About the GSO
The Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra is the Northfield, Illinois District 225 Orchestra, combining students from both Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South High Schools. Members of both schools first joined forces in 1980, under the direction of Mr. Frank Winkler. In 1981, Mr. Carl J. Meyer became the Director of Orchestras and founded the "Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra" in 1994. Dedicated to bringing large-scale orchestral works to high school students and members of the community, the GSO performs two major concerts each year. Along with the fall and spring concerts, the GSO performs at school assemblies and other events. The top three soloists from the annual GSO Concerto Competition perform in the spring concert. Auditions for the orchestra are held each August and rehearsals are held on Wednesday nights during the school year. The GSO has toured throughout the United States and Europe, and has performed at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. the United Nations and Lincoln Center in New York City, The Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference, Disneyland, Disneyworld, San Marco Basilica in Venice, Italy, The Votivkirche in Vienna, Austria, The Medici Chapel in Florence, Italy and Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago. Through an international exchange program with the CAVMS music school in Wales, the orchestra has also performed at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff. In 2008, the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra was the first high school orchestra to be featured on WFMT/98.7's radio program, Introductions, and is included on The Best of Introductions CD.
Mr. Aaron Kaplan is an Orchestra Director with the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra and has been a part of the orchestra programs at Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South High Schools since 2013. He also teaches AP Music Theory, writes orchestrations for the Glenbrook North and South Variety Show, and conducts the Glenbrook Musical. An alum of Glenbrook North and the GSO, Mr. Kaplan received his Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the tutelage of Donald Schleicher. He received his Bachelor's degrees from University of Illinois as a high honors graduate in cello performance and music education where he studied with Brandon Vamos of the Pacifica Quartet. As an active conductor of musical theatre, Mr. Kaplan has conducted over 80 musicals including Les Miserables, On the Town, West Side Story, The Producers and the Illinois All-State High School Theatre Festival's production of Memphis (2013) and Sweeney Todd (2017). An active cellist, Mr. Kaplan also performs with the Heartland Festival Orchestra and Sinfonia da Camera. He is also on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago, Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras and is the assistant director for the Chicago Suzuki Institute. Aaron has continued his conducting studies at workshops in the United States and Europe with Gustav Meier and Larry Rachleff, and has conducted the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (Czech Republic) and the New Symphony of Bulgaria.
Ms. Rachel Atlas became an Orchestra Director with the the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra in 2021. As an alum of Glenbrook North High School, she played in the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Carl Meyer and Mrs. Kristin Meyer. She then went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she graduated on the dean’s list with her degree in Music Education. Ms. Atlas went on to receive a Master’s in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music with a focus on string pedagogy, composing, and conducting. Ms. Atlas has participated in the Conducting Masterclass and Workshop Series with Donald Schleicher and the Orchestral Conducting Symposium at the University of Colorado Boulder with Gary Lewis and Larry Livingston. Ms. Atlas has also conducted the All-City Orchestra in Chicago for eight years and has been invited to guest conduct at other schools and music festivals.