Elgin Symphony Orchestra music director Andrew Grams is stepping down from his conductor position at the end of the 2020-21 season. Due to COVID-19, the ESO has canceled previously announced concerts through the end of December.

Elgin Symphony Orchestra cancels fall season

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra has canceled previously announced concerts through December due to health and safety concerns tied to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) has canceled its previously announced concerts through December. Ongoing health and safety concerns tied to COVID-19 were cited as the reason.

“This difficult news for us as an organization,” said ESO executive director Erik Malmquist in a statement.

The ESO joins other major arts organizations like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Joffrey Ballet that have already canceled the first halves of their 2020-21 seasons. The ESO faced the prospect of closed concert halls, or reduced capacity performances before audiences of no more than 50.

The ESO’s fall season was to have featured Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the pops concert “The Music of Journey & Queen” and an annual Holiday Concert. In addition to its main venue at Elgin’s Hemmens Cultural Center, the ESO had planned some performances at Crystal Lake’s Raue Center for the Arts and Skokie’s North Shore Center for the Performing Arts.

“We hope to use these intervening two months between the cancellation and what was to have been Beethoven 9 to work on safer, smaller-scale events that will keep our audiences engaged and the Elgin Symphony playing in a safe and responsible way,” Malquist said.

Two announced ESO concerts so far are at Gobbert’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard in Pingree Grove on Friday, Sept. 11, and on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Haight in Elgin. In-person and online streaming tickets to these concerts go on sale soon.

For more information on ticket refunds or donations, call (847) 888-4000 or visit

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