At Grant Park, Bolcom’s new “pocket history” of the symphony orchestra

Posted on: August 14, 2014

“Unless I miss my guess, no American city has done more to advance a composer’s international reputation than Chicago has for William Bolcom in recent decades,” including three operas commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago, writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (8/13) Chicago Tribune. “Bolcom is back in town this week, serving as composer in residence at the Grant Park Music Festival,” where his Millennium: Concerto-Fantasia will receive its world premiere Friday at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The title “refers both to the futuristic outdoor concert hall … and to the great millennium change of 2000.… Said Bolcom, ‘So many of the cultural institutions of the previous millennium are now under heavy review…. It is clearly up to us in (classical) music to invite [new] people into our enclave and to the many beauties waiting for them.’ A concerto for orchestra whose six continuous sections unfold like chapters of a novel, ‘Millennium’ finds Bolcom addressing, in the abstract, a fateful question: How will the symphony orchestra face this brave new musical world going forward? The result is a pocket history of the symphony orchestra as it has evolved over the last four centuries, in which various solo instrumentalists and orchestral choirs engage with one another for some 22 minutes.”

Posted August 14, 2014

Photo: Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park, home of the Grant Park Music Festival.
Photo by Patrick Pyszka