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The Elgin Symphony Orchestra Announces Its 2019/20 Season

A continued series of traditional masterworks and exciting new special events

Music Director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) Andrew Hilary Grams announces the ESO’s 2019/20 season, which marks his seventh as music director. The season features a series of traditional musical masterpieces and exciting new special events that can be purchased separately, or as part of a personally-curated Build Your Own Series at a discount.  “We’ve spend many months taking a good look at programing and we learned a lot through research, post-concert surveys and focus groups,” notes Grams. “We listened to what you had to say and created concert programs with you in mind.  We think you’re going to love the results.”   The Classics Series includes well-known pieces like Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, the great Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, and Ravel’s sensuous Bolero, as well as lesser-known works like Edward’s Maninyas Violin Concerto, Liszt’s dark Totentanz, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Stravinksy’s Verklarte Nacht and the romantic Wagner Siegfried Idyll, a deeply personal work dedicated to his wife and family. “We offering programs of entertainment and exploration. We’re looking for passionate music lovers who break through boundaries and genres, says Grams. “Musical Explorers.”

New this season, due to popular demand, the pops series has been expanded and renamed Special Events.  These single ticket events can be combined to create Build Your Own serise of three or more and added to the Classics series for discounts. Our Build Your Own Series is our most popular option, offering savings on as many as Three concerts (excludes Abbey Roady)  Curate your own season based on your schedule , budget and taste, and earn early reneal prvilegesx  with   and more flexbile than ever with more choue to popular demand, many of the great classical masterworks and lesser-known hidden gems. Also featured are contemporary works by American composers John Corigliano and Mason Bates, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Composer-In-Residence from 2010-15. Seven (7) works will receive their ESO premieres. The season also includes the ESO debut of Joshua Roman, cello; the return of popular favorites like Natasha Paremski, piano, and highlights the solo talents of ESO musicians, concertmaster Isabella Lippi and horns Greg Flint and Steve Replogle. Two (2) Pops concerts are set for the season, including an evening of waltzes and polkas conducted by Music Director Grams – A Night in Old Vienna – on January 26 and 27, 2019.

Andrew Grams leads six (6) weeks of subscription programs with the ESO during the 2018/19 season, and will present Musically Speaking Pre-Concert Chats before each Classics Series performance. Bates’ Cello Concerto, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Corigliano’s Troubadours Variations for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra, Mahler’s Adagio from Symphony No. 10, Kodály’s Peacock Variations, Telemann’s Concerto for Two Horns and Two Violins and Villa-Lobos’ Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra are all receiving their ESO premieres this season. Grams will also conduct a Pops concert – A Night in Old Vienna.  

Andrew Grams and the ESO will host two (2) of the ESO’s popular, new Inside the Music with Andrew Grams events, lively and informal 90-minute presentations that use musical excerpts to explore famous musical masterworks. Music Director Andrew Grams, a brilliant communicator, leads the discussion, with the Orchestra illustrating points by playing sections of the piece, and then pulling-it all together with a full performance of the work. This season, Inside the Music will examine Richard Wagner’s monumental dramatic opera cycle, The Ring, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 or Jupiter, the last, the longest, and considered by many, the greatest of Mozart’s symphonies.

“We crafted a season for you that offers great traditional masterworks, new exciting pieces from composers of this generation, and lesser known treasures that deserve a hearing – all served-up in the casual and informal environment our audience demands,” says Music Director Grams. “At the ESO, was are working to ‘transform the symphony experience.’ Whether that be by me speaking informally from the stage at a concert, by staff working hard to be welcoming, or by creating a more informal concert format, our popular Inside the Music events, which are designed to show newcomers how great orchestral music works its magic on us, we at the ESO are dedicated to creating the highest quality entertainment experience.”

The ESO Classics Series contains works by Bach, Bates, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, Chopin, Copland, Corigliano, Haydn, Kodály, Mahler, Mozart, Schumann, Smetana, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Telemann, Villa-Lobos & Wagner.

Music Director Andrew Grams opens the ESO 2018/19 season on September 15 and 16 with Mason Bates’ Cello Concerto, an ESO premiere featuring the ESO debut of cellist Joshua Roman. The concert also includes Chopin’s Grand Valse Brillante and Stravinsky’s ground-breaking The Firebird Suite (1919). Andrew Grams will also conduct five (5) more ESO concerts:

  • Concerts on November 3 and 4 hold works by three German titans of classical music – Beethoven, Strauss and Wagner. Andrew Grams conducts the program, which begins with Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture from his only opera, Fidelio, and also includes orchestral excerpts from Wagner’s The Ring and Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, sung by soprano Laura Wilde, a recent graduate of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Grams will host the first of two Inside the Music with Andrew Grams on Friday, November 2, providing insight into Wagner’s The Ring.  
  • ESO audience favorite, pianist Natasha Paremski, returns to perform in concerts highlighting Romantic composers Brahms, Chopin and Schumann February 9 and 10. The program opens with Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture. Ms. Paremski will play Chopin’s shimmering Piano Concerto No. 2 and the program closes with Schumann’s Symphony No. 4.
  • On March 23 and 24, Music Director Andrew Grams will conduct a program featuring two Baroque composers and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest composers of all time. The first half of the program holds Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 and Telemann’s Concerto for Two Horns and Two Violins, featuring ESO Principal Horn Greg Flint, ESO Horn Steve Replogle and ESO violins, TBA.  The concerts close with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 or Jupiter Symphony.  On Friday, March 22, Grams will host Inside the Music with Andrew Grams, diving deep into Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.
  • The season finale concerts on May 4 and 5, led by Andrew Grams, highlight the award-winning Elgin Symphony Orchestra, which has won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year a record-setting four times from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. The program holds the ESO premiere of Mahler’s Adagio from Symphony No. 10 and American composer Aaron Copland’s final symphony, No. 3, which includes the theme from his work Fanfare for the Common Man.
  • In addition, on January 26 and 27, Andrew Grams will conduct the Pops concert, A Night in Old Vienna, a program of waltzes and polkas reminiscent of Vienna’s famous New Year’s concert.

ESO Listener Clubs, hosted by music historian Jim Kendros, are offered the Wednesday before Classics Series performances at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin and GreenFields in Geneva. Free and open to the public, Kendros discusses the composers and the music that will be presented in upcoming concerts. And all Saturday night concertgoers are invited to “Mingle with the Musicians” after the show at area restaurants, where they can meet Music Director Grams, guest artists and ESO musicians.

Resident Conductor Stephen Squires will conduct three (3) programs during the 2018/19 season:

  • On October 5 at the Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts, and October 6 and 7 at the Hemmens Cultural Center, Squires will lead the ESO, the Elgin Master Chorale and guest soloists TBA in the Pops concert, American Spectacular, a musical salute to America, honoring the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
  • Squires will lead Classics concerts on January 11 at Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts and January 12 and 13 at the Hemmens Cultural Center that feature Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 or “Surprise” Symphony, Kodály’s exotic Peacock Variations and Anton Bruch’s famous Violin Concerto No. 1, one of the most popular violin concertos in the repertoire, performed by ESO concertmaster Isabella Lippi.
  • Squires will conduct the ESO’s holiday concerts, Sounds of the Season, a popular Fox Valley tradition, on December 8 and 9. These extravaganza performances include soloists, dancers, the Elgin Master Chorale and an appearance by a very special visitor from the North Pole.

Guest conductor Teddy Abrams, Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra, leads a Classics program of guitar favorites on March 2 and 3. Jason Vieaux, guitar, will perform Villa-Lobos’ Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra and Corigliano’s Troubadours Variations for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra. The program also includes Smetana’s The Moldau and Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini.

The ESO will also offer a variety of programming for young people and their families during the 2018/19 season. Ainsworth Concerts for Youth will bring around 9,000 area students to Hemmens Cultural Center with the ESO providing teachers guides prior to the performances to enhance the concert experience. ESO Masterclasses with visiting guest artists will be presented free and open to the public at the Gail Borden Public Library. And finally ESO Traveling Ensembles will visit area schools giving students the chance to hear classical music up close and personal. For more information, contact Director of Community Engagement & Orchestra Personnel Wendy Evans at w.evans@ElginSymphony.Org or 847-888-0404, ext. 238.


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