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home : news : state news free May 24, 2016

10/3/2013 12:38:00 PM
Illinois Symphony announces 2013-14 season
The journey continues with acclaimed music director Alastair Willis

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Symphony Orchestra Music Director Alastair Willis is excited to announce the ISO’s 2013-2014 concert season, featuring the highly talented musicians of the ISO. The Symphony will be joined by amazing guest artists from around the world, innovative photochoreography, and local performing arts organizations in a season of audience favorites and groundbreaking new works.

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra season opens in October with Stravinsky’s spectacular Rite of Spring and Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring’s premiere and Britten’s birth. In November, the Symphony kicks off the holiday season with their popular Holidays in the Heartland Pops Concert, joined by local performing arts groups from Springfield.

In February, the ISO welcomes members of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival for an innovative performance of excerpts from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suites. This concert also launches the ISO’s exploration of music from the Silk Road, featuring percussionist Joseph Gramley in Chen Yi’s Percussion Concerto. The exciting young cellist Julie Albers joins the Symphony in March for Saint-Saëns First Cello Concerto, and the ISO concludes the concert with the majestic First Symphony of Brahms.

The season closes in May with a stunning display of symphonic photochoreography by Westwater Arts, The Eternal Struggle, set to AaronCopland’s powerful and moving Lincoln Portrait and concluding with Mahler’s transformative Fifth Symphony.

The Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s season opens in December with the sumptuous sounds of English string music in a performance of Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, featuring versatile tenor William Burden and the ISO’s principal horn Stephen Hanrahan.

World-renowned Baroque conductor Nicholas McGegan brings his dynamic interpretation of Baroque masters to the ISCO with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Telemann’s Suite in F Major, and Scarlatti’s Concerto Grosso No. 6, as well as a classical gem, Haydn’s Symphony No. 44 (“Trauer”). Closing the Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s season in April is Instrumentalist of the Year and member of the Silk Road Ensemble, pipa player Wu Man in Tan Dun’s Concerto for Pipa and Strings, followed by the intense and moving Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings by Richard Strauss.

The Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra continues their Happy Hour dual-performance format in Springfield for their December and April concerts. These concerts feature hour-long performances without intermission at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Grammy-nominated conductor Alastair Willis is the Music Director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Previous positions include Principal Guest Conductor with the Florida Orchestra’s Coffee Concert series and Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony. In the past few seasons, Willis has guest conducted orchestras around the world including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, China National Orchestra (Beijing), and Silk Road Ensemble (with Yo-Yo Ma) among others. Born in Acton, Massachusetts, Willis received his bachelor’s degree with honors from England’s Bristol University, an Education degree from Kingston University, and a Masters of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Under the leadership of Music Director Alastair Willis, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra is central Illinois’ largest professional orchestra, serving over 35,000 patrons in the community of Springfield and the surrounding region with symphony orchestra concerts, chamber orchestra concerts, and Concerts for Kids. In addition to concert performances, the Orchestra's music education and outreach programs serve elementary schools through the Step-By-Step education program and reach middle schools, high schools, universities, community organizations, and senior centers through guest artist residencies and ensemble performances. 2013-2014 marks the 21st season of critically acclaimed music making by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

Season Tickets and single tickets are on sale now. Tickets for the Springfield concerts are available by calling the Sangamon Auditorium Ticket Office at 217-206-6160. Single ticket prices range from $5 for students (6 years +) to $60 for premium seating for the Holidays in the Heartland Pops Concert. Tickets for youth (5 and under) are free with a paying adult. Senior discounts are also available. Additional information about the Illinois Symphony Orchestra is available at

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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