Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chicago Coverage

A couple of fantastic articles on next week's Ravinia concerts appeared online today. First up, a ChicagoNow.com overview:

Lord of the Rings Fans Will Want to Make the Quest to Chicago's Ravinia Festival for an Epic Event 
By Carole Kuhrt Brewer

Chicago, Tuesday, August 9, 2011. Fans of The Lord of the Rings series should start making plans for an epic quest through the forests and over the ravines of Chicago's North Shore to Highland Park for a special event featuring the film, The Lord of the Rings-The Fellowship of the Ring, accompanied by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 
The CSO, as part of their summer residency at Ravinia Festival, will conclude their summer season with two movie nights featuring the film and live music on Thursday, August 18 and Friday, August 19. 
For this momentous occasion, the Orchestra has moved their popular Friday Night at the Movies Series north to Highland Park. The beloved CSO movie series taps into the long history of symphonic music in the movies by using their full orchestra to play the score from selected movies while the movie is projected on a screen. 
Conductor Ludwig Wicki will be making his Ravinia debut performing the Oscar-winning score from The Lord of the Rings-The Fellowship of the Ring by Howard Shore accompanying the complete film. The movie will be projected on a giant video screen on the lawn and in the pavilion. The performances will also feature soprano Kaitly Lusk, alto Henry Griffin, The Lakeside Singers, Chicago Chorale and the Chicago Children's Choir. 
Tickets. Tickets are $50 for the pavilion; $25 lawn or $65 for a ticket and dining package. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Ravinia.org or call the Ravinia Box Office at 847-266-5100. Kids under 15 as well as high school and college students with valid student I.D.s are free on the lawn at all classical concerts. 
Special Guest Chef. Ravinia’s guest chef series continues on the evenings of August 18 and 19 with Thomas Bowman, executive chef from iNG visiting the festival’s Park View restaurant. Reservations can be made, in advance, by calling 847-432-7550 or reserving a table online at Ravinia.org
Book signing. Prior to both performances author Doug Adams, who penned the book The Music of the Lord of the Rings, will participate in book-signings starting at 6:45P.m. in front of Ravinia Gifts. 
Time. The park opens at 5p.m. The performance begins at 7:30p.m. both evenings. Thursday, August 18 and Friday, August 19, 2011.

Location. Ravinia Festival is located at Lake Cook and Green Bay roads in Highland Park, IL. Parking is available in the Ravinia parking lot adjacent to the park on Green Bay Rd. until full. Shuttles are provided from Metra parking lots at Ravinia and Highland Park.

Public Transportation. Check the Metra north lines for trains stopping at Ravinia Park. Otherwise patrons can exit the train at the Braeside stop and walk north about 1/3 of a mile to the park.

And this wonderful piece on Maestro Ludwig Wicki ran in the Sun Times today as well:

CSO works its musical magic on ‘Rings’ 
Conductor Ludwig Wicki fell in love with movie music when he heard the film scores of famed Italian composer Ennio Morricone. 
“I was 16 and after hearing his music, I became interested in film soundtracks,” said the Swiss conductor, when reached by telephone in his home town of Lucerne. After that he discovered another significant Italian Nino Rota, who composed for the movies of Federico Fellini and scored all Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather” films. 
Wicki will be on the podium at the Ravinia Festival pavilion for two nights Aug. 18 and 19, conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Howard Shore’s complete Academy Award winning score for “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” while the three-hour film is being shown. Choral parts will be performed by the Lakeside Singers, the Chicago Chorale and the Chicago Children’s Choir. 
Playing to the film 
Wicki first conducted that score in what is called live-to-projection in 2008 in Lucerne and since then has performed it 30 times. “I did it with my orchestra,” he said “the 21st Century Orchestra. It’s made up free lance musicians who love movies and movie music.” Since it was founded a decade ago, the orchestra had presented sold-out concerts of film scores throughout Europe, but only in 2008 did they venture to play a score live as a film was being show. 
Since then Wicki has given live-to-projection performances of the “Fellowship” score with the Munich Symphony, the Krakow Sinfonietta, the Wolf Trap Festival Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, and now, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival. 
But how does a conductor coordinate the music of a live orchestra with the on-screen image? 
In the past Hollywood and every film studio recorded live music for their films with the aid of a click-track. The conductor synchronized his baton with a series of metronome-like audio cues coinciding with the moving image. Laterly, however, conductors, Wicki included, have been using a computer system with visual cues.”It utilizes a series of streamers, punches, and flashes, so I can keep the beat where it should be with the film,” he explained. 
Wicki’s career is not limited to film scores. He began as a trombone player and at some point he studied privately CSO trombonist Frank Crisafulli, at Northwestern University in Evanston. For nine years he was a member of the Lucerne Symphony and Opera Orchestra. 
Musician with brass
His love of chamber music inspired him to establish the San Marco Brass and the Philharmonic Brass Quintet in Switzerland and their repertoire included brass music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. After nine years as an orchestra member, he began to study conducting and is now music director of the Palace Chapel of Lucerne and Kapellmeister of the Hofkirke in Lucerne, where he leads choral and orchestral concerts. “It is the main church in Lucerne,” he said. “It has two towers and is very beautiful.” 
Canadian-born Howard Shore has scored some 80 films since 1979, including “The Silence of the Lambs,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” and “Philadelphia.” It was not until 2001 that his vast symphonic score for “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings” won him his first Academy Award. In 2003 he won two more Oscars for “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” 
The North American debut of his “Fellowship” score live to projection was given in April 2008 by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of one of his biggest fans. You guessed it — Ludwig Wicki.

Great stuff! Please be sure to click over to the original articles as well. ... And Ludwig, if you're reading this, we can't wait to see you and Beatrice next week!
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