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Illinois’s Elgin Symphony Orchestra Announces New Music Director

American conductor Chad Goodman will assume the position as of the orchestra’s 2023/24 concert season, which will open on October 7, 2023


Following a rigorous two-year international search that drew almost 100 candidates, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) has appointed Chad Goodman as its fifth music director in its 74-year history.

Chaired by ESO Board member Martin Nobs, the search committee comprised four board members, four ESO musicians, the CEO, plus vice president of artistic planning and operations.

Goodman was selected from a final pool of seven candidates, who were invited as guest conductors to lead ESO throughout the most recent season, and one additional candidate from the previous season.

Following a visit to the ESO in Fall 2022, Goodman made his ESO guest appearance with the “Rhapsody in Blue” concert on May 6 and 7, 2023.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chad to the ESO,” said the orchestra’s CEO, Marc Thayer. “He brings a wealth of experience and talent to the ESO along with an infectious energy and enthusiasm that we look forward to sharing with the community.”

In his first season with the ESO, Goodman will lead the annual Holiday Spectacular concerts, plus five classics concerts with works including Brahms’ Double Concerto, Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 2 and No. 9, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with ESO concertmaster Isabella Lippi, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2, among others.

Since 2018, Goodman has been assistant conductor at the San Francisco Symphony. From 2019 to May 2023, he has served as conducting fellow of the New World Symphony, and held the same role at Festival Napa Valley and the Atlantic Music Festival

His guest conducting engagements have included Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. 

Additionally, he is the founder of Elevate Ensemble and teaches musicians’ business and entrepreneurial skills — publishing a book in 2022, titled “You Earned a Music Degree. Now What?”

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and San Francisco State University, Goodman’s mentors and collaborators have included Alasdair Neale, Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Daniel Harding, Pablo Heras-Casado, Simone Young, and James Gaffigan.

“I was immediately charmed by the energy and passion that came from the Elgin community,” said Goodman. “The members of the ESO treat one another like family. There’s a true sense of camaraderie and it’s clear that everyone is there to push themselves to the highest level of music making.”

“I am eager to build upon the incredible work the ESO has done for decades within the community. I want everyone, from first-time concertgoers to seasoned classical musical lovers, to feel not only welcomed but energized and inspired by their orchestra. I envision a future where every ESO event is treated as a celebration of the community!”

“I am very gratified that we were able to make an unanimous decision among all members of the search committee to select our new music director,” said Nobs. “Chad has the experience and passion to lead the Elgin Symphony orchestra and support the organization and stakeholders into an exciting future.”

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