Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra 

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Formed by conductor-guitarist Philip Simmons in 1990, the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra has done its hometown proud--it was dubbed Chamber Ensemble of 2000 by the Illinois Council of Orchestras. Its roster of 35 is drawn from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (including violinist Albert Igolnikov, the LCO's concertmaster), the Indianapolis Symphony, and the area's sizable corps of capable freelancers; its professionalism has attracted such top-notch soloists as violinist Rachel Barton and CSO clarinetist John Bruce Yeh. Simmons was originally coached by Leonard Bernstein and a succession of Russian maestros, and his guidance gives this orchestra its distinctive, velvety sound. Partly subsidized by Lincolnwood, it gives four concerts per season at the village's community center; it also rents itself out to nearby venues such as the Gateway Theater, where it acted as pit orchestra for the 2001 Silent Summer Film Festival. Simmons is something of a musical entrepreneur and community organizer--he's also founded the Glenview Symphony Orchestra and the Community Players of Chicago, both of which bring low-priced classical fare to suburban neighborhoods. And he's taken that mission overseas, first to Russia and then to the Czech Republic. One fruit of his dozen or so visits to Moscow and Saint Petersburg is the Russian-American Chamber Orchestra of Chicago, which introduces American works to Russians and vice versa. He also directs the Czech Youth Music Camp, which is affiliated with a music camp in Michigan, and he plans to spend some time in 2004 conducting in Prague during the centennial of Dvorak's death. At this Sunday's Lincolnwood concert, he's scheduled Beethoven's Symphony no. 8, the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, and Ives's radical yet entertaining The Unanswered Question. The soloist for the concerto and the Ives is CSO trumpeter John Hagstrom. Sunday, January 5, 3 PM, Lincolnwood Community Center, 6900 N. Lincoln, Lincolnwood; 847-920-9569.

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