“At the launch of its 75th anniversary season, the Grant Park Music Festival is riding high,” writes Andrew Patner in Friday’s (6/12) Chicago Sun Times. Of the festival’s June 10 season-opening concert, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Patner reports, “Carlos Kalmar has worked so closely with the Grant Park Orchestra for the last nine seasons that it really remains his home ensemble despite the plum position he added five years ago as music director of the Oregon Symphony. Closing Wednesday’s program with the Ravel orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition … clearly demonstrated the uniform strength and quality that Kalmar and [former general and artistic director James] Palermo built up together across sections and principals’ chairs. New assistant concertmaster Ilana Setapen, just 26, made a memorable debut in the first chair Wednesday. In September, she also starts as associate concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra—a fine addition to Midwest rosters.” Pianist Stephen Hough, soloist in that concert’s Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, “gave the festival a standard that it will surely work diligently and happily to meet over the next ten weeks.”

Posted June 16, 2009