• Caroline Boekelheide (2/3/2018)

    Posted on February 02, 2018

    Photo by Pam Cressall, taken in July 2016 during Brunch with the Maestro at Sweet Cheeks Winery.

    Caroline Boekelheide passed away earlier today at the age of 93.

    It would be impossible to overstate Caroline’s importance to the Eugene Symphony over the course of its 52+ years of music and service. In fact, I can state unequivocally that what we know today would never have come to be without her passion and leadership in our earliest years, and all of the inspiration that she has given to so many of us ever since.

    As we chronicled in the 50th anniversary season a couple of years ago, the Symphony was literally born in her living room – one of my favorite memories from that celebratory year was shooting some video of her walking around her house as she recalled the first conversation about founding the ensemble out of the then-Emerald Chamber Players, and pointed out where the woodwinds and strings were placed for the very first rehearsals. She played oboe and flute in that first group, and was the first Vice President of the Board of Directors. She continued to serve on the Board until 2013, a truly remarkable and unparalleled 47 years. Upon her retirement, the Board dedicated the Symphonic series concert on May 16, 2013 to her.

    Caroline also helped to establish what would be become known as the Eugene Symphony Guild, organized many fundraisers, and attended hundreds of concerts and events. She embodied grace and dignity in everything she did.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with her son Karl and his wife Linda and their children Amanda and David, her daughter Annie, and her son Eric, all of whom grew up with the Symphony in Caroline’s footsteps. In death she joins her beloved husband Virgil and sister Trish McGillivary who passed before her.

    We will honor Caroline’s legacy at an upcoming concert later this spring, and will share those details as soon as they’re settled. In the meantime, please join me and our entire Eugene Symphony family in thanking and remembering Caroline, perhaps raising a glass of her favorite drink (champagne, of course!) as a tribute to her at our next opportunity together.

    In gratitude,

  • Eugene Symphony Gala 2018 (1/12/2018)

    Journey through the Eugene Symphony’s onstage, community engagement, and education programs at GALA 2018: Explore the Music, the signature social event of the season! Join us to celebrate this year’s Advocate for the Arts Award recipients Jim and Barbara Walker, and enjoy cocktails, dinner, a brief auction, live music, dancing, and connecting with friends.

    New this year is an exclusive Gala performance with Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong and Symphony musicians – you won’t want to miss it!


    Questions? Call Ashley Petsch at 541-687-9487 ext. 110

  • Play It Again! (1/2/2018)

    Dust Off Your Instrument and “Play it Again!”

    Eugene Symphony’s popular Play It Again! Adult Chamber Ensemble program brings together amateur musicians
    (18 and older) who wish to dust off their instruments and play again!
    Play It Again! participants will be formed into chamber ensembles with musicians at their skill level. Each ensemble
    will receive six coaching sessions with professional Eugene Symphony musicians. The ensembles meet biweekly
    (musicians determine schedule together) for rehearsals, discussion, and skill-building activities that culminate
    with a public performance at the First Christian Church in downtown Eugene on May 27, 2018. $75 participation fee.

    For more information contact Education & Community Engagement Director Katy Vizdal at
    katy.vizdal@eugenesymphony.org 541-687-9487×116 or visit http://eugenesymphony.org/education/community/play-it-again.

  • Concert in the Park: Free to Public (6/11/2017)

    JULY 22, 2017 8:00 PM


    Francesco Lecce-Chong, Conductor

    Tickets for the Eugene concert at Cuthbert Amphitheater are available to the public:  (Limit 4 per household)

    The public may get tickets beginning Tuesday, June 20 at 11 a.m. at the Hult Center box office, in person, over the phone or online.*

    *A $2 fee per ticket applies for phone orders and a $2.50 fee per ticket applies to online orders.

    Cottage Grove concert @ Bohemia Park: Monday, July 24, Time TBD. Free; No ticket required.

    Roseburg concert @ Stewart Park: Tuesday, July 25, Time TBD. Free; No ticket required.

    All three concerts will be conducted by Francesco Lecce-Chong.

  • Eugene Symphony Announces New Music Director (4/26/2017)


    After a thorough community-based process, we are thrilled to announce Francesco Lecce-Chong will become our new Music Director on July 1, 2017.

    He will begin his tenure by conducting the ninth annual Eugene Symphony in the Park, a free outdoor concert at Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene on Saturday, July 22, followed by outdoor concerts in Cottage Grove and Roseburg. The first concert that Lecce-Chong will conduct on the orchestra’s ticketed 52nd season at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts is with Renée Fleming on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

    “It is truly a privilege and honor to join the Eugene Symphony with its rich history of artistic excellence and innovation,” said Lecce-Chong. “With the greatest excitement, I look forward to collaborating on vibrant performances with the orchestra’s talented musicians and working with the dedicated staff, board, and volunteers. Together, I am confident we will deliver and even expand on the orchestra’s mission of enriching lives through the power of music.”

    A native of Boulder, Colorado, Lecce-Chong has worked with orchestras around the world. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree with honors in piano and orchestral conducting, graduate degree from the Mannes College of Music, and a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied as a Martin and Sarah Taylor Fellow with Otto-Werner Mueller. Learn more here.

  • Third Finalist for Music Director to Conduct March 16 Concert (3/3/2017)

     Francesco Lecce-Chong 

    Concert program: Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No. 1

    Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3 with Kuok-Wai Lio

    Mozart: Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio R. Strauss: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (1945 version)

    Artist bio: American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, a native of Boulder, Colorado, has worked with orchestras around the world including engagements with the National Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He currently holds the positions of Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Previously, Lecce-Chong served as Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Grand Teton Music Festival. Lecce-Chong holds a Bachelor of Music degree with honors in piano and orchestral conducting graduate from the Mannes College of Music, and a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied as a Martin and Sarah Taylor Fellow with Otto-Werner Mueller. More at www.lecce-chong.com.

    Listen to Francesco’s three-part interview with Executive Director Scott Freck. You can also click here to read an abbreviated interview transcript along with more photos of Francesco in our digital program magazine.
  • The impact of music in the community (3/3/2017)

    Thanks for all the Eugene Symphony Guild volunteers who help as ushers at Youth Concerts.and as a sponsor.

    February was a month of community engagement! We not only brought more than 2,000 elementary students to the Hult Center for our Youth Concerts, The Orchestra Moves, but we also hosted world-renowned classical guitarist Sharon Isbin as an artist-in-residence. Along with performing in the Symphonic Series concert on February 16, she visited schools, spoke with community groups, and led a master class for local guitarists.

    Also, a group of 42 students traveled more than three hours to see our “Pictures at an Exhibition” concert. Their teacher told us, “The students loved it and they could not stop talking about the symphony! You have helped make a lasting impression in 42 students from Bandon! Some of which have never been out of Coos County and have never experienced anything like it.”

    Thank you to all of our sponsors and donors who help make our $10 youth tickets and community engagement programs a reality!

  • News–ESA (2/13/2017)

    Sharon Isbin, Guitar & Christopher Rouse, Composer
    February 13- 17, 2017
    All events are FREE and open to the public!
    View the full artist residency Here.


    Monday, February 13

    4:00pm                  ‘Guitar Solos from Spain & Latin America’ – Sharon Isbin performs at   McKenzie River Music, 455 W 11th, followed by a Q&A with the audience

    Tuesday, February 14

    4:00pm                 Laura Avery Visiting Masters Class with Sharon Isbin giving feedback to three area guitarists, The Studio at the Hult Center

    4:00pm                 Christopher Rouse presents at the Oregon Composers Forum, at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance

    Thursday, February 16

    1:00pm                 Christopher Rouse leads a composition master class at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance

    5:30pm                 A free screening of the documentary film Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, in The Studio at the Hult Center

    7:00-7:30pm       Eugene Symphony Guild Concert Preview, in The Studio, with Danail Rachev, Christopher Rouse, and Sharon Isbin talking about the evening’s music

    8:00pm                Eugene Symphony Concert in Silva Concert Hall. Here’s the full program:



    CHRISTOPHER ROUSE: Concert de Gaudí (Sharon Isbin, guitar)

    MUSSORGSKY/orch. Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

    Youth & Student tickets available for $10! – BUY TICKETS

  • The Four Seasons of the McKenzie River (1/25/2017)

    A nexus of nature & music: Eugene Symphony partners with McKenzie River Trust and Travel Lane County to present The Four Seasons of the McKenzie River
    The multimedia performance will feature imagery of the McKenzie River taken throughout all seasons of the year by amateur and professional photographers in Oregon. Submissions are now accepted.

    For more information, please click on this link:   http://eugenesymphony.org/McKenzie4Seasons

  • (1/17/2017)

    Three Finalists for Music Director & Conductor to Conduct Orchestra in Public

    Following an extensive search, the Eugene Symphony has selected finalists for its next Music Director & Conductor, who will take the position following the completion of Danail Rachev’s eight-year tenure at the end of the 2016/17 season.

    The three finalists will conduct the orchestra in public, ticketed Symphonic series concerts during this 2016/17 season. Audience members will be given the opportunity to provide feedback via a post-concert survey.

    Please click on the links below to learn more about the finalists.

    Dina Gilbert

    Ryan McAdams

    Francesco Lecce-Chong