Park at Wrigley concert to feature Bienen professors, Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians


Source: Heidi Zeiger

Chicagoans sit on the Park at Wrigley lawn. Park at Wrigley will double as a venue for The Line-Up, a live classical music concert showcasing local musicians.

Jennifer Hepp, Reporter


Rather than the chanting of excited Cubs fans, Park at Wrigley will be filled Sunday with the harmonious sounds of classical music performed by several professional symphony musicians and Northwestern faculty.

Park at Wrigley — known to many as Wrigley Field’s backyard — will double as a venue for The Line-Up, a live classical music concert showcasing musicians from the Chicago area, including members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. They will be joined by NU faculty such as Bienen Profs. Gail Williams and Steve Cohen for the performance.

Stacy Lucier, a marketing manager for the Chicago Cubs, said the purpose of the event is to make classical music accessible to everyone.

The three performance stages will feature brass, woodwind and string instruments. Audience members can get up and walk around the space, listening to each individual section perform at the same time, Lucier said. She added that chairs and benches for regular concert seating will also be available, as will a grass area for picnics.

Bienen lecturer Tim Higgins, one of the concert’s co-curators, said the event will present pieces audience members may already be familiar with, such as compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as music intended to widen listeners’ exposure to the classical genre. Higgins, the principal trombone player of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, will also perform at the concert.

Higgins said the three stages featuring different families of instruments will help provide different focal points for audience members to pay attention to.

“People have heard string quartets but haven’t heard a low brass choir,” Higgins said. “There’s some new and unfamiliar (sounds) paired with things you can sort of expect. … People expect classical music in a concert hall, but not next to Wrigley Field.”

Williams said she hopes audience members will expose themselves to classical music more often.

“I’m hoping this will make people who come to the concert curious to hear more such concerts,” Williams said.

As there are only about 80 Cubs games at Wrigley Field every year, Park at Wrigley may additionally serve as a space for community development in Chicago, Lucier said.

Lucier added that the park hopes to sponsor more events like The Line-Up in the future.

“The Park is really a place for the Chicago neighborhoods and community to come together and to experience different things,” she said. “This (concert) is an opportunity to provide back to the community, and help spawn creativity and curiosity around music while connecting with your neighborhood.”

Although many concert attendees may not have ever stepped inside Symphony Center — home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — or the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Higgins said they could still be interested in these new musical experiences. He said it is a unique opportunity for professional musicians to present their work to audiences outside the classical world.

Higgins, who has been part of similar musical series in San Francisco, said The Line-Up has a chance to become a regular celebration of classical music in the local Chicago community.

“People have stopped even caring what gets programmed, they just want to go because they know they’re going to have a really good experience,” he said. “This program going forward has huge opportunities to be that focal point for the community, and I’m hoping it culminates to that.”

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