Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s BMO Harris Bank Holiday Concerts
By Don Snider December 12, 2012 2:54PM
Lucia Matos will be the guest conductor during Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra's BMO Harris Bank Holiday Concerts in December.
BMO HARRIS BANK
◆ 3 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16
◆ Lincoln-Way North Performing Arts Center, 19900 S. Harlem Ave., Frankfort
◆ Tickets, $35-$55
◆ (708) 481-7774; ipomusic.org
◆ Presented by the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, these shows will feature Hubert the Lion greeting attendees.
Updated: January 15, 2013 6:09AM
Among the faithful, Christmas is the time for the most inspirational music ever written. Whether sacred or secular, the sounds are also often the most joyous.
That is especially true when they are performed by an outstanding orchestra and chorus.
So the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra annually departs from its regular classical music fare to offer a holiday concert to celebrate the season.
This year the BMO Harris Bank Holiday Concerts will be performed Dec. 15 and 16 at the Lincoln-Way North Performing Arts Center in Frankfort.
The concerts have not differed greatly since they were originated by maestro Carmon DeLeone. He retired after 25 years as IPO music director two years ago and returned in 2011, honored as conductor laureate.
The IPO’s new music director, David Danzmayr, will handle only the regular concert season, but Lucia Matos will conduct the BMO Harris Holiday Concerts for the whole family.
Matos is a native of Brazil and has lived in the United States since 1998.
She has been director of orchestra and opera at Northern Illinois University since 2009.
Matos also is music director of the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra based in the Ottawa-LaSalle area and makes frequent guest appearances across America and Europe as well as South America.
This is not her first time with the IPO.
She performed on the piano with a chamber concert at Danzmayr’s introductory open house in August at Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood.
In 2010 she performed during a full classical concert.
“I am honored to be a guest conductor,” she said. “I’ve already found Mr. Danzmayr to be very inspirational.”
Matos said the IPO audience can expect this holiday concert to be both similar but also different from those in the past.
“There will be lots of variety in it,” she said. “We will play traditional holiday songs and pieces written by the great composers such as (Johann Sebastian) Bach, (Franz) Schubert, (Gabriel) Faure and (Pyotr Ilyich) Tchaikovsky.
“It also will include ‘Ma’oz Tzur,’ a Hanukkah piece from the 12th century transcribed by Italian composer Benedetto Marcello.”
The Lincoln-Way Area Chorale under Gregory L. Day also will perform, and there will be festive favorites and sing-alongs. Selections will include “The Nutcracker” and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”
One major change will be the appearance of only one soloist, but he will perform several songs.
Steve Wallace, an acclaimed tenor who is a Chicago native and doctoral candidate at DePaul University, will perform Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”
“I am happy to collaborate with Mr. Wallace again,” Matos said.
“He was the lead singer for the U.S. premiere of the opera ‘Noli Me Tangere,’ which I conducted last May at the Harris Theater. He’s a very special singer and I am certain the IPO audience will love him.
“This is our way of wishing you a merry Christmas.”
Don Snider is a local freelance writer.