Star Witness

Warm nights and world-class music: ah, the joy of a Chicago summer. Here are nine events you won’t want to miss; all are picnic-friendly, free, and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.

Eduardo Fernández
Even with 30 albums under his belt, Uruguayan guitarist Eduardo Fernández’s recent iterations of the Beatles’ Blackbird and Eleanor Rigby ensure a career far from tired. There’s an encore on the 23rd at 7:30 p.m. At the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, Randolph Street and Columbus Drive
Kenny Rogers
You swore you’d never go back to the Taste-that is, until the Country Music Fest booked country popster Kenny Rogers, whose 2006 album Water and Bridges got multiple critics’ nods as one of the best albums of the year. At the Petrillo Music Shell at Grant Park, 235 S. Columbus Dr.
Roby Lakatos
Virtuoso Roby Lakatos isn’t called the “Devil’s fiddler” for nothing. The descendant of legendary Gypsy violinist and proclaimed “fiddle king” Janos Bihari assumes the throne at the Grant Park Music Festival in a high-octane display of Hungarian folk music. At Millennium Park
Richie Pillot
This Chicago bassist-who has drawn comparison to the legendary Cuban bassist Cachao-creates big-band, Afro-Cuban arrangements on the fly. Performing with his band, Havana. At the open-air boathouse in Humboldt Park, 1359 N. Sacramento Ave.

 

Lang Lang
Dubbed the first rock star in the classical piano genre, Chinese prodigy Lang Lang, 25, lends his talent (and charisma) to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for one night. At the Ravinia Pavilion, 200-231 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park. Lawn seats, $10; reserved seating from $30.
The Decemberists
Classical composer Sean O’Loughlin has rearranged several of this Portland indie rock band’s songs, which they’ll perform alongside 82 musicians from the Grant Park Orchestra. Part of the Metro’s 25th anniversary party. At Millennium Park
The 1900s
Their critically lauded six-song début, Plume Delivery, combined with a strong show at South by Southwest, has delivered this local psych-pop band closer to breakout status. Yes, they’re worth the trek to Evanston. At James Park, Dodge Avenue and Mulford Street in Evanston
Christoph Eschenbach and Tzimon Barto
Former Ravinia Festival musical director Christoph Eschenbach returns as a guest conductor with one of his own prodigies: pianist Tzimon Barto. At Ravinia. Lawn tickets, $10; reserved seating from $30.
Nicole Mitchell and Myra Melford
Flautist Nicole Mitchell takes a break from working on a suite of sci-fi novel–inspired pieces to perform with avant-garde pianist Myra Melford. Backed by Mitchell’s own Black Earth Ensemble, they’ll pay tribute to Alice Coltrane. At Millennium Park


Photography: (Lang Lang) Kasskara/DG, (1900s) Courtesy of Rough Trade Records, (Mitchell) Mark Ingram

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