2010-2011 marks the 18th season of beautiful music making by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the eleventh season under the baton of Maestra Karen Lynne Deal. The Illinois Symphony was formed in 1993 as a consolidation of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra Association the Bloomington-Normal Symphony Society Kenneth Kiesler, music director from 1980 to 1993 of the former Springfield Symphony, served as its first music director. Under his artistic direction from 1993 to 2000, the new orchestra performed for both communities, as well as on tour to St. Louis, Chicago, and New York City - making its Alice Tully Hall debut in 1988 and Carnegie Hall debut in 1990. Karen Lynne Deal became music director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Illinois Chamber Orchestra in July of 2000. Under her guidance, the artistic level of the orchestra has developed significantly, and the orchestra has performed statewide for the State Fair, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, and for the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration. During her tenure, she has expanded the season's concert series with the popular Candlelight Chamber Orchestra concert, Holiday Pops, and Family matinees. In 2007-08 she was responsible for creating a partnership with the Van Cliburn Foundation to invite all six of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winners as guest artists that season. Over the past ten years, the orchestra has also enlarged its commitment to community service, adding educational concerts for K-3 students, free public parks concerts, and the award-winning Step-by-Step in program for K-6 students. In 2002 the Illinois Symphony Orchestra won the Illinois Council of Orchestras' award for Meritorious Service in Outstanding Programming, and in 2004 won its award for Community Service, both in recognition of the orchestra's overall service to the citizens of central Illinois. Each year, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra performs at multiple venues including Sangamon Auditorium on the campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield, St. Agnes Catholic Church in Springfield, the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington and First Presbyterian Church in Normal. Outdoor performances take place at Illinois State Fairgrounds, at Douglas Park in Springfield and at Miller Park in Bloomington. Having many performance locations enables the orchestra to bring diverse repertoire and live musical experiences to audiences of all ages and backgrounds in both urban and rural settings. Recognizing that live music has the potential to transform and rejuvenate, to encourage and inspire, the Illinois Symphony proudly serves as a vital cultural resource, an educational partner, and an invaluable enhancement to the quality of life in Springfield and Bloomington-Normal.