There Are 43 Great Classical, New Music, and Opera Concerts in Chicago in August

Between Ravinia, Grant Park Music Festival, and more, it will be a great month to catch a performance outdoors.

Grant Park Music Festival

Photo: Courtesy of Grant Park Music Festival
 

It’s been a great summer for outdoor music in Grant Park—and there’s more to come in August.

CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER Free!
8/5 at 12:15 Chicago Chamber Musicians play the Poulenc Cello Sonata.
8/7 at 12:15 Pieter Grobler, piano.
8/14 at 12:15 Karén Hakobyan, piano.
8/21 at 12:15 Hye-Jung Hong and Wei-Han Su, piano four hands.
8/26 at 12:15 Erin Miesner, clarinet.
8/28 at 12:15 Vassily Primakov, piano.
78 E Washington. explorechicago.org.

FREQUENCY
8/11 at 8:30 The experimental rocker Cooper Crain and the former Mahjongg member Daniel Quinlivan host a performance of Terry Riley’s druggy In C, along with Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music. $5.
8/18 at 8:30 Two new-music groups perform: the female vocal quartet Quince and the chamber players Color Field Ensemble. $10.
8/25 at 8:30 The percussionists of the Meehan/Perkins Duo welcome the composer Tristan Perich. $10.
Constellation, 3111 N Western. constellation-chicago.com.

GRANT PARK MUSIC FESTIVAL Free!
8/1 at 7 The Grant Park Chorus decamps for the West Side to reprise its a cappella program, including several works by the contemporary Lithuanian composer Vytautas Miškinis and Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy by the local Stacy Garrop. Columbus Park Refectory, 5701 W Jackson.
8/2 at 6:30, 8/3 at 7:30 Performed indoors to stay out of Lollapalooza’s hair, a childhood-themed bill covers Elgar’s Nursery Suite, Janáček’s The Fiddler’s Child, and John Alden Carpenter’s Adventures in a Perambulator, a piece the orchestra performed last year. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph.
8/7 at 6:30 Piazzolla, Ginastera, and Villa-Lobos tick off the expected boxes for a Latin American program, but the centerpiece is Roberto Sierra’s successful Concerto for Saxophones, with the original soloist, James Carter. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington.
8/9 at 6:30, 8/10 at 7:30 Schubert’s Mass in E-flat Major isn’t well known, even to choral-music buffs, but the Grant Park Chorus director, Christopher Bell, says that it ought to be. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington.
8/14 at 6:30 The pianist Valentina Lisitsa reignited her career through YouTube and a self-financed recording of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos. Here she plays Concerto No. 2, on a program with two other Russian orchestral works. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington.
8/16 at 6:30, 8/17 at 7:30 Critic’s Pick John Adams’s early choral-orchestral piece Harmonium sets the poetry of John Donne and Emily Dickinson into a minimalist idiom. It takes penultimate position in the festival’s season, just before Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which turns 100 this year.
Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington. grantparkmusicfestival.com.

LOOPS AND VARIATIONS Free!
8/28 at 6:30 The local new-music skylarks Eighth Blackbird and Wilco’s drummer, Glenn Kotche, team up for an installment of the city’s new/electronic music mash-up. Kotche’s drivingly rhythmic piece The Haunted, based on a visit to eerie Alabama steel mills, makes its world premiere alongside a work for toy pianos and one-bit electronics, a John Cage classic, Lisa Kaplan’s Whirligig for piano four hands, and two other Kotche works. The experimental musician Lesley Flanigan will also perform on her homemade wooden speaker feedback instruments.
Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. millenniumpark.org.

RAVINIA
8/1 at 2, 8/5 at 8, 8/12 at 8 Vocalists from Ravinia’s summer conservatory perform. Free–$10.
8/3 at 7:30 James Conlon leads a concert version of Aida with Latonia Moore as the lead. She stepped into the role at the Met last season to wild acclaim. $10–$100.
8/4 at 5 The annual Tchaikovsky blowout features Gil Shaham playing the violin concerto, two selections from the opera Yevgeny Onegin, and, of course, the “1812 Overture” with real cannons. $10–$80.
8/5–6 at 8 Critic’s Pick Bartók’s six string quartets, often called the finest since Beethoven’s, get the full treatment from the Takács Quartet, who perform the odd-numbered quartets one night and the evens the next. $10–$60 singly, $100 for both.
8/7 at 8 Itzhak Perlman plays the Mendelssohn violin concerto, a piece that might be as famous as he is. Vaughan Williams, Ginastera, and Ravel complete Carlos Miguel Prieto’s program. $10–$100.
8/8 at 8 Perlman trades his bow for a baton and conducts the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. He leaves the concerto duty to cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who plays Haydn. $10–$50.
8/13 at 8 The eminent Emerson String Quartet plays Haydn, Britten, and one of Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” quartets. $10–$60.
8/14 at 6 Narek Hakhnazaryan, cello, and Noreen Polera, piano. $10.
8/14 at 8 A recital by the pianist Vladimir Feltsman covers Haydn, Schubert, Liszt, and Scriabin. $10–$60.
8/15 at 6 The Lincoln Trio and a guest violist play piano trios by the 20th-century Spaniard Joaquín Turina and audience requests. $10.
8/16 at 6 Bryan Wallick, piano. $10.
8/17–18 at 6 Rachel Barton Pine undertakes the masochistic project of playing all 24 of Paganini’s ridiculously virtuosic caprices in one concert. $10.
8/19 at 6 Kuok-Wai Lio, piano. $10.
8/20 at 6 The pianist Gabriela Montero is almost single-handedly bringing back classical improvisation. She’ll also do intermezzos and a fantasy just as Brahms and Schumann wrote them. $10.
8/25 at 6 Anthony de Mare invited composers to reimagine Stephen Sondheim songs as piano solos. A selection of the output, including one piece pitting the page turner against the musician, is on display here. $10. 8/26 at 6 Joel Fan, piano. $10.
8/26 at 8 Critic’s Pick David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion retells the Passion story with Hans Christian Andersen’s pitiful match seller as the Christ figure. The affecting piece, scored for four vocal soloists doubling on percussion, won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for music, and repeat performances have spread like wildfire. $10–$35.
8/28 at 6 Fumiaki Miura, violin. $10.
8/29 at 6 Adam Golka, piano. $10.
8/30 at 6 Robert Michaels, classical guitar. $10.
8/31 at 6 Amit Peled, cello. $10.
Lake Cook and Green Bay, Highland Park. ravinia.org.

RUSH HOUR CONCERTS Free!
8/6 at 5:45 Even though it’s not February—when Chicago’s biggest Schubert party goes down—an after-work celebration of Schubertian song and good will features “The Shepherd on the Rock,” a lied for soprano, clarinet, and piano.
8/13 at 5:45 Viola-piano duos, including Britten’s Lachrymae: Reflections on a Song of Dowland.
8/20 at 5:45 Third Coast Percussion bangs out works by Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt, and one of its members, Owen Clay Condon.
8/27 at 5:45 Spektral Quartet recruits a pianist and an extra violinist to mount Ernest Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet, a lush romantic work the group plans to record in the fall.
St James Cathedral, 65 E Huron. rushhour.org.

TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
8/17 at 2 and 8 Ravinia’s James Conlon leads a chamber group of CSO musicians and vocal soloists in Benjamin Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace, the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego surviving the titular hotspot. $40.
425 Laurel, Highland Park. ravinia.org.

WOODSTOCK MOZART FESTIVAL
8/3 at 8, 8/4 at 3 The exurban festival’s second weekend spotlights the saxophone in three orchestral pieces that spice up the Mozartian diet. $33–$55.
8/10 at 8, 8/11 at 3 The last concert pits two Mozart works against, fittingly, Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony. $33–$55.
Woodstock Opera House, 121 E Van Buren, Woodstock.

 

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