With a distinctive combination of intensity, enthusiasm and technical clarity, American conductor Andrew Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts, audience rapport and long-term orchestra building.
The winner of 2015 Conductor of the Year honors from the Illinois Council of Orchestras, Grams has led ensembles throughout the United States, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony and the Houston Symphony.
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 made him a favorite of Elgin audiences.
A frequent traveler, 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 London; the symphony orchestras of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide; the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and Het Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, Netherlands. He has led multiple performances of the New York City Ballet presentation of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and the first performances of a new production of The Nutcracker for the Norwegian National Ballet.
Also an educator, Grams 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, Grams began studying the violin when he was 8 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; he returned to that program in 2004. Grams served as assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra from 2004 to 2007, under music director Franz Welser-Möst, and has since returned for several engagements.
As an accomplished violinist, 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 such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonic and the New Jersey Symphony.