Awakenings – the Quincy Symphony Orchestra

The Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association, under the direction of Bruce Briney, opens their 70th concert season at 3 pm Sunday, Oct. 1 at Quincy Junior High School with AWAKENINGS. This concert juxtaposes innovation with tradition and each piece represents a unique awakening for the composer.

The concert begins with the orchestra fanfare “Short Ride in a Fast Machine,” by American composer John Adams. This rousing music evokes the excitement and fear of a thrill ride in a sports car. “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” is a masterpiece of minimalism with an infectious musical drive that propels the listener into the heart of the composition.

Emily Hart will join the orchestra as a featured soloist on “Oboe Concerto in A Minor” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Pastoral in tone, the Oboe Concerto is deceptively easy to listen to, given the considerable difficulties that Vaughan Williams sets for the accompanying orchestra. The QSO skillfully navigates the technical challenges without overwhelming the soft timbres of the solo instrument.

A Quincy native, oboist Emily Hart is on the faculty at the Western Illinois University School of Music where she teaches oboe as well as classes in music appreciation and popular music. Prior to her appointment at WIU, she served as the oboe instructor at the Eastman Community Music School in Rochester, NY. She also serves on the summer faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan.

Emily holds a Master of Music in Oboe Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music in Oboe Performance from WIU. She is a graduate of Quincy Senior High.

This is Emily’s second solo appearance with the Quincy Symphony Orchestra – the first was in 2009 as a winner of the QSOA Young Artist Competition. Emily maintains an active performing schedule in the west-central Illinois region and plays English horn with the Quincy Symphony.

The concert concludes with Brahms’ grand masterpiece “Symphony No. 1.” The mood is typical of the composer: vast, complicated, intelligent, but with a sweet soul and a direct power.

Brahms managed to blend the traditional structures and ideals of the Classical-era with the golden hues and soaring beauty of Romantic-era music. Brahms’ First Symphony was inspired by his admiration of Beethoven, and mimics aspects of his hero’s work, but it also represents an awakening of his own superb talent.  It was a soaring success at its debut and continues to enthrall audiences worldwide.

Tickets for AWAKENINGS are available at the door or in advance at Quincy Hy-Vee stores, Sturhahn Jewelers or the symphony office, 200 N. 8th. Individual concert tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for senior citizens. Children 18 and under are encouraged to attend with their families, and will be admitted free thanks, in part, to grants from the Tracy Family Foundation and the Community Foundation.

Season tickets offer a great savings over single ticket prices. Season tickets are available now, and include 10 QSOA events at $70 for adults or $60 for seniors. A special promotional offer allows new season ticket holders to get two season tickets for the price of one if the order is received by October 1.

The QSOA is very grateful for support from the corporate community. The Silver Baton Concert Sponsor for Awakenings is the Quincy Herald-Whig with WGEM. The Stevenson Paxton Group is the Music Sponsor.  All QSOA concerts are supported by Golden Baton Season Sponsors Knapheide Manufacturing and Blessing Health System.

Call 217-222-2856 or visit for more information on the music and performers, including program notes and biographies.