A world premiere by composer Gwyneth Walker and Gustav Mahler’s 4th Symphony highlight the Evanston Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of 2011 at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30, at Pick-Staiger concert hall in Evanston 

A world premiere by composer Gwyneth Walker and Gustav Mahler’s 4th Symphony highlight the Evanston Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of 2011 at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30, at Pick-Staiger concert hall in Evanston 

“The Promised Land (Songs of the Next Life)” is a cycle of four songs written especially for the Evanston Symphony Orchestra and soprano soloist Michelle Areyzaga. A resident of Vermont, Walker has written more than 200 compositions for orchestra, band, chorus and chamber ensembles.

Areyzaga, who has performed before with the Evanston Symphony, enjoys a long-standing association with Walker, having premiered and recorded several of her song cycles.

Conducted by Music Director Lawrence Eckerling, the orchestra is celebrating its 65th Anniversary concert season.

The concert opens with Preludio Sinfonico, an early orchestral piece of the noted opera composer Giacomo Puccini, and concludes with Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. The finale of the symphony, depicting a child’s view of heaven, was the original inspiration for the Walker song cycle. This finale will also feature Ms. Areyzaga.

Tickets priced at $27 for adults, $22 for seniors, $5 for students with a student ID, and FREE for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult are available on-line at www.evanstonsymphony.org or by calling 847.864.8804. Tickets will also be available at the box office on the day of the concert at $30 for adults and $25 for seniors, with the prices for student and child tickets unchanged.

Founded in 1945, the Evanston Symphony is the reigning Illinois Council of Orchestra’s “Orchestra of the Year” for 2010. 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 fine classical music from locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists. 

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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