Millennium Park announces summer concerts

Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley Photograph: Kisha Bari

If you had asked us two weeks ago what the fate is of Chicago’s celebrated summer concert series, we would have been uncharacteristically discouraged. After Michael Orlove—a senior program director at the Department of Cultural Affairs—was quietly let go, the city wasn’t sure if institutions like SummerDance and the World Music Festival, both of Orlove’s design, would continue without his clout. 

Thankfully, our pessimism has officially been proven wrong. Beginning on Memorial Day, the 2012 concert season, presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, introduces a varied lineup of old favorites and new programs. And as per tradition, all gigs are free at the Pritzker Pavilion.

The season commences with Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays, which, of course, runs every Monday, until July 30, at 6:30pm. These ten concerts lean pop. On tap: Kelly Hogan (May 28), Jonathan Richman (June 4), Chico Trujillo (June 25) and Charles Bradley (July 16).

Grant Park Musical Festival, running from Jul 13–Aug 18, is now preparing for its 78th season. On Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30pm, and Saturdays an hour later, Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus performs classic works and world premieres during its 30 shows.

One of the season’s new additions is the progressive classical series, Loops and Variations, which brings a mix of new-music and electronica. The six concerts run from Jun 7–Jul 12 on Thursdays at 6:30pm, and feature artists like two-time Grammy winner eighth blackbird (June 28) and the killer Third Coast Percussion (July 5).

The entertaining and lively Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz series closes out the summer, running from Jul 19–Aug 30. It includes not only the jazz the made Chicago famous, but presents blues, boogie and Latin, as well. See: Edward Wilkerson Jr. and Ari Brown on July 19 for Blowin’ in from Chicago, or make a night of Exquisitely for Ella: A Songbook Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, featuring Dee Alexander, Frieda and Spider Saloff on Aug 23.

The entire concert calendar will be available mid-April. For more information on this concert series, or any of the events happening in Millennium Park this summer, visit, call 312.742.1168, or follow on Twitter @Millennium_Park.  


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)