Jay Pritzker Pavilion or the Pritzker Music Pavilion as it is widely known is an acoustic bandshell within the Millennium Park in Chicago Loop community area. It was named after the American entrepreneur Jay Pritzker. The pavilion hosts several cultural and musical performances throughout the year which range from classical music and operas to mainstream rock concerts. It is one of the most popular travel destinations in Chicago.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion Location
Jay Pritzker Pavilion is located on Randolph Street between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Avenue. The Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District is located on the west of the Pavilion.
How to get to Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Jay Pritzker Pavilion is served by several local railway lines like the Orange, Green, Brown, Purple and Pink Line Express elevated lines. You can exit at the Randolph/Wabash or Madison/Wabash stations and walk for two blocks towards the east. Or you can also exit at Washington or Monroe stations from the Blue and Red Line subways and walk a few blocks east. The area is also served by several bus routes such as 3, 4, 6, 14, 20, 26, 56, 60, 124, 148, 151,157 and 173.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion History
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion has been built with the aim to house the Grant Park Music Festival, which was originally held in the Petrillo Music Shell. Previously, the area around the northwest corner of Grant Park was covered by railroad yards and parking spaces. In 1997, this area was allotted for building Millennium Park.
The commission to build the Park originally went to Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Their design was much simpler. At this time, the Pritzker family came along as important contributors. They were not satisfied with the original plans and wanted Frank Gehry to redesign the Park and the Pavilion. It was then decided that Gehry will design the proscenium arch and orchestra for the new bandshell as well as a pedestrian bridge. After bringing in additional funds for the project, Gehry agreed to do the designing work for the Pavilion. The bridge was designed in a way so as to reduce street noise and boost the pavilion’s acoustics. It took around $60 million to build the Pritzker Pavilion, a part of which was donated by the Pritzker family. Construction of the pavilion began on June, 1999 and ended on July, 2004. The Pavilion was officially opened on July 16th, 2004.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion Architecture
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park has a seating arena with 4000 heads capacity and a 95000 square foot lawn that can house 7000 spectators. It is built above and behind Harris Theater for Music and Dance. This provides several important backstage facilities for the Millennium Park indoor and outdoor performance arena such as loading docks and rehearsal rooms.
The 120 feet high proscenium theatre is supported by the stainless steel headdress. The main stage is capable of accommodating an orchestra and a 150-member chorus. The orchestra shell space is 50 feet tall and 100 feet wide. The southern part of the shell space is enclosed by glass doors of same size.
A trellis is formed out of interlocking steel pipes which has the dimensions of 600 by 300 feet. The trellis is both architecturally and acoustically significant. It supports the state of the art LARES sound system. The sound system here produces an even sound that effectively spreads through the entire auditorium and lawn; thereby listeners can enjoy the same quality of sound throughout the venue. The main aim of this acoustic system is to effectively reinforce the sound and help the musicians to hear each other’s performance in a better way.
There are 45 restrooms for men and 78 restrooms for women. The restrooms are located on the east and west side of the pavilion.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion Events and Concerts
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, along with Ravinia Park, is one of the leading Chicago outdoor music venues. It hosts free music concerts and events like the Chicago Gospel Music Festival.
The Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus plays free classical music concerts at the Grant Park Music Festival held every year from June to August. The Steppenwolf Theatre, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago hold annual performances at the Pritzker Pavilion.
President Barack Obama appeared as a guest narrator in a 9/11 tribute concert on September 11th 2005. The principal work of interest in this concert was Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” which was led by conductor William Eddins.
On July 18th 2007, the indie rock band The Decemberists performed with the Grant Park Orchestra on a free concert to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Metro Chicago. The estimated attendance for this show ranged between 11000 and 15000, making it the largest free concert till date.
The citywide centennial celebration of the Burnham Plan was held on June 19, 2009. As a part of this celebration, a concert was held in the Pavilion which featured Michael Torke’s work entitled ‘Plans’ and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The BBC documentary Planet Earth Live was screened on July 21, 2010. This was accompanied with live performances by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra conducted by highly acclaimed composer George Fenton.
Over the years, several notable musicians have performed in Pritzker Pavilion including names such as Tory Amos, pianist Stephen Hough, sopranos Erin Wall and Karina Gauvin, vocalists Maria del Mar Bonet, Otis Clay and Mariza, violinists James Ehnes, Rachel Barton Pine, Christian Tetzlaff, Pinchas Zukerman and Roby Lakatos.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion Concert Schedule
For the latest information on concert schedules, events, tickets and seating charts, please visit the official website.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion Chicago Hours of Admission
The Pavilion is open for the public daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm, including weekends and holidays. Admission to the Pavilion is free and do not incur any charge.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion Amenities
The Pavilion provides great amenities to effectively accommodate disabled people and make them a part of the grand experience of the park. These include easily accessible entrances, washrooms and seating areas. The Pavilion also provides the viewers with appropriate listening devices to enjoy the show better. Patrons can also borrow wheelchairs from the Millennium Park facilities.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion Chicago Parking Facilities
You can park your vehicle in the convenient parking facilities located around Millennium Park. The four principal garages in this area are the Millennium Park Garage, East Monroe Garage, Grant Park North and Grant Park South Garages.
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion brings you a rich blend of social and cultural experience. It promises a memorable time for both you and your family. Apart from the great music, you can also enjoy breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline. So the next time you are in Chicago, make sure that the Pavilion tops your travel itinerary.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion Chicago Contact Details
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Address: 201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602