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Kenneth Tanaka | profile | all galleries >> Chicago's Millennium Park >> The Jay Pritzker Pavilion tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is the centerpiece of Millennium Park. Designed by architect Frank Gehry the Pavilion is the Park's outdoor performing arts venue, providing a new home for Chicago's Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. At first sight the Pavilion's enormous billowing ribbons of stainless steel overwhelm one's senses. In a cityscape completely dominated by straight lines your mind requires a moment to comprehend such a gargantuan unconventional form. Although the ribbons may seem purely fanciful they're actually designed to focus sound out from the stage.

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is actually built partially atop the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Park's indoor performing arts venue. The cavernous wood-lined stage is designed to easily accommodate a full symphony orchestra and a chorus of up to 150. It's 50 foot tall sliding glass doors enable the stage to be used for non-performance purposes year-round.

There are 4,000 fixed seats immediately in front of the Pritzker Pavilion. Behind them lies a 95,000 square foot elliptical lawn, called the Great Lawn. An enormous trellis of steel tubing envelopes both areas and provides the supporting framework for a superb sound system. The tradition of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra is that its performances, offered weekly throughout the summer months, are free to the public. The Pavilion is also being used for many non-symphonic music events throughout the spring and summer months.
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