Steven Larsen

Music Director

Mr. Larsen celebrated his 25th anniversary as Music Director of the RSO in the 2015·16 season. His tenure has brought both local and national recognition to the orchestra. In 1999, 2006, and 2016 he was named Illinois Conductor of the Year and is a recipient of the Mayor's Arts Award for Individual Achievement. Maestro Larsen has worked with dozens of orchestras in the United States and Europe, including the Opera Theater of San Antonio, the Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera Cleveland, the Minnesota Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Light Opera of Chicago and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.

Tom SanquistThomas Sandquist

Board President

Mr. Sandquist has been a practicing attorney with WilliamsMcCarthy LLP since 1988.  He is a graduate of Rockford College and the University of Illinois, College of Law.  Mr. Sandquist has served on the RSO Board since 2009 and been active on a number of committees.  Besides RSO, Mr. Sandquist has served on the Boards of a number of local not-for-profit organizations, including Milestone, Inc., the Rock River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Natural Land Institute.  Mr. Sandquist lives in Rockford with his wife, Linda.  They have two adult children who reside in Chicago.

Julie Thomas

Executive Director

Ms. Thomas joined the RSO staff as Marketing and Development Director in December 2004 and assumed the position of Executive Director in November 2009. Before joining the RSO, she held marketing and promotion positions with Famous-Barr, a division of the May  Department Stores Company, for nine years. Ms. Thomas received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications/Journalism from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and a minor in Applied Music. She earned a Certificate of Non-Profit Leadership through Rockford College. Ms. Thomas is currently on the board of the Riverfront Museum Park, a member of the Rockford Chapter of Rotary International, and a member of the Arts and Recreation spoke team for Transform Rockford.

Board of Directors


Board Members

Thomas Sandquist
WilliamsMcCarthy LLP
Steve Nailor
Immediate Past President
Nailor and Associates
James Hansberry
Vice President
Rockford Bank & Trust
Ellen Poppen
EKP Solution Source, LLC
Michael King
workplace, inc.
Judy Bridgeman
United Technologies
Gayle Englof
Retired, community member
Michael Kikta, M.D.
Affiliated Surgeons of Rockford
Kerry Knodle
Comprehensive Community Solutions
Thomas Kress
Associated Bank
Joe McCoy
Grant W. Moore
Savant Capital Management
Arnold Rosen, M.D.
Rockford Gastroenterology Associates
Richard Wolff
Retired, community member
Wendy Young
Forest City Gear