Jill Scott, Patti LaBelle, Jesse & Joy set for Ravinia, as season lineup is announced

The Highland Park music festival announced its 2020 lineup Thursday of more than 120 shows.

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Singer Jill Scott performs on stage at The 12th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival - Day 1 at Hard Rock Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Singer Jill Scott performs on stage in 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

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Get set for another “season under the stars” at the 2020 Ravinia Festival, as newcomers and alums will take to the stage of the annual Highland Park music extravaganza running May 30-Sept. 15, it was announced Thursday.

Among the many highlights for the pop/jazz/R&B lineup are Jill Scott (June 14), Macy Gray with Brian McKnight (July 14), Patti LaBelle with Ruben Studdard (June 18), Ms. Lauryn Hill (Sept. 11), and six-time Latin Grammy winners/pop duo Jesse & Joy kicking off the Pavilion season June 12.

Rodrigo y Gabriela headline the annual “Ravinia Fiesta” daylong festival of Latin music, food and culture on Sept. 13. In addition, the violin/viola hip-hop duo Black Violin headlines the pavilion (June 20); Ani DiFranco shares a bill with Indigo Girls (June 26).

King Crimson and The Zappa Band make their Ravinia debut July 5. Carrie Underwood performs two concerts this season (with her band) on July 18 and (with orchestra) on July 19.

Diana Ross returns to the festival on Aug. 26, while Tony Bennett is slated for an Aug. 29 show, marking his 41st Ravinia concert.

Tony Bennett performs onstage at Keep Memory Alive’s 20th Annual Power Of Love Gala at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 21, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Tony Bennett performs onstage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 2016. The legendary jazz singer returns to Ravinia this year for his 41st concert.


Among the classical lineup, Marin Alsop, the newly appointed chief conductor and curator of Ravina, will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in five concerts this season including the highly anticipated “Legendary Women’s Voices” gala starring Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo. The concert — featuring the music of Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight — is part of a series of shows throughout the season celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

Legendary maestro and former Ravinia music director Christoph Eschenbach will celebrate his 80th birthday in a weekend of concerts Aug. 8-10 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Ravinia and the CSO recently entered into an eight-year contract agreement — the longest in history between the two cultural entities — running through 2026.

Other milestone birthdays that will be celebrated over the course of the summer festival include “Itzhak Perlman at 75,” “Misha Dichter at 75,” “Bob Marley at 75” “Isaac Stern at 100,” “Clara Schumann at 200” and “Beethoven at 250.”

“For the classical music audience, the CSO audience, one of our biggest abilities to continually engage our audience and attract newcomers is the lawn [area],” said Ravinia president and CEO Welz Kauffman, who will step down from his post of 20 years at the conclusion of the new season. “Because of the low ticket prices for these concerts, the ability to bring a picnic, and the fact that kids (ages 15 and under and students through college) get in free or at a reduced ticket price to all classical concerts performed in the pavilion or Martin Theatre, it’s a win-win [situation].”

This summer also marks the official grand opening of the RaviniaMusicBox “experience center” theater/exhibition gallery in June, boasting 4K projection, state-of-the-art hologram-like projections and immersive sound.

“This journey has been a real adventure for about 15 years for the Ravinia family,” Kauffman said of the RaviniaMusicBox. “We have the chance to speak to all people who are there for a period of time before a show starts. It’s a chance to have a classical music experience in addition to whatever show [is being presented that evening].” The experience center is free to all ticketholders.

Concert tickets will go on sale to donors beginning March 17. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on April 28 for June and July concerts, and April 29 for August and September concerts, exclusively at Ravinia.org.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Ravinia posted the following statement on its website:

“Ravinia is concerned about the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. With new information emerging almost daily, it’s difficult to anticipate what impact the disease may have on our 2020 season, which is still three months away. However, Ravinia is committed to appropriately addressing this quickly evolving situation.

As part of our commitment, we are in close contact with local government and health officials, and we have engaged a nationally recognized emergency management consulting firm to help guide reasonable and responsible decision-making, focused on the safety of our audiences, guests artists and the general public.”

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