The Illinois Council of Orchestras is pleased to announce the 2017 recipients of its annual awards for excellence in the field of music performance and for support of musical organizations. An awards panel of judges drawn from the Illinois Council of Orchestras Board of Directors and independent professional conductors and musicians reviewed nominations representing orchestras, youth orchestras, and chamber ensembles from throughout Illinois.

The 2017 ICO Awards: 

Professional Orchestra of the Year                                              

New Philharmonic

Kirk Muspratt, Music Director & Conductor

Community Orchestra of the Year                                              

Evanston Symphony Orchestra

Lawrence Eckerling, Music Director

Conductor of the Year (community orchestra category)                 

Jay Friedman, Music Director & Conductor

The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest

Executive Director or General Manager of the Year                      

Lucas D. Wood, Executive Director

Knox-Galesburg Symphony Orchestra

Board President of the Year                                                       

Jim Kidder

Heartland Festival Orchestra

Programming of the Year                                                           

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra

Allen Tinkham, Music Director

Community Relations of the Year                                                           

Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra

Russell Vinick, Music Director & Conductor                                                                                          

Volunteer of the Year                                                                

Sterling (Stu) Ainsworth

Elgin Symphony Orchestra

The Illinois Council of Orchestras was founded in 1974 with a mission:

  • to encourage, promote, and assist orchestras throughout the State of Illinois
  • to promote an exchange of information among members, including providing consultants and speakers
  • to hold educational conferences for member organizations, including musicians, staff, boards, volunteers, and audiences.

Presentation of the ICO Awards will take place during March through July 2017 at local concerts and other events of the winning orchestras.

Information about the Illinois Council of Orchestras is available at:

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