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Foreshadowing the Season: The Quad City Symphony Premieres Michael Torke’s “Oracle” PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Frederick Morden   
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 12:43

Michael Torke. Photo by Brian Hainer.

In February, the Quad City Symphony contacted a representative of Michael Torke with the hope of commissioning a short season-opening piece from the well-known American composer. It was a long shot – a request with a turnaround time of a few months instead of the typical year or two between commissioning and the orchestra’s first rehearsal with the completed music.

But Torke was looking for a summer project, a short work to add to his library of titles. “I love those drop-everything-now projects,” Torke said in a phone interview in July. “The Quad City thing seemed perfect.” With the logistics in place, what remained was finding an appropriate artistic concept and completing the piece before rehearsals in September.

Oracle was composed in a burst of creative energy from mid-June to mid-July. “I think this is going to be one of the best pieces I’ve ever written,” Torke predicted the day after the five-minute composition was completed. “I am so jazzed up about it. It starts off with this kind of ‘Pines of Rome’ thing, with one variation of the melody warm and juicy, and another noble.”

At the Intersection of Bluegrass and Brazil: Quad City Arts Visiting Artists Matuto, September 21 at the Galvin Fine Arts Center PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 12:50

Matuto, photographed by Vincent SoyezDepending on the source, the English-language equivalent of the Brazilian slang term “matuto” appears to be “country boy” or “bumpkin” or “hillbilly.” What it absolutely isn’t is “critically lauded ensemble selected as American Musical Ambassadors for the U.S. State Department.”

Yet that is indeed a fitting description for the capitalized Matuto, the sextet of touring musicians appearing locally as Quad City Arts’ latest Visiting Artists. After a week spent conducting workshops and performing for area students, these dynamic, adventurous artists and educators will present a September 21 concert at St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center, where they hope to excite many more listeners with the infectious thrill of Brazilian bluegrass.

That’s right: Brazilian bluegrass. Don’t feel embarrassed if you’ve never heard of it.

Out-of-"Office" Replies: Creed Bratton, September 19 at the Adler Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 06 September 2013 06:00

Creed BrattonThere are people who work in an office and dream of stardom. And then there’s Creed Bratton, who actually achieved stardom, and then went on to work in an office.

Of course, given that he wound up in the office of the Scranton, Pennsylvania-based paper-supply company Dunder Mifflin, this could hardly be considered a career demotion.

Tapping Into the Spirit: Chuck Ragan, September 18 at the Redstone Room PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 05 September 2013 08:52

Chuck Ragan. Photo by Tom Stone.

When Chuck Ragan stops in Davenport later this month, his fans shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see him. He’s not likely to announce his retirement from touring any time soon, but he’s regularly talked about the difficulties of being a touring musician and the price that families pay.

And he said in a phone interview last week that someday he will hang up his guitar to spend more time with his family. “Absolutely,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of musicians would say the exact opposite. … [But] I really look forward to that in a huge way. And I don’t know when that is. ... I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with touring and the road. It does take a massive toll. But I think it takes more of a toll on our loved ones, who are on the other side of it.”

Ragan is not, I stress, stepping out of the spotlight soon – which should be apparent from both his recent activity and his plans.

Photos from the William Elliott Whitmore Concert, August 30 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Anthony Patrizi   
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 12:20

Photos by Anthony Patrizi from RIBCO’s outdoor William Elliott Whitmore concert on August 30, 2013.

Photo by Anthony Patrizi

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