We are a community orchestra which performs five concerts each season. Our players volunteer their time to play with us.
2018–2019 SERIES: VIRTUOSOS
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Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!
Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO General Manager David Ellis and ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling take you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.
Meet our soloist, Tage Larsen, at Musical Insights. He and our Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the March concert program in depth.
Friday, March 15 at 1:30 pm,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.
Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.
Evanston Symphony Board member Robin Ashton asked ESO Maestro and Music Director Lawrence Eckerling about how he programmed this year’s subscription series line-up.
Ashton: Maestro, how do you go about programming a season. Do you start with a theme or what?
John Corigliano’s Promenade Overture is a modern take on a classical masterpiece.
The composer admitted as much in his program notes from the 1981 work. He commented that Franz Joseph Haydn’s Farewell Symphony caught him “off guard.” During the final movement of this symphony, the players exit until only a pair of violins remains. Intrigued by the notion of reversing the process — orchestra members entering at the beginning of a work while playing — Corigliano wrote an overture that does just that.
In 1853, at the age of 20, a young Johannes Brahms nervously presented himself to Robert and Clara Schumann. He was the leading composer of the day, and she was a prominent piano soloist and composer in her own right. This fateful meeting would lead to Brahms’ public introduction, and to a lifelong relationship, both musical and personal, with the couple. While Brahms owed the launch of his career to this great composer, he struggled under the weight of Schumann’s description of him as “a chosen one,” and in the shadow of Beethoven’s revolutionary Symphony No.
The ballet is based on the Russian folk tale of the Firebird, which Igor Stravinsky used as inspiration in his score. The Firebird ballet tells the story of Prince Ivan who defeats the evil Kastchei with the help of the Firebird, who offers one of her enchanted feathers to Prince Ivan after he spares her life while hunting in the forest. The feather is later used by Prince Ivan to summon the Firebird when he needs her help as Kastchei’s creatures chase after him.
As the monarchy is central to the history and government of England, so it is part of its musical heritage. Crown Imperial, also known as Coronation March, came to life during a turbulent time for the British crown. Composer William Walton originally composed the march for King Edward VII’s coronation, set for May 12, 1937. However, when Edward abdicated the throne in 1936, his brother, King George VI, became king to the tune of Crown Imperial instead.
Ralph Vaughan Williams was among the wave of European composers of the time who were interested in utilizing and recording folk music. Vaughan Williams found inspiration in English literature and traditional song, often quoting or imitating British folk tunes in his compositions. He was even a member of the English Folk Song Society, whose members sought to collect traditional music of the British Isles. Nine of these tunes found a place in the composer’s three-movement English Folk Song Suite, which was originally written for military band.
If you think the main themes from Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and Henry Purcell’s Rondeau from Abdelazer Suite are similar, you’re right. Purcell, a Baroque composer, wrote incidental music in 1695 to accompany performances of the play by Aphra Behn, Abdelazer, also known as The Moor’s Revenge. The second movement of the 10-movement suite is one of Purcell’s most recognizable tunes and was the inspiration for Britten’s work.
It’s easy to draw parallels between Emmanuel Chabrier’s Espana and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, pieces that the Evanston Symphony Orchestra will perform on February 4 at 2:30 p.m. Both were written about the same time in the 1880s and draw on the music and culture of Spain. But there is another similarity: Neither composer was actually Spanish.
Huapango remains the most famous work of José Pablo Moncayo, the Guadalajara native and a pupil of Aaron Copland. While visiting Alvarado in Veracruz, Moncayo was inspired by the folk music he heard. The melodies and rhythms proved difficult for him to capture, as the musicians never performed the folk dance the same way twice. He still managed to complete the composition, which was met with great acclaim; it served as the foundation of a new movement of Mexican nationalism in music, and is considered by some as the unofficial second national anthem of Mexico.