Designed to demystify classical music in a relaxed and informal setting, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s (ESO) Inside the Music, March 31 at 8 pm, Hemmens Cultural Center, will explore Johannes Brahms’s fourth and final symphony, a ground-breaking and important work in the classical symphony orchestra repertoire. Brahms took the traditional classical structures and forms of his musical heroes Bach and Beethoven to new and innovative heights, creating bold and unique combinations while honoring the techniques of earlier periods. His brilliant orchestrations have influenced composers like Antonín Dvořák, Edward Elgar and Anton Webern, and countless musicians, including Perry Como, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews and Santana, who have used elements of his compositions in their work. The rock group Yes wrote Cans and Brahms based on the third movement of his Fourth Symphony. Andrew Grams will examine this Brahms masterwork using visuals and musical excerpts played by the ESO. After an intermission, the orchestra will perform the entire work with the audience experiencing a deeper connection to the music after having learned what makes it so special. The ESO-Musical Experiences for a New Age. Tickets are only $30. Student tickets are $12. For more information, visit ElginSymphony.Org or 847-888-4000.
Johannes Brahms was an innovator who created new musical combinations imbued with a Romantic spirit, yet firmly based in the tradition of past classical masters. Something of a child prodigy, at age 6 he created a simple method of composing so he could write down his musical ideas. He began piano lessons at seven, and made his piano performance debut at 10 years old. Extremely self-critical and a perfectionist, it took him 21 years to compose his first symphony, and he destroyed many works that he deemed not worthy of publication. A respected and popular composer during his lifetime, he lived frugally and never married, although he had many romances, including a great love for his dear friend Robert Schumann’s wife, Clara. She died in May 1896 and Brahms died 11 months later on April 3, 1897, leaving a varied catalog of music for symphony orchestra, chamber groups, piano, organ, voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist as well as a composer, Brahms leaves a legacy of rich musical craftsmanship, while pushing the boundaries of classical music to new realms.
With a unique combination of intensity, enthusiasm and technical clarity, American conductor Andrew Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts and long-term orchestra building. He is the winner of 2015 Conductor of the Year from the Illinois Council of Orchestras and has led orchestras throughout the United States including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Detroit Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Dallas Symphony, and the Houston Symphony. Mr. Grams served as Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra from 2004-2007 where he worked under the guidance of Franz Welser-Möst, and has since returned for several engagements.
2016-2017 marks Mr. Grams’ fourth season as Music Director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Born in Severn, Maryland, Mr. Grams began studying the violin when he was eight years old. In 1999 he received a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from The Juilliard School, and in 2003 he received a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. 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 Aspen and returned to that program again in 2004. 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. The ESO 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 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.