Andrew Grams, Music Director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra
As one of America’s most promising and talented young conductors, ANDREW GRAMS has already appeared with many of the great orchestras of the world including the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., and others in the United States. Internationally, he has conducted the Montreal Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestra of the Beethovenhalle Bonn, the BBC Symphony Orchestra London, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Melbourne Symphony, the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia Rome, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, the Residentie Orchestra of the Hague, the Hamburg Symphony, and the Malmo Symphony to name a few.
Maestro Grams was a protégé of Franz Welser-Moest and served as Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra from 2004 to 2007.
In 2002, Grams was appointed the assistant conductor of the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania and returned to conduct there in 2005. He was selected to spend the summer of 2003 studying with David Zinman, Murry Sidlin and Michael Stern at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, and returned to that program in 2004.
A Maryland native raised in Severn, Andrew Grams began conducting at the age of 17, when he directed the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. In 1999 he received a bachelor of music degree in violin performance from the Juilliard School and in 2003 he received a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he worked with Otto-Werner Mueller.
Also an accomplished violinist, Mr. Grams was a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra at Lincoln Center from 1998 to 2004, serving as acting associate principal second violin in 2002 and 2004. In addition, he has performed with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the New Jersey Symphony.
Andrew Grams was selected as the Music Director for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in June 2013 after a two-year, international search. In March 2015, Andrew Grams was named Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.
Stephen Squires, Resident Conductor
Stephen Squires is a musician with a career that blends his passions for conducting, teaching, and performing. Mr. Squires has had the honor to conduct for many exceptional artists, including Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey, Janos Starker, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, John Browning, Leon Bates, Stewart Goodyear, Richard Stoltzman, Ani Kavafian, Wendy Warner, James Tocco, Kevin Cole, Vadim Gluzman, Alexander Fiterstein, and most of the principal players of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera Orchestras. Fully committed to conducting the music of living composers, he has premiered over one hundred new works.
Mr. Squires received his musical training at the Preparatory School of the Eastman School of Music and the Crane School of Music, in his home state of New York. He earned his graduate degree in Instrumental Conducting and Trumpet Performance at California State University, Northridge. Further conducting studies were with Helmuth Rilling, Maurice Abravanel, Daniel Lewis, Tsung Yeh, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Squires has conducted recordings for the Delos, Spring Hill (a division of EMI), MEDR, Editions de la Rue Margot, Albany, MSR Classics, and Centaur labels. Stephen Squires has enjoyed a forty-year career as a Professor of Music. He is currently Professor of Conducting in the Music Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. Prior to this appointment he served on the artist faculty of the Northern Illinois School of Music, where he received the prestigious “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.”
Mr. Squires’ current professional appointments include Resident Conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Fox Valley Symphony (Aurora, IL), Music Director of the Millar Brass (Evanston, IL), and Music Director of the Illinois Brass Band (Arlington Heights, IL). He is the former Music Director of the Illinois Chamber Symphony. Mr. Squires has guest conducted the Chicago Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the Green Bay Symphony, the Columbus (OH) Symphony, the Rockford Symphony, and the Chicago Composers Orchestra. In addition, he is an accomplished recital accompanist, freelance trumpeter, and frequent guest conductor at educational festivals throughout the country.
Matthew Sheppard, Education Conductor
Matthew Sheppard leads a career as both performer and teacher. Outside of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, he serves as music director of the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago, and the Hyde Park Youth Symphony.
Sheppard has guest conducted orchestras in North and South America, including the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Paraguay, the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and the Lake Geneva Symphony. As an educator, conductor, and clinician, he is highly regarded for his passionate musicianship and technical ability, and he regularly leads masterclasses on playing and conducting in Chicago and abroad.
Sheppard studied under Donald Schleicher as a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Illinois. Before moving to Illinois, he attended Penn State University and earned bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts, Music Education, and Music Performance as well as a master’s degree in orchestral conducting under the tutelage of Max Zorin (violin) and Gerardo Edelstein (conducting).