The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director Stilian Kirov.

“The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s season finale had a little bit of everything: a deeply felt premiere, a cornerstone European work, and a rarely heard American symphony,” writes Lawrence A. Johnson in Sunday’s (5/14) Chicago Classical Review. “The concert, led by music director Stilian Kirov Saturday night … in Palos Heights, led off with the debut of ‘Nifrach’ by the IPO’s outgoing composer in residence, Jonathan Cziner…. The young composer said the work was inspired by his maternal grandfather who fled the Nazi danger in Europe to find a new home of safety and security in the U.S…. Scored for strings, ‘Nifrach’ begins with a delicate, febrile motif for solo violin, which is echoed in the cellos. An expansive consolatory theme grows in ardor and warmth, leading to an impassioned cello solo. The introspective music returns as does the opening violin theme and the music grows stormy and agitated. After another reprise of both themes the work concludes as it began, with the solo violin fading to silence.” Also on the program were Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and Amy Beach’s Symphony in E minor, “the first symphony by a woman to be performed by a major American orchestra … the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1896.”