Elgin Symphony wins grant to perform more American music
The Elgin Symphony Orchestra will be featuring a piece of American classical or contemporary music in every concert during the 2015-16 season beginning Oct. 3, officials said Monday.
It will be funded through a $4,000 American Music Project Grant award. American Music Project is a new, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and underwriting performances of old American classical music and selectively commissioning new works from American composers.
"We're excited. There's only four winners this year," ESO spokeswoman Julie Baker said. "We are the only orchestra to have won this award this year."
As orchestras traditionally perform more European music, ESO Music Director Andrew Grams' goal is to highlight American music and some contemporary music, Baker said.
"You usually don't perform this many American pieces during a season," she added.
There will be 12 concerts during ESO's 65th season, which runs through May 1.
At the season opener the orchestra will perform a piece by the late American modernist composer, Charles Edward Ives, dubbed "Variations on America." Ives combined the American popular and church music traditions of his youth with European art music. He was among the first composers to experiment with musical techniques, and his compositions were a precursor to many musical innovations of the 20th century.
As part a new website debuting in September, elginsymphony.org, ESO also will launch a webpage highlighting the importance of American music, Baker said.