Virtuosio violinists to perform at Elgin Symphony's 'Bach & Dvorak' Nov. 23-24

  • Tucson Symphony's José Luis Gomez will guest conduct the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in this weekend's "Bach & Dvorák" concerts.

    Tucson Symphony's José Luis Gomez will guest conduct the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in this weekend's "Bach & Dvorák" concerts. Courtesy of ESO

  • ESO Concertmaster Isabella Lippi

    ESO Concertmaster Isabella Lippi

  • Eleanor Bartsch

    Eleanor Bartsch

Submitted by Elgin Symphony Orchestra
Posted11/18/2019 10:28 PM

Imagine a jam session with some of the greatest composers of all time, and you would get this performance of Bach, Stravinsky and Dvorak.

This weekend, Tucson Symphony's José Luis Gomez returns to guest conduct the Elgin Symphony Orchestra for a performance of "Bach & Dvorák"


The concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at the Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way in Elgin.

José Luis Gomez returns to guest conduct this epic concert with concertmaster Isabella Lippi and associate concertmaster Eleanor Bartsch.

This performance has been carefully curated and brings virtuosic violins, pulsing rhythms, and is, in the words of ESO music director Andrew Grams, "cheerful and optimistic, yet powerful and dense -- like a V-8 engine in a large Cadillac."

The Venezuelan-born, Spanish conductor José Luis Gomez began his musical career as a violinist but was catapulted to international attention when he won First Prize at the International Sir Georg Solti Conductor's Competition in Frankfurt in September 2010, securing a sensational and rare unanimous decision from the jury. Gomez's electrifying energy, talent and creativity earned him immediate acclaim from the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra where he was appointed to the position of Assistant Conductor. In 2016, Gomez was named Music Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Since taking the helm, the orchestra has seen a marked increase in subscribers and donors to the orchestra and Gomez has worked tirelessly to introduce innovative and exciting new outreach activities whilst continuing to nurture and support existing education projects.

Dvorák composed and orchestrated Symphony No. 8 within the two-and-a-half-month period in 1889 at his summer resort in Vysoká u Príbrame, Bohemia. The score was composed on the occasion of his admission to Prague Academy. Dvorák tried to achieve a marked difference to his Symphony No. 7, a stormy romantic work. No. 8 would be: "different from the other symphonies, with individual thoughts worked out in a new way". The Eighth is cheery and lyrical and draws its inspiration more from the Bohemian folk music that Dvorák loved.

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Igor Stravinsky's Concerto in D was the first composition Stravinsky created after becoming a naturalised American citizen on Dec. 28, 1945. While living in Boston, Stravinsky conducted the Boston Symphony and, on one famous occasion, he decided to conduct his own arrangement of the "The Star-Spangled Banner," which he made out a "desire to do my bit in these grievous times toward fostering and preserving the spirit of patriotism in this country." He was, of course, referring to America's role in World War II. Stravinsky's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" added a dominant seventh chord to the arrangement. The Boston police issued Stravinsky a warning, claiming there was a law against tampering with the national anthem. His arrangement was branded as branded as foreign and dangerous, then banned outright in the city.

Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, also known as the Double Violin Concerto, is one of the most famous works by the 18th-century Baroque composer.

Violinist Isabella Lippi began performing in public at the age of 10 when she made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has since performed in numerous recitals and has appeared as a guest soloist with orchestras in the United States, Mexico, Europe and the Far East. In addition to her work as a soloist, Lippi has participated in numerous chamber music festivals including those of Santa Fe, La Jolla, Mainly Mozart and the Aspen Music Festival. She was concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony from 1999-2002 and is currently concertmaster of the Elgin Symphony.

Chicago-based violinist Eleanor Bartsch is concertmaster of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, associate concertmaster of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and first violinist of the critically acclaimed Kontras Quartet. As a performing member of the Chicago Philharmonic/Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, she frequently serves as concertmaster, associate concertmaster, and principal second violin. A founding member and marketing director of Madison, Wisconsin's Willy Street Chamber Players, she concertizes throughout Wisconsin and maintains a passion for chamber music and community.


Tickets are $35 to $85, with discount pricing available for groups of 10 or more, or $10 for youth.

To purchase tickets, visit or call the ESO box office at (847) 888-4000.

"Musically Speaking" preconcert discussion will take place one hour prior to each performance and last for 30 minutes.

As part of its 70th anniversary season, the ESO 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. Visit to learn more about the ESO's many activities in the community, read program notes, see the full season line up, make a donation and find out how to sponsor a program or series.


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