If you are in the Chicago area, I would strongly encourage you to attend the Bastille Day French Marathon concert being put on at the Ravinia Festival on 14 July. Here’s what you get:

With all of the hubbub over “liberty fries” in the Senate cafeteria, it’s worth taking a deep breath and a moment to reflect on the many cultural contributions the French have made besides deep-fried potatoes. Aside from the fact that you might be having tea and crumpets for breakfast had it not been for their assistance in the Revolutionary War, there is the matter of their ravishing music – and we all know that music matters. The program begins with three works by Ravel: his single-movement Violin Sonata of 1897 (heard here in an arrangement for viola by the Steans Institute’s own Atar Arad) and two Belle-epoque works of the 1920s, followed by Chausson‘s fin-de-siecle chamber concerto. We conclude with Messiaen‘s timeless and sublime Quartet “For the End of Time,” composed in a Silesian prison camp during World War II. It’s enough to make you forget about potatoes.</p>