Barbara Cook Celebrates 85th Birthday With Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 7/15
Legendary Broadway soprano Barbara Cook celebrates her 85th birthday with her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut on Sunday, July 15, in a 5 p.m. concert led by conductor Richard Kaufman in his festival debut.
Known for her Broadway legacy as well as her concert and recording career, Cook made her solo concert debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2006, becoming the first female pop singer to be presented by the company in their 123-year history. A Tony Award-winner, she was also a recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in 2011. Famous for leading the CSO movie nights downtown, Kaufman has devoted much of his musical life to conducting and supervising music for film and teleVision Productions. He is also the principal pops conductor of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony and holds the permanent title of pops conductor laureate with the Dallas Symphony. Prior to the July 15 concert from 3 from 4:30 p.m., Ravinia will host a special family space on the north lawn, where families can engage in activities that include music-related crafts, storytelling and an “instrument petting zoo” where kids can experience and play instruments.
Conductor and former Ravinia Music Director Christoph Eschenbach returns to the festival for a handful of concerts with some of music’s great young soloists. On July 14 he will conduct the CSO in Dvo?ák’s Carnival Overture and Symphony No. 8 in G Major and Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Major, featuring violinist Erik Schumann. Schumann, who has appeared on Ravinia’s Rising Stars series, is the first-prize recipient of the seventh International Wieniawski-Lipinski Violin Competition and prize-winner at the Jacques Thibaud International Violin Competition. Eschenbach currently holds the title of music director for the National Symphony Orchestra and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Eschenbach leads the CSO in an evening featuring violinist Nicola Benedetti, making her CSO debut, and cellist Leonard Elschenbroich on Friday, July 13. This all-Brahms evening features the Concerto in A Minor for Violin and Cello and Symphony No. 4 in E Minor. Benedetti has performed multiple times with the Philharmonia, Royal Scottish National, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony and Czech Philharmonic orchestras as well as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras and more. Elschenbroich received the Leonard Bernstein award at the 2009 Schleswig-Holstein Festival and in 2011 made his critically acclaimed debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall..
Benedetti and Elschenbroich perform with pianist Alexei Grynyuk on Thursday, July 12, in in the Ravinia debut of theBenedetti/Elschenbroich/Grynyuk Trio. The trio will perform works by R. Strauss, Brahms and Tchaikovsky in the Martin Theatre. This concert also features a ticket and dining package for a special price of $75.
The Blues Brothers starring Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi make their Ravinia debut on Wednesday, July 11. Known for their appearances on Saturday Night Live as well as their feature film, the Blues Brothers sing their hits such as “Sweet Home, Chicago,” “Messin’ with the Kid” and, of course, “Soul Man,” all backed by the internationally renowned Sacred Hearts. Pavilion seats for this show are sold out, but lawn seats are still available.
Singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant makes her Ravinia debut on Tuesday, July 10, with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra and conductor David Wroe performing hits old and new. Over the span of her 30-year career, Merchant has earned platinum sales with her band 10,000 Maniacs, forged a successful solo career and embarked on a new artistic path creating songs from literary inspiration that are composed for orchestra. Pavilion seats for this show are sold out, but lawn seats are still available.
Ravinia rocks with the festival debut of iconic guitarist Santana on Monday, July 9. Over his four-decade career, which has included such blockbuster hits as “Evil Ways,” “Maria Maria” and “Smooth,” Carlos Santana has earned 10 Grammy and three Latin Grammy awards, sold 90 million records and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This concert is completely sold out in the pavilion and on the lawn.
Ravinia’s summer music conservatory, the Steans Music Institute, brings together talented young musicians from around the world to make music coached by an internationally renowned faculty. Faculty member and violinist Ida Kavafian presents a free master class at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10, featuring piano and string artists. Prior to the CSO concerts on July 13 and 14, Steans musicians will appear in preview concerts at 5:30 p.m. in Bennett Gordon Hall. These concerts are free with a paid entry for the mainstage show. At 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, piano and strings artists will present a free concert in Bennett Gordon Hall.
As a one-man musical universe, the Grammy-nominated Ralph’s World, starring popular Chicago rocker Ralph Covert, returns to Ravinia at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, as part of the festival’s Kraft Great Kids Concert series. Covert continues to move both the hearts and feet of children and their parents alike. Covert has produced six albums, won Parents magazine’s Video of the Year award, appeared in over a dozen music videos on Playhouse Disney and Nickelodeon, and has been featured in specials on Sirius XM Kids.
Ravinia Festival is located at Lake Cook and Green Bay roads in Highland Park. Tickets are available by visiting Ravinia.org or calling the Ravinia Festival Box Office at 847-266-5100. A $7 service fee is added to all online and phone ticket orders. Ravinia welcomes all festival fans to follow, connect and interact online at backstage.ravinia.org, facebook.com (search Ravinia Festival) and twitter.com/raviniafestival. Ravinia Festival is a not-for-profit organization.