The Park at Wrigley presents The Line-Up, a three-part classical music showcase, a free live music experience featuring selections for brass, strings and woodwinds.,
Picture this Post (PTP) asked Edwin Outwater (EO), Music Director Laureate of Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and director for summer concerts at the San Francisco Symphony,”, and Tim Higgins (TH) principal trombone for the San Francisco Symphony, co-curator of the The Line-Up, to give our readers insights into their upcoming event, and the works by J.S. Bach, Bruckner, Ravel and more that they will perform.
Picture this Post: Please tell our readers about the program. Why was each piece selected?
TH: The program for the first concert at the Park at Wrigley is centered around a specific theme: classical music you didn't know you enjoyed! We started by choosing composers that are familiar to the public (JS Bach, Ravel, Saint-Saens). Then, we selected pieces that are energetic and engaging for audiences that are "off the beaten path". Each is easy to digest and insightful into how accessible classical music can be to the general audience. These are all pieces I would enjoy listening to on a day in the park.
EO: On the maiden voyage of The Line-Up, we wanted to explore the sounds of different instruments in this venue. Playing classical music outside such a historic baseball stadium is new territory, to say the least, so we divided the musicians into brass, woodwind, and string groups. We also chose each piece to show off the amazing musicians who will be performing, and to draw in the audience. If you’re walking by or just happen to be there, we want the music itself to catch your ear, no matter what you normally listen to.
How did this venue/performance come together?
EO: The Park at Wrigley approached Tim and me about the opportunity. We both are amazed at how this space is developing as a community center and as a destination whether there’s a game or not. We’re honored to be included and to help develop this amazing venue.
Have the various musicians played together before? Future plans?
EO: These musicians know each other quite well, so they’ll be able to really give it their all in this new setting. We are in the early process of concepting classical performance ideas in the 2018 season, and we’re using this first performance to refine and improve the experience as we move forward.
TH: Some of the musicians perform every week at Symphony Center with the Chicago Symphony. Several of us, myself included, live in another state and seek out every opportunity to get together and perform. This is an all-star lineup (pun intended) and shouldn't be missed!
Do you think this venue will bring in a new audience for classical music?
TH: The Park at Wrigley offers a unique experience for audiences to enjoy classical music on their turf. Consumption of music has changed radically in the past decade across all genres, and experiencing live music (with all the risks of live performance!) has been affected. This venue will most likely connect with people who don't frequent the Symphony or Opera.
EO: I think this experience will hook people who have not experienced classical music. The biggest obstacle to new listeners is getting them in the hall. Once they hear the music live, they’re hooked. That’s why The Line-Up is so wonderful: it’s the ideal way to expose listeners to classical music.
Are you Cubs’ fans? Why this venue? How do you feel about all the changes that have been made at Wrigley?
TH: I live in SF, so I'm a Giants fan. However, my family hails from Chicago, and I went to college at Northwestern University. There is a special place in my heart for Chicago and the Cubs. It's a privilege to be able to perform next door to Wrigley Field!
EO: I live a few blocks away from Wrigley! It’s a great part of my neighborhood and feel so fortunate to be able to stroll over and catch a game or a performance. Now The Park at Wrigley has added so many new things to do. I love the Cubs and am excited that our first concert will take place (hopefully) during the postseason!
Will there be microphones and if so, does this challenge the musicians to adapt? Any other challenges to mention?
TH: Yes, we plan on using microphones because it is an outdoor venue. Our instruments are designed to resonate with enclosed spaces, e.g. concert halls and recital halls. Without the resonance of a room, the projection of the instruments is affected. Microphones are simple solution for outdoor performances.
EO: There need to be microphones in an outdoor venue. Playing classical music in a busy intersection does have a specific set of challenges, but during our sound-checks we were amazed at how dynamic the experience was.
Any other comments to help our readers get insights on why this event is special?
EO: This is totally new territory, so we’re beyond excited. New venues and new formats for us, and for our music lovers, a totally new kind of music experience!
Bring your blanket, pack a picnic and spend the afternoon at the Park with some of Chicago’s most esteemed musicians. The Line-Up, with three separate stages throughout the Park at Wrigley, will provide a dynamic yet intimate outdoor experience that combines classical music and visual elements.
Photos courtesy of The Park at Wrigley