How the Illinois Symphony is selecting repertoire as it returns to the concert hall

Posted on: January 25, 2022

“The Illinois Symphony returns to the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 28 with … works by Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schumann,” writes Lauren Warnecke in Thursday’s (1/20) WGLT radio (Normal, IL). “As Maestro Ken Lam and the Illinois Symphony prepared for their return to live performances during the ongoing pandemic, their priority was to select music everyone would enjoy. ‘There was a whole season that orchestras were not performing,’ said Lam. ‘One of the things I really wanted to do was pick repertoire that the orchestra will enjoy playing [and] that the audience would really enjoy listening to.’ Lam said … Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4: Italian is … known for its bright and jovial optimism—and its difficulty…. Mendelssohn serves as an anchor for the trio of works comprising … violinist Sayaka Shoji’s performance of Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto [and] the Overture to [Mozart’s] Don Giovanni … ‘one of Mozart’s best-known operas,’ said Lam. ‘It’s got everything in it … But it’s not heavy.’ … Attendance is down slightly from pre-pandemic levels, but enthusiasm remains high…. ‘We are extremely grateful to be making music together,’ Lam said. ‘You can feel the vibe in the auditorium.’ ”