“The talent pool of freelance players” on which Chicago’s suburban orchestras draw “is among the largest of any metropolitan area in the country,” writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (10/2) Chicago Tribune. “This deep bench has enabled music directors to program important repertory … and prepare that repertory to a quality level comparable with that of the music-making heard in downtown Chicago. Several recent or impending shifts of podium leadership at three suburban ensembles, the Lake Forest Symphony, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, bear watching. The Lake Forest ensemble has identified five candidates to succeed its longtime music director, Alan Heatherington, and auditioned the first of them, the highly regarded Vladimir Kulenovic … last month…. The dynamic young Austrian conductor David Danzmayr has settled in nicely [in his second season] at the helm of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra … in south suburban Frankfort.” At the Elgin Symphony, the 36-year-old American conductor Andrew Grams, whose three-year contract took effect July 1, “was the unanimous choice of the musicians…. ‘The Elgin Symphony was the first place I have ever come across in my wanderings where everything clicked and I felt I could step right in, do good work and connect with all constituencies,’ Grams said.”

Posted October 2, 2013