Alsop, Conlon, Dudamel: Ravinia Shares ’24 Season

By Keegan Morris |

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Abel Selacoe, in a vibrant blue suit and green shirt, is immersed in music as he plays the cello with eyes closed

Abel Selacoe (Photo: Warner Music / Christina Ebenezer)

The North Shore Chicago staple Ravinia Festival has announced its 2024 summer season.

At the center of Ravinia’s classical lineup is Chief Conductor Marin Alsop, who has held a leadership role with Ravinia since 2020.

And as always, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s residency plays a vital role — this summer marks the orchestra’s 88th season in Highland Park.

The orchestra’s 2024 residency opens on July 12 under the baton of Alsop and with appearances by soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha and pianist Michelle Cann. An all-American program, the evening will feature music by Aaron Copland, James P. Johnson, Samuel Barber, and George Gershwin — his Rhapsody in Blue.

On July 20, Alsop will conduct Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9.

Marin Alsop sits cheerfully, wearing a black leather jacket and holding a conductors baton against a white backdrop

Marin Alsop (Photo: Nancy Horowitz)

Subsequently in the CSO residency, cellist-composer Abel Selacoe (debuting), pianist Hayato Sumino (also debuting), Chicago violinist Rachel Barton Pine, Chicago pianist Jorge Federico Osorio, and violinist Augustin Hadelich (an alum of Ravinia’s training program) will star in a range of concerts. Conductor Alena Hron — the newly announced 2024-26 Taki Alsop Conducting Fellow — as well as Valentina Peleggi — herself a past Taki Alsop Conducting Fellow, will take the podium, as will conductor Jonathan Rush.

The Breaking Barriers Festival — a weekend of special programming and events devoted to spotlighting women in classical music — celebrates its third year. 2024's installment of the Alsop-conceived festival recognizes the unsung role of women in both music and science. Crowning the weekend's programming is a concert conducted by Alsop with repertoire highlights of Holst's The Planets and Amanda Lee Falkenberg's The Moons Symphony.

James Conlon, Ravinia's music director from 2005 to 2015, returns to the festival in mid-August for a residency dedicated to Mozart. He leads the CSO first in a semi-staged performance of Idomeneo (starring Matthew Polenzani in the title role), as well as a concert program of standout Mozart orchestral works culminating in his Fifth Violin Concerto featuring James Ehnes.

A high-profile guest appearance takes place on August 2, as superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel presides over a concert of South American works featuring the National Children's Symphony of Venezuela.

Throughout the summer, the festival's chamber series attracts top talent. In June, Highland Park will see the Kronos Quartet celebrating 50 years. In July, the Takács Quartet plays music by Ravel, Dvořák, and Ngwenyama. Later in the month, classical guitarist Miloš; teams up with the Viano String Quartet to explore migrations and belonging in works by Vivaldi, Glass, the Beatles, and Frank. In August, Third Coast Percussion will re-team with Sérgio and Clarice Assad for a program called Archetypes. Additional chamber performances, including featuring cellist Alexander Hersh, will take place in the fall.

Eric Jacobsen

Eric Jacobsen, artistic director, conductor, and co-founder of The Knights (Photo: Shervin Lainez)

Guest ensembles will visit throughout the summer, including a double bill of the Aaron Diehl Trio and The Knights, Apollo's Fire, Chicago Philharmonic, and Music of the Baroque in a performance featuring Chicago-born clarinetist Anthony McGill.

Additional special orchestra programming includes a concert jointly honoring Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon (July 19) and a recital marking the centenary of influential film composer Henry Mancini (August 4). A June screening and live score performance of 2014 Best Picture winner Birdman will feature Antonio Sanchéz performing his acclaimed solo percussion score. CSO performances of The Princess Bride and Disney and Pixar's Up will take place in August.

From the standpoint of the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, this summer marks the first session under the direction of Midori, who relieves violinist Miriam Fried after nearly 30 years at the helm. RSMI performances will take place throughout the course of the summer, including with faculty and respected musicians.

The festival's Sistema Ravinia program will welcome students from prestigious orchestral training programs from around the world and will culminate in a July 10 performance.

Intriguing summertime appearances from other genres will include Kurt Elling, Norah Jones (appearing with Chicago royalty Mavis Staples), Robert Plant & Alison Kraus, Ben Platt, The Roots, The Beach Boys, and Daryl Hall appearing with Elvis Costello & The Imposters.

Tickets go on sale on April 24. For more information, visit