Last week’s Lollapalooza drove the Grant Park Orchestra indoors to the Harris Theater to traverse Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony for the first time ever in the festival’s seventy-five season history; the results, particularly in the fragile finale, were glorious and well worth the wait. To close the seventy-fifth season, Carlos Kalmar and the GPO take back the outdoors and are joined by Christopher Bell’s vastly under-appreciated Grant Park Chorus and soprano Amber Wagner, mezzo soprano Kathryn Leemhuis, tenor John McVeigh and bass Jason Grant in the monumental Beethoven Ninth Symphony. Those quiet sections will give traffic a chance to compete but by the time of the glorious finale, street noise won’t have a prayer against all of those forces blaring away and singing out about the brotherhood of man. As the season closes, don’t forget the Festival’s new coffee-table book “Sounds of Chicago’s Lakefront: A Celebration of the Grant Park Music Festival” ($39.95) that is not only a chance to relive the musical highlights of the summer festival’s three quarters of a century all year long, but is chocked with fascinating history and photographs concerning the development and evolution of Chicago’s lakefront for well over a century. (Dennis Polkow)
August 14, 6:30pm, and August 15, 7:30pm, at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, (312)742-7638. Free.
Dennis Polkow is an award-winning veteran journalist, critic, author, broadcaster and educator. He made his stage debut at age five, was a child art prodigy and began playing keyboards in clubs at the age of fourteen. He holds degrees in music theory, composition, religious studies and philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago. Polkow spent his early years performing and recording in rock and jazz bands while concertizing as a classical pianist, organist and harpsichordist and composing, arranging and producing for other artists. As a scholar, Polkow has published and lectured extensively and taught at several colleges and universities in various departments. As an actor, narrator and consultant, Polkow has been involved with numerous films, plays, broadcasts and documentaries. As a journalist, Polkow helped co-create the experiential Chicago Musicale and Spotlight, the award-winning tabloid arts and entertainment section of the Press Publications chain of newspapers, which he later edited. He also created and ran the nationally recognized journalism program at Oakton College and was faculty advisor to its award-winning student newspaper; many former students went on to major media careers, including Channel Awesome’s the Nostalgia Critic. Polkow’s research, interviews, features, reviews and commentaries have appeared across national and international media and he has corresponded from the Middle East, Asia and Africa for the Chicago Tribune. Contact: email@example.com