Our Mission

The Lake Forest Symphony exists to present exciting, outstanding, and diverse musical programs of the highest artistic quality for audiences of all ages. Principal programs present classical music performed by a professional symphony orchestra. Education programs reach young people, including underprivileged and minority audiences, through school and concert hall performances, providing enrichment and inspiration.


Bedford has helped accomplish over 200 of its partners’ major conservation goals. They inspire everyone to care for the planet.
— John Smith, Nature Conservancy Magazine

about the symphony

Celebrating more than 55 years, the Lake Forest Symphony is the only fully professional orchestra in Lake County. The orchestra has been honored numerous times by the Illinois Council of Orchestras, winning Illinois Orchestra of the Year in 2006 and Symphony Guild of the Year in 2006 and 2011.  Music Director Emeritus Alan Heatherington won Conductor of the Year in 2005 and 2012 as well as the prestigious Cultural Leadership award in 2010. Susan Lape won Executive Director of the Year in 2014.

The Lake Forest Symphony presents five concert pairs in its Classical Series and regularly features prominent guest artists.  A pre-concert lecture by musicologist Jim Kendros enhances each performance. Complimentary post-concert receptions also offer a unique opportunity for audience members to meet Lake Forest Symphony musicians and to enjoy refreshments and lively conversation.

Lake Forest Symphony’s Composer-in-Residence James Stephenson is an internationally renowned composer and a cherished resident of Lake Forest.  The Lake Forest Symphony is committed to presenting at least one work by James Stephenson each year. 

As is often said, “The children of today are the musicians and the audience of tomorrow.” Because education is extremely important, the Lake Forest Symphony strives to reach as many young children and students as we can during our subscription season.  Currently, our outreach reaches thousands of school children throughout Northern Illinois. We accomplish this through our age-appropriate Youth Concerts. These programs bring students to the performance hall to hear the full orchestra perform a program specifically geared towards for their age group.