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5 minutes with a Tony nominee: ‘Illinoise’s Timo Andres

The Broadway newcomer explains the challenges of orchestrating music that has previously been orchestrated.

Timo Andres attends the 77th Annual Tony Awards Meet the Nominees Press Event at Sofitel New York on May 02, 2024, in New York City. (Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Orchestrator Timo Andres made his Broadway debut with the new musical “Illinoise.” A composer and pianist, Andres has long been a fan of the Sufjan Stevens album “Illinois,” which inspired this theatrical mounting. 

So as Andres ideated orchestrations for “Illinoise,” he had to balance loyalty to Stevens’ sound and responsiveness to the vision of director-choreographer Justin Peck. Andres possesses a classical background, having performed at Carnegie Hall and toured with the Calder Quartet. He’s written for the Boston Symphony and the Takács Quartet. He combines that sensibility with an indie-rock palette to yield a fresh sound for “Illinoise.”

Listen as Andres describes the complexity of his orchestrations, the instruments he chose to use and the companionship between orchestration and dance.

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