SINFONIA DA CAMERA: A History of Accomplishment

Sinfonia da Camera 1984

1984-1985 Season

  • Sinfonia da Camera is founded; two concerts are presented as part of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Chamber Music Series of concerts.

  • WILL-TV films an hour-long documentary on Sinfonia da Camera.

 

1985-1986 Season

  • Concert season expanded to four concerts at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

  • Guest artists Igor Kipnis (harpsichord) and the Beaux arts Trio join Sinfonia in concert.

  • Arabesque Recordings releases Sinfonia da Camera’s first recording: Concertos by Françaix and Saint-Saëns.

  • Sinfonia becomes a registered nonprofit organization.

  • President Stanley Ikenberry awards an annual grant to Sinfonia.

 

1986-1987 Season

  • Guest artists Anita Berry (soprano) and Gil Shaham (violin) join Sinfonia in concert.

  • Sinfonia presents the Premiere Performance of David Liptak’s Chiaroscuro.

  • Sinfonia performs in Dvorak Concert Hall for the Lake Land College Foundation and Eastern Illinois University Fine Arts in Charleston, Illinois, and Farthing Auditorium at Arkansas State University and in Texarkana, Texas.

1987-1988 Season

  • Guest artists Malcolm Frager (piano) and Meir Rimon (horn) join Sinfonia in concert.

  • Arabesque Recordings releases Sinfonia da Camera’s second recording: La Création du Monde by Darius Milhaud.

  • The Gunsalus Family establishes an endowment fund for Sinfonia da Camera in memory of Carolyn Foust Gunsalus, a violinst.

  • Sinfonia performs on the McGaw Fine Arts Series at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Florida.

1988-1989 Season​

  • Virtuoso violinist Itzhak Perlman opens Sinfonia's fifth season.

  • Concert season expanded to five concerts at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

  • Guest artist Phyllis Bryn-Julson (soprano) joins Sinfonia in concert.

  • Sinfonia performs at the Westport Playhouse in St. Louis, Missouri, sponsored by the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and at Harper College in Arlington Heights.

1989-1990 Season

  • Concert season expanded to six concerts at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

  • Guest artists Barry Tuckwell (horn), Marilyn Horne (mezzo-soprano), Paul Neubauer (viola), Elmar Oliveira (violin), and Nathaniel Rosen (cello) join Sinfonia in concert.

  • Sinfonia makes its New York debut at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; the orchestra also performs in the Great Performers Series of the Hampton Arts Commission, West Virginia; and for the Quincy Civic Music Association in Quincy, Illinois.

  • Arabesque Recordings releases Sinfonia's third recording: Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.

1990-1991 Season

  • Sinfonia is incorporated as an independent unit within the University of Illinois, School of Music, dissolving its independent not-for-profit status.

  • Guest Artists Richard Stoltzman (clarinet) and Christopher Parkening (guitar) join Sinfonia in concert.

1991-1992 Season

  • Sinfonia commemorates the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death with a three-concert series of concerti, welcoming guest artists Menahem Pressler (piano), Richard and John Contiguglia (duo-pianists), Ying Yeh (soprano), Claude Frank (piano), Lilian Kallir (piano), and Pamela Frank (violin).

  • Arabesque Recordings releases Sinfonia's fourth recording: L’Histoire du Soldat by Igor Stravinsky and Façade by William Walton, joined by William Warfield as narrator.

  • SH Productions Inc. of Kansas City produces a series of three educational videos of the Frank family performing with Sinfonia da Camera; they are titled Concerto!

  • National Public Radio’s Performance Today adds Sinfonia to its roster of featured performance excerpts, asking that tapes of all concerts be sent to NPR for inclusion as programming allows.

1992-1993 Season

  • Guest artists Pinchas Zukerman (violin), Charles Rosen (piano), and Lory Wallfisch and Julien Musafia (duo pianists) join Sinfonia in concert.

  • Sinfonia presents the North American première of Concerto for Two Pianos by Dinu Lipatti.

  • Sinfonia makes its Chicago debut at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of a University of Illinois School of Music concert series, drawing the largest audience of the series.

  • Sinfonia is featured in the soundtrack (music of Mozart) in the Illinois Basketball Symphony, a video about the University of Illinois Basketball Program.

1993-1994 Season

  • Sinfonia celebrates its tenth concert season with a performance of the complete Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach.

  • Sinfonia presents its first concert opera, Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven, with a cast of guest artists; British soprano Penelope Thorn made her United States debut in the title role.

  • Sinfonia receives its first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

1995-1996 Season

  • Guest artists David Shifrin (clarinet) and Gil Shaham (violin) join Sinfonia in concert.

  • Sinfonia presents its second concert-staged opera, Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss, with a cast of guest singers, young stars of the opera world. Performance Today commentator, Ted Libbey, joins Sinfonia and presents a lecture about the opera, the composer, and the librettist.

  • Principal bassist Michael Cameron presents the North American première of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Strathclyde Concerto No.7 for Double Bass and Orchestra with Sinfonia.

  • Sinfonia begins a new Student Performance Project. High school student ensembles are invited to perform in the Krannert Center lobby prior to each Sinfonia da Camera concert. They are invited to the concerts for free, and to attend any other events associated with the concert.

1996-1997 Season

  • Guest artists Peter Bay (conductor), Carol Wincenc (flute), Douglas Webster (baritone), Awadagin Pratt (conductor/pianist), and Liam Teague (steelpan) are invited to join Sinfonia in concert.

  • Sinfonia’s fifth recording, works for keyboard and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn featuring Ian Hobson, is released by Arabesque Recordings.

  • Sinfonia presents its second pops concert at the Virginia Theatre.

1997-1998 Season

  • The orchestra welcomes guest artists Csaba Erdélyi (viola), Arthur Lewis (viola), Bonnie Pomfret (soprano), Amy Fuller (soprano), Layna Chianakas (mezzo-soprano), and Stephan Kirchgraber (bass).

  • Sinfonia presents the world-première concert version of John Philip Sousa’s opera El Capitan, featuring eight soloists, the University of Illinois Chorale, the University of Illinois Band, and the orchestra; the work is subsequently recorded by Zephyr Records and released in December to positive critical acclaim.

  • The Sinfonia da Camera Endowment receives the first of its major gifts, $100,000 commitments from Richard and Rosann Noel and Clinton and Susan Atkins.

1998-1999 Season

  • This season features guest artists Gail Williams (horn), Darryl Edwards (tenor), Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi (cello), Michel Block (piano), and Laurence Hobgood (jazz piano)

  • The orchestra performs a seven-concert subscription series for the first time in its history, including Bach’s Mass in B Minor and a concert of jazz-inspired classical works

  • A live recording of the Romantic concert with Ravel and da Falla with Michel Block receives critical acclaim

  • The orchestra begins the historic recording of Ignaz Moscheles’ Eight Piano Concerti.

1999-2000 Season

  • Sinfonia's 15th anniversary is celebrated with the Beethoven Series - initiating a five-year traversal of Ludwig van Beethoven’s symphonies, culminating in the year 2004.

  • Special guest artists this year include Enrique Graf (piano) of Uruguay in an American Program, and Erick Friedman (violin)

  • Sinfonia presents the world-première of Robert Kelly’s Sinfonia Concertante.

  • Sinfonia da Camera presents Ibsen’s masterpiece Peer Gynt with Edvard Grieg’s famous incidental music. This remarkable son et lumière production showcases the talents of Directors Frank Hauser and Hugh Wooldridge with Sinfonia da Camera, and the talents of the University of Illinois Chorale, Dance, and Theater Departments.

  • Moscheles recording of Piano Concertos, Vol. I is released.

2000-2001 Season

  • The orchestra opens the season with the world première of Graham Whettam’s Concerto Drammatico.

  • Special guest artists this year include Martin Rummel, a young cellist of renown. Paul Merkelo, (trumpet) and Nathan Gunn, (baritone) both international performers who returned for performances in their hometown.

  • Haydn’s Creation is showcased with the University of Illinois Chorale and Oratorio Society.

  • The Tour closes with a celebrated European Tour.

  • Moscheles recording of Piano Concertos, Vol. II is released.

 

2001-2002 Season

  • Guest artists include Andrés Cárdenes (violin) and Jonathan Faiman (piano), who performs the word première of Conversations Between Piano and Orchestra.

  • The University of Illinois Chorale and Oratorio Society join Sinfonia to perform Bach’s St. John Passion.

  • Sinfonia goes to the University of South Carolina for a concert.

  • First Annual Family Concert is presented. Outreach in area schools.

  • Sinfonia da Camera’s Student Performance Project enters its seventh year.

 

Sinfonia da Camera 2005

2002-2003 Season

  • Postcards from Around the World, highlights the international appeal of music with guest soloists John O’Conor (piano), and Ko Iwasaki (cello).

  • The Second Annual Family concert is a circus! Bamert’s Circus Parade gets the whole family involved with audience participation.

  • Bizet’s passionate Carmen includes University of Illinois Alumna Layna Chianakas as ‘Carmen’ with The University of Illinois Chorale and Oratorio. 

  • The Beethoven cycle continues with Symphonies 7 and 8.

  • Sinfonia da Camera’s Education Outreach initiated, including lecture and performances in area schools and mentoring programs. The Student Performance Project enters its eighth year.

 

2003-2004 Season

  • The all Beethoven 20th Season! Highlighting returning soloists Claude Frank (piano), Awadagin Pratt (piano), Sergiu Luca (violin), and Charles Rosen (piano), and culminating in the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 season finale!

  • The First Annual Nutcracker concert, a collaboration of Sinfonia da Camera, CU Ballet and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

  • The third Volume of Sinfonia da Camera’s Moscheles Piano Concerto series is released. Sinfonia also records CD included in "Classical Music for Dummies" book. Sinfonia da Camera performs at the Annual American Liszt Society Conference.

2004-2005 Season

  • The Beaux Arts Trio, celebrating its 50th  year, and the Contiguglia brothers (Richard and John) return to perform with Sinfonia. Other guest artists include the exuberant Pacifica Quartet.

  • World première by Sinfonia da Camera violist and composer Rudolf Haken featured.

  • The Nutcracker concert, a collaboration of Sinfonia da Camera, CU Ballet and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, becomes an annual tradition.

2005-2006 Season

  • Dance adds a new element to the season concerts with choreographer Philip T. Johnston.

  • A Broadway Gala with Dawn Harris, Jan Helms, Steven Marking and Paul Sperry opens the season with a bit of glamour.

  • The historic American première of George Enescu’s opera Oedipe featuring Stefan Ignat in his American debut. And the world première of Giuliani’s long-lost Concerto for Terz Guitar reconstructed and performed by James Buckland.

  • Sinfonia da Camera’s Student Performance Project celebrates its tenth year.

  • Albany Records releases a live recording of Sinfonia’s Oedipe to international acclaim.

 

2006-2007 Season

  • Piano prodigy Chu-Fang Huang, winner of the 2005 Cleveland International Competition, Graeme Jennings (violin) and Masumi Rostad (viola) are featured guest artists.

  • World premières commissioned by Sinfonia da Camera include works by Keeril Makan and Sever Tipei.

  • The Marriage of Figaro, featuring Ricardo Herrera, commemorates the 250th birth year of Mozart.

  • The annual Champaign-Urbana collaboration of the Nutcracker is the holiday event for the fourth year.

  • Sinfonia embarks on a two week tour to China (Beijing and Shanghai.)

Sinfonia da Camera in Shanghai, 2007

2007-2008 Season

  • Maestro Hobson presents the world première of Roberto Sierra’s Variations on a Souvenir, a work commissioned for Ian Hobson by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Carlsen Center in Overland Park, Kansas. The concert also features the amazing James Carter in Concerto for Saxophone.

  • World premières of Enescu’s Impressions from Childhood orchestrated by T. Grigoriu featuring Sherban Lupu.

  • The annual Nutcracker is holiday event for a fifth season.

2008-2009 Season

  • Sinfonia's 25th Season opens with Impressions of Spain, featuring pieces by Ibert, Bizet, Debussy, Ravel, & de Falla.

  • All 6 Brandenburg Concertos are performed in November.

  • Classics and Contemporaries includes Rossini's Overture to The Barber of Seville, and Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony No. 8.

  • Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier ends the season.

2009-2010 Season

  • Season opens with Tales of Shakespeare, featuring pieces by Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, and Mendelssohn.

  • In February Sinfonia is joined by guest conductor Fred Stoltzfus and the University of Illinois Chorale for Handel's Dixit Dominus, HWV 232.

  • April's Rush Hour concert featured Debussy's Rhapsody in Blue and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.

2010-2011 Season

  • Sinfonia's 27th season opens with the Adagietto from Mahler's Symphony No. 5, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, and Schumann's Symphony No. 3.

  • In November, Sinfonia is once again joined by guest conductor Fred Stoltzfus and the University of Illinois Chorale for a collection of works by Schumann.

  • William Moersch, principal percussion, joins Sinfonia as guest xylophone soloist in Papandopulo's Concerto for Xylophone and Strings. Also on this concert are Shchedrin's Carmen Suite and Dvorak's Serenade for Strings.

  • Nature's Majesty is highlighted in March's concert that featured Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 - Pastoral Symphony, Smetana's Die Moldau, and Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite.

  • The final concert is another youth-friendly, Rush Hour concert including Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Korngold's Music from Robin Hood and The Seahawk, and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

2016-2017 Season

  • Sinfonia premieres a new website, a new Facebook page, and a monthly E-Newsletter "In Tune with Sinfonia"

  • Windless Winter features William Moersch (timpani) and Ricardo Flores (percussion) in Panufnik's double concerto

  • Sinfonia performs the world premier of David DeBoor Canfield's Concerto after Gershwin with violin soloist Rachel Patrick, this concert also includes works by Bernstein and Gershwin, and ends with members of the Marching Illini joining Sinfonia on stage in uniform for a rousing rendition of Sousa's Stars & Stripes Forever

  • Andrew Megill's University of Illinois Oratorio Society partners with Sinfonia to perform Elijah, with Ricardo Herrera in the titular role

  • The season ends with grammy-nominated violinist Andrés Cárdenes joining Sinfonia for a stunning performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade

2017-2018 Season

  • Sinfonia premieres a new Twitter and a new Instagram account, plus a new webpage just For Kids! featuring child-friendly information about the works to be performed and the composers featured on the concert.

  • Roger Cooper joins Sinfonia in the season opener to narrate Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Sinfonia hosts a Musical Petting Zoo at Stage 5 before the concert.

  • The University of Illinois Oratorio Society joins Sinfonia for a holiday concert featuring Bach's Christmas Oratorio; conducted by Andrew Megill.

  • Guests artists Jonathan Keeble (flute), J. David Harris (clarinet), Ronald Romm (trumpet), Debra Richtmeyer (saxophone), and Dmitry Kouzov (cello) join Sinfonia in concert.

  • Sinfonia kicks off the new year with Symphonic Dances from Bernstein's West Side Story.

  • The season ends with a collection of suites and the world première of Stephen Taylor's new work for cello and orchestra, Sunset in All Directions.