Sat, 10/16/2021 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), under the direction of Maestro Stilian Kirov, is thrilled to kick off its 44th season with an All American Opening Night, marking the orchestra’s jubilant return to the stage on Saturday, October 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the 1,100 seat Ozinga Chapel at Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College Drive, Palos Heights. The evening features the iconic work of Eric Ewazen, Florence Price, and concludes with a world premiere performance by dancers from the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet dancing to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. The performance is curated by rising choreographer and Joffrey Ballet Company Artist Yoshihisa Arai. Tickets start at $27 and are now available at

“We are thrilled to welcome audiences back to the beautiful Ozinga Chapel with a concert that illustrates IPO’s continuous exploration of American composers as well as strong artistic commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.” said Maestro Kirov. “We’d like to thank the distinguished Yoshihisa Arai for elevating this concert by creating a beautiful choreography to the music of Copland’s Appalachian Spring via the incredible talents of the Trainees and Studio Company members of Joffrey Academy of Dance.” 

All American Opening Night begins with Price’s Andante moderato movement, String Quartet in G Major. Price made history in 1933 as the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major US orchestra, an event that took place in Chicago. The next piece is by Ewazen, who takes audiences to the metaphorical river with his oboe concerto, Down a River of Time which is complemented by a vibrant performance from renowned oboist and IPO Principal Naomi Bensdorf Frisch. Concluding the concert in triumphant fashion is a dance piece set to Copland’s epic score Appalachian Spring, beloved for its American folk melodies. Joffrey Ballet Company Artist Yoshihisa Arai choreographs the world premiere performance danced by 12 Trainees and Studio Company Members from the Joffrey Academy of Dance.

"The exciting season is not just about our jubilation in returning to perform for live audiences,” said IPO Executive Director, Christina Salerno. “It's also about pushing IPO's artistic boundaries - furthering our commitment to presenting works by great, but historically lesser-known composers, even while we build new partnerships with extraordinary artists from multiple disciplines."

Each season, IPO reaches over 11,000 individuals in the Chicago Southland, 4,000 of whom are served through Meet-the-Maestro, Artists-in-Schools, Pre-concert Performances, and additional community engagement programs. On September 22, IPO will host its annual Classical Evolve Composer Competition at the Marg Kallemeyn Theatre at Trinity Christian College, and three finalists will have their original score workshopped and performed LIVE to IPO audiences. The Competition is part of Maestro Kirov’s vision to encourage the development of new musical voices and will be judged by celebrated and award-winning composers Kyong Mee ChoiJames Stephenson and Augusta Reed Thomas. The winning composer will be named IPO “Composer-in-Residence” and will compose three works during the upcoming season. More information about Classical Evolve can be found at

For the safety of audience members, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra will require proof of vaccination entry into all its upcoming indoor concerts and events.  In addition to the new vaccination policy, IPO will be seating audiences ten feet from musicians and intentionally spacing out patron seating.

About Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra

Named the 2020 “Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year” by the Illinois Council of Orchestras, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate its 44th Season in 2021-2022. From its community orchestra roots in Park Forest, the 69-member orchestra has grown into a critically acclaimed professional regional orchestra. Under the leadership of Music Director Stilian Kirov and Executive Director Christina Salerno, the mission of IPO is to provide concerts of compelling professional symphonic music, support music education, and expand audience awareness of musical excellence for the diverse communities of the greater Chicago region.

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra is supported in part by: Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Ozinga Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. For more information, visit or call 708.481.7774.