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Music

Grams to leave Elgin Symphony Orchestra conductor post after next season

Andrew Grams will leave his role of music director and conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra next year.
Andrew Grams will leave his role of music director and conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra next year.

Following seven years with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Grams will leave his post as music director and conductor at the close of the 2020-21 season.

“After enjoying the privilege of being the Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s music director for seven extraordinary seasons of music-making, I make this decision proud of the work we’ve done to raise the level of the orchestra and all we have achieved in making the connection to the community it serves even stronger,” Grams stated in a news release. “Thanks to these accomplishments, I have discovered in myself a passion for teaching and sharing music in different ways, and I now seek to open time in my diary to allow me to pursue more of this kind of work.”

Grams joined the Elgin Symphony in 2014 after an extensive international search. His charismatic conducting and easy accessibility have made him a favorite of ESO audiences.

A frequent traveler, Grams has worked extensively with orchestras abroad, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony orchestras, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Throughout his tenure, audiences have seen Grams lead everything from traditional masterworks to holiday concert sing-alongs to the best of John Williams. He will be missed by ESO staff, musicians and patrons, the release stated.

“Please know that I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to helm this fine orchestra,” he stated. “I sincerely hope to be able to assist in attracting music director candidates to continue the work I have begun. Of course, I intend to maintain a close relationship with the ESO and to continue to serve this great community well into the future.”

Erik Malmquist, director of artistic planning and operations, describes the transition.

“We are deeply grateful for the considerable time, artistry and enthusiasm that Maestro Grams has devoted to the ESO and to our community of supporters,” Malmquist stated in the release. “His vibrant energy and positive spirit will be missed by musicians and audiences alike. The process to identify a worthy successor to this legacy – no easy task – is already underway in the hands of a committee comprised of musicians, board members, ESO staff and members of the greater Elgin community.”

Grams will conduct the opening and closing concerts for the 2020-21 season, and the music director search will begin.

The ESO is in its 70th anniversary season and has been honored as Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year an unprecedented four times – in 1988, 1999, 2005 and 2016.

To learn about the ESO, visit ElginSymphony.org.

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