Summer in Chicago is defined by outdoor festivals and none are more beloved than the annual Grant Park Music Festival. Located in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, the fest is the country's only outdoor, free classical music series of its kind. A Chicago summer staple since 1935, the three-month long festival hosts a broad range of classical musicians.
Grant Park Music Fest kicks off June 15 at 6:30 pm and continues through August 20. Here are some fest highlights on the 2016 season calendar you won't want to miss:
Opening Night: Pictures at an Exhibition // June 15
Uruguayan conductor, Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra will be kicking the festivities off at the 2016 Grant Park Music Festival. Come to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park at 6:30pm to witness the classical performance of Barber's Essay No. 2, Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos featuring Andreopeni von Oeyen and Fabio Bidini, and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. A pre-concert lecture starts at 5:30pm.
Storm Large: The Crazy Arc of Love // June 22
The former Pink Martini chanteuse takes on the Great American Songbook for a show of classics that delve into the complex topic of romance. Backed by the Grant Park Orchestra, Large will sing an exciting collection of tunes by the likes of Cole Porter, Tom Waits and Elton John. Check out the pre-concert lecture at 5:30pm before the show starts at 6:30pm.
Watch the cinema classic, City Lights starring movie icon Charlie Chaplin, who also directed the film, while experiencing a live soundtrack of the silent romantic comedy performed by the Grant Park Orchestra. The pre-concert lecture starts at 7:00pm and the show begins at 8:00pm.
The New World Symphony With Regina Carter // July 22 & July 23
Guest conductor Marin Alsop presents a compelling program that explores immigration and assimilation. The performance features Dvorak's New World Symphony and acclaimed jazz violinist Regina Carter playing works by Duke Ellington. The pre-concert lecture is at 5:30pm and the concert is at 6:30pm on Friday, July 22 and 7:30pm on Saturday, July 23.
The Essentials: Grant Park Music Festival
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph Street)
- Concerts are generally Wednesdays/Fridays at 6:00pm and Saturdays at 7:30pm (see calendar for schedule details)
- Free, open lunchtime rehearsal performances take place Tuesdays through Fridays typically between 11am - 1pm (see calendar for schedule details)
- Seating is first-come, first-serve; no admission tickets required; seating closest to the stage is reserved for members, groups, and visitors with One-Night Passes