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February 2018 Concert

2:30 pm
Sunday February 4, 2018


The title of our second concert summarizes but does not encompass the diversity and richness of the “Spanish” and “Latin” works on this exciting and colorful program, which includes French and Russian versions of Spain, as well as music from Argentina by Ginastera and Piazzolla and a Mexican masterpiece by José Pablo Moncayo. The one work by a Spanish composer is the most popular of all guitar concertos and will be interpreted by the gifted Jason Blair Lewis, and the concert closes with Bernstein’s exciting dance of Puerto Ricans in New York.


Go To Videos

Musical Insights Free Pre-Concert Preview the Friday before this concert.
Learn How to Attend!

  • Chabrier
  • España
  • Rodrigo
  • Concierto de Aranjuez

    Jason Blair Lewis, guitar

  • Ginastera
  • Estancia Suite
  • Moncayo
  • Huapango
  • Piazzolla
  • Oblivion

    Julie Fischer, violin

  • Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Capriccio espagnol
  • Bernstein
  • “Mambo” from West Side Story Suite

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall

50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
See map.


Buy Tickets

All tickets are assigned seating.

At this time, masks, vaccinations and testing are no longer required to attend ESO concerts or events. As always, we ask that if you are sick, please stay home to prevent the spread of illness. (read more detail).

Advance Sales

$35 Adult, $30 Seniors, $5.00 Full-Time Student

At the Door Sales

$39 Adult, $35 Seniors, $5.00 Full-Time Student

Children Free

Children 12 and younger are admitted absolutely FREE, but must have an assigned seat.
Please call 847.864.8804 or email for all orders with children’s tickets.

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Subscribers get first choice of the best seats in the section they desire.

Musical Insights

Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!

February 9th, Friday, at 1:30 pm

Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling takes you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.

Meet our soloist, Rick Ferguson, at Musical Insights. He and our Maestro Lawrence Eckerling will explore the concert program in depth.


The Merion
Friday, February 9th at 1:30 pm,
Merion's Emerald Lounge at
529 Davis St, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.
Please RSVP to 847-570-7815.

Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of apartments will be available after the program.


The Evanston Symphony Orchestra is proud to provide videos to educate you about the pieces we perform and, at times, the soloists who will be performing. The video(s) below are examples only and do not represent performances by the Evanston Symphony Orchestra unless noted.


with Alondra de la Parra and the Orchestre de Paris.


The Concierto de Aranjuez of Rodrigo with Pepe Romero and Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos conducting the Danish Radio Symphony


"Malambo" from the Estancia Suite of Ginastera with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela at the Lucerne Festival.

Program Notes


 7 minutes   1883                                                                                  Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)

A FRENCH VIEW OF SPAIN. Virtually all of Chabrier’s works were composed in the single decade between 1877 and 1887. His piano works are probably his most important and were cited by Ravel as among his greatest influences. Chabrier’s works for orchestra are limited both in number and in length, with his España being by far the most popular. The orchestration is sumptuous, including four trumpets, four percussionists, and two harps.



  21 minutes   1939                                                                                   Joaquin Rodrigo   (1901-1999)

PORTRAIT OF SPAIN. The royal castle and gardens of Aranjuez, Spain are located about 25 miles south of Madrid. They provided the title and inspiration for what is probably the most popular guitar concerto ever composed. Although Rodrigo lost his sight at age three due to diphtheria, he composed numerous concertos for various instruments, although those for the guitar are the best known, with the Fantasía para un gentilhombre ranking just behind the Concierto de Aranjuez.

The first and third movements are both in D Major and tuneful in a spritely manner. The middle Adagio in B Minor is about as long as the other two movements combined, and features one of the classic melodies of music. First played on the English horn, it is taken up by the guitar and developed by guitar and the orchestral strings. This melody has been arranged, covered, transcribed, etc. by rock groups, brass bands, singers, and jazz groups, with the most famous that of Miles Davis in his album Sketches of Spain.



13 minutes    1941                                                                                   Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)

PAMPAS BALLET. Alberto Ginastera, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina achieved considerable U.S. notoriety as the “composer from the Pampas” in the mid 1960s after the premieres of his operas Don Rodrigo and Bomarzo. Both operas were theatrically effective, but were composed in an advanced 12 tone idiom which led to their eventual fading from the repertoire.  Ginastera’s earlier works, particularly those from what he termed his period of “Objective Nationalism” (1934-1948) have retained a place in the concert hall, particularly the suite of four dances from the ballet Estancia.

In 1941 American Ballet Caravan, a company headed by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine, undertook a goodwill tour to South America sponsored by the U.S. Government. Kirstein commissioned Ginastera to compose the score for a ballet about life on the Argentinian pampas, but the tour ended without a performance of the complete ballet. Ginastera salvaged much of the music in this suite. “Los trabajadores agricolas” (Agricultural Workers) introduces the rhythm of the malambo, which will dominate the finale. “Danza del trigo” (Wheat Dance) features solo flute and then solo violin in a quiet interlude. “Los peones del hacienda” (The Ranch Hands) features brassy proclamations and a prominent timpani part. The “Danza final” brings the ballet (and this suite) to a crashing close of percussive brilliance.  



8 minutes    1941                                                                                 José Pablo Moncayo (1912-1958)

MEXICO’S SECOND NATIONAL ANTHEM. Moncayo is not a familiar name to U. S. audiences, but he is an important figure in the history of Mexican music. Just as Russia had its “Mighty Five” and France its “Les Six”, Mexican composers had a “Group of Four”: Carlos Chávez, Blas Galindo, Silvestre Revueltas, and Moncayo. Aaron Copland, a close friend of Chávez, provided guidance to the group, and in 1942 helped Moncayo and Galindo obtain scholarships to attend Tanglewood, where a fellow student was Leonard Bernstein. (Ginastera also visited Tanglewood and studied with Copland, but after WW II was over).

In 1941 Chávez asked Moncayo to compose a piece based on traditional popular music of the Mexican southeastern coast. A huapango is a form of mariachi music, and its opening trumpet theme makes this association obvious. Moncayo’s Huapango is based on three popular tunes from the Veracruz area: “El Siquisiri”, “El Balajú”, and “Gavilancito”, from which he has fashioned one of Mexican music’s enduring masterpieces.



5 minutes     1982                                                                                           Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)

CLASSICAL TANGO. Astor Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina to Italian immigrant parents. They lived in New York City between 1925 and 1936, when they returned to Argentina. Piazzolla was well versed in classical theory and compositions, having studied with Alberto Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger among others, but his greatest fame is as a composer of the tango, which he elevated to new heights of artistry. Oblivion was the title track of his score for a film titled Enrico IV, and is among his most beautiful pieces.



15 minutes     1887                                                                                          Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)


Rimsky-Korsakov, one of the self-styled “Mighty Five” of Russian composers, was among the greatest orchestrators in music history, and in fact wrote a textbook on the subject. This “Capriccio on Spanish Themes” was originally intended as a work for violin and orchestra; in its current form important solos remain for the violin, similar in effect to those in his succeeding work, Scheherazade. The first and third section “Alboradas” are similar but not exactly the same. The second section is variations on a melody for the horns; the fourth section “Scene and Gypsy song” features solo cadenzas for a variety of solo instruments followed by a dance beginning with pizzicato accompaniment. The fifth section is a rousing fandango from the Asturias region in which a rapid tempo version of the “Alborada” provides the rousing conclusion.



3 minutes   1957                                                                                         Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

BERNSTEIN 100. The musical world is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein in 2018, and 2017 is the 60th anniversary of possibly his greatest creation- West Side Story. The “Mambo” is one of many dances in Bernstein’s “operatic” score and probably the most popular.