Grant Park Music Festival 2023 Season Released

By Keegan Morris |

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The Grant Park Music Festival at Millennium Park

The Grant Park Music Festival at Millennium Park (Photo: Christopher Neseman)

The Grant Park Music Festival, one of the indispensable cultural institutions of the Chicago summer, has announced its 2023 lineup of programming.

Running from mid-June to mid-August, the ten-week season features twenty distinct programs — all of which are free — featuring music from the 19th century to today.

The festival’s announcement emphasizes diversity within its programming as well as its artists. Among the contemporary composers featured in the season are Unsuk Chin, Anna Clyne, Valerie Coleman, Wynton Marsalis, Jessie Montgomery, Joan Tower, and Joel Thompson. Historically underrepresented composers whose works will be played will include Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Edmond Dédé, and William Grant Still.

The festival also welcomes two return artists for residencies: bass player and composer Xavier Foley and pianist Joyce Yang. A robust cast of artists, including Foley and Yang as well as violinist Tai Murray, soprano Maeve Höglund, and cellist Zlatomir Fung will lead free, public master classes.

Nine programs — including all concerts of the opening and closing weeks of the season — will be conducted by principal conductor and artistic director Carlos Kalmar. In 2021, the festival announced that the 2024 season will conclude Kalmar’s long and distinguished tenure in these roles.

Christopher Bell, the festival’s chorus director since 2002, will lead “An American Salute” of music by Tower, Dédé, Gershwin, and Bernstein on July 5. In late June, away from the Pritzker Pavilion stage, Bell will lead concerts in the South Shore and Austin neighborhoods. Bell will also prepare the Grant Park Chorus in music by Dvořák, Fauré, Mozart, Poulenc, and Brahms throughout the season. Lyric chorus master Michael Black, in turn, will prepare the chorus in a Mendelssohn rarity — The First Walpurgis Night — for August concerts.

Also taking up the festival baton this season will be a procession of respected conductors. Audiences will see a bevy of conductor debuts: Jordan de Souza, Valentina Peleggi, Ludovic Morlot, Kevin John Edusei, Ken-David Masur (who serves as the music director of the Milwaukee Symphony and principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago), Gerald Steichen, and Eric Jacobsen. Conductors Gemma New, David Danzmayr, and Stephen Alltop will be making return appearances.

2023 will also bring a customarily impressive roster of soloists. Two Chicago-born artists will make their first appearances at the festival: Tai Murray and soprano Olivia Boen. Zlatomir Fung, soprano Lindsey Reynolds, and violinist Esther Yoo also visit the festival for the first time. Return soloists include violinists Augustin Hadelich and Stefan Jackiw, violist Masumi Per Rostad, and pianists Michelle Cann, Stewart Goodyear, and Stephen Hough.

Musical theater will be a focus for two late-July performances, while an early-August show features Chicago conductor Stephen Alltop and the acrobatic act Troupe Vertigo.

The festival offers several outreach programs including Classical Campers and Young Artists Showcase. The public can also frequently sit in on lunchtime rehearsals at Pritzker Pavilion. And ten of the summer’s performances will be aired live on WFMT.

The Grant Park Music Festival’s 2023 mainstage season is listed below in full. WFMT live broadcasts from Pritzker Pavilion will return; the dates and programs for those live broadcasts will be announced presently.

Conductor Carlos Kalmar leads the Grant Park Orchestra.

Conductor Carlos Kalmar leads the Grant Park Orchestra (Photo: Patrick Pyszka)

Schumann Symphony No. 4

Wednesday, June 14, 6:30 pm

Jeremy Black, violin; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Robert Muczynski: Symphonic Dialogues
Camille Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3
Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 4

John Matthew Myers

John Matthew Myers (Photo: MurphyMade)

Dvořák Stabat Mater

Friday, June 16, 6:30 pm & Saturday, June 17, 7:30 pm

Olivia Boen, soprano; Siena Licht Miller, mezzo-soprano; John Matthew Myers, tenor; Joseph Beutel, bass; Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Antonín Dvořák: Stabat Mater 

Xavier Foley

Xavier Foley (Photo: Matt Dine)

Brahms Academic Festival Overture

Wednesday, June 21, 6:30 pm

Xavier Foley, double bass; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Johannes Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
Nino Rota: Divertimento Concertante
Robert Fuchs: Symphony No. 2

Carlos Kalmar

Carlos Kalmar

Mendelssohn Midsummer Night’s Dream

Friday, June 23, 6:30 pm & Saturday, June 24, 7:30 pm both at Harris Theater

Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Carl Maria von Weber: Overture to Oberon
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music
Felix Mendelssohn: Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Hamlet Fantasy Overture after Shakespeare
Dmitri Shostakovich: Incidental Music to Hamlet 

Stefan Jackiw

Stefan Jackiw

Beethoven Violin Concerto

Wednesday, June 28, 6:30 pm

Stefan Jackiw, violin; Grant Park Orchestra: Jordan de Souza, conductor

Leonard Bernstein: Overture to Candide
Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto
William Grant Still: Symphony No. 1, Afro-American Symphony

Valentina Peleggi

Valentina Peleggi (Photo: Bo Lutoslawski)

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4

Thursday, June 29, 6:30 pm at Millennium Park & Friday, June 30, 6:30 pm at South Shore Cultural Center

Stewart Goodyear, piano; Grant Park Orchestra: Valentina Peleggi, conductor

Valerie Coleman: Umoja
Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell conducting the Independence Day Salute

An American Salute: Rhapsody in Blue

Wednesday, July 5, 6:30 pm

Michelle Cann, piano; Grant Park Orchestra: Christopher Bell, conductor

Joan Tower: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
Edmond Dédé: Chicago, Grande valse à l’Américaine
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Leonard Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

Tai Murray

Tai Murray (Photo: Gaby Merz)

Wynton Marsalis Violin Concerto

Friday, July 7, 6:30 pm & Saturday, July 8, 7:30 pm

Tai Murray, violin; Lindsey Reynolds, soprano; Grant Park Orchestra: Ludovic Morlot, conductor

Wynton Marsalis: Violin Concerto
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Ave verum corpus
Gabriel Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine
Francis Poulenc: Gloria

Joyce Yang

Joyce Yang (Photo: KT Kim)

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1

Wednesday, July 12, 6:30 pm

Joyce Yang, piano; Grant Park Orchestra: Gemma New, conductor

Vivian Fung: Aqua
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Samuel Barber: Symphony No. 1

Kevin John Edusei

Kevin John Edusei (Photo: Marco Borggreve)

Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet

Friday, July 14, 6:30 pm
Saturday, July 15, 7:30 pm

Joyce Yang, piano; Grant Park Orchestra: Kevin John Edusei, conductor

Anna Clyne: This Midnight Hour
Franz Liszt: Totentanz
Sergei Prokofiev: Suite from Romeo and Juliet

Esther Yoo

Esther Yoo (Photo: Marco Borggreve)

Pictures at an Exhibition

Wednesday, July 19, 6:30 pm

Esther Yoo, violin; Grant Park Orchestra: Ken-David Masur, conductor

Carlos Simon: Profiles
Alexander Glazunov: Violin Concerto
Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition 

Hugh Russell

Hugh Russell (Photo: Jaclyn Simpson Photography)

Brahms Requiem

Friday, July 21, 6:30 pm
Saturday, July 22, 7:30 pm

Maeve Höglund, soprano; Hugh Russell, baritone; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Joel Thompson: Seven Last Words of the Unarmed
Johannes Brahms: A German Requiem

Zlatomir Fung

Zlatomir Fung

Elgar Cello Concerto

Wednesday, July 26, 6:30 pm

Zlatomir Fung, cello; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: The Bamboula
Edward Elgar: Cello Concerto
William Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony

Gerald Steichen

Gerald Steichen

Bravo Broadway

Friday, July 28, 6:30 pm & Saturday, July 29, 7:30 pm

LaKisha Jones, Hugh Panaro, Scarlett Strallen, vocals; Grant Park Orchestra: Gerald Steichen, conductor

A salute to Broadway classics with music from Rent, Les Misérables, The Wiz, Dear Evan Hansen, Cabaret and more. 

David Danzmayr

David Danzmayr

Beethoven Symphony No. 7

Wednesday, August 2, 6:30 pm

Aniello Desiderio, guitar; Grant Park Orchestra: David Danzmayr, conductor

Unsuk Chin: subito con forza
Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Eric Jacobsen

Eric Jacobsen (Photo: Shervin Lainez)

Pines of Rome

Friday, August 4, 6:30 pm & Saturday, August 5, 7:30 pm both at the Harris Theater

Masumi Per Rostad, viola; Grant Park Orchestra: Eric Jacobsen, conductor

Antonín Dvořák: Carnival Overture
Jessie Montgomery: L.E.S. Characters
Aaron Copland: Quiet City
Ottorino Respighi: Pines of Rome

Troupe Vertigo

Troupe Vertigo

Cirque Returns

Wednesday, August 9, 6:30 pm

Troupe Vertigo; Grant Park Orchestra: Stephen Alltop, conductor

Olé! Summer sizzles as the high-flying aerialists of Troupe Vertigo perform eye-popping feats to the irresistible sounds of Bizet’s Carmen, Falla, Piazzolla, and more.

Augustin Hadelich

Augustin Hadelich (Photo: Suxiao Yang)

Hadelich Plays Prokofiev

Friday, August 11, 6:30 pm & Saturday, August 12, 7:30 pm

Augustin Hadelich, violin; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8

Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough (Photo: Jiyang Chen)

Hough Plays Mendelssohn

Wednesday, August 16, 6:30 pm

Stephen Hough, piano; Grant Park Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Moritz Moszkowski: From Foreign Lands
Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1
Franz Liszt: Les préludes 

Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra

Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra

Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances

Friday, August 18, 6:30 pm
Saturday, August 19, 7:30 pm

Corinne Wallace-Crane, alto; Miles Mykkanen, tenor; Alex Desocio, baritone; David Govertsen, bass; Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Modest Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain
Felix Mendelssohn: The First Walpurgis Night
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances