The Evanston Symphony Orchestra has just released “Evanston Symphony Live!” its first commercially available compact disc.

The CD features an all-American program conducted by Music Director Lawrence Eckerling, including the world premiere performance of Gwyneth Walker’s The Promised Land, composed for the ESO and local soprano Michelle Areyzaga.

The disc includes the recording premiere of Overture With Fanfares, commissioned by the ESO for its 50th anniversary season from Evanston resident and ESO bassoonist Donald Draganski.

It also features George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Music Director Eckerling both conducting and playing the piano solo.

The suite from Howard Hanson’s Merry Mount and the overture to Leonard Bernstein’s Candide round out the 72 – minute disc.

All performances were recorded live in Northwestern University’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston, primarily during the just concluded 65th anniversary season. The audio post-production and booklet design work were also executed by Evanston firms, contributing to the strong local focus of the disc.

The CD may be purchased on the ESO website. It will also be available on ESO concert days at Pick-Staiger Hall and at the Christmas concert at Evanston Township High School on Dec. 4.

Founded in 1945, the Evanston Symphony was the Illinois Council of Orchestra’s “Orchestra of the Year” for the 2010-11 concert season.

The ESO offers five concerts a year with a mission to provide community members of all ages with convenient, affordable opportunities to perform and hear classical music from locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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