The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest~ An 86 Year-Old Local Treasure!

At our last concert of the season, Maestro Jay Friedman received the Illinois Council of Orchestras' 2017 Community Orchestra Conductor of the Year Award.

In his speech, Mr. Clemons mentioned that it was an unanimous vote to award our director with this award!


From left to right: David Leehey S/OP&RF Board President, Gregory Clemons, President of the ICO, and S/OP&RF Music Director Jay Friedman.

A Moveable Feast

Our 2017-2018 season's four subscription concerts will be performed in two easily accessible and beautiful locations (with easy parking) in the Oak Park/River Forest area, Concordia & Dominican Universities. Single tickets ($28 each ~ all students through college are free) and subscriptions ($100 for adults, $80 for seniors 65+) will be available through our website after August 1. This season, we will return to our FlexTix policy. All tickets are created equal, and you may use any ticket at any local performance.

We return to Symphony Center for our biennial performance on Monday, April 23, 2018, 7:30 PM. BEETHOVEN Choral Fantasy and ORFF Carmina Burana. Our Symphony Center concert is not a part of our subscription series, but students and our subscribers will enjoy a 20% discount. Tickets available in February from the Symphony Center Box Office (312.294.3000) or your favorite orchestra or chorus member.

SOPRF: Tchaikovsky Spectacular Sunday, October 8, 2017

Type of Subscription

We are counting on you to help secure the future of your Symphony!

Make your tax-deductible donation via PalPal or mail your check to:
S/OP&RF - P.O. Box 3564 - Oak Park, IL - 60303-3564

Contribution categories:
$1,000+ Sforzando
$500-999 Crescendo
$250-499 Fortissimo
$100-249 Forte
$50-99 Mezzo-forte
$25-49 Accents


We are honored to have received the following awards from the ICO:

1998 Programming of the Year Award

1999 Special Events Award, for Services to Young Musicians

2001 Conductor of the Year, Jay Friedman

2002 Outstanding Community Relations Award

2004 Community Orchestra of the Year & General Manager of the Year, Beth Hoover

2011 Conductor of the Year, Jay Friedman & Community Orchestra of the Year

2013 Board President of the Year, David Leehey

2017 Conductor of the Year, Jay Friedman


Look to the Future. Celebrate the Present. Remember the Past

The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest, founded in 1931 by Gladys Welge, is one of the oldest community orchestras in the country. Originally a "Sunday School orchestra" at a church in Oak Park, in its early years the orchestra played for church services and gave concerts. By 1933, the fledgling orchestra had grown in size and began to perform major works from the symphonic repertoire.

The orchestra gave concerts continuously, with no break, throughout the decades of the 20th century and into the early years of the 21st century, surviving economic upheavals such as the Great Depression, World War II, the rock and roll revolution, and changing tastes and mores.

Some of the factors in the success of this community orchestra are:

  1. The artistic vision and musical leadership of its conductors.

  2. The dedicated and talented amateurs, semiprofessionals and professionals who play in the orchestra, attend rehearsals each week and practice at home.

  3. The support of the boards of directors and community.

  4. The geographical and collegial proximity to Chicago, which has had a positive influence in many ways, especially the connections with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, from whose ranks a number of our conductors and soloists have come.

The mission of the SYMPHONY of Oak Park & River Forest is three-fold:

  • To provide the opportunity for orchestral and vocal musicians to perform symphonic works together at the highest possible level of artistry;

  • To provide the opportunity for all of the members of our diverse local community to experience symphonic music in live performances of high quality; and

  • To foster the appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of symphonic music by present and future generations.

All performances are held in River Forest either at Dominican University (Lund Auditorium) or Concordia University (Chapel of Our Lord).  Each concert begins at 4:00 pm, with pre-concert conversations with David Leehey at 3:00 pm and seating at 3:30. On concert days the box office opens at 3:00 pm. 

dupac logoTickets for October 8 and February 11 can be purchased from Dominican University online, by calling 708-488-5000, or at the door.
Concordia U. ChicagoTickets for December 10 and June 10 may be purchased from our website, by calling 708-218-2648,  by writing, or at the door. Concordia University is located at 1110 Bonnie Brae Place, River Forest.