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North Shore Music Festival

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In June of 1939, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois held the last annual North Shore Music Festival, an event that began in 1909. It was developed by Peter Christian, the director of musical studies at NWU as a way to “enrich and educate his students as well as the general public.” He also believed it would bring more recognition to the university and the town of Evanston.

The festival consisted of a variety of musical performances that were popular at the time, including symphonies, vocal soloists, oratorios, cantatas, and instrumentals. In addition, a children’s concert in which children could participate was held. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was the main event for most years, with the exceptions of 1917-1919, when the Minneapolis Symphony took its place, then again in 1921 when the New York Philharmonic headlined.

In 1932, the University withdrew funding for the festival, citing the Great Depression as a cause. The festival was revived five years later, but failed to gain the same level of popularity. The final festival was held in 1939 in the university’s football stadium.


Cottonaro, A. (n.d.) The North Shore Record Collector. Retrieved from

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