On Sunday, May 5, the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra under artistic director Randal Swiggum will perform its "Critical Mass(es)" concerts at Elgin Community College's Blizzard Theatre, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. The concerts, featuring students from fourth grade through college, will be at 2, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Concert tickets will be sold in advance and at the door. For tickets, call the ECC box office at (847) 622-0300 or online at tickets.elgin.edu. Tickets for reserved seating are $25, $20 for senior citizens, and $14 for students.
The "Critical Mass(es)" concerts feature all six of the EYSO large ensembles and musical selections focus on the season theme of invention. Exploring how the public helps define and influence the success or failure of new ideas is central to the performances.
The telephone, light bulb, the personal computer, and Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- all ridiculed when they first appeared and now universally accepted as the creations of genius. How does a crazy idea earn respect? How does edgy new music finally join the canon of standard repertoire? The "Critical Mass(es)" concerts will explore revolutionary ideas and new music throughout history.
The 2 p.m. concert will feature Sinfonia, the Prelude Orchestra and Primo, whose repertoire will include Bach, Strauss, Wagner, Copland, Gershwin and Bizet.
The 4:30 p.m. concert will feature Philharmonia and the Brass Choir. Guest conductor Keitaro Harada (www.kharada.com) will be in residence and conducting the Philharmonia. Violinist Ellen Maloney of Glen Ellyn, who is the Philharmonia Concerto competition co-winner, will perform the first movement of the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1. The Brass Choir will perform "Tree of Life" by renowned New York composer Daniel Brewbaker, who is a native of Elgin.
The 7:30 p.m. concert will feature the Youth Symphony performing Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 and Bach's "Three-Part Invention." The concert finale will be the English folk song "Turtle Dove," an annual tradition to close the season.
To learn more about the EYSO and the opportunities offered to student musicians throughout the Chicago area, visit www.eyso.org, or call the EYSO office at (847) 841-7700.
Auditions will be held from May 30 to June 2. Students who will begin fourth grade through college in the fall may audition for a seat in one of the six ensembles. Applications, audition requirements, and scheduling may be found online.
The EYSO is committed to making participation accessible to any qualified student regardless of financial need. Students have opportunities each year to earn part or all of their tuition.
Since the EYSO is an In-Residence Ensemble at the Elgin Community College Arts Center, students who are 16 years of age at the beginning of a semester are eligible to earn college credit while playing in the EYSO.
The EYSO, an in-residence ensemble in the ECC Arts Center, is home to five orchestras and a brass choir with 350 students from 55 communities. Founded in 1976, its mission is to create a community of young musicians, enriching their lives and the lives of their families, schools, communities and beyond, through the study and performance of music.
Artistic director Randal Swiggum is celebrating his 15th year with the organization this season.