Chicago Music and Arts Events for Summer 2024

By Keegan Morris and Adela Skowronski |

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Brandee Younger poses with her harp

Brandee Younger (Photo: Erin O'Brien via MCA Chicago)

Fill up your calendar with summer arts riches — from open air concerts to music legends passing through our great city.


JUNE

Healing Arts Chicago

4/22 to 6/28 at various locations; free

A series of free events combining live arts with mental health support. Choose from a wide variety of activities all over Chicago, from sound and body meditation, to live music and painting, all with the goal of quieting the mind.


Chicago Blues Festival

6/6-6/9 at Millennium Park; free

An annual celebration of one of Chicago's oldest original art forms: the blues. Enjoy music on three different stages for four consecutive nights, culminating in a Sunday evening performance by Chicago's own Buddy Guy, in one of his last Chicago concerts.


Gebhard Woods: Dulcimer and Traditional Music Festival

6/8 at Goold Park in Morris, IL; $10

Though the dulcimer is the star of the show, this annual outdoor festival celebrates many types of traditional folk instruments and the folks keeping their heritage alive. In addition to performances, the festival boasts workshops and other opportunities to get involved with different types of music.


Grant Park Music Festival

Starting 6/12 at Millennium Park; free

Chicago's annual, free classical music festival brings world-class performances to the heart of the city. The season opens on June 12, and can be heard for free from far beyond Chicago through WFMT's opening night live broadcast.


Chicago SummerDance

6/12-9/8 at parks citywide; free

Move and groove to a variety of musical styles all summer long! The city of Chicago is sponsoring free events all over the city with opportunities to learn new styles, or show off your skills.


Ensemble Español: Spanish Dance Theater

6/13 at Old Town School of Folk Music; $30

Flamenco and jazz cross paths in this spirited dance and music showcase from Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. The concert will present a wide variety of artists from Seville, Chicago, Venezuela, Barcelona, and more.


Haymarket Opera: La Resurrezione

6/14 at Gannon Concert Hall at DePaul University School of Music; from $55 (student rate available)

Haymarket Opera, the Chicago-area Baroque opera specialists, share a two-part Handel oratorio led by Christian Curnyn.


Joffrey for All

6/16 at Millennium Park; free

Chicago's Joffrey Ballet takes to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for a free demonstration of ballet favorites. What's more, the ballet company will also be offering a free movement class prior to the performance, as well as poetry on demand from the Poetry Foundation.


Make Music Chicago

6/21 citywide; free

A city-hopping celebration welcomes audiences for a range of free performances of all musical genres and inclinations.


Mirrors, Dreams, and Nightmares: Works of Lera Auerbach

6/23 at Constellation Chicago; $15

Pianist Cacie Miller and string duo Missing Piece join forces for a program of works by Lera Auerbach, in celebration of the composer's 50th birthday.


Opera Festival of Chicago

6/27 to 7/14 at various locations; from $25

A celebration of operas imported from Italy touches down for a fourth season: this year, the bounty is a season-launching Puccini showcase, an evening-length Puccini (Manon Lescaut), and a twentieth-century double bill.


Shubukai: Introduction to Classical Japanese Dance

6/29 at Japanese Culture Center; $75

Get an introduction into the world of nihonbuyo movement, followed by a professional Japanese dance troupe performance. No dance experience is necessary!


JULY

Marc-André Hamelin on Live from WFMT

7/1, 8pm on WFMT; free

The season finale of WFMT's flagship recital program, Live from WFMT, boasts a piano superstar. Tune in to hear Marc-André Hamelin perform live from the station's studios.


Chicago Duo Piano Festival

From 7/7 to 7/15 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston; from $25

Music Institute of Chicago's long-running festival proves that four hands can be better than two! Highlighting unique repertoire for piano duo, this year's proceedings include Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and more.


CSO Ravinia Season Debut

7/12 at Ravinia and on WFMT; from $17 in person

When the weather gets hot, the CSO convenes at its summer home: Highland Park's Ravinia Festival. The opening concert of this year's residency is a showcase of American classical music and will be aired live on WFMT.


Credo National Festival

7/20 at Symphony Center; from $25

Credo celebrates 25 years as an organization with a concert featuring the world's top young performers!


Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain with Rakesh Chaurasia

7/22 at Millennium Park; free

American and Indian music luminaries team up to grace the Millennium Park stage in this performance presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music.


Tuesdays on the Terrace: A Celebration of Alice Coltrane with Brandee Younger

7/23 at MCA Chicago; free

The summer brings free concerts at the MCA terrace on Tuesdays. The most intriguing of this year's round of concerts may be on July 23; a celebration of Alice Coltrane featuring multi-genre harp sensation Brandee Younger and accomplished jazz vocalist Michele Coltrane, Alice's daughter.


Breaking Barriers Festival

7/24-7/27 at Ravinia Festival; prices vary

Marin Alsop spearheads this weekend of Ravinia programming designed to empower underrepresented groups. This year focuses on women in arts and science, and their intersections.


AUGUST

Lollapalooza: Laufey with the Chicago Philharmonic

8/2 at Grant Park; $149 for single day (waitlist only)

Chicago Phil becomes the first ever orchestra to grace the Lolla stage to accompany Grammy Award-winning artist, cellist and songwriter, Laufey.


Voice of Whitney: A Symphonic Celebration

8/30 at Ravinia; from $40

An original tribute concert celebrating the life and legacy of Whitney Houston! Featuring the Chicago Philharmonic, and multi-media throughout the concert.