Ravinia Festival: Highlights of the 2019 summer season

Ravinia Festival: Highlights of the 2019 summer season
Ravinia crowd before Stevie Nicks concert at Ravinia Festival. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The sounds of summer will be here before we know it with some of the best sounds coming from the Ravinia Festival that opens on May 31.


Visitors can choose from more than 140 events from May 31 through September 15.  More than 70 artists will debut and there will be 50 festival premieres, including Ravinia’s co-commissioning of the last composition of the late André Previn and a one-act for Renée Fleming. Nine conductors will take the podium for the 84th annual residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

New for 2019

Ten years in the planning, Ravinia Festival will open the RaviniaMusicBox Experience Center this summer (exact date: TBA). The new building will feature an immersive-experience, 65-seat theater and a museum gallery space. Described by Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman as a “grand experiment” to spur interest in music.” 

Construction of the 9,500-square-foot building occurred over a single off-season, starting September 2018, and is now in its final stages. The new building occupies the footprint of an underused event tent on the North Lawn and does not encroach upon ticketed Lawn space. It will be connected by an observation bridge to Ravinia’s Dining Pavilion, which was extensively renovated for the 2018 season. Guests enter through a lobby that leads to a preview space with interactive screen technology before entering the wrap-around theater for a 4D experience.

They leave the theater via a museum gallery, sponsored by the Ravinia Associates Board, that will open this summer with the Grammy Museum’s Leonard Bernstein at 100 exhibit, which includes such personal items as the composer’s childhood piano and the desk where he wrote West Side Story, as well as interactive displays.

Rooftop BMO Club will be serving signature drinks, high-end wines, quick eats— opens with new observation bridge connecting it to Dining Pavilion.

Opening Night

Friday, May 31, 7:00 p.m. Pavilion Opening Night features Ramsey Lewis & Urban Knights Philip Bailey John Pizzarelli Trio, Ann Hampton Callaway and Ramseyfest Tickets: Reserved $90 / $80 / Lawn $33. The Park will open at 4:00 p.m

Hot Tickets

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett from the summer of 2015 at Ravinia Festival. Photo: Chicago Tribune

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett from the summer of 2015 at Ravinia Festival. Photo: Chicago Tribune

Sting, Chicago, Lionel Richie, Kesha, Queen Latifah, Common, Nickelback, Sugarland, Little Big Town, Tony Bennett,  Lady Antebellum, Morrissey, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Jennifer Hudson and recently knighted Ringo Starr will return after more than 2 decades. Plus the Bernstein celebration continues. Click here, for the full schedule.

Kid Stuff

Many of Ravinia’s regular patrons share stories of their very first concert experiences as being family adventures to one of Ravinia’s annual Kids Concerts.

This year’s lineup includes: Vy Higgensen’s Sing Harlem Choir, June 8; Ko-Thi Dance Company, June 16; Catskill Puppet Theater’s presentations of The Villain’s Mustache, June 22; The Stars of the Peking Acrobats, June 26; Atlanta Drum Academy, June 29; Laurie Berkner, Aug. 17; Opera for the Young’s Super Storm, Aug. 24; Mames Babegenush Danish klezmer music, Sept. 2; and The Performer’s School’s presentations of Cinderella, Sept. 14–15.

Tickets and information

For ticket information, visit Ravinia.org or call 847-266-5100. Note that artists and programs are subject to change, and opening acts for some concerts may be announced at a later date. Artists making their Ravinia debut are marked with a dagger (†). Repertoire being performed at Ravinia for the first time is marked with an asterisk (*). Lawn ticket prices that increase by $5 on the day of the concert are marked with a carat (^).

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