Illinois Symphony Orchestra Announces Changes to the Opposites Attract Performances

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Illinois Symphony Orchestra Announces Changes to the Opposites Attract Performances

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra announces that Music Director candidate Naomi Woo has withdrawn from the ISO’s Music Director search due to her recent appointments as Music Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Artistic Partner of the Orchestre Métropolitain Montréal as well as her growing international guest conducting career.

The ISO is excited to welcome back Alejandro Gómez Guillén, now as a finalist for the Music Director position. He will conduct the ISO’s Opposites Attract performances on May 3 and 4, 2024 and led the Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s Sizzling Strings concerts in December 2023. Alejandro is currently Assistant Conductor of the Omaha Symphony and has recently been appointed Director of Orchestras at Arizona State University.

The performances will feature the return of world-renowned pianist Joyce Yang in Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Grażyna Bacewicz’s Overture will open the program in place of Kaija Saariaho’s Light and Matter. Boulanger’s Of a Sad Evening and Hindemith’s marvelous Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber will bring the ISO’s 2023-2024 season to a close.

Listen LIVE to Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang at Opposites Attract on Friday, May 3, 2024 at 7:30 PM at the UIS Performing Arts Center in Springfield, Illinois and Saturday, May 4, 2024 at 7:30 PM at the ISU Center for the Performing Arts in Normal, Illinois. Join us for a pre-concert discussion with pianist Joyce Yang and Music Director Candidate Alejandro Gómez Guillén one hour prior to the concert and then join us after the concert for our Play-On After Party!

Order 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, recently appointed Director of Orchestras at Arizona State University, 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.

Opposites Attract is sponsored by season sponsors The Landmark Automotive Group and Debra & Daniel Brownstone, M.D. and concert sponsors Ken & Laura Berk, guest artist sponsors Louise F. & Laurin A. Wollan Endowed Fund, F. Lucille Foster, Dr. Patricia & Mr. Randall Rushing, Barbara & Charles Schweighauser, and Carolyn & Duane Yockey, and music sponsors Steve & Ruth Ann Friedberg.

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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