In response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Ravinia, the oldest music festival in the country, has been forced to cancel its 2020 season.
Ravinia has operated continually since its 1904 opening except for 1932—1935, when the Great Depression silenced the park. The not-for-profit festival was to have presented more than 120 events June 12-Sept. 16, including the annual summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The festival's summer conservatory, Ravinia's Steans Music Institute ( RSMI ), will also be closed this summer.
Ravinia President/CEO Welz Kauffmanwho, late last year, announced that 2020 would be his final season at the helmexplained that factors driving this decision prioritized the health and safety of Ravinia's artists, audiences, staff and neighbors, and follows similar cancellations of other summer festivals, along with their training programs.
"Ravinia benefits from an informed and responsible Board of Trustees and engaged family of volunteers, and our lengthy and thorough discourse on this topic has brought us to the conclusion that it is impossible to move ahead with the season," Kauffman said in a statement.
In addition to online concert footage and interviews in support of the May 15 national PBS broadcast premiere of Bernstein's Mass that was filmed last summer, Kauffman emphasized that he and the Ravinia staff are developing ideas to give the festival a "from home" presence across social platforms, including "virtual" opportunities for lectures, master classes and rehearsals for the Lake and Cook County elementary school students who participate in Reach Teach Play, as well as for the young professionals who won acceptance to RSMI this year.
Anyone who purchased tickets can receive refunds or vouchers for future performances, or they can convert those funds into much-needed tax-deductible donations.