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Mon, Jul 22


Millennium Park | Pritzker Pavilion

Millennium Park Summer Music Series Presents: Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain w/Rakesh Chaurasia; Arooj Aftab

Millennium Park Summer Music Series features a wide variety of music from established and emerging artists.

Millennium Park Summer Music Series Presents:  Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain w/Rakesh Chaurasia; Arooj  Aftab
Millennium Park Summer Music Series Presents:  Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain w/Rakesh Chaurasia; Arooj  Aftab

Time & Location

Jul 22, 2024, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Millennium Park | Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

About The Event

Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain with Rakesh Chaurasia; Arooj Aftab

Béla Fleck

Few musicians in any category seem as uncategorizable as Béla Fleck. After initially making his mark with the progressive bluegrass group New Grass Revival, Fleck proceeded to take his instrument, as New York Times critic Jon Pareles noted, “to some very unlikely places.” He formed the Flecktones, a groundbreaking group whose repertoire ranged from fusion to Bach; the group celebrates its 46th anniversary this year. In addition, he has played jazz with Chick Corea, American roots with his partner, banjoist Abigail Washburn, written concertos for banjo and orchestra, and created a documentary film and album, Throw Down Your Heart, that examined the banjo’s African roots. Along the way, he has won 18 Grammys across 10 categories.

Zakir Hussain

The pre-eminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, Zakir Hussain is appreciated as one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians, one whose mastery of his percussion instrument has taken it to a new level, transcending cultures and national borders. A child prodigy, accompanying India’s greatest musicians and dancers from his early years, and touring internationally while still in his teens, Zakir has been at the helm of many genre-defying collaborations including Shakti, Remember Shakti, Masters of Percussion, Diga, Tabla Beat Science, CrossCurrents, Sangam and Grammy-award winners Planet Drum and Global Drum Project. A revered composer and educator, Zakir is the recipient of countless honors, most recently the 2022 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy, the 2022 Aga Khan Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in January, 2023, the title of Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award.

Edgar Meyer

Aptly described by The New Yorker as “the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument,” double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer is at home in a broad spectrum of musical styles. A MacArthur Fellow and Avery Fisher Prize winner, he is eminently at home within classical music, both performing traditional works and also his significant catalog of original solo, chamber, and orchestral pieces. His 30-year relationship with Yo-Yo Ma has yielded seven recordings together, and his upcoming projects include a duo recording with jazz bassist Christian McBride and a recording of all four of his concertos with the Knights and the Scottish Ensemble, produced by Chis Thile.

Rakesh Chaurasia

Like Zakir Hussain, Rakesh Chaurasia comes from Indian classical music royalty. His uncle, Pandit Hariprasad Chaursia, is widely considered the greatest bansuri player in India, and Rakesh — who started playing at age five — is deemed his most brilliant student. Not only has he mastered the techniques of Indian classical music, he has developed additional techniques allowing him to venture into other styles of playing, particularly with his crossover band Rakesh and Friends. A composer as well as flautist, he has written and performed on numerous Indian movie soundtracks, and in 2007 was awarded the Indian Music Academy Award.

Arooj Aftab

Transformative may not be an urgent enough word to describe the multi-hyphenate creative Arooj Aftab. Rooted to a constellation of unmappable margins and elegant refusals, she lithely moves against the weight of time and convention, honoring multiple traditions while being owned by none. She eludes categorical capture through an expansive repertoire of study, including the techniques of music production and engineering as well a sprawling vocal practice that moves with cunning intention through and alongside jazz, South Asian classical music, pop, and blues. With and from these living, mercurial forms Aftab labors in design of something that she adoringly refers to as “global soul.” She is its erudite scribe and dark chanteuse, successfully convincing audiences all over the world that genres are a lie but she should be believed.

The scale of Aftab’s musical inheritances are on brilliant display in her two most recent albums: the Grammy-nominated “masterclass in space” Love in Exile (Verve, 2023), co-created with Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily, and her fourth solo project, the incandescent Night Reign (Verve, 2024). Both are spectacles in skill and Aftab tenderly, expertly holds all of their supple elements like priceless heirlooms. Her seeking, from Sufi poets to iconic jazz vocalists, proved to her that “there was no blueprint for this thing I wanted to do,” and it’s for her embrace of risk and nonconformity that Aftab earned her position at the vanguard of creative music. Since 2021, she has delivered “rapturous performances” at major venues and international festivals such as the Newport Jazz Festival, Coachella, Roskilde Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Glastonbury, and twice on NPR’s Tiny Desk series; received critical praise from The New York Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Time Magazine; and been awarded a Grammy for “Mohabbat” in the Best Global Music Performance category and a Best New Artist nomination for her standout third album, Vulture Prince (Verve/New Amsterdam, 2021), two nominations for Love in Exile, as well as her selection as a 2023 United States Artists Fellow and recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Music.

Supported by: Old Town School of Folk Music and South Asia Institute

Official Organizer: Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

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