With a unique combination of intensity, enthusiasm, and technical clarity, American conductor Andrew Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts, ability to connect with audiences, and long-term orchestra building. Named Illinois Council of Orchestras Conductor of the Year in 2015, he has led American orchestras including the Chicago, Detroit, National, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, and Houston symphony orchestras, as well as The Philadelphia Orchestra. He became music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra after an international search in 2013, and recently concluded his tenure there after eight seasons.
Grams has worked extensively with orchestras abroad, including the Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Barcelona symphony orchestras, and the Orchestre National de France, Hong Kong Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and Het Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, Netherlands. He has led multiple performances of New York City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and the premiere of a new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker for Oslo’s Norwegian National Ballet.
As an educator, Andrew Grams has worked with orchestras at institutions such as the Curtis Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Roosevelt University, National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland, and Amsterdam Conservatorium.
Born in Severn, Maryland, he began studying violin at age eight. In 1999 he received a bachelor of music in violin performance from The Juilliard School, and in 2003 he received a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. He was selected to spend the summer of 2003 studying with David Zinman, Murry Sidlin, and Michael Stern at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, and returned there in 2004. Grams served as assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra, 2004–07, working under the guidance of Franz Welser-Möst, and has since returned for several engagements.
An accomplished violinist, Grams was a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra from 1998 to 2004, serving as acting associate principal second violin in 2002 and 2004. Additionally, he has performed with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
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