CSO: Tchaikovsky Spectacular

1812 Overture with Cannons

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Ken-David Masur, conductor
Inon Barnatan, piano

Saturday, July 21, 2018
4:30 PM
Donor Gates Open
5:00 PM
Public Gates Open
7:30 PM
Concert Starts

Tickets: $90 / $25
Lawn: $10

Join us for a pre-concert celebration and toast to Tchaikovsky’s inclusion in the Legacy Project. Add promo code LEGACY to your basket along with a lawn ticket or a $25 Pavilion ticket to add the $25 admission to this event. Come to the Santa Fe Tent at 6:00 p.m. for light refreshments and the opportunity to learn about the Legacy Project, which is committed to challenging the cultural marginalization of LGBT youth.


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


All-Tchaikovsky Program
Selections from Swan Lake
Piano Concerto No. 1
Entr'acte, Waltz, and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
1812 Overture (with cannons)

About The Artist

Program Notes

  • Participating in Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute in 2000, 2002, and 2003 helped Inon Barnatan decide to base his international career as a pianist in the United States.
  • In a recent visit to Orchestra Hall with the Minnesota Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, Inon Barnatan offered “shadings in the many solo passages of the first movement [that] prized delicate color over power, though the latter was not lacking … particularly in the closing pages of the finale” (Chicago Tribune). Barnatan describes his approach to this concerto in his Ravinia Magazine interview.


  • Inon Barnatan is next year becoming the music director of the La Jolla SummerFest, which includes operating a conservatory similar to Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute Program for Piano and Strings.
  • Both tonight’s and tomorrow’s concertos by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky were initially criticized by the musicians the composer wanted to premiere them. In fact, they refused to perform the works, claiming the concertos were written poorly for the solo instrument. Today they are among the most popular pieces for those instruments.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • Even though Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky loathed Richard Wagner’s music, it’s possible that Tchaikovsky found inspiration for his ballet Swan Lake in Wagner’s operas Lohengrin (the swan) and the four-piece cycle The Rings of the Nibelung (the drama surrounding one of the main characters, Siegfried).