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Chicago Symphony Orchestra considering increased DuPage County presence

After a successful concert series at the Morton Arboretum last summer, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is looking to make more music in DuPage County.

The orchestra is forming a steering committee to explore the possibility of a permanent presence in the area, according to Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association President Deborah Rutter.

“We have been extremely gratified by the enthusiasm expressed by the residents of DuPage County in hearing and having access to the music and performances of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” she said.

According to Rutter, the orchestra will explore incorporating increased DuPage County programming into its seasonal schedule.

Rutter said she believes there is a large prospective audience in the county that find it difficult to go into Chicago for performances.

Market research by the orchestra indicates that “there is a real potential audience in DuPage,” she said.

Now, according to Rutter, the orchestra needs to determine how and when to deliver performances in the future.

The orchestra would not make a permanent move, she said, and increased playing time in DuPage County likely would not mean a decrease in the orchestra’s Chicago or touring performances.

She said the orchestra is working to schedule more DuPage concerts for June.

However, that increased presence also will require growth in infrastructure and funding, she said. The orchestra is reaching out to community leaders in the area to serve on the steering committee.

“One of the things that I have learned in my professional life is that you really need to understand the local community and what the cultures and interests are,” Rutter said. “To come in and impose a style doesn’t work. So we want to look for those kind of leaders who can best advise us on what will be successful in DuPage and that region.”

One member of the steering committee who is already named is DuPage County Board member and chairman of the Board’s finance committee Paul Fichtner. Fichtner said that Choose DuPage had been working behind the scenes for some time on the project.

“It’s very exciting for DuPage County to be able provide, as we like to say, a place to raise a family, to live, and now add to that a cultural attraction of the world’s greatest symphony orchestra,” he said.

Rutter said that the committee is very much in its infancy, and that other members likely wouldn’t be announced until the beginning of next year.

“It’s far from a done deal,” County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said. “We have to identify some parcel of land and work some arrangement that is a fair deal to the taxpayers.”

He said he hoped to bring the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County into the discussion and that he was “excited” at the opportunity.

“We will see how much more programming there is a real interest for,” Rutter said. “Then we can build from there.”

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