The designers of the new Pritzker Pavilion's sound system claim that the speakers on Frank Gehry's spidery trellis will create a "room" above the audience that will approximate the sound of a traditional concert hall. This weekend we'll find out if they do. To inaugurate its new space, the Grant Park Orchestra has commissioned a work from former Chicago Symphony Orchestra composer in residence John Corigliano, Midsummer Fanfare, and invited several of Chicago's finest musicians to perform this and other works. Violinist Rachel Barton will bring her sweet tone to the second and final movements of Tchaikovsky's concerto; early-music stalwart David Schrader will be the soloist in Bach's Keyboard Concerto no. 5 (on harpsichord, giving the sound system an exacting test); and two accomplished young sopranos, Jonita Lattimore and Elizabeth Norman, will sing a duet from Richard Strauss's Arabella. Pianist Valentina Lisitsa, a hell-for-leather old-school romantic, will play Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; few pianists today take the risks she does. The Grant Park Chorus joins in on Ralph Vaughan Williams's Serenade to Music, a setting of a scene from The Merchant of Venice lauding the power of music. The opening lines, "How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank! / Here we will sit, and let the sounds of music / Creep in our ears," seem appropriate for the pavilion's first night, as do the optimistic works by Copland, Verdi, and Strauss that fill out the program. Carlos Kalmar conducts. Free. Friday, July 16, 7:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan; 312-742-4763.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Andrew Eccles, Iran Issa-Khan.