Music Director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) Andrew Grams and Chief Executive Officer David Bearden announce the ESO’s 67th season. The 2017/18 season marks Grams’ fifth as music director, and he has extended his contract through the 2020/21 season. The season features many beloved masterworks and lesser known classical pieces, with six (6) works never having been performed by the ESO. It also includes the ESO debuts of several up-and-coming guest artists, and two (2) pops concerts, including John Williams-A Steven Spielberg Tribute.
Andrew Grams leads seven (7) weeks of subscription programs with the ESO during the 2017/18 season, and will present Musically Speaking pre-concert chats before each Classic Series performance. Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3, Copland’s Our Town, Glass’s Saxophone Concerto, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12 “The Year 1917” and Bernstein’s Candide Suite are all receiving their ESO premieres this season. Grams will also conduct the Williams-Steven Spielberg tribute, which includes music from such favorite films as E.T. Hook, Indiana Jones and more.
Andrew Grams and the ESO will host two (2) Inside the Music with Andrew Grams events, lively and fun 90-minute presentations that use visuals and musical excerpts to explore masterworks that will be presented in upcoming concerts. This season, Inside the Music will examine Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
“This season we offer an exciting mix of beloved traditional works by Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, as well as pieces by modern American composers Bernstein, Copland and Glass,” says Music Director Grams. “And back by popular demand, our fun and informal Inside the Music programs are designed to lift the veil on how great orchestral music works it magic on us.”
The ESO Classics Series contains works by Beethoven, Bernstein, Brahms, Copland, Dvořák, Elgar, Glass, Liszt, Mahler, Mozart, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi.
- Grams opens the ESO 2017/18 season on September 16 and 17 with Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3, an ESO premiere, and Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring pianist Dinara Klinton making her ESO debut.
- Concerts on November 4 and 5 feature Philip Glass’s hauntingly beautiful Saxophone Concerto, performed by Amy Dickson, saxophone, making her ESO debut. The program also holds the ESO premiere of Copland’s Our Town and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Grams will host the first of two Inside the Music with Andrew Grams on Friday, November 3, providing insight into Beethoven’s 7th.
- Guest violinist Bella Hristova returns to play Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, an ESO premiere, January 5-7. The program also includes Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (for orchestra) and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6.
- Grams will conduct a program of choral works on February 10 and 11 that holds the magnificent Mozart Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria and features the Elgin Master Chorale.
- Guest Conductor Edwin Outwater leads the ESO in debut performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12, “The Year 1917” and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with William Wolfram, piano, on March 3 & 4.
- Andrew Grams will conduct a program that features the ESO debut of Sphinx Competition winner Thomas Mesa, cello, in a performance of the masterwork, Elgar’s Cello Concerto. The program also holds Brahms’ Haydn Variations and Elgar’s Enigma Grams will host an Inside the Music event analyzing and explaining the Elgar Enigma Variations on Friday, March 23 at 8 pm.
- The season finale on May 5 and 6, is an all-orchestral program highlighting the award-winning ESO and conducted by Music Director Andrew Grams. The concerts feature the ESO premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Suite, part of the worldwide celebration, Bernstein at 100, and also includes Mahler’s 5th Symphony.
In addition, Grams will conduct the pops concert, John Williams- A Tribute to Steven Spielberg, on January 27 & 28. The program includes music from E.T., Hook, Jaws, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and more.
ESO Listener Clubs, hosted by music historian Jim Kendros, are offered before the 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 the Elgin Public House, where they can meet Music Director Grams and ESO musicians.
Resident Conductor Stephen Squires will conduct two (2) programs during the 2017/18 season:
- On October 6 at the Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts, and October 7 and 8 at the Hemmens Cultural Center, Squires will lead the ESO and guest artists Rich and Branden Ridenour in “I Love A Piano”, featuring classical masterworks to today’s popular favorites.
- Squires conducts the Magical Holiday concerts, a seasonal favorite with ESO audiences, on December 9 and 10. The performances have become a holiday tradition, the highlight of which is a very special visitor from the North Pole.
The ESO will also offer a variety of programming for young people and their families. 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. This year’s program, Compose Yourself, is an interactive concert by James Stephenson, designed to introduce children to the instruments of the symphony orchestra. Master classes with visiting guest artists will be presented free and open to the public at the Gail Borden Public Library. Two (2) free Family Concerts will take place during the 2017/18 season, also hosted by the 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 Education Manager Wendy Evans at w.evans@ElginSymphony.Org or 847-888-0404, ext. 238.
In addition, the ESO will continue its collaborations in the community during the 2017/18 season with Advocate Sherman Hospital (Musicians Care), Food for Greater Elgin, Toys for Tots, Rotary International, the Elgin Development Group, and more.
ESO subscription renewal materials and new subscriptions for the 2017/18 season are now available. Grand, Classics, Pops & Schaumburg renewals and new subscriptions are due March 31, 2017. Subscription ticket exchanges and Build Your Own Series subscription sales begin April 10, 2017. For more information, ESO patrons may call the ESO Box Office at 847-888-4000, Monday through Friday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm.
Patrons may also visit ElginSymphony.Org to learn more about the ESO’s many activities in the community, read program notes, find area restaurants, hotels and parking information, make a donation and find out how to sponsor a program or series.
Andrew Grams became music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in June 2013 after an international search. A graduate of the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, he holds degrees in violin performance and conducting and has appeared with many of the great orchestras of the world. Grams was a protégé of Franz Welser-Möst and served as assistant conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra for three years. Named 2015 Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras, his charismatic conducting and easy accessibility have made him a favorite of Elgin Symphony audiences. He has extended his contract with the ESO through 2021. To learn more about Andrew Grams, visit andrewgrams.com and https://www.instagram.com/andrewhgrams/
Now in its 66th season, the ESO offers programming unmatched for an entertaining, informative and relaxing cultural experience. The ESO has won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year an unprecedented four times – in 1988, 1999, 2005 and 2016 – and works to create an enjoyable entertainment experience that goes beyond the magnificent music performed by some of the best musicians in the region. There is accessible, free parking around the Hemmens Cultural Center and valet service available. Area student musicians often perform in the lobby before concerts and patrons can purchase gifts at the Elgin Symphony League Boutique. Pre-concert chats are given by Andrew Grams, guest artists and others one hour before most performances and Saturday night patrons are invited after concerts to Mingle with the Musicians at the Elgin Public House. In addition, free Listeners Club lecture/discussions presented by music historian Jim Kendros are offered before ESO Classics Series concert weekends on Wednesdays at 1 pm at the Gail Borden Public Library. Flex passes are available for purchase so that you can choose your concerts at a later date based on your own schedule. And if a patron can’t make a concert, the ESO offers free exchanges to subscribers and to single ticket buyers for a $5 fee. The ESO is a world-class orchestra providing quality musical explorations that are entertaining, hassle-free and conveniently located close to home in the western suburbs. For more information, see ElginSymphony.Org.