North Shore Notables Perform at Ravinia

The Ravinia Festival draws great artists from all over the world to its bucolic setting, but this summer’s lineup also features fine musicians with local roots.

On August 3, internationally renowned pianist and Highland Park resident Jorge Federico Osorio takes the stage at Ravinia’s Martin Theatre for “Osorio’s A-Liszt.” As the title indicates, the program includes work by Franz Liszt, the featured composer for this season’s festival (marking his 200th birthday), as well as “Fantasie in C Major” by Robert Schumann, dedicated to Liszt, and the “Piano Sonata No. 2” (which includes the famous “Funeral March”) by Liszt contemporary Frederic Chopin.

Osorio, who grew up in Mexico, moved to Highland Park from London 13 years ago and has played at Ravinia several times, including last year’s acclaimed program of all five of the Beethoven piano concertos. He has played and recorded almost all the Liszt pieces on the program before, but he’s happy to bring them back for an intimate airing. “The Martin is a wonderful room for a recital,” he says.

Then on August 19, the Lincoln Trio (pictured above), composed of violinist Desiree Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe, and pianist (and Barrington native) Marta Aznavoorian, plays Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall with a concert celebrating the release of their latest CD with locally based Cedille Records. “Notable Women” features work by six contemporary female composers.

Formed in 2003, the trio met at the Music Institute of Chicago, where they are now the ensemble in residence. Ruhstrat and Cunliffe are married. The trio traveled around Illinois in 2009 under the Ravinia umbrella, playing work commissioned to celebrate the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial, but this summer is their first time playing the festival.

“We realized we had a theme with women composers,” Ruhstrat says. “It’s exciting to do a new project, and even better when all the composers are alive.”

But whether the program consists of the Great Dead European Males or a half-dozen of the most notable women in contemporary classical music, the locals on the bill at Ravinia know that they’re in good audience hands. “It feels like home for me,” says Osorio. “It’s similar to what I feel with the public when I play in Mexico—so much affinity, and so much responsibility.”

“Osorio’s A-Liszt”
Wednesday, August 3, 8 p.m.,
Martin Theatre
$35 reserved, $10 lawn

The Lincoln Trio
Friday, August 19, 6 p.m.
Bennett Gordon Hall
$10 reserved
Call 847-266-5100 or visit ravinia.org