Music & Entertainment
Major Songwriting Competition Deadline Extended PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Jim Morgan   
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 13:05

Sarah McLachlan, John Hiatt, Tom Waits, Pat Metheny, Sara Evans, Jon Secada, Bastille, Avicii, Wayne Shorter, Casting Crowns And Many More Join ISC's Judging Panel

Deadline To Enter Extended Until November 4, 2014

September 29, 2014 - The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is now in its extended deadline period, and the deadline for entering songs is November 4, 2014. ISC is open to amateur and professional songwriters, and entries are accepted online through the ISC platform and Sonicbids or through the mail. In addition, ISC will be offering some special promotions and incentives through the end of the year.

This year, ISC has expanded on the participation of music industry executives, offering the opportunity for artists to have their music heard by the highest level of decision-makers in the music business. Judges include Presidents and CEOs from Republic, Atlantic, Warner Bros., Elektra, Columbia UK, Virgin UK, Sony Music Latin, Mercury UK, Wind-Up, Tommy Boy, Alligator, Blind Pig, Fat Possum, Robins Entertainment, S-Curve, and Concord Music Group. Coupled with additional high-profile industry executives and an notable group of recording artists, many of whom are currently dominating the charts - ISC offers the opportunity for artists to have their music heard by the most impressive and elite panel of judges yet.

ISC gives away more than $150,000 in cash and prizes (shared among the 68 winners) including an overall Grand Prize consisting of $25,000 (US) cash and $30,000 in prizes. Open to both amateur and professional songwriters, ISC offers 22 categories to enter, representing all genres of popular music. Past winners have included Grammy winners, chart-topping artists, amateur songwriters, and everyone in between, including Bastille; Gotye; Lindsey Stirling; Kimbra; The Band Perry; Andrew Bird; Passenger; Gin Wigmore; Missy Higgins; King Charles; and many more.

2014 ISC judges include:

Recording Artists

Tom Waits; Sarah McLachlan; American Authors; Pat Metheny; Sara Evans; Bastille; Casting Crowns; Avicii; Wayne Shorter; John Hiatt; Bela Fleck; Keane; DJ Snake; Robben Ford; Natasha Bedingfield; Danilo Perez; Kenny Wayne Shepherd; Martina McBride; Newsboys; Jon Secada; The Chainsmokers; Jason Isbell; Femi Kuti; Afro Celt Sound System; London Grammar; Michael W. Smith; Craig Morgan; Gerald Casale (Devo); Jean-Luc Ponty; James Cotton; Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes); Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); Matt Thiessen (Relient K); Chayanne; J. Holiday; and more to be announced...

Industry Executives

Monte Lipman (Founder and Chairman/CEO, Republic Records); Craig Kallman (Chairman/CEO, Atlantic Records); Dan McCarroll (President, Warner Bros. Records); Jeff Castelaz (President, Elektra Records); Alison Donald (Co-President, Columbia Records UK); Ted Cockle (President, Virgin Records UK); Mike Smith (President, Mercury Records UK); Nir Seroussi (President, Sony Music Latin); Ed Vetri (President, Wind-Up Records); Rosie Lopez (President, Tommy Boy Entertainment); Glen Barros (President, Concord Music Group); Rex Rideout (VP of A&R, Motown Records); Jay Landers (Executive VP of A&R, Verve Music Group); Bryan Stewart (VP of A&R, Curb Records); Jason McArthur (VP of A&R, Provident Label Group / Sony Music Entertainment); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); Angel Carrasco (Sr. VP A&R, Latin America, Sony); Keith Naftaly (Executive VP of A&R, RCA Records); Steve Lillywhite (Producer); Joseph Burney (VP of A&R, RCA Inspiration/Sony Music Entertainment); Richard Stumpf (CEO, Atlas Publishing); Steve Greenberg (CEO, S-Curve Records); Kim Buie (A&R, Thirty Tigers); Albert Schilcher (VP of Music and Music Marketing, MTV International); Gary Briggs (Senior VP of A&R/Producer, New West Records); Lori Teig (VP of Talent, VEVO); Jermaine Hall (Editor-In-Chief, Vibe Magazine); Jamie Masada (Owner, Laugh Factory); Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment); Julie Kertes (General Manager, National Parenting Publications Awards, NAPPA); Claire S. Green (President, Parents' Choice Foundation); Leib Ostrow (Founder/CEO, Music For Little People); Wende Curtis (Owner, Comedy Works); Claire S. Green (President, Parents' Choice Foundation); Nate Dern (News Editor, Funny Or Die News); Cyndi Nelson (General Manager, ZANIES Comedy Club); Shannon O'Neill (Artistic Director, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre NY)

Please visit for an entry form or more details.

ISC is sponsored by: Ableton, Airplay Direct, Berklee College Of Music, Celebrity Access, D'Addario, Disc Makers, George Stein, Esq., Hammond USA, Indie Pro Mix and Final Mix, Inc., Gauge Microphones, Indie Venue Bible, Lowden Guitars, Lurssen Mastering, Slate Digital,, The Music Business Registry, Taxi, and Thayers


For more information, please email Candace Avery at or call 615-251-4441.

“Masterworks I: Into a New World” Presents Powerful Musical Selections PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Friday, 26 September 2014 15:07

IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – The Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) celebrates its century of orchestral music with the return of celebrated American Master pianist Garrick Ohlsson, performing what may be the most challenging concerto for piano – Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. His performance is just one of the highlights of a musical presentation entitled Masterworks I: Into a New World.

Masterworks I: Into a New World will be held 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4 at the Adler Theatre, Davenport, IA, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5 at Centennial Hall, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL. QCSO Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith will lead the orchestra. In addition to the Third Piano Concerto, the evening will include a world premiere composition by John Frantzen entitled “Beyond a Wild Dream,” as well as Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony.

“We choose the pieces for the first Masterworks performance of our 100th Season to be powerful, energetic and exhilarating,” said Smith. “This will be a performance that audience members will remember for years to come.” 

Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto – Hard to Play, Easy to Love

Masterworks I will be Garrick Ohlsson’s fourth performance with the QCSO. He last appeared with the Symphony in 1989. Ohlsson launched his career in 1970 when he became the first American to win the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition. He is an Avery Fisher Prize laureate, placing him alongside such luminaries as Midori and Yo-Yo Ma, and a Grammy Award winner for his recording of Beethoven’s Sonatas.

According to QCSO Executive Director Benjamin Loeb, Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto is a beautiful but monstrously difficult work for most pianists to play. “The piece requires large stretches of the hand, as well as tremendous energy,” he said. “Garrick Ohlsson is a powerful musician, well-suited to playing the Third Piano Concerto. He can perform this composition with ease and majesty. He holds sovereign control over this piece.” 

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. The early influence of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave his work a rich, expressive personal style. The Third Piano Concerto was first performed in public on Nov. 28, 1909 by Rachmaninoff himself. It was not until the 1930s that the Third Piano Concerto became popular, thanks largely to the advocacy of famed pianist Vladimir Horowitz.

Frantzen’s “Beyond a Wild Dream” – An Energetic World Premiere

According to Loeb, the 2014-2015 Masterworks series will present the world premieres of five compositions. Masterworks I: Into a New World will offer the first premiere: “Beyond a Wild Dream” by John Frantzen, who grew up in Maquoketa, Iowa. “We are proud to be able to present a colorful, energetic composition by Frantzen,” said Loeb. “Creators of symphonic music can come from any part of the globe – and they can be local, too. In addition to Frantzen, we also work with composers who are instructors at Augustana College and St. Ambrose University.” 

John Frantzen now lives in Los Angeles, where he writes music in all genres including concert, chamber, dance, sound installations and film. He has collaborated with artists from around the world, including a recent sound installation created for his sister Rose Frantzen’s art exhibit at Davenport’s Figge Museum. 

“In writing ‘Beyond a Wild Dream’ for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra,” Frantzen said, “I did some research to see what it would have been like to attend the very first symphony performance in the Quad-Cities – or Tri-Cities, as it was called 100 years ago. That performance included passionate works by Tchaikovsky and Wagner, among others. At that time, it was a wild dream to start an orchestra in the Tri-Cities, but still, citizens felt the need to support the arts in the community, no matter how big or small. My composition pays homage to that noble spirit.”

Frantzen’s musical career began when he was a student in Maquoketa, playing trombone for the school bands. During those years, he placed second in a national song-writing competition. “I loved being part of the band,” he said, “and realized I had a passion to create. That made me want to become a composer.” He received a full scholarship to Arizona State University as a trombonist and later completed a masters in composition at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. This development led to the successful career he is having today.

Dvořák’s “From the New World” – Inspired by a Trip to America

The final piece of the evening comes from composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904), a citizen of what is now the Czech Republic. He was noted for his skill in turning folk material into the language of 19th-century Romantic music. In 1892, he accepted the post of Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York.

During his three years in the United States, Dvořák traveled as far west as Iowa. His trip to America proved to be inspiring and productive. It led him to create the piece that widely became regarded as his signature work: the four-movement Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World,” also known as “The New World Symphony.” 

“We chose the New World Symphony because it is one of the most beloved pieces in the QCSO repertoire,” said Loeb. “It is a lively, colorful composition that has been very popular with our patrons in the past, and its great energy makes it a perfect companion for the other musical selections.” 

Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickets are available at the QCSO box office at 327 Brady St., Davenport, IA. You can also call the QCSO at (563) 322-7276 or visit For more information on future offerings from QCSO, be sure to download the full 100th Season brochure at

Comedian Doug Stanhope's Last Gasp Tour hits Rock Island 10/16 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by   
Tuesday, 23 September 2014 14:12
Doug Stanhope's Last Gasp Tour continues through October 25

“The most fearless man in comedy.” ESQUIRE, Nov. 2013

“An acidic blend of prickly hostility, elaborately articulated self-loathing and righteous anger.” NEW YORK TIMES, Sept. 2013

Los Angeles, CA - Comedian Doug Stanhope begins the final leg of his 2014 Last Gasp Tour on October 8th in El Paso, Texas. The tour extends through the Southeast and Midwest, ending October 25 in Detroit. Tickets can be purchased online at or in person at the venue.

For advance interviews, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The often controversial yet critically acclaimed Stanhope has been performing since 1990 and remains one of the most relentless touring comics in the country. Time Out New York has twice voted his live show "Best Comedy Performance of the Year."

Despite referring to actors as "tools," Stanhope occasionally takes a turn, recently appearing on an episode of FX's critically acclaimed Louie. He will also appear in the upcoming film Finally Famous, written and directed by Chris Rock.

As host, Doug infamously “ruined” the last season of Comedy Central’s The Man Show and has appeared on The Howard Stern Show, Opie and Anthony, and Comedy Central. Doug is the Voice of America on BBC television’s Weekly Wipe.

He’s appeared at multiple major comedy festivals including Montreal’s Just For Laughs and the UK’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where he won the Strathmore Press Award for Best Act of the Fringe in his debut year.

Selected by both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter as one of the Top Ten Comics to Watch, Stanhope released his sixth DVD, Beer Hall Putsch, last September.

Follow Doug Stanhope on Twitter @DougStanhope

Last Gasp Tour dates:

October 8 El Paso, TX - El Paso Comic Strip Comedy Club
October 9 Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad
October 10 Amarillo, TX - GoldenLight Cantina
October 13 Springfield, MO - Outland Ballroom
October 14 Columbia, MO - Deja Vu Comedy Club
October 15 Peoria, IL - Jukebox Comedy Club
October 16 Rock Island, IL - Rock Island Brewing Company
October 17 and 18 Chicago, IL - Reggie's Live
October 20 Grand Rapids, MI - Dr. Grins @ The BOB
October 21 Pittsburgh, PA - Pittsburgh Improv
October 22 Fort Wayne, IN - Snickerz Comedy Club
October 23 Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Improv
October 24 Flint, MI - The Machine Shop
October 25 Detroit, MI - The Token Lounge

QCWE announces Fall Concert and Masterclass featuring Kurt Dupuis PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by QCWE   
Monday, 22 September 2014 09:50

The Quad City Wind Ensemble (QCWE) and season sponsor Edward Jones announce a free fall concert featuring Master Gunnery Sergeant Kurt Dupuis, “The President’s Own” Marine Band principal trumpeter.  The concert will be Sunday, October 26, at 3:00 p.m. in the Galvin Fine Arts Center, 517 W. Locust St., on the campus of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA.  Master Gunnery Sgt Dupuis will also conduct a Masterclass on Saturday, October 25th, from 12:00-3:00 p.m., also at the Galvin Fine Arts Center.  Both events are free and open to the public.  All are encouraged to bring their instrument to the Saturday masterclass.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Dupuis, of Rochester, N.H., joined "The President's Own" United States Marine Band in September 1992. He was named principal trumpet in 1997.

He began his musical instruction at age 8 and studied with Terry Detwiler, former Marine Band solo cornet. He graduated in 1985 from Spaulding High School in Rochester, N.H. and earned a bachelor's degree in music from Boston University in 1990 where he also pursued graduate studies. His teachers included Roger Voisin, Peter Chapman, and Dr. Robert Stibler. In addition, he has received extensive coaching from Rolf Smedvig, Timothy Morrison, Jeff Curnow, and Susan Slaughter.

Prior to joining "The President's Own," Master Gunnery Sgt. Dupuis was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass., and was a participant at the Grand Teton Orchestral Seminar in Jackson Hole, Wyo., for two summers. He also was a member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet, winners of the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition, Summit Brass International Chamber Music Competition, and the Rafael Mendez International Chamber Music Competition. The quintet toured the U.S. and Canada under Columbia Artist Management and coached at the Empire Brass Seminar at the Tanglewood Institute. Master Gunnery Sgt. Dupuis has performed in conjunction with the Empire Brass both at Carnegie Hall in New York and at the Bermuda Arts Festival.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Dupuis currently resides in Alexandria, Va.  He has been featured as a soloist with both the Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra, frequently conducts masterclasses at universities and has published an article in the International Trumpet Guild and The Brass Herald.

"Marine Band principal trumpet Master Gunnery Sgt. Kurt Dupuis' performance with the Quad City Wind Ensemble is in a volunteer capacity."

The Marine Band is America's oldest continuously active professional musical organization. Founded in 1798, the band has performed for every U.S. president since John Adams. Known as "The President's Own" since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band's mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

The QCWE was founded in 1987 by Dr. Charles B. DCamp of St. Ambrose University, and has become one of the finest adult bands in the nation. In 2012 the QCWE was the Community Division winner of The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance.  For additional information, please visit www.qcwindensemble.org, or contact Tyné Rieck, QCWE Public Relations at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


100 Years of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Monday, 22 September 2014 08:42
Celebrating the Past, Looking Forward to the Future

IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – The 2014-2015 season marks the 100th year of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) in the Quad Cities area. Over the past century, the QCSO has presented masterpieces both old and new for the enjoyment of music lovers in the Midwest. “In celebrating our 100th Season, we look back on the rich legacy of our past, and also look forward to how we will serve the community in the next 100 years,” said Mark Russell Smith, QCSO Music Director and Conductor. “We thank the people of the Quad Cities area for their sincere ongoing support.” 

“We see the 100th Season as a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness as we celebrate this historic milestone,” said Benjamin Loeb, QCSO Executive Director. “During the 100th Season we will present the world premieres of five compositions in the QCSO Masterworks series. Also, the season will end in a one-night-only concert featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a best-selling classical recording artist with more than 75 albums, including 15 Grammy Award-winners.”

According to Loeb, the 100th Season will feature works by three composers from the Quad-Cities and surrounding area. “The Riverfront Pops featured world-premiere music from a local composer in its pre-show,” he said. “Several new arrangements by William Campbell, Composition Professor at St. Ambrose University, were performed by the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensemble.” 

The first premiered piece in the Masterworks series is by John Frantzen, originally from Maquoketa, Iowa. “John now lives in Los Angeles, California, and composes for films and documentaries,” Loeb said. “He comes from an artistic family – his sister, Rose Frantzen, is an accomplished artist whose work has appeared in full exhibits at Davenport’s Figge Museum.”

Loeb noted that the season will also include a commissioned work by Jacob Bancks, Assistant Professor of Theory and Composition at Augustana College. Loeb, an accomplished pianist, will perform the work with violinist David Bowlin on the first Signature Series concert October 19. 

The Holiday Pops will be conducted by new QCSO Assistant Conductor Benjamin Klemme and will feature the return engagements of the First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir and Quad City Symphony Youth Choir. Cirque de la Symphonie, the group that thrilled QC audiences a few years back with their energetic troupe of aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers and more, will be back as well. A new work by composer Gary Fry will receive its world premiere at the Holiday Pops. This year, Holiday Pops will be back at the Adler Theatre in three performances including a Saturday matinee perfect for family members of all ages.

According to Smith, the many premieres in the 100th Season show that the QCSO is deeply invested in perpetuating the classical tradition. “Classical music isn’t meant to be a museum,” he said. “It’s a live, vibrant, creative force. It’s not just about the past: it’s about the present and the future. We enjoy bringing new works to the public’s attention. The composers we are working with all have very different voices, as unique and diverse as the individuals themselves.”

The 100th Season also marks the return of famed pianist Garrick Ohlsson, who last appeared with the QCSO in 1989. Ohlsson is an international grandmaster pianist and the first American to win the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition. “Ohlsson is a personal favorite of mine,” Loeb said. “He creates incredible emotion without being overly sentimental.”

The highlight of the 100th Season will be a performance by master cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. “He is today’s biggest star in classical music,” Loeb said. “He receives countless requests to perform. We went through seven months of negotiations before he said ‘Yes’ in late 2013. He has worked with me and Mark Russell Smith before, and that helped to secure the engagement.” 

Loeb went to work lining up sponsors for the Yo-Yo Ma performance and gained enthusiastic support from the Riverboat Development Authority, Modern Woodmen of America, and John Deere. “We are delighted that Yo-Yo Ma will be coming to the Quad-Cities to share his unique talents,” he said, “and we know most music lovers throughout the area share that sentiment.”

In addition to the Pops Series, Masterworks Series and Signature Series, the 100th Season will also include Youth Concerts, Family Concerts, Side by Side Concerts, and Volunteer Events, as well as such multi-faceted educational programs as youth ensembles and school education engagements. Many other programs are also in place to enhance the public’s enjoyment and enlightenment, including:

Inside the Music: Conversations with QCSO Music Director Mark Russell Smith on Thursday afternoons at the Hotel Blackhawk before the Masterworks. Students@Symphony: Local students are invited to QCSO dress rehearsals and interact with the guest soloists, QCSO musicians and Music Director Mark Russell Smith.

Concert Conversations: Pre-concert conversations one hour before concert start time, hosted by Kai Swanson of Augustana College.

Afterglow: A gathering in the lobby of the Hotel Blackhawk after Saturday Masterworks with free hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, and a chance to socialize with the musicians from the concert.

“The QCSO has been a part of this community for a century, and that says a lot,” Smith observed. “It has played an important role in this area since it first began, and will continue to be just as important 100 years from now. The Symphony is part of what makes this an exciting place to live. It adds inherent value to the community.”

For more information on each event, be sure to download the full season brochure at

Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickets are available at the QCSO box office at 327 Brady St., Davenport. You can also call the QCSO at (563) 322-7276 or visit

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