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items tagged with Quad City Symphony Orchestra

Bohemian Rhapsody: The Quad City Symphony, October 6 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-10-17 13:54:57

It was standard repertoire in the expected order, but the performance that Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith and the orchestra gave at the opening of the Quad City Symphony’s 98th Masterworks Series on October 6 was anything but typical because of the thorough, culturally sensitive thinking behind the showcase piece.

Richard Wagner’s youthful Overture to Rienzi and Max Bruch’s lyric Violin Concerto No. 1 were executed consistent with German performance practices, largely confined to the composer’s instructions in the score. But Smith created a sharp contrast of musical styles to the concert’s first two pieces with “country kid” Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. Instead of the typical literal interpretation of the score, he transformed it through unwritten, more-expressive Bohemian playing techniques, creating a performance that felt authentic – similar to what audiences might have heard in its Dvořák-conducted 1890 debut in Prague.


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Into a Deep but Narrow Channel: The Quad City Symphony’s 2012-13 Masterworks Series
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-09-25 11:09:20

The Quad City Symphony next month will launch a 2012-13 Masterworks Series that takes a step back from last year’s ambitious, adventurous, and modern programming and instead plunges into the deep end of 19th Century Romanticism.

Gone is the wide-ranging repertoire that musically delineated the four main historical style periods spanning 300 years, from early-18th Century Vivaldi to a world premiere by local composer William Campbell. Gone are the global concept of Britten’s War Requiem, the eclectic contrasts of Modernism, and the contrapuntal complexity of the Baroque. And, by focusing on swing music for the February Masterworks concert, the symphony has effectively eliminated one of its season’s six primary showcases for classical music.


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A Trickster’s Lesson in Music: William Campbell’s “Coyote Dances,” Performed March 31 and April 1 by the Quad City Symphony
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-03-27 15:20:07

William Campbell

While a brief, unpretentious piece, Coyote Dances – by local composer William Campbell – is long on musical adventure, drama, and humor fashioned from a Native American moral yarn reminding us not to get too big for our britches.

In personal and e-mail interviews, Campbell – chair of the St. Ambrose University music department and an associate professor there – explained how he portrayed a story of the folkloric trickster hero Coyote in music and the March 31 and April 1 premiere of the composition with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.

“I wanted to write fun music with exuberant, joyful moments,” the composer said. And the score indicates that Coyote Dances is full of them.


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Symphony Spin-Off: The Lyrebird Ensemble, January 21 at the Figge Art Museum
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-01-11 18:55:01

The Lyrebird Ensemble's Lillian Lau and Ellen HuntingtonNot long after meeting through their participation in the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, second flutist Ellen Huntington and principal harpist Lillian Lau decided to form their own two-person ensemble. Yet while they knew they had more than enough flute-and-harp repertoire to sustain a professional partnership, what they didn’t have was a name.


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Birthing a Beast: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, December 3 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-12-08 19:32:06

Rarely and unpredictably, a performance will transcend music and become a living thing, a forceful creature that grabs the audience and won’t let go until the piece ends; it then lingers for hours in the mind. These experiences transport me beyond what Gustav Mahler called “the sounds of a garrulous world” and overshadow the conductor and musicians – not because they’re unimportant, but because the life-giving in their performance is so profound. On Saturday at the Adler Theatre, the beast arrived after intermission when the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith breathed life into Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1.


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