Today, the venerable Grant Park Music Festival announced its lineup for 2022, the entirety of which will offer free admission and the majority of which will take place at Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park.
The season begins on June 15 with artistic director and principal conductor Carlos Kalmar leading music of Mozart, Wagner, and Price. Mozart’s Haffner Symphony is the headliner, but also of note is Michelle Cann’s festival debut performing Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement.
Price’s inclusion in the opening night would seem to coincide with a season-long push to include historically underserved composers: alongside Price, who spent much of her career in Chicago, the 2022 season will see performances of music by Louise Farrenc, William Grant Still, Elfrida Andrée, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, among others.
Price’s Chicago connection, too, underscores another thread for the season. Mischa Zupko, whose world premiere commission Blue Matter is said to take inspiration from the city and its signature jazz, gospel, and hip hop, is a contemporary composer from Chicago. The guest artist lineup also represents a significant Chicago presence; citywide favorite Rachel Barton Pine returns to perform the Illinois premiere of Billy Childs’ festival-commissioned Second Violin Concerto. Soprano Janai Brugger also returns to the festival. Meanwhile, percussionist She-e Wu, composer-conductor Charles Floyd, poet Natalie Rose Richardson are among the Chicago-based or Chicago-born artists making their festival debuts.
In addition to Zupko’s world premiere, audiences will hear inaugural performances of music by Billy Childs, Christopher Theofanidis, John Harbison, Carl Vine, and Tebogo Monnakgotla. Like the Childs Violin Concerto, Judith Weir’s We Are Shadows will have its Illinois premiere. Works by contemporary composers Jennifer Higdon, Víctor Agudelo, Libby Larsen, and Arvo Pärt will also be performed this season.
There will be no shortage of symphonic staples; this summer, the Grant Park Orchestra will perform Mahler‘s Symphony No. 9, Beethoven‘s Symphony No. 3, Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony, and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, just to name a few.
As is customary, the season concludes with a concert-length work: this year’s closer is The Creation by Haydn, which will reach the Pritzker Pavilion stage on August 19 and 20. Kalmar conducts the performance, which features Brugger as well as tenor Duke Kim and bass-baritone Douglas Williams.
The season marks the 60th anniversary of the Grant Park Chorus. In celebration, a special a cappella concert of choral works will be conducted by chorus director Christopher Bell, taking place in early August.
Returning artists include violinist Christian Tetzlaff and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Meanwhile, an array of artists will be making their debuts; that list includes clarinetist Afendi Yusuf, pianist Andreas Haefliger, flutist Marina Piccinini, violinist Simone Lamsma, pianist Simon Trpčeski, and conductor Jonathan Heyward.
The festival’s perennial Independence Day Salute will take place on July 2.
Other special events include a special celebration of gospel music conducted by Floyd. That presentation will underline the city’s role in the creation and evolution of gospel music and will feature Chicago composers like Albertina Walker, Thomas Dorsey, and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson. Also in early August, Carlos Kalmar will lead the Grant Park Orchestra and guests in an evening of mariachi music, which the festival says is a nod to Chicago’s Latine community.
The festival’s programming will extend past the Pritzker Pavilion. A range of outreach and education initiatives sees public masterclasses, a music immersion summer camp for school-aged children, and a development ensemble giving performances around the city.
And of course, WFMT will be the festival’s broadcast partner, airing ten live concerts over the course of the summer!
For more information, visit gpmf.org.