The Evanston Symphony Orchestra will kick off its 69th season with a new concertmaster, Julie Fischer.

Fischer grew up in Skokie and took her undergraduate degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and her master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she graduated with distinction in 2005.

She studied for six years with Donald Weilerstein, who for two decades was first violinist of the Cleveland Quartet.

Fischer is on the teaching faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago and leads the chamber music program at Midwest Young Artists. In addition, she maintains her own teaching studio.

She won the Rembrandt Players Competition in 1997 and the Fischoff Competition in 1998, and was concertmaster of the New England Conservatory Chamber Orchestra in in 2004.

“I am excited and honored to be named concertmaster of the Evanston Symphony,” she said. She noted that she appeared with the ESO in 1998 as a winner of the Young Artists’ Competition, playing the first movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. “I never imagined when I soloed with the orchestra as a teenager then that I would be leading it 16 years later.”

“We are thrilled the ESO will have Julie to play the important concertmaster solos in Strauss’s Four Last Songs and in the symphonic suite from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake,” said Music Director Lawrence Eckerling.

The 2014-15 season will feature four subscription concerts at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston, all conducted by Eckerling, who was recently named “Conductor of the Year” by the Illinois Council of Orchestras. All concerts are on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m.

The season opens Oct. 26 with a program titled Russian Rhapsodies highlighted by the Midwest premiere of the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes by the Russian-Polish composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg. The program also features local pianist Kate Liu as soloist in Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and will conclude with the Fifth Symphony of Prokofiev.

Renowned soprano Michelle Areyzaga  will sing her first-ever performance of Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs on Feb. 1, part of the German Favorites program, which also includes Brahms’ Third Symphony and the Overture to Tannhäuser by Wagner.

The American Romantics program on March 15 includes the Symphony No. 2 “Romantic” by Howard Hanson and the Violin Concerto of Samuel Barber, as well as Copland’s El Salón México. Local favorite violinist Desirée Ruhstrat will play the solos in both the Barber Concerto and in Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, in its version for solo violin, strings and percussion.

An all-orchestral concert will end the season on April 26 with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor and a Symphonic Suite of extended excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake. All of the selections will be taken from Tchaikovsky’s original 1877 score and will include more of this richly symphonic score than just the dances performed in the standardSwan Lake Suite.

Tickets can be ordered online or by calling 847.864.8804. Subscription prices are $96 for adults, $80 for seniors (62 and over), $20 for full-time students and FREE for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult.

Founded in 1945, the Evanston Symphony was the Illinois Council of Orchestra’s “Orchestra of the Year” in 2010.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *