Symphony named ‘Orchestra of the Year’

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO) was recently named the 2007 Orchestra of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

“At each concert, I am so proud of [Music Director] Steve Larsen and the musicians of the orchestra for their great performances, and this award speaks to their talent,” said RSO Board President Jerry Gale.

The award recognizes the RSO’s 2005/06 season, which featured a roster of 22 performances, including classics, pops and family concerts, a special gala concert with world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, a Katrina Relief concert, and, for the first time, a full-staged opera, La Bohème. During this season, the RSO also spearheaded a community-wide celebration, including more than a dozen organizations, of the 250th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The RSO was selected from among more than 30 professional orchestras in the state of Illinois by an awards panel including judges from the Illinois Council of Orchestras and outside arts organizations. The RSO will be presented the award Feb. 16 at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and at one of the upcoming concerts at the Coronado Theatre.

“The musicians have given many outstanding performances over the last several years,” Larsen said. “I am proud of their fine musicianship and look forward to more great concerts to come.”

The RSO, the third-largest orchestra in the state, has also been recognized in the past year with the Rockford Mayor’s Arts Award and a RAMI award for Musical Outreach. Larsen was named Conductor of the Year in 2006 by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

From the Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2007, issue

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