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New season, conductor and venues for Knox-Galesburg Symphony

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Courtesy photo
Kent Kriegshauser Photograpy
Kedrick Armstrong will serve as principal conductor of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony through June of 2025.

The Knox-Galesburg Symphony’s 70th season will begin in October after a two-year hiatus – with a new conductor and new venues.

Kedrick Armstrong was named a creative partner for the symphony in July and will serve as principal conductor through June 2025.

Creative partner is a new role approved by the symphony’s board meant to create a more collaborative leadership structure.

Partners are conductors, composers, and musicians who help develop programs to serve the region.

Armstrong said he hopes to provide oversight and continuity to all programming from the Galesburg Symphony Society, which includes the Knox-Galesburg Symphony.

“I look forward to collaborating with various community leaders to foster musical experience and opportunities for all,” Armstrong said.

The 2022-2023 concert season was reimagined to include more ways for people in Galesburg and the surrounding area to experience live classical music.

Armstrong said the organization is working to expand its reach with more consistent programming, including Masterwork Concerts, Chamber Concerts, and Community Concerts.

“This will offer more access to engage with musicians and community members of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony,” Armstrong said. “We look forward to how this expanded programming will connect us to those we serve.”

Executive Director Lucas Wood said the upcoming season includes full orchestra performances, chamber music, recitals, and a family-friendly outdoor festival next summer.

“As a way to make new connections in our community, we are very excited to announce that we will be performing this season’s Masterworks Concerts in the brand new, state-of-the-art Hegg Performing Arts Center at Galesburg High School,” Wood said.

Rehearsing and performing at the high school will not only provide operational benefits, but also numerous opportunities to connect with local students through internships, Wood said.

The season begins with homeland melodies, including Grieg’s “Piano Concerto” performed by Lorraine Min and works by Antonín Dvořák and Florence Price.

The orchestra will also explore symphonic innovations with the Illinois premiere of Irene Britton Smith’s “Sinfonietta” (1956) and Jean Sibelius’ “Second Symphony in March.”

Chamber music offerings include a residency from the Kaydenn String Quartet, works by Brahms and William Grant Still, and two premieres by Illinois-based composers Michelle Isaac and Matthew Recio.

Also planned are “Pay What You Can” community concerts, from recitals by orchestra musicians to a Shakespeare in the Street festival featuring Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Tickets for the 70th concert season go on sale soon. To receive updates, subscribe to the symphony’s email list at

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson covers west central Illinois and southeast Iowa for Tri States Public Radio.