A very special new relationship has been forged between the Ravinia Festival and the office that oversees the legacy of the famed composer Leonard Bernstein.
At a meeting at the Arts Club of Chicago last week, Ravinia hosted more than 20 Chicago cultural institutions — including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera, the Goodman Theatre and the Grant Park Music Festival — at a planning summit to celebrate the 2018 centennial of Bernstein’s birth.
There Ravinia management announced that its two-year celebration of the longtime New York Philharmonic Orchestra conductor will include having one of his final proteges, Marin Alsop, curate the 2018 Ravinia season and conduct Bernstein’s music-theater piece, “Mass,” which she has championed through live concerts and recording. In addition, Ravinia will present the composer’s “Trouble in Tahiti,” composed in 1951, which investigates tension and ennui in the suburbs — specifically referencing Ravinia’s Highland Park hometown.
Ravinia also announced it will open a new venue in 2019 with a major Bernstein museum exhibit that will include the composer’s piano. The new building being added to Ravinia’s North Shore campus will include both museum spaces and a small theater venue.
“There aren’t enough hyphens to string together all of Bernstein’s titles and accomplishments, so I wanted to tap into the brilliance of the Chicago arts community to make sure we’re presenting a well-rounded remembrance of both the common man and the superstar artist who shaped so many of our musical tastes and understanding,” said Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman.