Andrew Grams has signed a new five-year contract to continue as music director for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
Grams was hired in 2013 on a three-year deal, and this new contract extends his commitment for five more years beyond that.
"He has really just begun his work here in Elgin, so we are thrilled that he will continue," said Julie Baker, ESO director of marketing.
Grams said his main focus is the ongoing team-building within the orchestra and "the presentation of exciting, interesting and vivid performances."
"I also want to continue bringing more people into our music-loving family," he said. "There is so much love for all types of music from our audiences, and increasing our reach across Elgin and the surrounding area is of paramount importance to strengthening the bonds of our community."
The 37-year-old Grams is only the fourth music director in the ESO's 65-year history. Five-year extensions beyond the initial contract period are fairly typical when things are working well, he said.
"We've built a working environment that makes the sky the limit in terms of what we can do for our community, and having the security of a substantial amount of time makes it so we can focus completely on our service," he said.
Grams, who began conducting at age 17, said he loves performing well-known works while also bringing unfamiliar ones to his audiences.
"I'd like to keep the fun ride we've all started together rolling into the next decade," he said.
Grams has a bachelor's degree in music from the Juilliard School and a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music.
He has conducted orchestras throughout the U.S. and abroad, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., the Vancouver Symphony, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestra of the Beethovenhalle Bonn, the BBC Symphony Orchestra London, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Melbourne Symphony, the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia Rome, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and the Malmo Symphony.
Elgin is his first permanent post after serving as assistant conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra from 2004 to 2007.