Chicago chamber group visits town

Camerata chamber orchestra offers classical favorites at Hinsdale concert

The celebrated sounds of the Camerata Chicago Orchestra will serenade Hinsdale in a performance commemorating the group's 20th anniversary season.

The chamber orchestra will present its concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at the Hinsdale Seventh-day Adventist Church, with a program including Dvorak's "New World Symphony" and Rossini's "William Tell Overture" and guest pianist Marta Aznavoorian performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3.

Music director Drostan Hall was compelled to found Camerata in 2003 after he was invited to conduct Handel's "Messiah" at a Chicago church.

"While I was studying the score for that sacred work, the idea came to me: 'Let's start a chamber orchestra,' " recounted Hall, whose lineage includes Sir Charles Mackerras, the British conductor who opened the Sydney Opera House in 1973.

Two decades later, the group has grown from 14 string musicians to 55 instrumentalists, boasting international acclaim.

The daughters of Hinsdale residents Tatjana and Nikola Nenadovich studied violin with Hall, and in 2020 the idea emerged to organize a Camerata concert to raise money for children in orphanages throughout Serbia and other former Yugoslavian nations. The pandemic postponed the plan, but Tatjana, a member of Camerata's Ladies Guild, facilitated a program in Chicago last October featuring renowned Serbian violinist Stefan Milenkovich. Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia even flew in to attend.

"All the stars aligned perfectly with the orchestra's 20th anniversary," Tatjana said.

Hall said Hinsdale became a natural finale on a three-day suburban tour, preceded by stops in Evanston on April 12 and Wheaton on April 13. He is excited to give local residents access to high-quality classical music close to home.

"I wanted to make it a very special concert," he said. "I wanted it to be very friendly for families and children because it's very important for us that children are welcome to come to our programs."

The well-known "New World Symphony" was written by Dvorak when he first came to the U.S. in 1892. It was also a gamechanger for Hall when he heard it live as a boy.

"It was simply the most thrilling experience of my young life. This performance was full of wonderful tunes and it just changed my life. I decided that I would become a musician because I was so moved," he related, describing symphony as "infused with the American spirit" with both African-American and Native American influences.

The "William Tell Overture" became a household anthem in the States serving as the theme song for TV's popular "The Lone Ranger" series.

"That catapulted it to worldwide fame. And it has that wonderful fanfare of trumpets," Hall said.

Chicago's Aznavoorian, who also performs with the Lincoln Trio and teaches piano at DePaul University, among other endeavors, said the Beethoven composition is a particular favorite.

"I am looking forward to revisiting this old friend of mine. I love this piece and feel a close connection to it. It's got drama, it's playful, it's philosophical and heroic - everything compelling about Beethoven," she said. "I am honored to by performing with this excellent orchestra under the bold leadership of Maestro Drostan Hall.

"We urge you to bring the whole family," Aznavoorian underscored. "We don't bite."

Hall said Camerata gets frequent play on WFMT, but that nothing compares to live listening. He praised the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a stellar venue.

"It's a great location with great acoustics. A church often has a richer sound and is so much more reverberant than other places," he said. "I think it's important that classical music is provided locally for families. It's a hop, skip and jump from their homes, and they can come and enjoy world-class music.

Tatjana Nenadovich said her family relishes Camerata performances.

"It's kind of a lost form of entertainment, and I would love to see more people making the choice to hear classical music," she said. "It's just such a beautiful experience. You really walk out of there really feeling so good."

To purchase tickets, visit Use coupon code HINSDALE at checkout for a 25 percent discount for ticket prices of $37.50 for adults, $30 for seniors, $7.50 for students (ID required) and $1.50 for ages 14 and under (with a paying adult).

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean