The 35-year-old American conductor will begin a three-year contract on July 1 and is to lead the first concerts of the 2013-14 season Oct. 5 and 6 in Elgin's Hemmens Cultural Center, the orchestra announced Wednesday.
Grams is only the fourth music director in the Elgin Symphony's 63-year history, succeeding Robert Hanson, who stepped down in 2011 after 28 seasons.
The Maryland-born Grams was chosen following a two-year search that saw more than 200 applicants audition for the post. The search committee narrowed the field to a dozen finalists each of whom conducted at least one concert week over the last two seasons.
Grams was the last finalist to audition, doing so in orchestra concerts last month. He had previously guest conducted the Elgin Symphony in 2009 and was the musicians' unanimous choice, said committee chairman Harry Blizzard.
Grams, a Maryland native who served as assistant conductor in Cleveland from 2004 to 2007, holds degrees in violin performance from the Juilliard School and in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music. He has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Grant Park Orchestra and has led numerous other orchestras in the U.S. and abroad.