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updated: 9/8/2017 6:16 PM

ESO Music Director to be guest speaker at 'CEO Unplugged' Sept. 13

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  • ESO Music Director Andrew Grams will be the guest speaker at the Elgin Area Chamber's "CEO Unplugged" on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.

    ESO Music Director Andrew Grams will be the guest speaker at the Elgin Area Chamber's "CEO Unplugged" on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.
    Courtesy of ESO

D. Handler

Called one of the great talents of our time, internationally-renowned conductor and Elgin Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andrew Hilary Grams returns to the podium on Saturday, Sept. 16, to kick off the 2017-18 ESO season with a program of the music of Tchaikovsky.

The public has a rare opportunity to hear Andrew Grams speak about how he defines his leadership style, and provide a glimpse into his life as a conductor, at "CEO Unplugged" on Wednesday, Sept. 13. The Elgin Area Chamber luncheon, sponsored by Grand Victoria Casino, will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the pavilion. Questions and networking to follow. Tickets are $20 in advance for chamber members and $25 for nonmembers. Tickets will be $35 at the door. To order tickets, email

After the ESO concerts, Grams will head to Spain to conduct the Barcelona Symphony on Oct. 6-8, then to California to lead the Sacramento Philharmonic Oct. 14, and will close October with a performance with the Tulsa Orchestra on Oct. 28, conducting works by Tchaikovsky, Copland and Hindemith. As a widely-respected conductor, Grams is in demand throughout the year around the world, and will lead the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague Dec. 14. To order ESO tickets, see

Andrew Grams, now in his fifth ESO season, became music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra after an international search. His charismatic conducting and easy accessibility have made him a favorite of Elgin Symphony audiences. He has extended his contract with the ESO through 2021.

With a unique combination of intensity, enthusiasm and technical clarity, Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts and long-term orchestra building. He has led orchestras throughout the United States including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Detroit Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Dallas Symphony, and the Houston Symphony.

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 New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In 2015-16, Grams led a Gershwin festival with the Orquestra Simfoica de Barcelona before returning to Australia to work with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Western Australia Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Severn, Maryland, Grams began studying the violin when he was 8 years old. In 1999, he received a bachelor of music in violin performance from The Juilliard School, and in 2003 he received a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. He was selected to spend the summer of 2003 studying with David Zinman, Murry Sidlin and Michael Stern at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and returned to that program again in 2004. He served as assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra from 2004-07 where he worked under the guidance of Franz Welser-Möst, and has since returned for several engagements.

As an accomplished violinist, Grams was a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra from 1998-2004, serving as acting associate principal second violin in 2002 and 2004. Additionally, he has performed with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the New Jersey Symphony. To learn more about Andrew Grams, visit and

Your business connections start with the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce. "CEO Unplugged" luncheons offer the opportunity to learn what makes a CEO successful and to adapt those leadership tips into your own business. The format includes an informal interview with the leader, ranging from risks he has taken to what keeps him up at night, and more. We'll then ask a quick fire-round of questions and you'll even have a chance to ask your questions! You will walk away with tidbits of advice that you can implement in your own business right away. EAC is a dynamic membership organization rich in history and comprised of approximately 600 businesses of all sizes representing most every industry and profession in our area. As the voice for business, we are an important resource for our members for advocacy, information, and marketing exposure that enhances their business success. The Elgin Area Chamber provides leadership in creating a positive economic environment as the lead business advocate in our region.

Now in its 67th season, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra offers programming unmatched for an entertaining, informative and relaxing cultural experience. The ESO has won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year an unprecedented four times -- in 1988, 1999, 2005 and 2016. The ESO strives to create an enjoyable entertainment experience that goes beyond the magnificent music performed by some of the best musicians in the region. There is accessible, free parking around the Hemmens Cultural Center and valet service available. Before concerts, area musicians often perform in the lobby, and patrons can buy drinks at the bar and purchase gifts at the Elgin Symphony League Boutique. Preconcert chats are given by Andrew Grams, guest artists and others one hour before most performances, and Saturday night patrons are invited after concerts to Mingle with the Musicians at area restaurants. In addition, free Listeners Club discussions presented by music historian Jim Kendros are offered in Geneva and Elgin on Wednesdays before ESO Classics Series concert weekends. Flex passes are available for purchase so that you can choose your concerts at a later date based on your own schedule. And if a patron can't make a concert, the ESO offers free exchanges to subscribers and to single ticket buyers for a small fee. The Elgin Symphony Orchestra is a world-class orchestra providing quality musical explorations that are entertaining, hassle-free and conveniently located close to home in the western suburbs. The ESO-Transforming the Symphony Experience.

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