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Posted June 11, 2009

Grant Park Music Festival — the Coffee Table Book…

Did you know that Chicago has been graced with free classical concerts in Grant Park for 75 years? Or that this amazing civic tradition can be traced to a Depression-era public works program for unemployed musicians, pioneered by labor leader James C. Petrillo? Or that certain guest artists, like Lily Pons (in the 1930s) or Van Cliburn (in the 50s), could draw crowds well in excess of 100,000?

We learned all of this and much more. Now you can too. Working closely with authors Tony Macaluso, Julia S. Bachrach, and Neal Samors, Jell designed the 248-page definitive history of the Grant Park Music Festival, Sounds of Chicago’s Lakefront. The book celebrates the history of the Grant Park Orchestra & Chorus and the Festival’s future in Millennium Park. This is a lively, visual history —full of lovingly restored archival photos and stunning contemporary aerial shots, not to mention everything you want to know about Grant Park’s creation and how the concerts migrated from their original temporary wooden band shell to Frank Gehry’s gleeming Jay Pritzker Pavilion. And, to top it all off, the book features a foreword by Ron Magers and an introduction by pianist Van Cliburn.

The initial, limited-run hardcover edition will be available in mid-June. We strongly recommend reserving a copy now — for yourself or for any friends or family who love Chicago and classical music under the stars.