War Requiem: An International Musical Experience Comes to the Quad-Cities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Friday, 17 February 2012 15:44
IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – “It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness and of pain: of strength and freedom.” That compelling quote comes from Benjamin Britten, the creator of War Requiem, an epic work that addresses the grim reality of war through stirring, beautiful music.
“War Requiem is a large-scale, non-liturgical setting of the Requiem Mass,” said Jared Johnson, Marketing Director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO). “It was composed in 1961 and is a timeless masterpiece that holds great social significance in any era. This powerful work will put hundreds of performers on stage including our orchestra, several college choirs, the Minnestota BoyChoir, and even a secondary chamber orchestra from Detmold, Germany.”
The War Requiem will be presented 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3 at the Adler Theatre, Davenport, IA, and again 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at Centennial Hall, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL.
The QCSO, the University of Minnesota School of Music, and the Hochschüle für Musik in Detmold, Germany, under the leadership of QCSO Music Director Mark Russell Smith, have embarked on an international collaboration to perform Britten’s War Requiem. This thought-provoking work combines a setting of the Requiem Mass with nine poems by Wilfred Owen, an English poet and World War I soldier.

The War Requiem was written for the 1962 consecration of the newly reconstructed Coventry Cathedral, in Coventry, England, rebuilt after its destruction by the German Air Force during World War II.

A Musical Work of Epic Scale
“The War Requiem is scored for soprano, tenor and baritone soloists, chorus, boys’ choir, organ, a full orchestra and a chamber orchestra,” said Johnson. To present the work in its full glory, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra production will include the talents of the following individuals and groups:
Mark Russell Smith, Conductor
Caroline Thomas, Soprano
John De Haan, Tenor
Philip Zawisza, Baritone
Chamber Orchestra from Hochschule fur Musik in Detmold, Germany
Karl-Heinz Bloemeke, Chamber Orchestra Conductor
The Minnesota Boychoir
Mark Johnson, Boychoir Conductor
The University of Minnesota Chorale
Kathy Romey, Director
Macalester College Concerti Choir
Matthew Mehaffey, Director
Augustana College Choir
Jon Hurty, Director
Quad City Choral Arts
Jon Hurty, Director
A Life Dedicated to Music
Britten (1913 -1976) was an English composer, conductor, and pianist, as well as a central figure of 20th century British classical music. His first major accomplishment was the 1934 a cappella choral work, A Boy Was Born. Britten gained international fame when his opera, Peter Grimes, premiered in 1945. Other operas by Britten include The Rape of Lucretia, Albert Herring, The Beggar’s Opera, Billy Budd, Gloriana, The Turn of the Screw, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Death in Venice, among others.
War Requiem will be performed in Germany in mid-February and at the University of Minnesota on March 1. The Norwegian Nobel Institute will hold its 23rd annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minnesota from March 1 to 3 to coincide with the University of Minnesota performance. War Requiem will conclude its historic run here in the Quad Cities on March 3 and 4.
For ticket information, call the Quad City Symphony Orchestra Box Office at 563-322-QCSO (7276) or visit www.qcsymphony.com. Members of the military and their families are eligible for free War Requiem tickets through the USO of Illinois.
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Britten Peace Project: Quad Cities
Inspired by War Requiem, organizations throughout the Quad-Cities have announced projects designed to elucidate the experience, expand upon the context of the War Requiem, and connect the tragic experiences of the 20th century to our own ongoing global conflicts. Britten Peace Project: Quad Cities is sponsored by the Riverboat Development Authority.

In addition to the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s performances of War Requiem, March 3-4, current and forthcoming Britten Peace Project: Quad Cities events include:
Through Friday, February 24:
The German American Heritage Center, Davenport, IA, is presenting “The White Rose,” an exhibit which explores one of Germany’s most famous civilian resistance groups, formed by university students in Munich in the early 1940s.
6:30 p.m. Friday, February 24:
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra will present War Requiem, a film by Derek Jarman, at the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA.
2 to 4 p.m., Every Sunday in February:
The CommUniversity program, held at St. Ambrose University, will feature Britten's War Requiem: Music with History, Poetry, and More. Four Augustana faculty members will help you to fully appreciate the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s performance of War Requiem.
Saturday, February 25, to Sunday, April 15:
The Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA, will host the War & Remembrance Art Exhibit, featuring the Erwin Eisch Kristallnacht prints.
March is Red Cross Month:
Nationwide, the American Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year, providing shelter, food, emotional support and more to those affected. All organizations participating in the Britten Peace Project will be accepting donations on behalf of the American Red Cross of the Quad Cities Area.
5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1:
At the Hotel Blackhawk, Davenport, the Inside the Music program will feature George Eaton, Army Sustainment Command Historian, describing the British trench experience in World War I and its influence on the poetry of Wilfred Owens.
5:30 p.m. Friday, March 2:
This lecture event will be held in the Caisson Room, Building 60, down the hall from the Rock Island Arsenal Museum. The lecture, British Trench Experience in World War I as Context for the Poetry of Wilfred Owen, will be presented by George Eaton, Arsenal Sustainment Command Historian. The Rock Island Arsenal Island Museum will be open until 5:30 p.m.
2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 3:
Ballet Quad Cities will present From the Pages of a Young Girl’s Life: The Story of Anne Frank at the Holzworth Performing Arts Center, Davenport North High School. The music for this ballet is made up of a variety of selections by Jewish composers.
6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3:
During Concert Conversations at the Adler Theatre, Davenport, IA, host Kai Swanson will talk with Mark Russell Smith, QCSO Music Director.
1 p.m. Sunday, March 4:
During Concert Conversations at the Centennial Hall, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, host Kai Swanson will talk with Mark Russell Smith, QCSO Music Director.
Saturday, March 31, to Monday, May 28:
The Putnam Museum, Davenport, IA, will feature the exhibit, Anne Frank: A History for Today. This powerful exhibit, which includes photographs of the Frank family and other occupants of the Secret Annex, addresses such themes as anti-Semitism, racism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. As part of the project, the Jewish Federation will host a visit by Holocaust survivor, Eva Geiringer Schloss.
Sunday, April 8, through Tuesday, May 8:
The Rock Island Downtown Public Library will feature Children of the Holocaust by Barbara Powers.
4 p.m. Sunday, April 15:
The Putnam Museum's Giant Screen Theater in Davenport, IA, will show The Rescuers, a film by Michael King.
7 p.m. Sunday, April 22:
Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a day for remembering and learning about the horrors of the Holocaust. As part of this remembrance, the Tri-City Jewish Center will feature guest speaker Agnes Schwartz, Holocaust survivor.
7 p.m. Monday, April 23:
In Wallenberg Hall, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, the Geifman Endowment in Holocaust Studies will present a lecture by Holocaust survivor Agnes Schwartz.
4 p.m. Sunday, May 6:
The Putnam Museum's Giant Screen Theater in Davenport, IA, will feature Nicky's Family, a film by Matej Minac.
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