You are here

November 2013 Concert

Sunday, November 10, 2013
2:30 pm

Evanston 150

Our special Evanston 150 celebration opens with a brass fanfare composed for the Evanston Symphony by Mark Gresham, and it closes with two pieces whose orchestration highlights the virtuosity of individual members of the orchestra. In between, the delightful Carnival of the Animals features two young pianists from Evanston’s Music Institute of Chicago plus narration of the witty Ogden Nash verses by the Dean of Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music.


Go To Program Notes | Go To Videos

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

  • Gresham
  • Evanston Fanfare
  • Offenbach
  • Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld
  • Saint-Saëns
  • Carnival of the Animals

    Kyle and Ryan Jannak-Huang, Piano
    Toni-Marie Montgomery, Narrator

  • Ravel
  • Bolero
  • Mussorgsky (Orch. Ravel)
  • Pictures at an Exhibition

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.

Subscribe Now


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


Kyle and Ryan Jannak-Huang, piano

Toni-Marie Montgomery, narrator

SoloistsKyle Jannak-Huang, 14, is a recent member of the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program. He has studied piano with Brenda Huang for 9 years. Kyle was named the winner of the 2012 Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions, and he performed with the Chicago Symphony during 2012/2013 season.

He played with the Lake Forest Symphony under the baton of Alan Heatherington in March, 2011 as the winner of the Steinway Concerto Competition and was the Silver Medalist in the 2011 Seattle International Piano Competition. Kyle was the winner of 2011 Walgreens National Concerto Competition Open Senior Piano Division as well as the first place winner of 2011 NWSMTA Awards Competition in Senior Division. He was the first place winner in all divisions at the Society of American Musicians Competition that includes the Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior divisions and the Illinois state winner of the ISMTA competition junior division in 2009.

Ryan Jannak-Huang, 14, is a recent member of the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program. He has studied piano with Brenda Huang for 9 years. He was the second place winner in the 2012 MTNA National Piano Competition and a finalist in the 2012 Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions. He won the first prize at the Awards competition in 2010.

He was also the winner of the 2010 Virginia Geyser Behrendt Piano Solo Scholarship and the Amei Hu Lin Scholarship Duet Competition with cellist Johannes Gray. Ryan was awarded the first place at the Society of American Musicians Competition for the Primary and Junior divisions. Ryan has also won the first place at the Confucius Music Festival in all piano divisions: Youth, Junior I, Junior II and Senior. For fun, Ryan likes to play piano duet and tennis with his twin brother, Kyle.

Toni-Marie Montgomery has served as Dean of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music since July 1, 2003, and is also Professor of Piano. Dean Montgomery was a founding member of the Black Music Repertory Ensemble of Columbia College of Chicago and continues to give recitals and has performed throughout the United States and in Austria, Brazil, Hawaii, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. She is the second recipient of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano chamber music and accompanying from the University of Michigan. She also received the Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan. Montgomery graduated magna cum laude from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts.

Musical Insights

Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!

October 20, 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.

Maestro Lawrence Eckerling will explore the concert program in depth.


The Merion
Friday, October 20 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.

Pictures at an Exhibition

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony, including legendary principal trumpet Adolph Herseth, preceded by a 26 minute explanation at the piano by Sir Georg.


Ravel’s Bolero with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra.


Ravel’s Bolero was composed as a ballet, commissioned in 1927 by a choreographer named Ida Rubenstein. The most frequently danced version today was choregraphed by Maurice Bejart in 1960 and follows the original scenario quite closely. This video features the famous French dancer Sylvie Guillem with the Tokyo Ballet.

Carnival of the Animals

Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals was originally composed for a chamber ensemble, and the famous of all of these animals is “The Swan,” played by a solo cello. This music has been adapted into one of the famous of all ballet solos — The Dying Swan — danced here by Ulyana Lopatkina.

Program Notes


             Mark Gresham b. 1956

Mark Gresham is an Atlanta based composer who has written in a variety of forms and for many differing ensembles. His Magnificat was performed to great acclaim by the Evanston Symphony and the North Shore Choral Society in the December 2011 Christmas Concert.

The following year Music Director Lawrence Eckerling was looking for a short brass fanfare to perform a as companion to Dukas’ Fanfare to La Peri, but was having little success until Gresham offered to compose a new fanfare. He titled it Evanston Fanfare, and it is having its official world concert premiere at this concert.


            Jacques Offenbach (1819–1880)

Jacques Offenbach is thought of as a French composer, having moved to Paris from his native Cologne, Germany at age 14. He did more than any other composer to establish and popularize the operetta in France, at about the same time as Johan Strauss was doing the same in Vienna.

Orpheus in the Underworld, premiered in 1858, was his first two act work and a major success. It is best known for the “can-can” music which concludes the overture, and is also sung by an ensemble of gods and goddesses in the operetta. The standard overture, which is being played today, was actually “composed” by a Viennese musician named Carl Binder for its 1860 premiere in that city.


            Camille Saint-Saens (1835–1921)

Camille Saëns’ compositions numbered close to 200 and included five symphonies, 10 concerti and 13 operas. Yet The Carnival of the Animals, composed as a private joke in 1886, is his most popular work, a fact which “would have caused him the bitterest annoyance” per the Grove Dictionary of Musicians. In fact, he forbade any performances of the work during his lifetime, with the exception of The Swan, its most famous single section.

The Carnival was composed in only a few days, and is scored for two pianos, two violins, viola, cello, bass, flute, clarinet, xylophone and glass harmonica. Standard performance practice, followed in this performance, is to use a full complement of strings and to substitute a glockenspiel for the glass harmonica.

The titles of the 14 sections are shown on the preceding page, and the verses written by Ogden Nash in 1949 will introduce each movement of this 25-minute piece. Here are some highlights:

The Tortoises are depicted by a very slow version of Offenbach’s “Can-can” music on the strings. In a similar musical joke, the Elephant is portrayed by a heavy double bass solo (plus piano) which parodies the airy “Dance of the Sylphes” from The Damnation of Faust by Hector Berlioz. The Personages With Long Ears movement features the two violin sections imitating a donkey’s “hee-haw,” which is probably a reference to music critics. The Pianists section is meant to satirize the scales and exercises which test beginning piano students. The xylophone depicts the clattering of the bones of the Fossils; this section refers to Saint-Saëns’ own Danse Macabre. The Ogden Nash verse for the Swan ends with the name Pavlova, a reference to the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, whose signature solo was The Dying Swan, set to Saint-Saëns’ music for solo cello and the two pianos.


             Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)

Ravel was a musical craftsman of the highest order, resulting in an oeuvre in which almost every work is in the standard repertoire. Ironically, his most popular and best known piece, Bolero, is one which he said consisted of “orchestral tissue without music”.

Bolero was commissioned by the Russian ballerina Ida Rubenstein for a scenario involving a woman dancing on a long table in a Spanish tavern. The 15 minute piece is a long crescendo in the key of C Major, with a single two part theme and a constant rhythm on the snare drum. Ravel highlights the solo woodwinds and brass as the orchestration and the volume of sound build. The key changes briefly from C Major to E Major at the work’s climax.


            Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1881)

Modest Mussorgsky, one of the most brilliantly original of all composers, wrote Pictures at an Exhibition for solo piano in 1874 as a remembrance for his friend the painter Victor Hartmann, who had died the year before aged 39. This piano cycle has been orchestrated many times, with that of Ravel (from 1922) being performed most frequently, as it is at this concert.

The score numbers ten separate “pictures,” beginning with “Gnomus” and ending with the “Great Gate of Kiev”; they are preceded by an introductory “Promenade” (solo trumpet and then brass), which recurs in various instrumental colors in the score, as if the listener is moving from picture to picture in a gallery.

“Gnomus” represents a small gnome lurching about irregularly. A wind/horn version of the promenade leads to “The Old Castle,” which features a major solo on the alto saxophone. After a short reprise of the promenade, “Tuileries” depicts children dashing about in that Paris garden. “Bydlo” is a Polish oxen-drawn card. Ravel chooses a solo tuba to portray the cart, which approaches and then recedes. Another promenade precedes the “Ballet of the Chicks in Their Shells,” which is in the standard form of a scherzo. The next number, based on two Hartmann pictures, contrasts wealthy “Samuel Goldenberg” (powerful strings and winds) with the poor “Schmuyle” (muted high solo trumpet). “Limoges” (a French city) is another scherzo movement, and leads directly into the Roman “Catacombs”on the brass. A second part of this picture (with the dead in a dead language) brings the promenade theme into a picture itself. Baba Yaga is a witch in Russian folklore who lives in a “Hut on Fowl’s Legs,” which allows the hut to rotate about to always be facing a threat. This powerful picture, marked “féroce” leads into the even more powerful “Great Gate of Kiev,” one of music’s most stunning finales, in which the promenade theme makes a final appearance.