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March 2017 Concert

2:30 pm
Sunday March 5, 2017

of 1830

The year of 1830 was one of revolts across Europe, and the world of music was also affected. The Symphonie fantastique of Hector Berlioz is among the most revolutionary orchestral advances in music history, particularly in its dazzling use of a very large orchestra. And after Frederick Chopin played the solo in the premiere of his First Piano Concerto in Warsaw, he left Poland forever, settling in Paris. Our concert celebrates Chopin’s birthday (four days late), and we are delighted that Sean Chen, third-prize winner in the 2013 Cliburn Competition, has agreed to play the demanding piano solos, substituting for the injured Kate Liu.


Go To Videos

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

  • Chopin
  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor

    Sean Chen, piano

  • Berlioz
  • Symphonie fantastique

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.


Sean Chen, Piano

Sean Chen

Hailed as a charismatic rising star, 28-year-old American pianist Sean Chen was third prize winner at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and recipient of the DeHaan Classical Fellowship as the winner of the 2013 American Pianists Awards. Sean was also named a 2015 fellow by the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing Arts.

He has performed with many prominent orchestras, including the Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Phoenix, San Diego, Santa Fe, Tucson, and New West Symphony Orchestras, collaborating with such esteemed conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwarz, Nicholas McGegan, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and James Judd. Solo recitals have brought him to major venues worldwide, including Jordan Hall in Boston, Subculture in New York City, the American Art Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Salle Cortot in Paris.

 He has visited on a longer term basis institutions such as the Cleveland School of Music, Indiana University, University of British Columbia, Spotlight Awards at the Los Angeles Music Center, Young Artist World Piano Festival, and several Music Teachers’ Associations throughout the country as either a masterclass teacher or resident artist.

Mr. Chen has been featured in both live and recorded performances on WFMT (Chicago), WGBH (Boston), WQXR (New York), NPR’s From the Top, and American Public Media’s Performance Today. His CD releases include La Valse, a solo recording on the Steinway label; a live recording from the Cliburn Competition released by harmonia mundi; and an album of Michael Williams’s solo piano works on the Parma label. Mr. Chen has also contributed to the catalog of Steinway’s new Spirio system, and is a Steinway Artist.

A multifaceted musician, Mr. Chen also transcribes, composes, and improvises. His transcription of Ravel’s La Valse has been received with glowing acclaim. An advocate of new music, he has also collaborated with several composers and performed their works, including Lisa Bielawa, Michael Williams, Nicco Athens, Michael Gilbertson, and Reinaldo Moya.

Born in Florida, Mr. Chen grew up in the Los Angeles area of Oak Park, California and earned his Bachelor and Master of Music from Juilliard. He received his Artist Diploma in 2014 at the Yale School of Music as a George W. Miles Fellow. His teachers have included Hung-Kuan Chen, Tema Blackstone, Edward Francis, Jerome Lowenthal, and Matti Raekallio.

Mr. Chen is currently living in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife, Betty, who plays violin in the Kansas City Symphony. When not at the piano, Mr. Chen enjoys tinkering with computers.



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.

Sean Chen Plays Chopin at the 2013 Cliburn Competition

The 3 Mazurkas, Op. 59. The mazurkas end at 36:30.

Sean Chen Plays Chopin

This is the Etude Op. 25, No. 12.

Symphonie fantastique

with Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra.