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Learn how to say “Hello” in Russian, experience a Russian tea party, enjoy the music of Russian composers, and more!

Join us at programs designed to enhance your enjoyment at ESO concerts during the 2016-17 season.

Download a Passport Download a Passport here to participate in our series.

On the Passport, write down the 4 programs or concerts you attend. Participants who attend four (4) programs, which may include ESO concerts, are invited to a reception, backstage tour, and ESO open rehearsal on Friday, May 5 at 6:30pm at Hemmens Cultural Center. You must register for the reception at, and on your passport, list the 4 events you attended and your name and email to submit at the May 5 reception for a grand prize. One grand prize winner and a guest will have a special lunch with ESO Music Director Andrew Grams.


Here is a listing of eligible events:

Stay tuned for more events to be added throughout the year.

Programs at Gail Borden Public Library

  • Ballet Everyone! Art Gallery (ML)

  • Monday, December 19 - Monday, January 16

    Inspired by the ESO's performances of ballet pieces by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and Mussorgsky, Gail Borden presents our Ballet Everyone! art gallery. View stunning images of ballet dancers worldwide - can you find the Russian dancers? - then use our art supplies to design and costume a dancer to add to the wall.

Programs from Elgin Symphony Orchestra

  • Beethoven’s Eroica

  • Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm
    Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 2:30 pm
    Hemmens Cultural Center

    Andrew Grams, conductor
    Angelo Xiang Yu, violin

    Stravinsky – Octet
    Prokofiev – Violin Concerto No. 1
    Beethoven – Symphony No. 3 Eroica

    Guest artist, violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, with his “stupendous technique and musical voice all his own,” will perform Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 , which premiered in 1923 at the Paris Opera in a program that held Stravinsky’s Octet, also featured in these concerts. The performance concludes with Beethoven’s triumphant Symphony No. 3, Eroica, which he wrote after emerging from a deep depression recommitted to a life in music.

  • Romance at the Fountains of Rome

  • Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 7:30 pm
    Sunday, February, 2017 at 2:30 pm
    Hemmens Cultural Center

    Andrew Grams, conductor
    Jonathan Rudy, organ

    Liadov – The Enchanted Lake
    Respighi – Fountains of Rome
    Dukas – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
    Saint-Saëns – Symphony No. 3

    From Respighi’s passionate Fountains of Rome to Russian composer Liadov’s serene Enchanted Lake, these concerts will awaken the senses and present the listener with a musical rainbow of sound. The program also holds Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3, featuring guest organist Jonathan Rudy, and containing a melody called “so gorgeous that it seems plucked from an operatic love scene by Bizet or Gounod.”

  • Copland and Tchaikovsky

  • Friday, March 3, 2017 at 7:30 pm
    Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts

    Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 7:30 pm
    Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm
    Hemmens Cultural Center

    Stephen Squires, conductor
    Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet

    Copland – Billy the Kid Suite
    Copland – Clarinet Concerto
    Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4

    Beloved American composer Aaron Copland is highlighted in these programs which feature the Billy the Kid Suite, and guest artist, Russian-born Alexander Fiterstein, performing Copland’s clarinet concerto, written in the late forties for Benny Goodman. Also included is Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, with its theme of Fate. Tchaikovsky noted, “Never yet has any of my orchestral works cost me so much labor, but I’ve never yet felt such love for any of my things… I will add only that there is not a single line in my symphony which I have not felt deeply, and which does not echo true and sincere emotions.”

  • Rachmaninoff & Brahms

  • Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm
    Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm
    Hemmens Cultural Center

    Andrew Grams, conductor
    Natasha Paremski, piano

    Brahms – Symphony No. 4
    Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 3

    ESO audience favorite, pianist Natasha Paremski, returns to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, known as one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the standard classical repertoire, and featured in the major motion picture, Shine. The program also holds Brahms’ final symphony, No. 4, which premiered in 1885 with Brahms himself conducting. Rock music aficionados will recognize elements of the symphony from the instrumental “Cans and Brahms” on the 1971 Yes album Fragile.

  • Inside the Music with Andrew Grams

  • Friday, March 31, 2017 at 8:00 pm
    Hemmens Cultural Center

    Brahms – Symphony No. 4

    Inside the Music with Andrew Grams are lively, 90 minute in-depth explorations of masterworks using visuals and musical excerpts to explain the history and form of the piece. After intermission, the ESO will perform the entire work with participants having gained newfound insight into what makes the piece so special. These Friday night programs will be informal, laid-back and fun! All part of our goal to offer musical experiences for a new age. Inside the Music March 31 will explore Johannes Brahms’s fourth and final symphony, one of the seminal works in the classical orchestra repertoire. Brahms took the traditional classical structures and forms of his musical heroes Bach and Beethoven to new and innovative heights, creating bold and unique combinations while honoring the techniques of earlier periods. His brilliant orchestrations have influenced composers like Antonín Dvořák, Edward Elgar and Anton Webern, and countless musicians, including Perry Como, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews and Santana, who have used elements of his compositions in their work. The rock group Yes wrote Cans and Brahms based on the third movement of his Fourth Symphony.

    Johannes Brahms was an innovator who created new musical combinations imbued with a Romantic spirit, yet firmly based in the tradition of past classical masters. Something of a child prodigy, at age 6 he created a simple method of composing so he could write down his musical ideas. He began piano lessons at seven, and made his piano performance debut at 10 years old. Extremely self-critical and a perfectionist, it took him 21 years to compose his first symphony, and he destroyed many works that he deemed not worthy of publication. A respected and popular composer during his lifetime, he lived frugally and never married, although he had many romances, including a great love for his dear friend Robert Schumann’s wife, Clara. She died in May 1896 and Brahms died 11 months later on April 3, 1897, leaving a varied catalog of music for symphony orchestra, chamber groups, piano, organ, voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist as well as a composer, Brahms leaves a legacy of rich musical craftsmanship, while pushing the boundaries of classical music into new realms.

Programs in the Community

  • Russian Tea

  • Sunday, March 5, 2017
    Noon - 2pm
    Elgin History Museum, 360 Park St, Elgin, IL 60120

    Elgin used to be a Sister City to Belgorode, Russia. Before the Elgin Symphony Orchestra concert, sit down at the Elgin History Museum and enjoy a leisurely tea a la Russe with fresh baked pastries. The Museum exhibits will be open for this special event and souvenirs from Russian trips will be on display. Advance registration required. Fee is $20. Call 847.742.4248 or email

  • Fabergé Style Figures & Flowers Special Exhibit

  • Open now through May 28, 2017
    Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
    220 S Cottage Hill Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126

    Carl Fabergé, the Russian entrepreneur, artist and jeweler was a man of stunning and prolific creativity. In the late 1800s Fabergé established workshops in Russia to produce his designs of gold, silver, enamel and gemstones. Fabergé’s firm was named Jeweler to the Imperial Court of Russia and enjoyed great popularity until the Russian Revolution and abdication of the Tsar. In 1918 the Russian workshops were forced to close. The Fabergé family emigrated to Europe. Two of Carl Fabergé’s sons established a business in Paris. One of the sons made contact with the lapidaries in Idar-Oberstein, Germany and many of the original works in stone were reproduced.

    The Lizzadro Collection of Fabergé style carvings was created in Idar-Oberstein and the pieces represent exact replicas of Carl Fabergé’s original hardstone carvings. The collection has been housed in the Museum since the early 1960s.