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June 2016
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7 Summer Festivals in the Midwest That Every Classical Music Lover Should Visit


One of the best parts about summer is attending music festivals! While the coasts boast many music festivals, the Midwest is host to some of the oldest music festivals in the country. Below are a few worth visiting.

  1. Minnesota Beethoven Festivalimg_1981

    Ludwig van Beethoven, who passionately loved nature, would probably be pleased that the Minnesota Beethoven Festival celebrates his music in a beautiful setting. Founded in 2007, the festival presents the music of Beethoven and more in locations in Winona, MN, by which the Mississippi River rolls. This season, the festival  presents ensembles like the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Shanghai Quartet, Minnesota Orchestra, and the King’s Singers, as well as internationally renowned soloists including violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Richard Goode.

  2.  Northern Lights Music Festivalcoppertop_lg

    In the Minnesota Iron Range, the Northern Lights Musical Festival offers public performances and a young-artist program for string players and pianists. Students study with members of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Duluth Symphony. Each year, the festival also presents an opera: this year, Puccini’s Madama Butterly. In 2015, the festival introduced a workshop as a part of its opera program.

  3.  Grant Park Music Festival18884688536_ec9f91a5b9_b

    Chicago’s Millennium Park is one of the most popular parks in the United States, according to TripAdvisor. Part of the park’s allure comes, no doubt, from the incredible amount of free music that audiences can enjoy there each summer. The Grant Park Musical Festival, the nation’s only free, outdoor classical music series, has been providing visitors with exceptional concerts for over 80 years, and now makes its home in Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Learn more about WFMT’s live broadcasts of Grant Park Music Festival concerts here.

  4. Ravinia FestivalSummerBlog

    The Ravinia Festival, located just north of Chicago, is the oldest outdoor music festival in North America. Every year over half a million visitors attend over 100 events presented on Ravinia’s 36-acre campus. From classical music to jazz to pop, Ravinia presents something for everyone. Many music lovers create lavish picnic spreads, complete with tables, chairs, and candelabras, during performances. Others leave the work to Ravinia and patronize some of the many restaurants and other food vendors on site.

  5. Gilmore International Keyboard Festivalheader-festival

    Presented every two years and based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival is widely recognized as North America’s finest piano-music festival. Nearly 100 events showcase some of the most notable pianists and keyboardists in the world, alongside artists just emerging on the international stage. From classical to jazz, orchestra concerts to solo recitals, chamber music, and musical theater, the festival continually achieves acclaim for presenting performances of the highest artistic caliber.

  6. Madison Early Music Festivalwisconsin-madison-street-view-from-observation-deck

    For 17 years the Madison Early Music Festival has been presenting concerts, lectures, films, classes, workshops, and more. This year the festival honors the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with Shakespeare 400: An Elizabethan Celebration. In its wide range of classes and workshops, the festival offers various educational opportunities for instrumentalists and opera artists. They also offer an unusual Advanced Loud Band Intensive Workshop for players of Renaissance instruments like the cornetto, shawm, sackbut and dulcian.

  7. Interlochen Arts Festivalkresge2

    Interlochen is synonymous with educational excellence. The Interlochen Arts Academy is one of the most competitive arts boarding schools in the world, and is just one of the educational programs offered at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a 1,200-acre campus in northwest Lower Michigan. Interlochen also presents music, theater, dance events, and more during an annual summer festival.


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