Review: Grant Park Music Festival premieres Bolcom’s “Millennium”

Posted on: August 20, 2014

“With eclectic and serious programming that eschews ‘pops’ but is extremely popular with a large and wide-ranging audience, the Grant Park Music Festival’s 80th season of free classical music offerings on Chicago’s lakefront concludes with old and new work by, of all things, a living composer with long ties to Chicago,” writes Andrew Patner in Saturday’s (8/16) Sun-Times (Chicago). “Friday night brought the world premiere of a Festival commission from [William] Bolcom, ‘Millennium: Concerto-Fantasia,’ a concerto for full orchestra. The premise is fascinating.… Six interconnected movements take us from the earliest human poundings to the organization of orchestras as a major means of expression to many rebellions and the uncertainties of the future of composed art music. A constant pulse runs through the often arresting piece, calling attention, in the changing display and playing with styles and combinations, to the difference and contrast between real time and musical time.… The audience cheered the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, 76, heartily.… [Artistic Director] Carlos Kalmar … [led] wholly effective performances with the Grant Park Orchestra” including Walter Piston’s “wonderful 1938 summation of international Americana, the Suite from ‘The Incredible Flutist,’ complete with cheering musicians and barking dogs, as required.”

Posted August 20, 2014