Ravinia extends classical concert season
Classical music concerts will continue on throughout the fall and winter at Ravinia Festival, moving from the 3,400-seat outdoor pavillion into the 450-seat Bennett Gordon Hall. | Photo by Josh Peckler
Updated: September 6, 2012 10:48AM
Building on the success of the summer’s many classical concerts in Bennett Gordon Hall for $10 each, the Ravinia Festival is presenting eight programs in the 450-seat theater this season for that very attractive price.
Titled “BGH $10 classics,” the series runs October through April and includes the Chicago premiere of James Whitbourn’s “Annelies: The Choral Setting of the Diary of Anne Frank” in 2013, as well as what surely must be the first-ever Christmas concert the Ravinia Festival has ever presented. Those two concerts are only available for $10 to persons who have purchased three other concerts.
The series begins with three fall concerts on consecutive Saturday nights in October at 8 p.m.
Cellist Sebastian Bäverstam, an alum of the Ravinia Steans Institute, gives a recital Oct. 13, with pianist Pei-Shan Lee. The program will be Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 2; Kodály’s Cello Sonata, Op. 8; and Franck’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in A Major. Bäverstam debuted at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall at the age of 12, won the 2009 Concert Artists Guild Competition and most recently was awarded first prize at Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition. Originally from Taiwan, he now teaches and performs as a collaborative pianist at the New England Conservatory.
Another Steans alum, violinist Tessa Lark, gives a solo recital Oct. 20. First prize winner at the Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition in 2012, she holds bachelor and master of music degrees in violin performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and has performed with orchestras from Santa Cruz to Beijing.
Winner of the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, pianist Daria Rabotkina plays Oct. 27. She has been soloist with the San Francisco and New World symphonies under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, and with the Kirov Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev in a four-concert North American tour. Her program includes Bach/Busoni’s Chaconne from Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor; Schumann’s Humoreske; and Prokofiev’s Ten pieces from Romeo and Juliet.
The Empire Brass will play the Christmas concert Dec. 6. It is the first Ravinia engagement in more than 20 years for the ensemble, which has played with major orchestras throughout the United States and the world. With them will be vocalist Elisabeth von Trapp, granddaughter of Maria and Baron von Trapp, whose story inspired the Rogers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music.” She has been singing professionally in Europe since childhood and has appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
In 2013 the program begins at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27 with the Lincoln Trio, the Chicago Children’s Choir, Bharat Chandra, clarinet, and Arianna Zukerman, soprano in “Annelies: The Choral Setting of the Diary of Anne Frank.” Welz Kauffman will interview the composer James Whitbourn at 2:30 p.m.
Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute give a program with soprano Deborah Selig at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16; baritone John David Boehr sings art songs and show tunes at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 13, and pianist Michael Brown gives a recital at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 20.
Bennett Gordon Hall is in the John D. Harza building at the southeast corner of the park. Opened in 1988, it is the only year-round concert venue on the grounds of the summer music festival. For decades it was the site of the festival’s Rising Stars recital series, which featured young classical performers under 35 years of age.
For the past two summers, the festival has offered more and more music and dance recitals in this intimate venue, charging just $10 per person.
There is not a bad seat in the house and parking is free. At such a price, music lovers can enjoy the charms of Ravinia throughout the year.
For details, visit www.ravinia.org.