Quad City Symphony Offers American Tunes at Figge, Will Reopen to Audiences in March at Adler
Signature Series concert at the Figge’s lobby on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Up to 50 socially-distanced concertgoers will be allowed in person; the concert will be livestreamed and will be available for viewing for 30 days following the livestream.
As of Thursday morning, 42 tickets were sold for the program featuring associate concertmaster and violinist Emily Nash, violist Bruno Silva, and associate principal bass Kit Polen. The evening begins with Mozart’s sprightly Duo No. 1 for Violin and Viola. Experience the stillness of winter in Augusta Reed Thomas’ “Silent Moon,” followed by Johan Halvorsen’s colorful and dynamic arrangement of a Handel Passacaglia.
Thomas, 56, is a prolific Chicago-based composer. Her 2006 “Silent Moon” is a reference to the break in the stillness of winter that is indicative of a gathering of energy. “Like the silence before the storm, the Silent Moon offers an
opportunity to cleanse the past so that we might better shift our attentions to future growth,” her website says.
The second half of the Figge program features multiple selections by Edgar Meyer and Mark O’Connor from their 2000 album “Appalachian Journey” (recorded with Yo-Yo Ma), with works influenced by the sounds of American musical traditions and structures.
Earlier this month, the Figge opened its major traveling exhibit, “For America: 200 Years of Painting from the National Academy of Design.” It is on display through May 16.
Presenting nearly 100 artworks spanning over 200 years from 1809 to 2013, “For America” features masterpieces by revered American artists such as William Merritt Chase, John Singer Sargent, Cecilia Beaux, Charles White, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and many others.
The exhibition presents a unique history of American art as seen through the lens of artists. Exploring how these individuals have represented themselves and their country over time, the exhibition is a striking portrait of broadening diversity throughout the country’s history, according to the Figge.
On Friday around 3:20 p.m., the trio of Signature Series musicians will speak with QCSO executive director Brian Baxter on WVIK, 90.3 FM, in a “Concert Conversations” about the program. You can see Baxter talk with Nash and Silva (a married couple who live in suburban Chicago), and Polen, in a video on the QCSO website.
“I feel like we’re so lucky to continue to play music together during this time,” Nash says in the 37-minute video. “Especially when so many orchestras have stopped all concerts. Many of our friends, and our second orchestras have just stopped.”
Playing without an audience at the Adler feels like a dress rehearsal, she says. “I didn’t realize how much it meant to have the audience there to share music with. We’re excited to actually play for a live audience for this concert. It means the world that we can come together.”
“At times like this, people are in search of soulful meaning in life,” Silva says. “I’m very much looking forward to connecting with a live audience.”
“This pandemic has really changed my and a lot of people’s relationship with the arts, with music,” Polen says. “It’s made me re-think a lot of
things. It’s really hard, as a musician sometimes, to turn off. Anytime you have a career, a hobby, a passion, that’s all intertwined like this, you don’t really have time away from it.
“And this pandemic has really taken the career aspect out of the equation, and you’re left with just the passion and the hobby,” he says. “It’s been really interesting what I’ve turned to with the arts.”
The QCSO started its fall 2020 season with in-person audiences, with the October Masterworks at the Adler Theatre, with masked, distanced and limited audiences. That concert drew about 240 people for the Saturday performance and 160 for Sunday, QCSO marketing director Caitlin Bishop said Thursday.
In honor of 2020 being the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, QCSO concertmaster Naha Greenholtz and pianist Marian Lee performed
an October concert at the Figge lobby, also with a very small audience and livestreamed as well.
Including and since the November Masterworks, the main orchestra concerts at the Adler have been performed with no audiences, filmed and offered online for 30 days. The February concert is available until March 9. But the QCSO will open back to the public at the Adler (at 25 percent maximum capacity) for two concerts March 6 and 7, Bishop said.
In the fall, the Covid cases in Scott County were “so high, and our contacts with Scott County Health Department recommended we move to digital-only concerts,” she said. “We didn’t feel like after the holidays, February was far enough away that we felt comfortable allowing audiences. Cases have continued to decline, and we feel very good about this weekend and next weekend.”
The Adler has a 2,321-seat capacity, and distanced pods of two and four patrons will be allowed to fill up to 600 maximum in the hall, but QCSO expects about 400 next month, Bishop said.
“We’re excited to be able to offer truly live music again,” she said. “Working with the Adler, musicians and production staff, all the health and safety precautions we’ve put into place, we are making it as safe as we possibly can.”
QCSO concert guidelines
Among those precautions, audience members will be socially distanced throughout the theater and the number of in-person seats available to audience members will be significantly restricted in order to accommodate the necessary social distancing.
Facial Masks or Coverings: Facial masks or coveringsmust be worn at all times covering the nose and mouth while in the Adler Theatre/River Center. Disposable masks will be available for those who arrive without one. No exemptions will be made, including for individuals who have already been vaccinated.
- Attendees Must be Asymptomatic: Attendees must not have tested positive for Covid within the 14 days prior to attending the event in person and attendees must be asymptomatic for at least 14 days prior to attending the event in person. Anyone feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms such as but not limited to fever, cough, or shortness of breath should stay home. Please click hereto review the full list of Covid-19 symptoms on the CDC website.
Additionally, attendees must not have been in contact with anyone who has been experiencing symptoms of Covid or who has tested positive for Covid within 14 days prior to attending the event in person. Attendees who cannot meet these requirements should not attend the event in person and are encouraged to access the performance via Digital Access.
- Entry & Departure: The concert venue will remain closed to the general public until the predetermined time that seating can begin. Doors will open 30 minutes before concert time. Signage and floor markings will outline new procedures, as well as remind guests and staff to social distance and wash their hands. Guests will be encouraged to move directly to their seats.Guests will not be allowed to approach the stage and will be encouraged to immediately exit the building following the performance.
- Reduced Contact: Tickets will not be sold on-site and must be purchased in advance. Tickets will not be touched by the ticket scanners, and program booklets will only be available in a digital format. The program booklet will be available in advance online if attendees wish to print their own copies, and guests may request a printout of the program to be mailed to them for a $4 fee up to 14 days before the event.
- Food & Beverage: Concessions will not be sold.
As of Feb. 25, Scott County has recorded 18,204 positive Covid cases, and 205 deaths from the virus. Iowa overall has seen a total of 5,438 Covid-related deaths, which have been steadily declining since December.
According to the county health department, 25,800 doses of the Covid vaccine have been given in Scott County, including about 6,000 second doses. The county has seen an average of 17 new cases per day, a 58-percent decrease from the average two weeks ago, according to The New York Times database.
Figge partnerships, including the ballet
The Figge had about 40 partners that worked on many programs complementing “French Moderns” (its last major blockbuster from October 2018 to January 2019) and today there are 28 coordinating with the new exhibit, museum executive director Michelle Hargrave said recently.
“It’s nice to have organizations working together in this way,” she said. “Each organization brings a unique perspective and highlights a unique aspect of history or art, related to the overall theme.”
A couple prime examples of related programming is with Q-C Symphony, which is offering American composers on programs Feb. 27 and April 10 – both available online with digital access for 30 days after those dates.
The full orchestra Masterworks in April begins with Aaron Copland’s evocation of the spirit of rural Americanain “Appalachian Spring.” The Sphinx Quartet joins the QCSO for Michael Abels’s energetic combination of jazz, blues, bluegrass, and Latin dance in his “Delights and Dances.”
It concludes with selections from two distinctive works — the Fugue from Charles Ives’ epic Symphony No. 4 and “Chasqui” and “Coqueteos” from Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout.”
Among the multitude of museum companion programs for “For America,” the virtual “Art Meets Music” talk will be March 18 at 6:30 p.m. Hargrave and Mark Russell Smith, QCSO music director and conductor, will discuss the connection between American art and music. Like other virtual programs, registrants will receive a Zoom link two hours prior to the talk.
Joedy Cook, executive director of Ballet Quad Cities, said they’re planning to return to perform in the Figge lobby in early May, and they’re in the process of deciding what American music to use.
“There will be three choreographers, the pieces we’re going to create will be reminiscent of ‘Billy the Kid’ (Copland), the ballet everyone loved,” she said recently. “Everything will be brand new, the pieces will be inspired by the artwork itself or the stories that created the artwork.”
Like the chamber music concert Saturday, the ballet also will be performed for a cap of 50 audience members, for free, as part of the Figge’s Thursday night series, Cook said.
“It will be all American music,” she said. “We actually started partnering with the Figge in ‘Dance Me a Story,’ exploring literature with ballet. That grew into the relationship with the Thursday series. It’s a great relationship — the Figge very much appreciates the impact professional dance has on our community and we are looking forward to getting back into that lobby.”
Cook recalled a popular BQC program they did at the Figge in February 2019, including an encore performance of “Bolero,” an original ballet for five dancers to the music of Maurice Ravel, choreographed by
artistic director Courtney Lyon.
As an added treat, BQC presented new choreography by Lyon inspired by Tiffany glass, in celebration of the Figge exhibition “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection.”
“During the Tiffany exhibit, it was reminiscent of the floor lamps,” Cook said. “Each dancer represented one of the Tiffany lamps; the costuming was beautiful. It was very well received, we had close to 300 people in that lobby. I think people in the Quad-Cities really appreciate the collaboration we have with our art museum.”
Symphony seats in person and digital access
Tickets for the Saturday 7:30 p.m. concert are $25 each for adults and $10 for students,
available HERE. For digital access, the video recording will be available online starting 12 hours after the concert, for 30 days, and also are $25 per household. For questions, call 563-322-7276.
The Masterworks concert at the Adler Saturday, March 6, will be at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 7 at 2 p.m., featuring Mozart’s famous Serenade in G Major, “A Little Night Music,” and Johannes Brahms’ Serenade No. 2, op. 16.
Tickets are $18 to $65 for adults, and $10 to $33 for students. Digital access will be $40 per household.
The digital concert will air on Sunday, March 7, at 2 p.m. via the QCSO’s Uscreen Channel. It will be available to stream for 30 days. For more information, visit www.qcso.org.
There is no extra charge to see “For America” at the Figge, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for children ages 4-12. Reservations are highly encouraged and can be made at www.figgeartmuseum.org, or by calling 563-345-6632.