We are honored to have received the following awards from the ICO:
Jay Friedman received the Illinois Council of Orchestras’ 2017 Community Orchestra Conductor of the Year Award.
1998 Programming of the Year Award
1999 Special Events Award, for Services to Young Musicians
2001 Conductor of the Year, Jay Friedman
2002 Outstanding Community Relations Award
2004 Community Orchestra of the Year & General Manager of the Year, Beth Hoover
2011 Conductor of the Year, Jay Friedman & Community Orchestra of the Year
2013 Board President of the Year, David Leehey
2017 Conductor of the Year, Jay Friedman
The mission of the SYMPHONY of Oak Park & River Forest is three-fold:
Look to the Future. Celebrate the Present. Remember the Past
The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest, founded in 1931 by Gladys Welge, is one of the oldest community orchestras in the country. Originally a “Sunday School orchestra” at a church in Oak Park, in its early years the orchestra played for church services and gave concerts. By 1933, the fledgling orchestra had grown in size and began to perform major works from the symphonic repertoire.
The orchestra gave concerts continuously, with no break, throughout the decades of the 20th century and into the early years of the 21st century, surviving economic upheavals such as the Great Depression, World War II, the rock and roll revolution, and changing tastes and mores.
Some of the factors in the success of this community orchestra are:
- The artistic vision and musical leadership of its conductors.
- The dedicated and talented amateurs, semiprofessionals and professionals who play in the orchestra, attend rehearsals each week and practice at home.
- The support of the boards of directors and community.
- The geographical and collegial proximity to Chicago, which has had a positive influence in many ways, especially the connections with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, from whose ranks a number of our conductors and soloists have come.