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EIU Department of Music


Eastern Symphony Orchestra            logo

The Eastern Symphony Orchestra (ESO) is open to all undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff.  The string section is comprised of music majors, non-music majors, and community members.  The wind and percussion sections are comprised primarily of music majors in the Department of Music.  The Eastern Symphony Orchestra has quickly become one of the premiere regional orchestras in the state of Illinois. 

MUS 0211R.001 Orchestra
5:00 PM - 5:50 PM, Tuesday, Thursday (sectionals)
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM, Wednesday
Doudna Fine Arts Center, 1550 Rehearsal Hall



CommandayDavid Commanday is Artistic Director and Conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, Visiting Director of Orchestral Activities and Applied Cello at Eastern Illinois University, and Music Director of Youth Music Illinois. His career combines international accomplishment as professional conductor, national prominence as a leader in the youth orchestra field, and distinction in the Academy of higher education. Among many awards received, the Illinois Council of Orchestras recognized David Commanday as Illinois Professional Conductor of the Year 2011. 

Maestro Commanday came to Central Illinois to lead the Peoria Symphony Orchestra as Music Director through a decade of success and growth.  He has brought illustrious soloists to our community; among them Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Josh Bell, and Jason Vieaux. His earlier posts include Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Boston Ballet, and Music Director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. 

Maestro Commanday has guest-conducted orchestras around the world, including the Israel Philharmonic, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, the Louisville, Belgian Radio, and Vienna Pro Arte Orchestras, and the National Symphony.

David is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College, and received highest honors in his diploma in conducting at the University of Vienna. He has taught at Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.  Commanday is a cellist, and often plays in chamber music performances with visiting artists - including Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Matt Haimovitz, Adam Neiman, and Rachel Barton Pine.


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Haley Fryer performs "Quel Guardo Il Cavaliere: by Gaetano Donizetto with the Eastern Symphony Orchestra on February 23, 2020

 Boats on Lake Charleston

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Music Department

Doudna Fine Arts Center
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

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