Andrew Grams

Last updated: March 13, 2023

With a unique combination of intensity, enthusiasm, and technical clarity, American conductor Andrew Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts, ability to connect with audiences, and long-term orchestra building. He’s the winner of the 2015 Conductor of the Year award from the Illinois Council of Orchestras and has led orchestras throughout the United States including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the Houston Symphony.   

Andrew Grams became music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra after an international search in 2013 and recently concluded his tenure there after eight seasons. His charismatic conducting and easy accessibility have made him a favourite of Elgin Symphony audiences.  

A frequent traveller, Andrew Grams has worked extensively with orchestras abroad, including the symphony orchestras of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, the Orchestre National de France, Hong Kong Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and Het Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, Netherlands. He has led multiple performances of New York City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® and the first performances of the new production of The Nutcracker for the Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo.  

Also an educator, he has worked with orchestras at institutions such as the Curtis Institute of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Roosevelt University, the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland, and the Amsterdam Conservatorium.  

Born in Severn, Maryland, Andrew Grams began studying the violin when he was eight years old. In 1999 he received a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from The Juilliard School, and in 2003 he received a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. He was selected to spend the summer of 2003 studying with David Zinman, Murry Sidlin, and Michael Stern at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, and returned to that program again in 2004. He served as Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra from 2004 to 2007, where he worked under the guidance of Franz Welser-Möst, and has since returned for several engagements.  

As an accomplished violinist, Andrew Grams was a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra from 1998 to 2004, serving as acting associate principal second violin in 2002 and 2004. Additionally, he has performed with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the New Jersey Symphony.  

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