The Galesburg Symphony Society and Knox-Galesburg Symphony (KGS) is back for its 70th concert season after a two year break, starting in October. This season is full of changes for the organization, including a new conductor, new venues and a reimagined season that hopes to reach more residents of Galesburg and the surrounding communities.

The Board of Directors wanted a more collaborative leadership arrangement, so together with President Jeanne Harland, they approved the creation of a Creative Partner position. Along with Executive Director Lucas Wood, Creative Partners will use their talents and expertise to help steer the artistic initiatives of the Galesburg Symphony Society, which includes the Knox-Galesburg Symphony. These Partners will be conductors, composers and musicians who take active roles in developing programs to serve the region.

Kedrick Armstrong was appointed as the first Creative Partner in July and will also serve as Principal Conductor of the Symphony through June 2025. “It’s been a distinct joy crafting the role of Creative Partner with Lucas and Jeanne. I hope to provide oversight and continuity over all Galesburg Symphony Society programming that honors the past, present and future of the Galesburg community. I look forward to collaborating with various community leaders to foster musical experience and opportunities for all,” Armstrong said.

The 2022-2023 concert season has been reimagined to include more ways for people to experience live classical music. “We are exploring how to expand our musical reach throughout the area with more consistent programming. The ‘5 Masterwork Concerts’ model will explode into a series of Masterwork Concerts, Chamber Concerts, Community Concerts and more,” Kendrick says. “This will offer more access to engage with musicians and community members of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony. We look forward to how this expanded programming will connect us to those we serve.”

“I am thrilled to be collaborating with Kedrick to plan this ‘return’ season. When we looked at how we had been programming and the impact that it was making, we saw that it was time to explore new ways to bring music closer to people in our region,” says Lucas Wood, Executive Director of the Galesburg Symphony Society. “This upcoming year has something for everyone: full orchestra performances, chamber music, recitals and a fun, family-friendly outdoor festival in July.”

“As a way to make new connections in our community, we are very excited to announce that we will be performing this season’s Masterworks Concerts in the brand new, state-of-the-art Hegg Performing Arts Center at Galesburg High School,” says Wood. “Aside from operational benefits, rehearsing and performing at the high school will give numerous opportunities to connect with local students through internships with the orchestra. I can’t wait for our patrons and the community to come together to experience our wonderful orchestra in this beautiful new space!”

“This season will celebrate the Galesburg Symphony Society’s history while exploring the organization’s present and future,” says Armstrong. “Our season begins in October by exploring homeland melodies with Grieg’s Piano Concerto performed by Lorraine Min and works by Antonín Dvořák and Florence Price.”

“The orchestra will also explore symphonic innovations with the Illinois premiere of Irene Britton Smith’s Sinfonietta (1956) and Jean Sibelius’ Second Symphony in March,” Armstrong continued. “Chamber music offerings include a residency from the Kaydenn String Quartet, works by Brahms and Wiliam Grant Still and two premieres by Illinois-based composers Michelle Issac and Matthew Recio.”

“There’ll also be several ‘Pay What You Can’ community concerts, from recitals by orchestra musicians to a Shakespeare in the Street festival featuring Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We are excited to infuse Galesburg with continued musical excitement and exploration!”

For more information on the 70th concert season and to buy tickets, click here.