• Schedule Update

    Evanston Symphony Orchestra has been monitoring developments regarding the spread of COVID-19. In keeping with guidance issued by Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker and state and local public health officials, we are saddened to announce the cancellation of the May 3 concert which was to be the last of our 2019–2020 season. We believe this is in the best interest of our ESO community — audience, musicians and staff. Please see additional notes on this website regarding our upcoming 75th anniversary season which opens October 25, 2020.

    For more information click here.

  • Announcing Our 75th Anniversary Season, 2020–21

    CELEBRATING 75 YEARS of music making by and for our COMMUNITY

  • ESO’s
    Share The Stage

    Share the Stage lets you sponsor a chair in the Orchestra. It’s our way of recognizing that the ESO Community is made up of Orchestra Members and Supporters.

2020–2021 SERIES: 75th Anniversary


Musical Insights

Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!

Friday, May 1 has been CANCELLED

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.

Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the May concert program in depth.

The Merion
Friday, May 1 has been CANCELLED,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.
Please RSVP to 847-562-5318.

Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.

Give the gift of music

Treat a friend or relative to the ESO

Give the gift of music by ordering directly from our website and purchasing a custom gift certificate in any denomination of your choice! Certificates may be redeemed for single ticket or season subscriptions for any of our concerts.

You will receive an electronic gift certificate or we can mail the certificate to you or directly to the recipient.

SHOP and Support the ESO!

Are you looking to buy a gift for someone at Amazon? Need to stock up on supplies from Amazon?

Amazon has a special program called Smile, where the company donates a small amount of your purchase to your designated charity. Once you select the ESO as your Smile recipient, just point your browser to smile.amazon.com each time you want to shop at Amazon and the Evanston Symphony will benefit. It won’t cost you a thing!

Thanks, and happy shopping.

Learn More!

Concert Content Highlights

Mendelssohn goaded into speed composing Overture for Ruy Blas


In 1839 the Theater Pension Fund asked Felix Mendelssohn to write an overture and a song for their production of Ruy Blas, a play by Victor Hugo. They hoped having Mendelssohn’s name attached to the production would bring in a larger audience. Mendelssohn did not care for the content of Ruy Blas (a rather violent and bloody play), but wanted to support the organization so he wrote the song. The Theater Pension Fund thanked him for the song and expressed disappointment in the lack of an overture.

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The One and Only

Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor is the only piano concerto the composer ever wrote. Completed in 1845, it premiered later that same year; however, Schumann originally composed it as a one-movement piece for piano and orchestra. When he was unable to successfully sell the one-movement version to publishers, he revised it based on his wife Clara Schumann’s suggestion, eventually expanding it into a full three-movement concerto. In fact, Clara was the piano soloist when the piece premiered.

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A Mellifluous Cultural Touchstone

The Evanston Symphony Holiday Gospel Choir will perform Stand by Me with the ESO. The recent royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was our inspiration to include this wonderful number in our Holiday Concert. Stand By Me was originally a gospel song published in 1905 by Charles Albert Tindley: an amazing person in his own right - born son of a slave, self-educated, and a pastor. Ben E. King adapted the song for the Drifters in 1960. It quickly became a hit and an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.

Learn More!