Gladys knight

Singer-songwriter Gladys Knight makes a return to Ravinia Festival Thursday, Aug. 20, for a performance with Heather Headley. - Courtesy of Derek Blanks

Ravinia celebrates women’s voices, pop and rock favorites with 2020 season

A lot of major concerts have been sidelined for the next month or so amid COVID-19 fears, but take a look ahead at Ravinia’s summer lineup.

With a new chief conductor and a slate of returning artists as well as a thrilling lineup of pop, rock and blues performers playing for the first time, Ravinia Festival is looking to the future while keeping an eye on the past with its 2020 season.

Announced Thursday, this year’s packed schedule brings some fresh and intriguing debuts, with Ziggy Marley, King Crimson and The Zappa Band (Sunday, July 5), Jesse & Joy (Friday, June 12), Ani DiFranco (with the Indigo Girls Friday, June 26), Brian McKnight (with Macy Gray Tuesday, July 14), Musiq Soulchild (and Jill Scott Sunday, June 14) and Dispatch (Sunday, July 26) all playing the outdoor venue for the first time.

Ravinia fans can also catch the return of favorite artists such as Carrie Underwood (Sunday, July 18), John Legend (with the War and Treaty Sunday, Sept. 6), Rodrigo y Gabriela (Sunday, Sept. 13), Diana Ross (Wednesday, Aug. 26), Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue (with The Roots Sunday, June 28), John Fogerty (Wednesday, July 1), Willie Nelson (Sunday, Aug. 2), Sheryl Crow (Saturday, June 13), Train (with Vertical Horizon Friday, Aug. 21), Gladys Knight (and Heather Headley Thursday, Aug. 20), Ms. Lauryn Hill (Friday, Sept. 11) and Tony Bennett’s 41st Ravinia performance (with his daughter Antonia Bennett) Saturday, Aug. 29).

Celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Ravinia and new Chief Conductor and Curator Marin Alsop will highlight contributions of women through its Women’s Voices features. a celebration of German pianist and composer Clara Schumann Thursday, June 18; Broadway star Cynthia Erivo’s salute to strong role models at the Legendary Women’s Voices benefit gala Sunday, July 12; Richard Einhorn’s 1994 oratorio “Voices of Light” Thursday, July 16; Paola Prestini’s new piano concerto “Hindsight”; and “Still I Rise,” a celebration of Maya Angelou’s poetry set to music Thursday, Aug. 6.

On Wednesday, July 22, see Disney’s 2019 live-action movie “The Lion King” screened with a live orchestral performance of the score.

And, of course, Ravinia celebrates a wide selection of classical symphonic and orchestral performances, continuing its celebration of composer Leonard Bernstein, the three-concert return of former Ravinia conductor Christoph Eschenbach, performances feting the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, violinist Itzhak Perlman’s 75th birthday, and much more. See for upcoming schedules and information.

Donor presale tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, at Public ticket sales for the season will go on sale split over two days: June and July performances will be available April 28, and August and September concerts will go on sale April 29.

Ravinia Festival is at 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park. The box office can be reached at (847) 266-5100.

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