Janinah Burnett
When
soprano Janinah Burnett takes the stage with the Quad City Symphony
Orchestra this weekend, she will sing the role of Violetta, a part
she first performed five years ago. But it has taken those five years
for her to really develop this leading role in La
Traviata -
one of opera's
most famous works.

"When
I first learned it, it was about getting the notes," the
28-year-old Burnett said. "And then as I grew into it ... I just
got to know her character a little bit more and within myself tried
to go on this journey with her. I searched my own life and my own
heart for experiences that could help me understand the journey of
this character."

As
season-ticket sales decline, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra is
looking for ways to reach new audiences. This year's season has
emphasized collaboration with local arts organizations, and nowhere
is this more apparent than in this weekend's performance with
Ballet Quad Cities.

This
weekend the Quad City Symphony Orchestra is celebrating composers who
stood apart, in some way, from the conventions of their time.
Although the program does include Beethoven and Strauss, the emphasis
is on modern American composers, three of whom are living.

As
Music Director and Conductor Donald Schleicher explained, these are
(or were) composers "on the cutting edge" who "invented and
created and didn't just follow the patterns of their predecessors.

"So
often we play music by dead composers," Schleicher said. "Dead
composers were once living, so I think it's interesting to
investigate and perform music by living composers. Like an artist,
composers sometimes become more famous after they die."

the Quad City Symphony led by David Bellugi
At
this weekend's Quad City Symphony concerts at Augustana College,
David Bellugi will be the guest conductor and
the soloist. For much of the concert, he'll actually be playing the
recorder as he conducts. And that's just one of the elements of
this concert that make it unusual.

Chee-Yun
When
Chee-Yun takes the stage this weekend with the Quad City Symphony
Orchestra, she'll be performing a Saint-Saëns violin concerto
she first picked up 24 years ago - when she was just nine years
old.

But
don't think the Korean-born violinist has tired of the piece after
all these years, or that she's done exploring the music.

"How
much of an expert can you really be on a piece unless you've spent
time with the composer or spent your whole life on a piece?" she
said in a recent phone interview. "I'm still young and I'm
still learning. Great music always gives so much to work on, so much
to be fascinated by, so much to discover every time you play. I never
get tired of it."

A
lot of 14-year-olds pick up an instrument to emulate their idols.
It's just not often they choose the harpsichord.

But
that's what George Shangrow did, and decades later, he's the
director and founder of Orchestra Seattle and the director of the
Seattle Conservatory of Music. This weekend he's performing on the
piano and harpsichord as one of four musicians in the Black Hawk
Chamber Music Festival.

The
"Mostly Mozart Festival" celebrates the 250th birthday of the
composer with two concerts each at Moline's First Congregational
Church (on July 28 and 30) and Iowa City's Congregational Church
(July 29 and 31).

Cristina Panfilio and Jody Hovland A theatre company takes a risk when it changes key elements of Shakespeare, as Iowa City's Riverside Theatre has by switching the protagonist in its presentation of The Tempest from Prospero to Prospera. Turning this male character into a female brings an entirely new dynamic to the performance, yet even though this makes for a unique production, it distracts from the tone of Shakespeare's text.

When
8 Bold Souls takes the stage, there's not a guitarist or singer to
be found. There is, however, a cellist and a tuba player.

This
might not be a typical blues ensemble, but that's the point.

T8 Bold Soulshe
Chicago-based octet has been around since 1985, performing original
music composed by group director and saxophonist Edward Wilkerson.

The
exclusively instrumental ensemble, which includes trumpet, bass,
drums, and trombone in addition to the cello, tuba, and sax, strives
to resist categorization and stereotyping.

Twelfth Night It's hot. It's muggy. Bugs are everywhere. And in Iowa City, that means it's time for Shakespeare.

Every summer, the Riverside Theatre trades its stage in downtown Iowa City for an outdoor venue in lower City Park, one that was actually modeled after London's Globe Theater. Appropriately enough, the company uses this Shakespeare-inspired space to stage two Shakespearean productions in repertory, and this year's schedule - running through July 9 - alternates between Twelfth Night and The Tempest.

After the most successful nine-month run that Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre has ever seen, this sm

all company - which has long performed on borrowed stages and only recently secured a space of its own - is homeless once more.

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