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.
2020–2021 SERIES: 75th Anniversary
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.
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.
Concert Content Highlights
Johannes Brahms is recognized as one of the great composers of the Romantic period. His career took flight in the early 1850s thanks in no small part to the mentorship of Robert Schumann, one of the leading composers and critics of the day. He and his wife, Clara, a prominent piano soloist and composer in her own right, played significant roles in shepherding the career of young Brahms.
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.
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.