90 Years: Grant Park Music Festival Announces 2024 Season

By Keegan Morris |

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the striking Jay Pritzker Pavilion of Millennium Park is lit up during a nighttime Grant Park Music Festival performanceThe Grant Park Music Festival has announced its 2024 season. A cultural jewel in Chicago’s summertime calendar, the festival runs from June 12 to August 17, serving up classical music staples, new compositions, and genre-spanning efforts. This year, the festival marks its 90th year and also honors the 20th anniversary of the opening of Millennium Park.

The season opens on Wednesday, June 12, with an evening headlined by Alban Gerhardt as soloist in the Dvořák Cello Concerto. Works by Anna Clyne and Benjamin Britten round out the Carlos Kalmar-led occasion.

Subsequent weeks feature concertos by Robert Schumann (June 21 & 22), Ludwig van Beethoven (his Emperor piano concerto on July 12 & 13), and the Double Concerto by Johannes Brahms (August 9 & 10).

The season unveils four world premieres of festival-commissioned works by Chicago-based composers, including Clarice Assad (June 26), James M. Stephenson (July 12 & 13), and Nathalie Joachim (July 24).

Nathalie Joachim poses on a street, trees in the background

Nathalie Joachim

Jessie Montgomery (June 19; June 25 & 27), Arturo Márquez (July 3 & 5), Joan Tower (July 10), and Gabriela Lena Frank (June 21 & 22) are among those whose compositions will receive Illinois premieres this summer. And over the course of the season, audiences will hear still more contemporary works, including by Ēriks Ešenvalds (June 17 & 20), Arvo Pärt (also June 17 & 20), Augusta Read Thomas (June 25 & 27), and Michael Abels (also June 25 & 27).

A Juneteenth program called Songs of Freedom bookends compositional reflections on civil rights and racial justice by Margaret Bonds and Jessie Montgomery with Beethoven overtures. 

And the time-honored Independence Day Salute returns on July 4 with chorus director Christopher Bell conducting a signature blend of American music new and old.

Stravinsky’s Petrushka (June 28 & 29), Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony (July 3 & 5), Shostakovich’s Fifth Sympyhony (July 10), Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (July 24), and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade (July 26 & 27) are a few of the season’s most beloved cornerstones. 

Meanwhile, a Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, and a suite from Copland’s Appalachian Spring make for a compelling double bill on August 7. 

The season also pays tribute to legendary film composer John Williams (July 19), the Gershwins and their contemporaries (August 14), and channels the likes of Tommy and Mamma Mia! to honor the rock side of musical theater (July 31).

The season closes with Mahler’s profound Symphony of a Thousand in dual performances: August 16 and 17.

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers reclines on a luxurious sofa, having a laugh while she holds her instrument

Anne Akiko Meyers

2024’s festival beckons a typically supercharged lineup of soloists. Violinists Christian Tetzlaff (June 14 & 15), Anne Akiko Meyers (July 3 and 5), and Vadim Gluzman (August 9 & 10) all make return appearances, as do pianist Garrick Ohlsson (June 21 & 22) and Stewart Goodyear (July 12 & 13).

Tenor Martin Bakari (June 28 & 29), pianist Clayton Stephenson (July 17), soprano Jane Archibald, and baritone Rod Gilfry (both soloists in the season finale, August 16 & 17) are among those making their GPMF debuts. 

The season is also the final one featuring Carlos Kalmar as principal conductor and artistic director. The long-serving conductor will step back from an active role in the organization. The Uruguayan conductor was appointed principal conductor in 2000 and artistic director in 2011. He leads nine programs this season.

Clad in a blue blaser and blue dress shirt, Ludovic Morlot holds his baton and grins against a white wall

Ludovic Morlot (Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco)

Meanwhile, conductors Eric Jacobsen (July 17; July 24; July 26 & 27) and Ludovic Morlot (June 26; June 28 & 29; July 3 & 5) are both slated to make three appearances, with Giancarlo Guerrero (July 10; July 12 & 13) twice taking on the podium. Kyle Dickson, a past recipient of a festival fellowship, makes his festival series conducting debut on June 25 and June 27.

WFMT will again partner with the Grant Park Music Festival to broadcast ten of the summer’s concerts. These programs will be announced at a later date.

The festival will offer open rehearsals and concerts around the city, many featuring emerging musicians and fellowship recipients from underrepresented backgrounds. The festival will also open its doors for a series of masterclasses with visiting artists. Classical Campers, the organization’s music day camp for schoolchidren, will return as well.

Here is the full lineup of concerts for the Grant Park Music Festival’s 2024 season.

Dvořák Cello Concerto

Wednesday, June 12, 6:30 PM

Alban Gerhardt, cello; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Anna Clyne: Masquerade
Antonín Dvořák: Cello Concerto
Benjamin Britten: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

Tetzlaff Plays Elgar

Friday, June 14, 6:30 PM; Saturday, June 15, 7:30 PM

Christian Tetzlaff, violin; Lauren Decker, contralto; Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus: Carlos Kalmar, conductor, Christopher Bell, chorus director

Edward Elgar: Violin Concerto
Gustav Holst: The Cloud Messenger

Choral Masterworks

Monday, June 17, 6:30 PM (South Shore Cultural Center); Thursday, June 20, 6:30 PM (Columbus Park Refectory)

Grant Park Chorus: Carlos Kalmar, conductor, Christopher Bell, chorus director 

Caroline Shaw: and the swallow
Felix Mendelssohn: Six Songs (Op. 59)
Ēriks Ešenvalds: In Paradisum
Anton Bruckner: Os Justi
Zoltán Kodály: The Aged
Zoltán Kodály: See the Gypsies
Arvo Pärt: Which Was the Son of…

Songs Of Freedom

Wednesday, June 19, 6:30 PM

Karen Slack, soprano; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Ludwig van Beethoven: Overture to Fidelio
Margaret Bonds: The Montgomery Variations
Jessie Montgomery: Five Freedom Songs
Ludwig van Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3

Schumann Piano Concerto

Friday, June 21, 6:30 PM; Saturday, June 22, 7:30 PM

Garrick Ohlsson, piano; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Gabriela Lena Frank: Apu
Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto
Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No. 6

Dvořák Serenade For Strings

Tuesday, June 25, 6:30 PM (South Shore Cultural Center); Thursday, June 27, 6:30 PM (Jay Pritzker Pavilion)

Grant Park String and Vocal Fellowship Alumni: Kyle Dickson, conductor

Jessie Montgomery: Starburst
Béla Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances
Augusta Read Thomas: Of Paradise and Light
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras, No. 9
Michael Abels: Delights and Dances
Antonín Dvořák: Serenade for Strings

Haydn London Symphony

Wednesday, June 26, 6:30 PM

Grant Park Orchestra: Ludovic Morlot, conductor

Clarice Assad: World Premiere
Richard Strauss: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier
Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 104, London

Stravinsky Petrushka

Friday, June 28, 6:30 PM; Saturday, June 29, 7:30 PM at the Harris Theater

Martin Bakari, tenor; Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus: Ludovic Morlot, conductor; Christopher Bell, chorus director

Igor Stravinsky: Petrushka (1947 Version)
Johannes Brahms: Song of Destiny
Zoltán Kodály: Psalmus Hungaricus

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6

Wednesday, July 3, 6:30 PM; Friday, July 5, 6:30 PM

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin; Grant Park Orchestra: Ludovic Morlot, conductor 

Angélica Negrón: Color Shape Transmission
Arturo Márquez: Fandango
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Independence Day Salute

Thursday, July 4, 6:30 PM

Grant Park Orchestra: Christopher Bell, conductor

It’s everyone’s favorite holiday celebration: the Festival’s annual salute to America. With Christopher Bell decked in red, white, and blue, the Grant Park Orchestra presents Bernstein, John Williams, John Philip Sousa, and the ever-popular Armed Forces Salute.

Shostakovich Symphony No. 5

Wednesday, July 10, 6:30 PM

Grant Park Orchestra: Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor

Joan Tower: 1920/2019
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Beethoven Emperor Concerto

Friday, July 12, 6:30 PM; Saturday, July 13, 7:30 PM

Stewart Goodyear, piano Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus: Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor, Christopher Bell, chorus director

James M. Stephenson: World Premiere
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor
Maurice Duruflé: Requiem

Rachmaninov Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini

Wednesday, July 17, 6:30 PM

Clayton Stephenson, piano; Grant Park Orchestra: Eric Jacobsen, conductor

Maurice Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin
Sergei Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Paul Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis

Star Wars And More: The Music Of John Williams

Friday, July 19, 6:30 PM

Jeremy Black, violin; Grant Park Orchestra: Anthony Parnther, conductor

For generations, John Williams has provided the soundtrack to our lives, from Darth Vader’s menacing march to the soaring themes that hoisted E.T. and Harry Potter into the air. Don your favorite costume, be it a wizard or a wookie, and join the fun in Millennium Park when guest conductor Anthony Parnther leads the Grant Park Orchestra in the enchanting film music of John Williams. 

Beethoven Symphony No. 5

Wednesday, July 24, 6:30 PM

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Grant Park Orchestra: Eric Jacobsen, conductor

Nathalie Joachim: World Premiere
Edvard Grieg: Holberg Suite
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5


Friday, July 26, 6:30 PM; Saturday, July 27, 7:30 PM

Lindsey Reynolds, soprano; Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus: Christopher Bell, chorus director, Eric Jacobsen, conductor

Lili Boulanger: Of a Spring Morning
Francis Poulenc: Stabat Mater
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Broadway Rocks!

Wednesday, July 31, 6:30 PM

LaKisha Jones, Chloe Lowery, Dan Domenech, vocalists; Grant Park Orchestra: Lucas Waldin, conductor

From Jesus Christ Superstar to Tommy to Tina Turner, rock music has long been embedded in American musical theater. This time, the Grant Park Orchestra celebrates the jukebox musical, with everything from ABBA to Dolly Parton to Queen to Michael Jackson. 

Bruckner Symphony No. 4

Friday, August 2, 6:30 PM; Saturday, August 3, 7:30 PM — both concerts at the Harris Theater

Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Jean Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela
Leoš Janáček (arr. Vaclav Talich): Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen
Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 4, Romantic (1878/80 Version)

Mozart Jupiter Symphony

Wednesday, August 7, 6:30 PM

Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Luciano Berio/Luigi Boccherini: Withdrawal by Night in Madrid
Aaron Copland: Suite from Appalachian Spring
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41, Jupiter

Brahms Double Concerto

Friday, August 9, 6:30 PM; Saturday, August 10, 7:30 PM

Vadim Gluzman, violin; Johannes Moser, cello; Grant Park Orchestra: Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Elena Kats-Chernin: Mythic
Johannes Brahms: Double Concerto
Claude Debussy: Ibéria
Maurice Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole

Fascinating Rhythm: Gershwin And Friends

Wednesday, August 14, 6:30 PM

Byron Stripling, conductor and trumpet; Sydney McSweeney, vocals; Grant Park Orchestra

S’wonderful, s’marvelous, s’an evening of Gershwin! Bring the whole family for the irresistible songs of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and more, led by acclaimed jazz musician Byron Stripling with special guest Sydney McSweeney. 

Mahler Symphony No. 8

Friday, August 16, 6:30 PM; Saturday, August 17, 7:30 PM

Jane Archibald, soprano; Maeve Höglund, soprano; Siena Licht Miller, mezzo-soprano; Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano; John Matthew Myers, tenor; Rod Gilfry, baritone; Kevin Short, bass-baritone; Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus: Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Christopher Bell, chorus director

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 8, Symphony of a Thousand