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Gershwin’s iconic sounds featured at ESO’s April 15-17 concerts

04/05/2011 – News Release

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gershwins iconic sounds featured at ESOs April 15-17 concerts

On Friday, April 15 through Sunday, April 17, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the Elgin Choral Union, explores Gershwins iconic Rhapsody in Blue and the poignant Porgy and Bess. Stephen Squires leads the ESO in this program as he celebrates his 20th season as the ESOs associate conductor. Concerts are on Friday, April 15 at 1:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 17 at 3:30 p.m. All concerts take place at Elgins Hemmens Theatre.

Ollie Watts Davis, returning to perform with the ESO once again, earns superlatives wherever she sings. She is a featured soloist on the ESOs 2010 recording of Beethovens Symphony No. 9. Since her New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 1990, Davis has appeared in many great concert and opera halls both domestically and internationally. A warm and endearing actress, Davis has been heard on National Public Radio and has released two CD recordings: one, as a solo artist in a recording of Negro Spirituals and one recording as conductor of the University of Illinois Black Chorus. In 2008, Ollie Watts Davis was named a University Scholar, one of the highest recognitions bestowed upon a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois.

New York-born baritone Leon Williams has earned a fine reputation on several continents for his warm, rich voice, his charismatic personality and his impassioned interpretation of works ranging from cantatas of Bach to hits of Broadway. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and the White House. An alumnus of the Harlem Boys Choir and a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, Williams toured for almost two years across the country in the national touring company of Ragtime.

Jodie DeSalvo, also returning for another performance with the ESO, graduated from the Hartt and Manhattan schools of music as a student of such noted teachers as John Browning, Gary Graffman, Jascha Zayde and Nina Svetlanova. Upon winning the Artist International Competition in 1988, DeSalvo made her Carnegie Hall debut to critical acclaim with an encore performance two years later at Lincoln Center. An artist faculty member at Florida International University in Miami, DeSalvo continues to perform extensively internationally. She has recorded six CDs of solo and two-piano music.

For tickets to “Gershwin in Blue,” call the ESO Box Office (847-888-4000) or visit

Media Contact:
Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
77 Riverside Drive
Elgin, IL 60120
(800) 217-5362 or (847) 695-7540

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