Chicago Philharmonic Sound Walks: Your Sonic Guide to Chicago

Take a walk on the sonic side! Chicago Philharmonic and the Chicago Park District bring you a curated “sound walk” playlist. Put your headphones on and immerse yourself in the sounds of our city!


The following playlists have been curated by The Chicago Philharmonic Society, and are presented by the Chicago Park District – Night Out in the Parks. For more information on our nature trails, please visit us at:

The 606: Your Sound Walks Playlist

The 606

As train traffic slowed on the Bloomingdale Line in the 1990s, attention turned to how the train line might be used to increase much-needed green space. The City of Chicago brought residents together to discuss an area of particular concern – Logan Square, a neighborhood that, at the time, had the least amount of open space per capita of any in Chicago. Using its expertise in land conservation, creating urban parks and community collaboration, The Trust for Public Land hosted numerous community meetings, including a three-day design charrette in 2011. Community input into design and function was a hallmark of The 606 process. Numerous public meetings ensured community input into the park and trail system’s design, function, and aesthetics of the parks, trail, and event spaces. That process culminated in an unveiling of the final design plans and overarching project name in June of 2013.

This playlist focuses on the modern sound of Chicago, and it’s handpicked to keep you going as you traverse the sun-filled 606. Including suggestions from students at Friends of Children Chicago, you’ll find music by familiar Chicago names as well as local rising stars. Keep an eye out for some of these musicians around Chicago – who knows, they might even be walking the 606!

The trail is located at the 1800 block north in Chicago, between Ashland (1600W) and Ridgeway (3750W), with 12 access points along its nearly three miles. For more info visit


The 606: Playlist Deep Dives

Fly: Caitlin Edwards

Chicago Philharmonic violinist Caitlin Edwards is a classically trained musician, arranger, recording artist, and teacher based in Chicago. She began her musical journey at the age of eight within a non-profit organization in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. She later attended the University of Louisville (BM) and DePaul University (MM). Caitlin is a 2023 Sphinx MPower Artist Grant recipient, a 2022 Esteemed Artist Award recipient from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, a 2021 3Arts/Walder Foundation awardee, 2018 Gateways Music Festival Rising Star, a co-curator with the Fulcrum Point New Music Project, and a former fellow with the Chicago Sinfonietta.

Fly was released in 2021 as part of Caitlin’s debut album “Exhale”.

Redcoat Rondo Nr 1: Kontras Quartet

Chicago-based string quartet Kontras Quartet (currently led by Chicago Philharmonic violinist and Board Director Eleanor Bartsch) has established an international following for their vibrant and nuanced performances. Kontras means contrasts in the Afrikaans language – fitting for a string ensemble whose colorful repertoire spans centuries, genres, and continents.

The Kontras Quartet’s recent and upcoming engagements include international tours of South Africa and Switzerland; broadcasts on classical radio stations nationwide (including Performance Today and a 3-month residency with Chicago’s WFMT 98.7 fm); performances at Chicago’s Symphony Center and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; television appearances on NBC and PBS; and sold out concerts in Telluride, Salt Lake City, Raleigh and Arizona.

Redcoat Rondo Nr 1 is from Kontras Quartet’s 2017 album “Roan Mountain Suite”, which was created with the esteemed folk music group, the Kruger Brothers.

Fluff: Tank and the Bangas

Tank and the Bangas is a New Orleans-based group known for their energetic fusion of hip-hop, soul, funk, and spoken word – and for being one of Michelle Obama’s favorite bands! Chicago Philharmonic collaborates with Tank and the Bangas for an explosion of symphonic sounds on September 30, 2023 at the Auditorium Theatre. Learn more here.

The Burnham Wildlife Corridor: Your Sound Walks Playlist

The Burnham Wildlife Corridor

The Burnham Wildlife Corridor (BWC) is a 100-acre ribbon of urban wilderness running through Burnham Park. The corridor is composed of 3 main natural areas including the Burnham Centennial Prairie, Burnham Nature Sanctuary, and McCormick Bird Sanctuary. The corridor spans both sides of Lake Shore Drive, and is the largest stretch of natural area along Chicago’s lakefront. Its native prairie, savanna, and woodland ecosystems provide healthy, diverse habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, and offer opportunities for visitors to meaningfully connect to this revitalized public green space in ways that inspire nature exploration, enjoyment, and stewardship.

In the 20th century, much of the blues, R&B, and jazz that would go on to dominate the music scene was coming out of Chicago, specifically the South side, and the work of these artists continues to resonate throughout the city. Listening to this playlist, you can jump from the blues of Muddy Waters to the piano riffs of Lil Hardin Armstrong, or relax to the soothing voice of Mahalia Jackson, all while enjoying the diverse flora and fauna found along the Burnham Wildlife corridor.

The BWC is located runs from McCormick Place south to East 47th Street. For more info visit


Burnham Wildlife Corridor: Playlist Deep Dives

Break the Barrier: Marcus Norris

Chicago Philharmonic Donna Milanovich Composer in Residence Marcus Norris is a composer for the concert hall and for film. This short work (just 18 seconds long!) acts as a palette cleanser – a wonderful way to breathe, reset, and prepare for a beautiful walk in Chicago’s parks.

Bonsai: Reinaldo Moya

Donna Milanovich Composer in Residence Reinaldo Moya wrote this piece for solo violin. Violinist Francesca Anderegg’s impeccable execution on Bonsai gives shape and nuance to the rapid arpeggiations that do not veer far from the early Baroque style. Moya’s image of material growing like a bonsai, firmly rooted but with small branches growing in all directions, is a strong source of inspiration.

Got My Mojo Working: Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield (stage name Muddy Waters), often called the “Father of Chicago Blues”, is known for literally electrifying the blues.

Muddy Waters spent much of his life in his home on 4339 S. Lake Park Avenue in Kenwood. In fact, Muddy Waters wrote and recorded some of his most popular songs there, including Got My Mojo Working. The home has since been turned into the Muddy Waters Mojo Museum.

The Marian R. Byrnes Natural Area: Your Sound Walks Playlist

The Marian R. Byrnes Natural Area

At over 140 acres, Marian R. Byrnes is one of the largest natural areas in Chicago. The site, situated in the Jeffery Manor neighborhood, contains marsh, wet prairie, prairie, savanna, and woodland habitats. It is a great place to observe wildlife including frogs, snakes, birds, and deer. This park was previously known as Park No. 562 and Van Vlissingen Prairie.

We pulled from the rich classical music scene in Chicago for this playlist, and delved into some of the artists who have worked with Chicago Philharmonic in our historic 33rd season, as well as some special guests who will be joining us soon, so if you want a sneak peak, throw this playlist on and enjoy the serenity and long walks offered at the Marian R. Byrnes Natural Area.

The Marian Byrnes Nature Area is located at 2200 E. 103rd St. Chicago, IL 60617. For more info visit


Marian R. Byrnes Wildlife Area: Playlist Deep Dives

Mass in D Major, Op. 123 Agnus Dei: Ludwig van Beethoven

The haunting bass-baritone of Ryan Speedo Green is the most ear-catching part of this performance of Beethoven’s Mass in D Major. Though it was written over 200 years ago, the solemn, intense setting still cuts through today, and Green’s performance brings a thoughtfulness that pushes the listener into a contemplative mood, perfect for the long trail that leads through the Marian Byrnes nature area.

If you enjoy Green’s singing then you’re in luck, as he’ll be coming to Chicago to perform with the Chicago Philharmonic on October 14th. The two-time Grammy Award winning bass-baritone will be performing a wide-ranging program including modern works such as Terence Blanchard’s opera “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” and more classic repertoire like Basilio’s aria La calunnia “The Barber of Seville”.

Meltdown Upshot: No. 3, Ready: Ensemble Dal Niente

Leading the charge in ambitious new music, Ensemble Dal Niente is truly a gem of the Chicago contemporary classical scene. This group of 26 musicians actively commissions and performs some of the most interesting modern works in the world of classical and improvised music.

The ensemble’s name, Dal Niente, “from nothing” in Italian, is a tribute to Helmut Lachenmann’s Dal niente, a work that upended traditional conceptions of instrumental technique; and also a reference to the group’s humble beginnings. This track finds them collaborating with legendary experimental indie rock band Deerhoof, and if you like what you hear, you might just catch them in Chicago (probably with an unexpected guest or two)!

Violin Tsunami: Kishi Bashi

Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym of singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Kaoru Ishibashi. Ishibashi has recorded and toured internationally as a violinist with diverse artists such as Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and most recently, the Athens, Georgia-based indie rock band, of Montreal. He remains based in Athens.

More recently, he performed the powerful work “Improvisations On EO9066” with the Chicago Philharmonic in April 2023. If you weren’t here to see it, keep an eye out! Hopefully he’ll be coming back to Chicago soon.

What Our Fans and Critics Are Saying

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– John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

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– Kathy Hey, Third Coast Review

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– Audience member

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– Lawrence Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

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