique cabaret collaboration between Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro. All chamber music concerts will be moved from Ravinia’s indoor theaters to the outdoor Pavilion stage and be available for Lawn listening.
RECITALS AND CHAMBER MUSIC:
Garrick Ohlsson celebrates the 40th anniversary of his Ravinia debut with four programs that explore Brahms’s solo piano works, July 1, 5, 7, and 12.
Vladimir Feltsman offers a program of solo piano music by Beethoven and Schubert on July 8.
Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro join forces to tell stories through song in Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret on July 20.
Pianist Alexander Malofeev makes his Ravinia debut with a program of music by Nikolai Medtner, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff on July 21.
Misha Dichter returns to give a solo recital—his 75th appearance at Ravinia—on July 25; he and his wife Cipa Dichter give a duo recital together on July 26.
The Zukerman Trio—violinist Pinchas Zukerman, cellist Amanda Forsyth, and pianist Shai Wosner—perform on July 28.
RSMI alumna mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung brings a program of poetry and song with pianist Kevin Murphy—RSMI’s Vocal Program Director—and reader J. Nicole Brooks on August 5.
Bass-baritone Davóne Tines makes his Ravinia debut with pianist Adam Nielsen in a program that mixes new works of his own and by Caroline Shaw, Tyshawn Sorey, Julius Eastman with Bach songs and spirituals, creating a “Mass” reflecting his lived experience on August 31.
Pianist Lara Downes is joined by violinist Rachel Barton Pine and cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing and members of the Chicago Sinfonietta in Rising Sun: Migration and Renaissance, a program of music by composers of the Chicago Black Renaissance, including Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Sam Cooke, and Nora Holt on September 7.
Nexus Chamber Music is joined by composer Augusta Read Thomas as emcee for a program that includes the world premiere of her settings of poetry by Emily Dickinson for string quartet and soprano, Upon Wings of Words, on September 9.
Miró Quartet brings an American-themed program, with Dvořák’s quartet of the same name, along with pieces by Kevin Puts and George Walker, September 14.
Lincoln Trio gives the world premiere of a piece written for them by Shawn Okpebholo, on a program with works by Rebecca Clarke and Ernst Bacon on September 21.
Classic Kids LIVE: Beethoven Lives Upstairs with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, July 11
Laurie Berkner brings her storytelling through songs on August 7.
VISITING ENSEMBLES & CHICAGOLAND COLLABORATIONS:
Continuing its support of Chicago-area artists and ensembles throughout the season, Ravinia also presents the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Joffrey Ballet, Nexus Chamber Music, and Chicago Jazz Orchestra Sextet this summer as it celebrates a return to live performances.
Music director Mei-Ann Chen and the Chicago Sinfonietta return to Ravinia with a program that explores how dance has linked composers, musicians, and audiences across generations and cultures, September 8.
Grammy®-winning Baroque chamber orchestra Apollo’s Fire returns to Ravinia led by conductor and harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell in a program of Venetian music, with soprano Erica Schuller and tenor Brian Giebler, August 3.
The Joffrey Ballet, one of the world’s leading dance companies, returns to the festival for the first time in more than a decade. The program consists of four contemporary pieces: Beyond the Shore, music by Mason Bates and choreographed by Nicolas Blanc; Swing Low, music by Zoe Keating and choreographed by Chanel DaSilva; The Sofa, music by Tom Waits and choreographed by Itzik Galili; and The Times are Racing, with music by Dan Deacon and choreography by Justin Peck, which premiered in 2017 by the New York City Ballet (NYCB) and has only been performed by one other company—The Joffrey Ballet. September 17
JAZZ, FOLK, BROADWAY, and AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Ravinia continues featuring jazz, Broadway, American Songbook, and folk/bluegrass/roots music this summer, including welcoming Kurt Elling back to Chicago and the return of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis to Ravinia. Also returning in 2021 is Fiesta Ravinia—a daylong family festival of Mexican music, food, and culture in celebration of Mexican Independence Day. This will be the fifth annual Fiesta Ravinia.
Kurt Elling and Charlie Hunter, July 13—Carousel Concert
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis, July 25
Brian McKnight debuts at Ravinia, July 30
Michael Feinstein and Betty Buckley, August 1
Brett Dennen, August 4—Carousel Concert
Judy Collins and Madeleine Peyroux, August 10
Fiesta Ravinia: Ana Bárbara, Las Cafeteras, and more, September 12
POP, ROCK, R&B, INDIE, COUNTRY and REGGAE
In keeping with its signature mix of offerings, Ravinia welcomes artists ranging from Train and Andrew Bird to Ziggy Marley, King Crimson and The Zappa Band to Black Violin, and Blind Boys of Alabama, to the Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco.
Classic Albums Live: Led Zeppelin IV, July 24
Yacht Rock Revue debuts at Ravinia, July 31
Sideline makes its Ravinia debut, August 11—Carousel Concert
Willie Nelson & Family and Nate Smith, August 14
Gladys Knight, August 18
The Infamous Stringdusters and Leftover Salmon in their Ravinia debuts, August 20
The Beach Boys, August 21 and 22
John Hiatt and the Jerry Douglas Band, August 24
Lake Street Dive, August 26
Train, August 27 and 28
King Crimson and The Zappa Band make their Ravinia debuts, August 29
Collective Soul, Better Than Ezra, and Tonic share the bill on September 1
Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco, September 10
Black Violin and Blind Boys of Alabama, September 11
Ben Folds with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, September 18
Ziggy Marley: A Celebration of Bob Marley, September 19
Andrew Bird, September 24
THE RAVINIA STEANS MUSIC INSTITUTE (RSMI)
Founded in 1988, the Ravinia Steans Music Institute is an international destination for young professional pianists and string players, classical singers, and jazz musicians devoted to uniquely honing and advancing their talents as collaborative artists. Since opening its doors, RSMI has offered private coaching, master classes, and performance opportunities to over 1,500 exceptional musicians, many of whom have cultivated highly visible and successful careers in performance, leadership, and music education.
RSMI musicians perform about two dozen programs during the summer season, mostly on their home stage—the purpose-built Bennett Gordon Hall (BGH). Due to COVID restrictions this summer, events presented by RSMI will be streamed live on YouTube, free to all viewers.
Bridges Competition: RSMI alumni perform the winning compositions in Ravinia’s Bridges Composition Competition, fusing jazz and classical music. The program will feature 2020’s three winning entries—The Promised Land by Steven Feifke, Comment On War by Addison Frei, and Insomnolence by Zachary Rich—as well as an encore performance of 2019’s winning piece, Staircase by Michael Orenstein, June 4.
Jazz Grandstand: Musicians from RSMI’s Program for Jazz showcase their talents in an evening of original charts, all composed and workshopped during their one-week residency at Ravinia, led by expert faculty members: Billy Childs, Rufus Reid and Steve Wilson, June 11.
Piano & Strings Concerts: During their intensive five-week RSMI residency, the 25 Piano & Strings fellows will be featured across 10 programs of beloved solo and ensemble chamber repertoire. Concerts will be streamed online on July 5, 6, 11, 12, 15, 16, 20, 21, and 22, and a program on July 14 will be broadcast to a live audience on the Lawn.
Vocal Concerts: The four-week residency of 15 fellows in the Program for Voice will be punctuated by six programs highlighting the vastness of classical song repertoire. Concerts on August 8 and 20 bookend the series, with August 9 and 19 each featuring two different performances.
Patrons will be able to bring their picnics or choose from a selection of in-park dining options this summer. The Ravinia Market will be open for mobile ordering and contactless pickup of its grab-and-go food and drinks. Mobile carts throughout the park provide a variety of seasonal options, including beverage carts with a selection of premium bottled cocktails, spiked seltzers, wine, and craft beers, as well as snack carts featuring many guest-favorite items. Indoor and outdoor dining options will be available at the Park View, Tree Top, and Lawn Bar restaurants in the Dining Pavilion, as well as at the Freehling Room for eligible Ravinia donors. Each restaurant has a covered outdoor patio for open-air service, and reservations are strongly recommended. For guests interested in catering, Ravinia will offer reserved group spaces in select areas of the park, with packages that include tickets and customized menus.
In 2018, the Ravinia Festival Shop opened its new flagship store inside the park, offering a wider range of Ravinia-branded gear and apparel than ever before to concertgoers. This summer, the shop will be open on all concert days. New merchandise such as mugs, water bottles, shot glasses, face masks, apparel, and other items are available with the shop’s new logo. Wintrust Chair and Table Rental will also be available for Ravinia customers this summer. All proceeds from The Festival Shop support Ravinia and its Reach Teach Play music education programs.
North America’s oldest music festival, Ravinia opened on August 15, 1904, as a high-end amusement park—complete with music pavilion, baseball stadium, and dance hall—as a reason to get people to ride the uncompleted train line connecting Chicago and Milwaukee. When the railway went bust a few years later, local businessmen purchased Ravinia to run it as a music festival. In 1936, the not-for-profit Ravinia Festival Association took over ownership of the festival’s 36-acre park, and the festival’s long and enviable relationship as the summer residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra began. Ravinia is known for presenting music of all genres, and over the years the festival has made headlines with events like Benny Goodman performing with an integrated band, Janis Joplin giving one of her final concerts, and Princess Magogo, the first Zulu opera.
Today Ravinia is the only private train stop in Illinois, with Metra’s Union Pacific North line stopping at the Grand Entrance. The festival is located about 20 miles north of Chicago at Green Bay and Lake Cook Roads in Highland Park. Onsite parking is limited, and the festival operates a free park-and-ride shuttle bus service to nearby lots along the train line.
Guests can bring their own picnics, including food and liquor. A full range of dining options is available at the park, from casual carts to fine dining. Ravinia performances occur rain or shine.
Visit the website for the most up-to-date programming and protocols.
Ravinia Festival is a not-for-profit cultural institution that depends on the support of individual donors, foundations, and corporations. Ravinia is grateful to welcome back for a fifth year Allstate as its Lead Reach Teach Play Sponsor.
Featured Sponsors: In Memory of Keene H. Addington II; In Memory of Charles and Margery Barancik; BMO; The Dancing Skies Foundation; Discover, Official Card; Hyundai, Official Vehicle; Midtown Athletic Clubs, Official Club; The Negaunee Foundation; Jennifer W. Steans and James P. Kastenholz; RBC Wealth Management; United Airlines, Official Airline; Wintrust, Chair Rental Sponsor
Season Sponsors: Elizabeth Crown and Bill Wallace; In honor of Sandra K. Crown; Fortune Brands Home & Security; Illinois Arts Council Agency; ITW; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Holly and John Madigan Family; Tera and Richard McBlaine; Ruth Page Festival of Dance; In Memory of Tom Pick; Terlato Wines; In Honor of Paul B. and Virginia L. Uhlenhop; Nancy Zadek
Program Sponsors: AbbVie; Megan P. and John L. Anderson; Baxter International Inc.; Beam Suntory; In Memory of Arlene and Marshall Bennett; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Ernst & Young LLP; Exelon; Fifth Third Bank; Howard L. Gottlieb and Barbara G. Greis; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; The Hunter Family Foundation; Lori Ann Komisar and Morris Silverman; Kerrygold; Latham and Watkins LLP; Mayer Brown LLP; Northern Trust; Northwestern Medicine; Perkins Coie LLP; The Sedge and Henry Plitt Charitable Trusts; PNC Bank; Louella Sachs, in memory of Michael Sachs; Sue Stevens; Sidley Austin LLP; Stepan Company; Testa Produce, Inc; Linda and Craig Umans; Walgreens; Lynne and David B. Weinberg; Suzanne and Robert Wieseneck Family
Sponsors: Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; Don and Susan Civgin; Winnie and Bob Crawford; The Fisher and Marks Families, in memory of James and Roslyn Marks; Glerum Family Foundation; Chris and Elise Klein; Becky and Lester Knight; Kenneth and Jodi Meister; Diana and Bruce Rauner; John Snyder and Mignon Dupepe
Artists, dates, and programs are subject to change.