CSO: Tchaikovsky Spectacular

1812 Overture with Cannons

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Ken-David Masur, conductor
Miriam Fried, violin

Sunday, July 22, 2018
2:30 PM
Donor Gates Open
3:00 PM
Public Gates Open
5:00 PM
Concert Starts

Tickets: $90 / $25
Lawn: $10

Gain a friend for life by adopting at Ravinia! Stop by the Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter tent on July 8, July 22, and August 25 Located near the West Gate entrance by the box office!

Dining Availablity For Tonight: Ravinia Market, Lawn BarTree Top and Park View are all open tonight.


All-Tchaikovsky Program
Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
Violin Concerto
Capriccio Italien
1812 Overture (with cannons)

Program Notes

  • In addition to maintaining an award-winning performing and recording career, Miriam Fried is celebrating her 25th year as the director of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute Program for Piano and Strings.
  • Ken-David Masur is the son of longtime New York Philharmonic music director Kurt Masur and is an associate conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Making his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut two years ago, the LA Times praised him for “breathing life into the most famous symphony ever written … steering the Phil through the calms and storms with authority.”


  • While vacationing in Italy over the winter holidays of 1879/80, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky fell into a foul mood not only because of the death of his father, but also because his hotel window was overlooking military barracks where raucous music and festivities were held every night long into the evening hours. Nevertheless, the joyous melodies stuck with him, and within six months Tchaikovsky had written the carnival of danceable music that is the Capriccio Italien. An earlier Italian sojourn, following his divorce, provided inspiration for the Canzonetta (second movement) in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.
  • Ravinia has held a “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” every year since 1979, and since the following year—the 100th anniversary of the 1812 Overture—live blasts from historical replica cannons have been a part of Ravinia’s signature performance of the 1812, exactly as Tchaikovsky wrote it.
  • The 1812 Overture rivals Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in volume and breadth of references across pop culture, from the title character of TV’s Frasier and his brother Niles, both self-styled snobs, wondering if they were “ever so young” as to enjoy the 1812, to Calvin of the comic Calvin and Hobbes marveling at the use of cannons in its performance.
  • One thing that the famous violin concertos by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Felix Mendelssohn, and Johannes Brahms have in common is that all three composers, wanting their solo parts to not only be filled with their singular gifts for melody but also fit the character and capabilities of the instrument, each worked on that music with a close friend who was a concert violinist.
  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto was perhaps a belated thank-you to the violinist that he consulted with on the solo part. Several years earlier, the same violinist asked Tchaikovsky to write several shorter solo works with orchestra, paid for by a wealthy patron of the arts who, after the tremendous success of those pieces, personally provided a yearly salary to Tchaikovsky, enabling him to focus on composing and resign from his teaching job.

Park Details

Experience Ravinia's KidsLawn
at today’s concert!

3:00-4:30 pm

For select concerts, including today’s, our new interactive, family-friendly space on the north lawn will be open for you to experience with your children. Today's KidsLawn offers an instrument petting zoo, arts & crafts, and live performance activities in addition to our large-scale percussion instruments that will be open to kids of all ages.  See a full listing of KidsLawn dates.

Concert Information

Celebrating the 25th year of Miriam Fried directing RSMI Piano and Strings


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