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Illinois Symphony seeks new music director

A major central Illinois cultural institution is losing its music director.

Ken Lam has left his conducting post with the Symphony of Illinois. Symphony Executive Director Trevor Orthman said Lam has taken a new post at a major international music institution. That position has yet to be publicly announced.

Orthman said Lam will continue as an artistic advisor for two seasons.

"We will soon launch the search for our next music director with candidates leading the orchestra during the 2023-2024 season," said Orthman.

Lam spent five years with the symphony that serves Bloomington-Normal and Springfield.

“Ken Lam has served us well in these most extraordinary times. He is an exceptional person who has created many wonderful musical memories for our communities and has been a joy to work with. The members of our board congratulate him on his new appointment and are truly sorry to see him depart but look forward to receiving his wise advice and counsel as we engage in this time of transition,” said Symphony Board President John Kauerauf.

During Lam's tenure, the symphony developed several community partnerships with nonprofit arts and educational institutions and merged the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony into the educational programs of the ISO.

“The ISO is a wonderful orchestra and I have enjoyed collaborating with them immensely over the last five seasons. I'd like to thank our musicians, audience members, donors, board, and staff for their support. During my tenure, I am particularly proud of the many musicians that we were able to bring to the ISO family, our work with the Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as the many collaborations that we undertook with our community partners and universities. I have no doubt that these relationships will continue to grow and further enrich the artistic life of our community," said Lam.

Lam is also music director of the Charleston South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, and resident conductor of the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, an annual summer music festival. He is also artistic director of Hong Kong Voices.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.