Illinois Symphony Orchestra Announces Change in the Sizzling Strings Concert

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The Illinois Symphony Orchestra announces that Music Director candidate Naomi Woo, who was scheduled to lead the Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s Sizzling Strings concerts on December 1 and 2, 2023, is unable to due to an urgent family emergency. While she is unable to conduct next week, she remains a candidate for the Music Director position and is looking forward to coming to Illinois in April to lead the ISO at our Opposites Attract concerts on May 3 and 4, 2024.

In her place, guest conductor Alejandro Gómez Guillén, assistant conductor of the Omaha Symphony, will be leading the orchestra. He was selected as one of two alternate candidates by the Music Director search committee and will be appearing as a guest conductor for these concerts. If any finalist bows out of the music director search, he will become a candidate for the position.

Warm up to the sizzling strings of Mozart's charming Fourth Violin Concerto featuring ISO's Concertmaster Roy Meyer and Beethoven's masterful Grosse Fuge. Known for her contributions to The Humans, Bombshell, and Yellowjackets, living composer Caroline Shaw's rhythmic Entr'acte kicks off the concert!

Adventure Awaits at Sizzling Strings on Friday, December 1, 2023 at 7:30 PM at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois and Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 7:30 PM at the Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Illinois. Join us following the concert for Coda Conversations with conductor Alejandro Gómez Guillén and some of the musicians of the Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra.

Are you ready to symphony? Get your tickets today! Tickets may be purchased in Springfield through the UIS Ticket Office at (217) 206-6160 or in Bloomington-Normal through the ISU Center for the Performing Arts Ticket Office at (309) 438-2535, or online at General admission tickets are $26 and students (24 & Under) are $10. Senior and group discounts are also available.

Conductor and violinist Alejandro Gómez Guillén is passionate about sharing music in a way that is compelling, uplifting, and educational. Currently serving as Omaha Symphony’s assistant conductor, and music director of Denver’s Sphere Ensemble, he will complete a seven-season tenure as artistic director and conductor of Bloomington Symphony Orchestra with which he recently led the world premiere of Mickey Tucker’s Spiritual Collage and the Indiana premiere of Florence Price’s Fourth Symphony. Having held a successful tenure as associate conductor of Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, leading multiple community classics, pops, outdoor, bilingual, and educational concerts, including collaborations with artists such as Time for Three and mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte, he also served as a Freeman fellow with Chicago Sinfonietta, associate conductor of Boulder Symphony, and music director of Cantabile.

Sizzling Strings is sponsored by season sponsors The Landmark Automotive Group and Debra & Daniel Brownstone, M.D. and concert sponsors Kathryn Ransom, Circle of Springfield Physicians, Dr. Patricia & Mr. Randall Rushing, and guest artist sponsors Carole & Jerry Ringer.

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra is central Illinois’ largest professional orchestra serving over 35,000 patrons in the communities of Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and the surrounding region with symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, and Concerts for Kids series in each community. In addition to concert performances, the Orchestra's music education and outreach programs serve pre-K and elementary schools through the Itsy Arts and Music Matters education programs and reach middle schools, high schools, universities, community organizations and senior centers through guest artist residencies and musician and ensemble performances. The ISO also has an active Around the Town Chamber Music Series and virtual Sunday at Six Recital Series. The Illinois Symphony Orchestra has a budget of approximately $1.4 million.

In July 2020, the ISO acquired the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony (SVYS) organization that was started in the early 1970s by parents, music teachers and musicians to keep string programs and youth orchestra in Springfield and surrounding communities following the elimination of all school orchestra programs. Now, the Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestras (ISYO) programs consist of Starter and Junior Strings, Preparatory Orchestra, Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra serving over 300 students. The ISO also has a partnership in education and community engagement (PEACE) with the UIS-School of Music and Illinois State University’s Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts and School of Music.

Additional information about the Illinois Symphony Orchestra is available at

The ISO is partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


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