About Rockford Symphony Orchestra

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra is a top cultural organization in northern Illinois, staging about sixteen performances each year. It was founded in 1883, and its first permanent conductor was Dr. E.F. Riehl. The current music director is Steven Larsen, who has been with the organization since 2006. The RSO also holds an annual holiday concert series called "Christmas at the Coronado," which features a different holiday-themed program each year. The RSO's main performance venue is the BMO Harris Bank Center, located in downtown Rockford. The orchestra also performs at area schools and colleges, as well as at various community events throughout the year. In addition to its regular concert season, the RSO also offers a wide variety of educational programming, including its "Orchestra in the Schools" and "Summer Strings" programs.

The RSO is a member of the League of American Orchestras and receives funding from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. It also relies on support from individual donors, corporations, and foundations. In 1970, the board of directors selected Crawford Gates as the next music director. Some of the renowned guest artists that he brought to perform with the orchestra include Van Cliburn (1972), Victor Borge (1973), Phyllis Diller (1974), and Benny Goodman (1975). In 1986, the RSO Board named Charles Bornstein as music director after Crawford Gates's retirement. During his term at the museum, its intellectual and creative perspective was typical.

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