US loses its last-but-one summer festival

US loses its last-but-one summer festival


norman lebrecht

May 01, 2020

Ravinia, the oldest American music festival running from June to mid-September, has pulled the plug on summer 2020.

The website reminds us that ‘Ravinia has operated continually since its 1904 opening except for 1932–1935, when the park was silenced by the Great Depression.’

This was to have been the final show for Ravinia’s veteran President and CEO Welz Kauffman. He’s working on virtual alternatives for the students who attend its courses: ‘The lives of these young students have been thrown in total disarray, so it is important that Ravinia helps where it can to provide the structure of these virtual classrooms. Our programs give young people a means of expression and connection with each other and their own quarantined families. We teach them that music is their superpower, and what better time than now to have a superpower?’

Tanglewood is now the last major US festival still to declare its future.

UPDATE: I’m reminded that Aspen Music Festival, the biggest in terms of students, has cancelled just the first two weeks. It will decide in mid-May on the rest.


  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    I’m sure that all the aging Boomers on Chicago’s North Shore will miss their favorite 80’s rock acts this summer.

    CSO? What’s the CSO? Oh yes….the Boomers will miss the movies with live orchestra too.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Marlboro Music hasn’t formally cancelled yet. Arguably one of the most important US classical music institutions, and much more than a festival.

  • Anon. says:

    Bravo Vail still looks to be on schedule despite the Chamber Orchestra of Europe cancelling.

  • perturbo says:

    The Cleveland Orchestra has not (yet) cancelled its Blossom Festival.

  • Beckmesser says:

    I’m still waiting to hear from the Santa Fe Opera. We have tickets to Tristan but don’t want to take the Liebestod too literally.

    • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

      Perhaps you can sign up for an immersive experience with one of the Ring Cycles and participate in the immolation scene if you pay extra. That would be a lot more fun than the Liebestod.

  • Alviano says:

    Santa Fe Opera is still on.

  • Anthony Michaels-Moore says:

    Santa Fe Opera has still to publicly announce its decision.

  • Emrla says:

    I think the Hollywood Bowl is still on as of right now.

  • drummerman says:

    What is the status of the Grand Teton Festival??

  • Andrew says:

    Meanwhile, just down the street, the Grant Park Music Festival in the heart of downtown Chicago hasn’t revealed any plans to cancel this summer’s events. Very strange indeed.

  • Peter says:

    Tanglewood hasn’t canceled…

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Wisconsin’s Peninsula Music Festival has cancelled but intends to have the same line-up of conductors and soloists, and repertoire, as they scheduled for this August. Or at least that is the goal.

  • Suzy Q. says:

    Neither Saratoga (SPAC) (NYC Ballet, CMS of Lincoln Center and Philadelphia Orchestra) nor Glimmerglass Festival has canceled — yet.

  • Alan says:

    I’ve heard rumors that Aspen has already decided to cancel, but they haven’t announced it publicly yet…shhhhh