Grant Park Music Festival 2017: What you need to know to go

Grant Park Music Festival 2017: What you need to know to go
Grant Park Music Festival in Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Photo: Christopher Neseman, 2014

 Grant Park Music Festival opens its 2017 Season on Wednesday June 14 in Millennium Park

Opening night of the Grant Park Music Festival (GPMF) has been a Chicago tradition for more than 80 years and is always an occasion for celebration.

This year the GPMF 10-week summer series kicks off on Wednesday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.


Carlos Kalmar. Photo: Patrick Pyszka

Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and Chorus Director Christopher Bell lead the award-winning Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus.

Most concerts are Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (exceptions include Tuesday, July 4 at 6:30 p.m. and no concert in Millennium Park on Wednesday, July 5).


Christopher Bell. Photo: Patrick Pyszka

A favorite for many are the free admission open lunchtime rehearsals of the GPMF that typically take place on Tuesdays and Fridays, June 13 ‒ August 18 from 11 a.m. ‒ 1 p.m. in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. A special Brown Bag Lunch talkback with Chorus Director Christopher Bell is scheduled for Wednesday, June 28 at noon.

Although the concerts are free admission with seating available to the public in the Seating Bowl and on the Great Lawn (first come, first served) membership passes are available for purchase.

The passes help support the GPMF and provide special benefits for holders.

Season memberships to the Grant Park Music Festival 2017 season are available now, and include reserved seats to every concert, along with exclusive benefits like access to concert receptions and discounts on parking and restaurants.

One Night Membership Passes, starting at $25, go on sale Tuesday, May 2 at 10 a.m. by phone at 312 742 7647 or online.

Patrons can also choose to create their own membership series of four, eight or twelve Festival concerts with a  Choose Your Own four-concert membership package beginning at $96.

The calendar for June is below:

all programs subject to change

TCHAIKOVSKY VIOLIN CONCERTO, Wednesday, June 14, 6:30 p.m. Performers: Grant Park Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Vadim Gluzman, violin

On opening night, Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra will be joined by soloist Vadim Gluzman for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The program also includes Alfvén’s Festival Overture and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture (June 14).

A SEA SYMPHONY, Friday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus; Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Christopher Bell, chorus director; Sara Jakubiak, soprano; David John Pike, baritone

The Grant Park Chorus joins the Orchestra, along with guest soloists Sara Jakubiak and David John Pike, for Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony in a weekend program that also includes Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes: Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia & Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony.

BEETHOVEN SYMPHONY NO. 4., Wednesday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m. Grant Park Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Susanna Phillips, soprano

Audiences will hear Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, along with acclaimed soprano Susanna Phillips making her Festival debut in Aaron Copland’s Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson.

STRAVINSKY FIREBIRD, Friday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. & Saturday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. Grant Park Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Conrad Tao, piano

On Friday and Saturday, Kalmar pairs Stravinsky’s complete ballet score of The Firebird with Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto featuring Conrad Tao as soloist.


A special Brown Bag Lunch talkback with Chorus Director Christopher Bell will take place on Wednesday, June 28 at approximately 12 Noon.

MISSA LATINA, Wednesday, June 28 at 6:30 p.m. & Friday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m. Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus; Miguel Harth-Bedoya, guest conductor; Christopher Bell, chorus director; Jessica Rivera, soprano; Takaoki Onishi, baritone.

The month concludes with Roberto Sierra’s Latin-infused Missa Latina, guest conducted by Festival favorite Miguel Harth-Bedoya and featuring the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus with soprano Jessica Rivera and baritone Takaoki Onishi.

Pre-Concert Lecture series…

The GPMF free popular Pre-Concert Lecture series returns with exclusive conversations between guest artists and expert music commentators including WFMT’s Relevant Tones host Seth Boustead, CSO’s Sounds and Stories contributor Laura Sauer and WFMT host Dennis Moore.

Lectures take place in Millennium Park’s Family Fun Tent, on the walkway to the west of the Pavilion, one hour before each concert.

June special guests for the series include:

  • Vadim Gluzman (June 14);
  • Conrad Tao (June 23)
  • Miguel Harth-Bedoya and Takaoki Onishi (June 28 and 30).

The rest of the summer schedule (through August 19) will be added when released.

Ten of this summer’s concerts, including June 14 (Opening Night), June 23 and June 28, will be broadcast on 98.7WFMT, Chicago’s classical and fine arts radio station, and also online.

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