Submitted by the Evanston Symphony Orchestra
The Evanston Symphony Orchestra resumes its 2022-2023 subscription season, its 76th, on Sunday, Feb. 12, with a program of Mahler, Mozart and Prokofiev. Led by Music Director Lawrence Eckerling, the ESO will perform Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, one of the most monumental debuts in the history of symphonic music. The concert also features a solo violinist ESO audiences know well, Irina Muresanu, playing Sergei Prokofiev’s beautiful and virtuosic Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor with the orchestra. The ever popular and much loved “Overture” to Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro kicks off the program. The concert begins at 2:30 at Northwestern University’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston. It will conclude by 4:30 p.m.; football fans can enjoy this concert and easily be home in time for the “The Big Game” at 5:30 p.m.
The concert is dedicated to the memory of the ESO’s long-time and much beloved late General Manager David B. Ellis, who passed away in late July 2022. Mahler was one of his very favorite composers and the ESO and Maestro Eckerling perform the symphony in his honor.
“Mahler’s First Symphony is one of the most ambitious first symphonies in the symphonic canon,” said Eckerling. “It is music full of grandiose fanfares, but it also interweaves sublime passages, and has everything in between. It has been 17 years since the ESO last performed this work, and we are thrilled to perform this music again for our audiences and in memory of David.”
Irina Muresanu’s performance of Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 2 is a reprise of sorts, at least in program terms. She was slated to perform this piece with the ESO on March 15, 2020, and was in Evanston for rehearsals. But on March 12 Eckerling had to inform her the concert was canceled as the world began to lock down due to Covid. When she finally performs the concerto on Feb. 12, it will be her fifth appearance with the ESO.
ESO Board President Margaret Gergen said, “The Marriage of Figaro – Overture is such a favorite of mine that its first few bars are my ringtone. So of course I can’t wait to hear it! But I also can’t wait to hear Irina. Her musicianship makes my whole being soar.”
On Friday, Feb. 10, Eckerling and Muresanu will preview the program during “Musical Insights,” sponsored by The Merion. Eckerling will provide an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the Mahler and Mozart pieces. Muresanu will play selections from the Prokofiev. “Musical Insights” begins at 1:30 in the Crystal Ballroom at the Merion, 1611 Chicago Ave. The program is free and open to the public, but please RSVP at 847-570-7815.
For the comfort and safety of the audience, the orchestra, and staff, masks and proof of vaccination and boosters are required for attendance at both the concert and “Musical Insights.”
One can still subscribe to the season with a discounted “three-concert” package at ESO (evanstonsymphony.org) or by calling 847-864-8804. Donations to the ESO can also be made through the website and by phone.
Founded in 1945, the Evanston Symphony is the 2017 Illinois Council of Orchestra’s Orchestra of the Year and in 2019 was honored by the Council for Community Relations of the Year for its significant outreach to the Evanston community. The ESO mission is to provide community members of all ages with convenient, affordable opportunities to perform and hear fine classical music from locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists.