Get tickets for Northbrook Symphony Orchestra benefit

"Music Is Life" is the slogan of Northbrook Symphony Orchestra Music Director Mina Zikri.

A native of Egypt, his career path proves this is not an idle tag line.

"He views music as the great global, universal language to bring people together," said Steve Greene, a vice president on the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra board of directors.

That's part of the point of next week's NSO benefit, whose title shares the director's slogan. "Music Is Life" will be held from 6-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, at Sunset Ridge Country Club, 2100 Sunset Ridge Road, Northfield.

All funds raised support the activities of the NSO, which in the 2021-22 season just past - "a spectacular season," Greene said - welcomed the arrival of NSO artistic creative partner Robert Chen, concert master of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

"No pun intended, he's very instrumental in everything we're doing," said Greene, noting Chen will remain with the NSO as an adviser to Zikri in a beneficial partnership at least through the upcoming 43rd season.

"It's one of mutual love of music and a great collaboration," Greene said.

"Music Is Life" organizers anticipate more than 150 people will attend the June 22 benefit. Held virtually in 2021, it gained about $35,000.

"We hope to at least match that," Greene said.

Composer and WFMT classical presenter Robbie Ellis will serve as the emcee and guest artist at the benefit, which also will feature performances by NSO musicians.

The business-casual event includes appetizers, a cash bar, a wine pull and a silent auction with items on display online at and at Sunset Ridge the night of the event.

Depending on the program, from a chamber repertoire to the Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev works played in the May 29 season finale at Northbrook's Sheely Center for the Performing Arts, the NSO will feature up to 70 musicians. While a professional orchestra, it's composed of top freelance musicians from throughout metropolitan Chicago.

"Music Director Mina Zikri has many deep roots in the Chicago music scene, so he's able to draw on an amazing, diverse group of musicians. That really benefits our orchestra a lot," Greene said.

A busy man whom Greene calls an "internationalist," Zikri also is the founder, music director and conductor of the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago and a violinist and assistant conductor to former Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Director Daniel Barenboim with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, of Germany.

Zikri also conducts the Lira Ensemble, a Polish performing arts company based at Loyola University. In addition, he returns annually to Egypt to conduct the Cairo Symphony Orchestra.

"He brings diverse populations together in love and appreciation of music," Greene said of Zikri.

Tickets to "Music Is Life" are $100. To purchase tickets or donate to the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, visit

A benefit for the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, "Music Is Life," will be held June 22 at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northfield. Courtesy of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra
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