Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Rob Thomas, Seth MacFarlane with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Little Big Town, Santana, Rob Thomas and Frank Sinatra Jr. are among the eclectic lineup for Ravinia’s 2015 festival season, kicking off June 13 in Highland Park.
The festival will also honor James Conlon in his final season as music director for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra summer residency, with favorite programs of Mozart, Mahler, opera and “Breaking the Silence” culled from his 30-year association with the Ravinia.
“James hasn’t had a summer free in decades and deserves the time he wants to take for himself,” said Ravinia president and CEO Welz Kauffman in a statement. “His presence will be felt at Ravinia for a long time, both in terms of his witty, fun-loving personality that was rooted in his devoted passion for classical music, and in the legacy of his powerful programs that included astounding opera performances, major presentations of Mahler, Mozart and the Russian masters, and of course, his signature work of restoring to its rightful place in the canon the music of composers trampled by the Nazis.”
More than 120 concerts, including 60 artist’s debuts, will be presented at the venue through the festivals’ conclusion on Sept. 10.
SEASON HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
CSO goes to the movies with giant screens on the pavilion stage and lawn for “Fantasia” (July 12), 2009’s “Star Trek” (Aug 16); Danny Elfman’s music from the films of Tim Burton (July 14) and “Gladiator” (Aug. 2).
Bobby McFerrin conducts the best from “Porgy and Bess” (July 8) featuring Nicole Cabell and Brian Stokes Mitchell, with choir assembled by Josephine Lee.
Ramsey Lewis makes his CSO debut as composer and soloist (Aug. 8) in celebration of his 80th birthday, performing his first piano concerto, commissioned by Ravinia for the occasion.
The centennial of Frank Sinatra’s birth will be celebrated with performances by Concert Dance Inc. (Sept 1-2) at Bennett Gordon Hall, presenting choreography set to his greatest hits; and a pavilion concert starring Frank Sinatra Jr. with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra (Sept. 4)
(SEE MORE HIGHLIGHTS BELOW)
Diana Krall brings her Wallflower World Tour to the venue on Aug. 9.
Broadway veteran and film star Alan Cumming presents an intimate evening of song in the Martin Theatre on June 19.
Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga bring their “Cheek to Cheek” tour to the venue for concerts on June 26-27.
The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin headlines the pavilion with her “Great Divas Classics” show on July 11.
Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana brings his Corazon Tour to the pavilion for concerts on Aug. 29
YouTube sensations The Piano Guys make a tour stop at Ravinia on Aug. 26.
Combining musical artistry with full-out slapstick, Igudesman and Joo are on the bill July 30 with “And Now Mozart,” a spoof on the music of the master which according the duo “will contain absolutely NO Mozart!”
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings will bring their soulful stylings to the pavilion on June 21.
Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas makes his Ravinia solo debut on July 18.
Seth MacFarlane brings his big band stylings to the pavilion stage with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra on Aug. 21.
Country music fans can celebrate the summer with concerts by the legendary Alan Jackson on Aug. 31 and Little Big Town on Aug. 28.
On July 22, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Conlon with piano soloist Garrick Ohlsson, will present Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488 and Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D Major.
On July 23, Conlon and the CSO will present an all-Russian program, featuring Mussorgsky: Selections from Khovanshchina; Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 1, and Shostakovich: Symphony No 5 in D Minor, Op.47.
On July 26, Conlon and the CSO will present “Play It Again, Marvin! A Marvin Hamlisch Celebration” in honor of the late Oscar-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer/pianist with a program of some of his greatest work from movies and Broadway. Sylvia McNair is among the vocalists scheduled to perform.
Piano Works in the Martin series include: Chopin specialist Yundi in his Ravinia debut, performing the composer’s complete ballads and Op. 28 preludes on July 5. Jeffrey Kahane performs Bach’s complete “Goldberg” variations on July 7. Igor Levit will perform all six Bach partitas on July 15. Yefim Bronfman presents the rare opportunity to hear the all of Prokofiev’s piano sonatas over three concerts with Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 3 performed on Aug. 9; Nos. 6, 5 and 7 on Aug. 11; and Nos. 8 and 9 on Aug. 12.
For the full schedule visit Ravinia.org.