Review: Chicago Symphony’s first 2022 concert at Ravinia, following mass shooting in Highland Park

Posted on: July 18, 2022

“Eleven days had passed since a shooter opened fire on a July 4 parade in downtown Highland Park,” writes Hannah Edgar in Sunday’s (7/17) Chicago Tribune about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s season-opening Ravinia Festival concert on Friday. Ravinia is located in Highland Park. “The … concert … was only Ravinia’s second since the park canceled or postponed events post-shooting…. In memory of the July 4 victims, the CSO and Alsop played ‘Nimrod’ from Edward Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations.’… Principal conductor Marin Alsop [used] her short remarks to prime audiences to the late composer Julia Perry (1924-1979)…. Before Friday, the CSO had never played Julia Perry’s ‘Short Piece for Large Orchestra. ’ … Like many Black composers of her generation, … racism constrained her professional prospects. A series of paralyzing strokes in the 1970s curtailed her career…. [In] Perry’s undersung modernist marvel … [Alsop] brought out the work’s motivic tightness as if illuminating the score by backlight.… It did seem darkly apt that this most American of backstories hung over Perry’s work, following Highland Park’s most American of tragedies. Music may offer catharsis of all kinds, but sweet sounds won’t shorten the long road ahead.” Also on the program were Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with soloist Stewart Goodyear, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.