About the ICO

Organization Mission and History:

Since 1974, the Illinois Council of Orchestras (ICO) has served as the statewide advocacy and service organization for the orchestral community in Illinois. The Illinois Council of Orchestras was founded with the following mission:

  • To advocate for and to promote the development and success of Illinois orchestras and to respond to their needs
  • To promote an exchange of ideas and resources among members
  • To provide a system of communication to meet mutual needs and concerns
  • To encourage financial support for orchestras from all possible sources
  • To sponsor educational conferences, workshops, and other activities for the betterment of member orchestras.

Membership is open to orchestras of all sizes, symphony leagues and guilds, youth orchestras, festivals, and individuals.
ICO is governed by a 20-member Board of Directors who hail from arts organizations and businesses all over the state.

If you are interrested in serving on the ICO board, please contact us.




Dr. Allan Dennis, President

Dr. Allan Dennis brings a rich heritage of experience and energy to the Illinois Council of Orchestras. With over a quarter a century of experience motivating, rehearsing and teaching young people, he is Founder and Director of Midwest Young Artists, and Music Director of the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra. Dennis has been recognized as the 2001 Illinois Council of Orchestras Music Director of the Year, as well as awarded the 2001 Heidi Castleman Award by Chamber Music America. The Castleman Award is given to one recipient from the United States in recognition for “excellence in chamber music teaching.”

He has studied at the internationally renowned Tanglewood Institute in Lennox (MA) in 2000 and in 1996, and was also chosen as both an Active Conductor at the Festival at Sandpoint (ID), and a Fellow at the Conductors’ Institute in South Carolina. Dennis also has extensive experience conducting musical shows, operas and ballets. His conducting teachers have included Gunther Schuller, Harold Farbermann, and David Effron. Dr. Dennis received his doctorate, with distinction, from Indiana University in Bloomington, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Fredonia. He has studied at the Eastman School of Music and received a Performer’s Certificate from the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music in Antwerp, Belgium.



Lauren Moldenhauer, Administrative Director

Lauren Moldenhauer serves as the Administrative Director of the Illinois Council of Orchestras. Ms. Moldenhauer holds a Bachelor of Music in Flute from Northwestern University, and a Master of Flute from Catholic University of America. Since returning to Chicago, she has been an active flute performer and educator helping with the Midwest Young Artists Summer Flute Camp and serving as Orchestra Director for Woodlands Academy in Lake Forest. Previously, Lauren worked in the office of the Lake Forest Symphony, as Publicity Chair on the board of the Chicago Flute Club, and as assistant to the curator of the Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection at the Library of Congress.