CSO: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Makoto Ozone, piano

Monday, July 23, 2018
1:30 PM
Donor Gates Open
2:00 PM
Public Gates Open
8:00 PM
Concert Starts

Tickets: $90 / $25
Lawn: $10

Purchase reserved seats for all three 7/23 piano concerts, and you will receive a $20 dinner voucher to enjoy new menu options at Ravinia Market or the small plates and refreshing drinks of Ravinia’s new social hub, Lawn Bar, along with a $10 gift certificate for the brand-new Festival Shop.

This special offer will automatically be applied to your order, and confirmation will be sent at a later date. Past purchases are also eligible for this offer; simply purchase reserved seats for the remaining concerts, and Ravinia will send confirmation of the offer.

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


Copland:   Appalachian Spring
Gershwin:   Rhapsody in Blue
Stravinsky:   The Rite of Spring

About The Artist

Program Notes

  • One of Leonard Bernstein’s great passions was bringing the classical music of his lifetime to the stage, especially the works of Aaron Copland and Igor Stravinsky.
  • Aaron Copland was a mentor and friend to Leonard Bernstein, even giving him composing work early in his career, such as to create the two-piano version of El Salón México, one of Copland’s great American works.


  • Igor Stravinsky was frequently a focus in Leonard Bernstein’s work as America’s music teacher, including in his Young People’s Concerts, his appearances on the Omnibus TV series, and two of his lectures as the Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard (the “Norton Lectures”).
  • Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring are both dance scores that celebrate the season of renewal: Copland’s reveling in the “simple gifts” American pioneers embraced while laying down roots in a sylvan and idyllic setting, and Stravinsky’s reverberating with the animalistic energy of new creation (famously moving its first audience in 1913 to riot with how new and shocking the music and choreography was).
  • Many of Leonard Bernstein’s best-loved works feature elements of jazz, a fusion made familiar to music lovers by George Gershwin just a few decades earlier. Gershwin’s most enduring music is Rhapsody in Blue, which he originally wrote for jazz band, orchestra strings, and solo piano, though Gershwin partly improvised the piano part during the first performance, true-to-form for a jazz soloist.
  • The Japanese jazz pianist Makoto Ozone is making his Ravinia debut in Rhapsody in Blue, complete with “thrilling and unabashedly personal” (New York Times) improvisations of the solo passages, making it a performance unlike any since George Gershwin played it himself at Ravinia in 1936.
  • Marin Alsop founded the 50-piece Concordia Orchestra in 1984 to bring special attention to jazz and contemporary/crossover repertoire in classical music, also playing some jazz violin herself. Over its 18-year existence, the orchestra annually gave a Christmas performance of a gospel version of Handel’s Messiah entitled “Too Hot to Handel.” The Concordia name is carried on in her Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship, which was awarded to Chicago Sinfonietta music director Mei-Ann Chen in 2007.
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