Venue Details

Ravinia Pavilion
200 Ravinia Park Road Highland Park, IL 60035
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Proclamation of Hope commemorates Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday and considers his life and legacy as our country’s 16th, and perhaps greatest, president. Scored for wind ensemble, rhythm section and voice, the work is organized in eight discrete movements.  Visual images from a range of sources depicting various historical moments and concepts are viewed as the group performs the composition. These images are intended to further animate the story that Lewis has musically interpreted and serve to inspire reflection in listeners. Each movement takes its motivation from actual historical events and people drawn from Lincoln’s life and work, and considers their profound influences on this nation’s quest for “a more perfect union.”

A native Chicagoan (born May 27, 1935), Ramsey Lewis began taking piano lessons at the age of 4, going on to learn the classical repertoire with Dorothy Mendelsohn. He was 15 when a fellow church musician, Wallace Burton, asked him to join his jazz band and took the time to help the young musician learn the language of jazz. A seven-piece group called The Cleffs provided his first real involvement with jazz. The emerging Ramsey Lewis Trio (including bass player Eldee Young and drummer Redd Holt) had its roots as the rhythm section, remaining after the other band members went off to the Korean war.

He first captivated fans in 1956 with his first album, Ramsey Lewis and the Gentlemen of Swing. By 1965 he was topping the charts with “The ‘In’ Crowd,” “Hang On Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water.” He has three Grammy Awards and seven gold records to his credit. His most recent industry award was the 2006 Stellar Award for Best Gospel Instrumental Album, With One Voice. He was also the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in January 2007 and has received four honorary doctorate degrees and numerous other accolades.

In addition to recording albums and performing live, he hosts the nationally syndicated Ramsey Lewis Morning Show on WNUA-FM as well as the syndicated Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis. As artistic director of jazz at Ravinia he helped organize the festival’s Jazz Mentor Program. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Merit School of Music and is a member of Loyola University (Chicago) Council of Regents.

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