Preview: Grant Park Festival Goes Virtual

From 2019, artistic director Carlos Kalmar conducts the Grant Park Music Orchestra and Chorus. Photo: Bob Benenson. Having delivered and recorded excellent concerts for many years, Grant Park Festival is dipping into its archives to offer Festival Remixed, a virtual season comprising performances from past seasons. Starting this Wednesday there will be a weekly radio series on 98.7WFMT radio and During several Fridays this summer, Festival Remixed will rebroadcast virtual, multimedia HD concerts that took place last summer, as well as live-streamed master classes. There will also be the annual concert on July 4—all done virtually. This Wednesday’s offering on WFMT is Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Carlos Kalmar. It will reprise pianist Stephen Hough’s performance of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The concert will conclude with William Walton’s oratorio, Belshazzar's Feast with Dashon Burton, Bass-Baritone and the Grant Park Chorus. The broadcast will be on Wednesday, June 10, from 6:30-8:00 pm. On Friday, the festival will rebroadcast the virtual HD concert from last summer with the Grant Park Festival Orchestra, again led by Carlos Kalmar, in a program of Sergei Prokofiev and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Young violinist Benjamin Beilman made his debut at Grant Park last summer in a performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The concert will conclude with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2, Little Russian. The concert will be on Friday, June 12, from 6:00-7:30 pm. Click here for the link. The first master class will be with cellist Alban Gerhardt on Friday, June 19, noon-1:30 pm. Students and the audience will be viewing a previously recorded performance. Following this, Gerhardt will work in real time with the students, who will be in remote locations, on various aspects of the performance. This will all take place over ZOOM. Viewers can get the link at During the rest of the summer, the programs cover a wide range of composers and musical eras, from the Baroque to the present day, that Grant Park Festival concerts typical include. For more information, check out the program schedule.
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Louis Harris

A lover of music his whole life, Louis Harris has written extensively from the early days of punk and alternative rock. More recently he has focused on classical music, especially chamber ensembles. He has reviewed concerts, festivals, and recordings and has interviewed composers and performers. He has paid special attention to Chicago’s rich and robust contemporary art music scene. He occasionally writes poetry and has a published novel to his credit, 32 Variations on a Theme by Basil II in the Key of Washington, DC. He now lives on the north side of Chicago, which he considers to be the greatest city in the country, if not the world. Member of the Music Critics Association of North America.