The Elgin Symphony Orchestra concerts April 5 to 7 will feature an exciting guest conductor and music director finalist, José Luis Gomez. The young Venezuelan-born, Spanish conductor was catapulted to international attention when he won first prize at the International Sir Georg Solti Conductor’s Competition in Frankfurt in September 2010.
Gomez’s energy, talent and creativity earned him immediate acclaim from the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra where he was appointed to the position of assistant conductor, a post created especially for him by Paavo Jarvi and the orchestra directly upon the conclusion of the competition.
Gomez started his musical career as a violinist, and by the age of 11 was concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of Zulia State, part of El Sistema de Orquestas Juveniles de Venezuela. He graduated in music and violin from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, before embarking on a European orchestral career.
Deciding to follow his dream to have more creative input and influence on musical direction, he took conducting lessons from Lu Jia, Muhai Tang and John Nelson. After just six months of studying conducting, he went on to win the Solti competition.
The nature-inspired program also will showcase the talents of Amy Porter on the flute. Amy Porter first leapt to international attention winning the Kobe International Flute Competition in Japan, which led to invitations to perform throughout the world.
Porter has been heard in recital on National Public Radio, highlighted on PBS Live From Lincoln Center and featured on the magazine covers of Flute Talk Magazine in the USA, The Flute Magazine in Japan and Muramatsu Flute Magazine in Japan.
A native of Wilmington, Del., Porter is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, where she received a full scholarship for her degrees, as well as fellowships to Tanglewood and The Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria.
After Juilliard, she held the position of associate principal flute in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for eight years before becoming professor of flute at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance in Ann Arbor.
• Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, in the Schaumburg Prairie Center of the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court
• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Elgin’s Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way
Tickets start at $28, and can be purchased through the ESO Box Office at 847-888-4000 or by visiting www.elginsymphony.org.