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Nimoy opens ESO's 2008-09 season
Daily Herald Staff Report

Leonard Nimoy as "Spock" in the television series "Star Trek."


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Published: 8/18/2008 12:18 AM

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Tickets for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's 2008-09 season opening gala concert and celebration with Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy are on sale through the ESO's Web site at Or call the ESO box office at (847) 888-4000.

The gala concert and celebration opens the season with a "big bang" when the ESO presents Holst's sonic celestial showpiece, "The Planets" with stunning NASA visuals projected onto a large screen above the stage, and narration provided by legendary Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy. Music director Robert Hanson will also lead the ESO in performances inspired by the cosmos, including Beethoven's Overture to "The Creatures of Prometheus," "Hymn to the Sun" by Rimsky-Korsakov, as well as Johann Strauss's "Blue Danube Waltz" and the opening Fanfare of Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra," both featured in Stanley Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey." The ESO also welcomes the Elgin Children's Chorus on the program.

The concert begins at 6 p.m., and all concert-goers are welcome to a 1,200-person champagne toast to start the season off in style at 5:30 p.m. After the concert, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra will hold an Opening Night Gala Celebration with food, drink and a silent auction. Celebration-goers will have the chance to explore the night skies with telescopes and docents provided by Adler Planetarium. The major sponsor is Schleifring; concert sponsors are First Community Bank and the Daily Herald.

Leonard Nimoy's portrayal of the intense, rational and emotionally suppressed Vulcan, Spock, on "Star Trek" has left an indelible imprint on popular culture. First airing in 1966, Nimoy's character would become an icon over the years as the popular television show branched off into syndication and later onto the big screen as a series of six feature films. Nimoy's performance on "Star Trek" earned him three Emmy nominations.

Nimoy also became a successful movie director, responsible for "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," the most successful of the Star Trek films to date. Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek's creator, referred to Nimoy as "the conscience of Star Trek."

Nimoy is a benefactor of the arts and sciences as well as an award-winning actor, director, poet and photographer. A native of Boston, he pursued his acting career after his feature film debut in 1951. He has directed numerous films outside of the "Star Trek "series, and three of his films have been ranked among the top box office successes of all time.

Aside from his credits as actor and director, Nimoy has recorded 10 narrative albums and wrote several volumes of poetry (two of which feature his photographs). In 1975, Nimoy published the autobiography, "I Am Not Spock" and followed 20 years later with the sequel, "I Am Spock," which he refers to as "coming to terms" with his alter ego. Nimoy's performance of the audio version was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Tickets for all other 2008-09 season events will go on-sale beginning Sept. 2 and will be available online at or through the ESO Box Office by calling (847) 888-4000. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

On Oct. 3-5, Robert Hanson will conduct "Midori Plays Brahms" with the famous violinist. Midori's reputation as one of the world's leading violinists is matched only by her dedication to touching young musicians' lives and the communities in which she performs. As part of her Orchestra Residencies Program with the ESO and the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, she performs Brahms' Violin Concerto under the direction of Robert Hanson.

On Oct. 17-19, conductor Stephen Squires will direct soprano Lisa Vroman in "Broadway Favorites." From the bright lights of Manhattan straight to Chicago, acclaimed soprano Lisa Vroman, conductor Stephen Squires and the ESO present an evening of Broadway hits. From the magnificent (Andrew Lloyd Webber) to the sublime (Gershwin and Sondheim), Vroman, known best for her role as Christine in "The Phantom of the Opera," sings a variety of your favorites.